Jill Gallagher is charged with creating the context in which Victorian Treaty negotiations can flourish. She talks to Daniel James about the opportunities and challenges ahead.
Dear Aboriginal Men, my brothers, my cousins, my uncles, my grandfathers, elders and countrymen. We need to talk about violence against Aboriginal women and other women.
It is each year, during reconciliation week, that we see politicians make public pronouncements about reconciliation, equal partnership and respect in an attempt to out-Mandela each other.
Love, protection, beauty, royalty are all things that have all too readily been denied to Black women. Instead our expected role has been one of servitude, sexually, domestically, and politically, for White men and White women, and even Black men.
I cried and he cried and he held me crying, then he told the nurse that I understood him and could respond by blinking. They didn’t believe him at first, but they eventually asked me questions, and I responded to them all.
I was the first in my family to attend University and I remember my father being less than impressed at my decision to study rather than do real work. “Places like that weren’t meant for people like us”, he stated.
Australia has always wanted to stake a claim on Aboriginal culture – but only when it benefits them. They remain ignorant when the legislative bullets are fired to weaken and destroy it, and do not seek to protect it when the right to culture and ceremony is in the way of profit and white prosperity.