[by Jacob Connop]
Mundine. Image: ABC
Idenity politics vs liberalism
I'm a non-financial member of the CLP, and have been a member for over 3 years now. I recently attended the CLP event Identity politics vs Liberalism. The panel consisted of 2 Indigenous people (Mundine and Price) and Gideon Rozner from the Institute of Public Affairs.
Throughout the discourse Mundine and Price continuously pandered to the white audience. Gideon Rozner from the IPA and the event organiser were depicting Victoria as a socialist state, and the Labor party as extreme socialists, later referring to Victoria as the ‘VSSR’.
At $50 a ticket, the event was disappointing. No complimentary drinks were on offer, and the food was mediocre at best. The event had compelled me to cancel my membership.
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[Lorena Allam, The Guardian]
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[Ashlea Witoslawski, Shepparton News]
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[by Patrick Nelson]
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I agreed on several points the panellists raised during the discourse, however some topics of discussion were inevitably drawn out due to constant pandering, and were not subject to any rebuttal from opposing ideologies or viewpoints. I went to the extent of asking the event organiser as to why there were no figures from the left, with her reason being no opposing figures wanted to appear at the event. I find this ludicrous, as there are plenty of willing candidates in the NT and Australia who would have jumped at the opportunity, particularly given the forum topic and controversy it arouses.
According to the Institute of Public Affairs website, Gideon Rozner makes a claim of having a “lifelong interest in personal and economic freedom”. Throughout the event he made reference to supporting and establishing personal and economic freedom and liberty for Indigenous people. This notion was also supported by Mundine and Price. The irony is the fact that LNP policy (which was also further supported/continued by the ALP) introduced the ‘Basic card’, which inherently removes personal economic freedom and liberty by subjecting cardholders to monetary spending control measures.
Mundine continued, saying this economic freedom has been established geographically, without certain ethnic groups being targeted. He presented the case of Kununurra, whereby whites and blacks are subject to controlled spending and are both placed on the basic card. Mundine has blatantly ignored the fact that the majority of people on the basic card who are affected by such policy are Indigenous people. Therefore, the notion of economic freedom remains unchanged.
Price, Rozner and Mundine agreed and pushed the notion that Indigenous funding needs to be accommodated on a needs basis, meaning Indigenous people who are worse off should be entitled to more funding and assistance. The issue with this declaration is in certain contexts, the worst off are not yet capable to fulfil proposed spending requirements. There was also a certain irony in this; given Price mentioned her son attends an elite school in Sydney, funded through the AIEF. I was not aware Price’s son lived in a remote community and is subject to extreme adversity. If we were to accommodate what Price is suggesting, then her son would not attend such a prestigious institution.
The continuous reference to the “socialist” Australian Labor Party, their values and historical faults was also somewhat contradictory in the context of Warren Mundine, given he was a member for 25 years and national president of the party. There was a sheer sense hypocrisy among the panel.
Following the long and often misdirected discussion, questions were open to the audience. Out of the whole crowd there were 4 Indigenous attendees, all of whom did not have the opportunity to ask a question in the context of the public arena. This was somewhat inane, given the event organiser and Mundine mentioned at the beginning of the event that when CLP members were asked what one of the biggest issues facing the NT was, Indigenous Affairs was the prominent response.
One of the questions asked centred on the idea of Indigenous people and their claim to ancestry based on bloodline/caste. The questioner asked if people of a lesser caste should be entitled to Indigenous specified funding. This undermines the purpose of indigenous funding, which is often allocated (particularly in education) to assist those who are capable of fulfilling its purpose. In most cases this happens to be Indigenous people who do not live in a remote region, who are already at levels to be tertiary educated. Consequently, in future they can then assist their Indigenous communities. The basis for funding the Indigenous people I refer to is a result of the distinguished rapport and affinity Indigenous people have with their own communities/people. It is best for Indigenous people to work in areas where Indigenous people are affected...the same can be said for foreign workers who come to contribute to our Australian society. They are often most comfortable working with people of their own background or culture.
A different questioner asked why those in foreign countries who were living on $4 a day happened to live in the same conditions as Indigenous Australians in remote communities. His question was directly suggesting that Indigenous people squander and waste billions of dollars, and this is somehow evident because their conditions are the same as other third world countries. Whilst this question was addressed fairly well by Mundine, who explained government bureaucracy and administrative costs take up most of the expenditure, the underlying premise behind the question was ludicrous. It is fact that if all monies directed from Prime Minister and Cabinet were used to build houses and improve utilities in remote communities, Aboriginal people would not be facing the adversity they currently endure today. The questioner completely ignored other countries having different historical contexts, and that present societal as well as economic circumstances in Australia differ. He also ignored the very evident notion that government policy, past and present, has led to a state of disarray for Indigenous Affairs. What made the whole situation worse was realising the questioner was the Chairman of the NT Manufacturers Council, Owen Pike.
It is appalling to see fellow CLP members and pundits failing to think critically, and albeit is representative of what the current CLP have become. The event was essentially a baseless echo chamber, which reinforced the CLP’s already disdained reception from the indigenous community alike.
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[Lorena Allam and Nick Evershed, The Guardian]
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[by Griffith Thomas]
More than 200 students from 33 schools across the region, including Ipswich, Brisbane and Logan, were awarded scholarships from the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Foundation (QATSIF) before a packed University of Southern Queensland (USQ) auditorium.