THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Australia’s “Close the Gap Day” and Constitutional change…

THINKING - Hmmm.cloudThinking… navel gazing… reflecting… call it what you like.  I love it!

From the time I was “knee high to a grasshopper” I’ve always wondered WHY? … asked endless questions and no doubt driven those around me nearly crazy, which is probably why I’d sometimes get infuriating answers like:

*  It’s  a wig- wam for a goose’s bridle.
*  That’s for me to know and you wonder about.
*  Just because…

As this blog is a legacy for my descendants, I’ve decided to start up “Thoughtful Thursday” posts to share some of the thoughts which have engaged me.  Maybe other readers will enjoy them too and may have had similar thoughts?

If you have your own “Thoughtful Thursday” reflections it’d be fun if you share and I’ll set up some sort of a link. How I would do this I have no idea… guess that’s another “Thoughtful Thursday” post for another day… but seems pretty “do-able”, I reckon.


My thoughts, this week, have been flying around all over the place… hither and thither… and is why, despite having done all the research long ago, this weeks “Tuesday Trove” post was rather late off the “starting blocks“.

Australian Aboriginal Flag

Australian Aboriginal Flag

Then not so long ago it all hit me right in the very centre of my forehead and my thoughts focussed totally on matters to do with our original Australians. This was prompted by a FaceBook post from Lanie, the delightful niece of my former husband whom I also claim as my own. Up popped the following vid, from Lanie,  titled “Generation One Real Studies”

Aboriginal warning.vid

Ohhh… reached into my very soul, touched my heart and gave it a good old tweak. Of course the long term unemployed, and those who’ve grown un with generations of welfare dependancy, are stuck in a rut don’t know how to get out and need REAL training for REAL jobs, not these “mickey mouse” training schemes which “tick all the boxes” but are meaningless, useless and unfocussed.

Close the Gap

So me, being me, I went “a-googling” and was SO surprised to discover that TODAY, the 21st March 2013, is our Australian “National Close the Gap Day”

HOOLEY DOOLEY!!! … how come I knew nothing about this? …

Closing the Gap.

Then, a little earlier today this wonderful breaking news hit the media…  the South Australia’s Parliament is expected to approve recognition of Aboriginal people in the state’s constitution.

So proud, am I to be a South Australian on this memorable day. A bill to amend the constitution received bi-partisan support in the Lower House and will go before the Upper House this afternoon and is expected to be passed. The bill recognises past injustices and acknowledges Aboriginal people as the traditional owners and occupiers of South Australia. Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Ian Hunter, says the change is long overdue.

“For too long, our foundation document, our South Australian constitution was a blank canvas in terms of mentioning Aboriginal South Australians. It had no recognition of them and paid no respect to them whatsoever.”

Aboriginal leader and convenor of an advisory panel on the bill, Professor Peter Buckskin, says the amendment acknowledges that Indigenous people were dispossessed of their land.

Professor Peter Bucksin

Professor Peter Bucksin

“There is now a new respect for our culture that has survived the 175 years of that dispossession.

This process has really been one of continuing the reconciliation journey. It’s getting more South Australians to understand Aboriginal culture, traditions and knowledge and our connection to our country, land and sea”

Here’s a clip of the wonderful Warrumpi Band with “Jailangaru Pakarnu” for your enjoyment and in celebration of “Close the Gap Day 2013”.

So, there you have it… my focussed thinking for this week.

Hoping that if this week hasn’t been the most WONDERFUL ever for you that you’ve got through it OK and have come out smiling on the other side.  Cheers, Catherine.



RESOURCE re: Constitutional Change in South Australia.

Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

8 thoughts on “THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Australia’s “Close the Gap Day” and Constitutional change…

  1. Closing the gap is a much needed outcome but far from simple in achieving it. In fact the problems are so vast, complex and inter-linked that I wonder if we’ll see much change in our lifetimes…perhaps in our children’s.

    • Certainly Pauleen… I’ve been banging away at this issue for over 30 years now and we’re gradually starting to see some change, down here. puff puff puff… As Crissouli says: “We can but try.”

      Many can attest to the fact that I am, indeed, v-e-r-y trying!!! 😀 Thanks for dropping by

  2. I think after 16 years in the NT and with a daughter who taught in communities I can see that the problems really are only changing in the most minimal ways. I’m glad it’s better in the SA. Agreed we can but try and do our best. It’s definitely a complex issue.

    • Complex indeed Pauleen and we can indeed only speak from our own experiences, perspectives and understandings. There would sure be a huge difference, regarding Aboriginal issues, between those of us living in the Northern Territory and South Australia.

      I’m reminded of a dear friend, from Colorado, USA, who would give me a hug and say “baby steps, Catherine… baby steps” when I’d get SO frustrated at the slow change in the Social Justice issues which consumed both my working and private life… ahhh Jan, how I miss her. I still get frustrated and, were she still here, Jan would still be saying… “Baby steps, Catherine… baby steps” 🙂

  3. When I did my degree I remember sitting in a tutorial. We had an opportunity to discuss anything relevent to the module. The module was The British Empire – Climb & Fall. Perhaps known for raising my head and every now and again making a statement as a starting point. The group asked me to start off. My thoughts were – Should we not feel a sense of responsibility?

    The English pull up, declare a land and people for our own. Eventually pull out and in addition to the historical foundations we leave a trail of injustice, famine and instability. Whilst those nations, many of whom are independent of the UK, but members of the Commonwealth were (and are) totally illequiped to deal with the social, domestic and politicial issues they now find they are having to deal with.

    So should we not feel a sense of responsibility?

    On the day I raised this we had a really heated debate after the initial silence of shock. The lecturer could see where I was coming from, but the rest of the group were predominately in the 18-20 age bracket and could not see it. This was a group that had grown up believing that Band Aid was a nice festive song rather than a song whose concept was to raise awareness and funds for Africa.

    The answer of my own question is Yes, we should feel a sense of responsibility and perhaps the Commonwealth is as close as an apology as we might get.

    • An insightful comment, Julie, and no doubt well beyond what the average teenager has thought of, here or in the UK, so no wonder you got stunned looks! I think many of the issues which we’ve been confronting are a legacy of our behaviour/actions/legislation over the decades and even centuries.

      However I am increasingly coming to the view that this is something that has also to be taken on by those most affected -it’s not enough for it all to be “fix it for us” as that becomes yet another form of imperialism. We owe it to those affected to ensure the funds and structures are in place to collaborate in these changes and improvements.

      It is an incredibly vexed issue even with all the best will in the world. I read recently where many of the issues of alcoholism and social dysfunction are common to all communities that have been “invaded”, from the Inuits to the American Indians, the Aborigines, Papua New Guineans or even the Irish.

      • I guess that I had the advantage of being a mature student when I read history, so had a different outlook. Absoulutely it is important that the funds and structure were in place properly, rather than setting something up to fail, so that they may always be indebted to us is frankly rather devious.

  4. Oh, I certainly know that feeling Julie… I was a mature student also and remember studying the Vietnam War, as a subject in History, but it was part of my life and so my understanding/ perspective was very different to that of the other students. Led to some extremely interesting “discussions” 😉

    I’m so pleased to see, as is shown in the two videos, that “closing the gap” is no longer about “handouts” etc… but is providing REAL training for REAL jobs and having the people engaged and responsible for the change. Putting the appropriate funding, strategies and practices into place is a vast improvement indeed and, although there’s still a l-o-n-g way to go, I’m sure smilin’ 🙂

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