The Australian Media’s Disdain for Indigenous Australia

…And the rest of you aren’t much better!

At this point I expect that almost all journalists will have stopped reading and thus proven the point, but before you go allow me to give you two very simple examples and then you can go back to whatever the fuck it is you do, because it sure isn’t journalism.

Example one: The constant line that former PM Tony Abbott has an unwavering commitment to Indigenous Affairs. It is repeated as a fact across the media from Insiders on the ABC to Viewpoint on Sky News and everywhere in between. It is largely based on the idea Abbott has spent a great deal of time in Indigenous communities. This is BS, a fact I proved in a widely read article a few years ago (Google it, I’m not doing your research for you). This is also the man who when he received the portfolio in question while in opposition and said he’d “like to be closer to the action”. Is the responsibility for the nation’s First People not enough action? The chance to overcome horrific life expectancy, disgraceful child mortality rates and the highest imprisonment and suicide rates in the world not enough action?

This is the commitment you speak of is it? It is also suggested that Abbott is respected across Aboriginal Australia, which is both laughable and perhaps the biggest indicator that journalists for the most part have zero interaction with Blackfellas outside the odd retweet on Twitter. When Abbott visited Eddie Koiki Mabo’s grave and said “good on him for having a go” and praised the “system” for letting Mabo have a crack, the absolutely beloved Indigenous Broadcaster Tiga Bayles, who sadly left us too early this year, said “By jeez somebody should have speared him”. If this is the love and respect you believe Abbott has from Indigenous people then I’d hate to see what you call disrespect. Abbott has history of opposing almost all legislation that Indigenous Australian’s support on mass and could count the number of Blackfellas that would let him in their homes on one hand.

And just to rub salt in the wound this week Abbott friend Catherine McGregor suggested that “”there is no one better suited” to the Indigenous affairs role and said Mr Abbott “would love to do it”. Why, because of his love for Mob, his commitment to their needs, his desire to work hard to overcome the endless number of issues the community faces? Of course not! McGregor’s suggestion was that it would be the right thing to do to heal the rift in the Liberal party between Abbott and Turnbull. And once again, the clapping seals of the press gallery lapped it up. Have Blackfellas not suffered enough, now the backs of First Nations people must be stood upon so as to help out the Liberal party being pulled apart by back biting and far right lunatics. Did any of you call out McGregor for this absurd suggestion, no. Did any of you criticise this disgusting use of Black suffering for political gain, please…, that would require a back bone!

But to really show how the media and the majority of Australian’s can be seen to be united in their disdain for Indigenous Australia we only need to turn to one person, Dylan Voller. Dylan of course is the boy we all saw on our TV screens in a Gitmo like chair and hood, shackled to a chair having already suffered endless abuse at the hands of prison guards in the Don Dale Detention Centre. So serious was the mistreatment Dylan and the other boys suffered that a Royal commission was called the very next day, although Minister for the portfolio of little action, Nigel Scullion, hadn’t exactly had his interest “piqued”. But given 400 Indigenous Australian’s have died in custody since the Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody wrapped up 25 years ago, is going down the same path really that helpful or will it lead to the same deadly results?

Well once again the media and most of the population was clapping like seals, applauding PM Turnbull as “Brave” for calling a Royal Commission. But what about the boys we saw in the report, whose suffering we are spending millions of dollars to supposedly end. Is Dylan Voller currently receiving the sort of support and assistance he needs from the medical community to overcome the torture he has been subjected to? Of course not! He’s sitting in an Adult prison as we speak, your silence has been deafening, whereas he has taken the time to pen a letter and thank everyone for their support, apologise for his wrongs and promise to make it up to the community when he gets out. Is it just me or is there something very very fucked up about this situation? And what about Scullion who despite knowing the broadcast about such abuse was going to air, having known about what was going on for months, and then not bothering to watch it; have the media hounded him out of a job? No! Well, not yet anyway, his interest not having been piqued won’t cost him his job but Abbott’s need to get back into the ministry just might!

So all that came of that report on Don Dale was a few outrage tweets, some sternly worded Facebook posts and a commitment for a Royal Commission when the last one was so successful it’s killed 400 Blackfellas and counting. You’d think the media would be feeling some shame at this point, asking themselves if there was more they could do…. HAHAHA of course they’re not! They’re still pushing Abbott for the top spot in Indigenous affairs and awarding Walkley nominations for reporting on “Indigenous Affairs”. If you need little gold statues to do your job then so be it, but doing so on the back of someone else’s tremendous suffering is a little disgusting. The fact you’ll all be on the piss, dressed to the nines and once again clapping each other like seals for an entire night while Dylan and the other boys of Don Dale continue to rot in prison makes me wonder… What the fuck are you getting the award for anyway?!

As for the rest of you. You live in a country blessed with wealth and if you are not poor, working poor, sick and suffering but one of the many who earns more than 40k a year, lives a nice life and isn’t part of the group who suffers war like life expectancy, criminally high infant mortality, the highest suicide rate in the world and a bunch of other horrific statistics then I have to ask… what are you doing? If you’ve sent a tweet then who has that helped? Dylan? The Indigenous mother who just lost their child because of a lack of basic health care services? The 12 year old girl who just took her own life because the country that gives you so much has taken everything from her? No, tweets and Facebook and petitions are not good enough anymore, they never were, but now you know! It’s time you joined a protest, donated some money to an Indigenous cause, watched and read and listened to Indigenous media, voted for those most committed to Indigenous rights and not for who will balance the stupid fucking budget! And started to know more names of Blackfellas, their languages, nations and customs than you do the names of contestants on the Bachelor.

Then, then I can take your sympathy seriously and ask you to also hold the media to account in the need for them to truly serve as the fourth estate. Nazi war criminals of the very worst kind were treated better than the boys of Don Dale. They were despicable people, who committed the most barbaric genocide the world has ever seen. But their captors still showed them the humanity to be treated in a just and fair way, and yet you live in a country that can’t even do that for kids… for Aboriginal kids…, kids the “System” has already tormented and oppressed from the day they were born. It’s a level of disdain for your fellow countrymen that cannot be measured and I will not excuse until I see some action, not talk or tweets, but the sort of change that means we don’t have to bury babies whose pain is so great they’ve taken their own lives.