Because, in truth, we cannot confidently say that we have succeeded as we would like to have succeeded if we have not managed to extend opportunity and care, dignity and hope to the indigenous people of Australia – the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people.

This is a fundamental test of our social goals and our national will: our ability to say to ourselves and the rest of the world that Australia is a first rate social democracy, that we are what we should be – truly the land of the fair go and the better chance.

There is no more basic test of how seriously we mean these things.

From Paul Keating’s ‘Redfern Speech

It’s fortunate for the Liberal Government that the Australian electorate couldn’t give a rats about the welfare of indiginous folks, or the state of our ‘social democracy’ for that matter. For the last ten years we have largely ignored Australia: joining a war of aggression, treating refugees like illegal combatants, ripping off the desperate East Timorese for their gas, sticking it up single parents and disability pensioners… Aboriginals? Torres Straight Islanders? Not even on the radar.

When the herd is under attack, it is the poor, sick unfortunate ones who are sacrificed to predators while the fitter ones turn a blind eye. It is the evil genius of the Howard Government that, in an era of unparalleled prosperity, they have led this country down the road of social darwinism.

Collectively, Australia’s Aboriginals rank among the most wretched of the world’s many wretched people. Ten years of Liberal government has done nothing to change that, and after two hundred odd years of sucking it up, Tony Abbott advises them to remain patient. Yes, I imagine that if they keep on waiting quietly, this government will make all their Christmases come at once… one day.

The government has got so much money it doesn’t know what to do with it. Besides bribing Aboriginals into giving up their land rights of course.

John Howard remains adamant that Australia cannot apologise to its Aboriginals. It would be rather silly, wouldn’t it, when we’re so busy adding to the list of things for which we must apologise.

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