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I'm pretty shocked by what I'm hearing on Lateline right now. The reports this morning about sexual abuse in remote communities up north were pretty bad. Combine that with this attack on a woman -- pouring petrol on her and setting her alight -- and the dreadful petrol sniffing we already knew about... but I didn't know there was such a thing as non-sniffable petrol. To see that the report to the government was based on how much *money* they would save by using that compared to how much money it costs to look after an addict! What a horrible way to calculate it! What an awful example of how we live in an economy now, when it should be a society, it should be 'roll out this non-sniffable petrol because it's the right thing to do for fellow human beings'.

It's shocking, but then to have Mal Brough say, with regards to the rapes and the alcohol problems, that people up there are saying 'treat us like the whitefella'... That's really very interesting. Mind you, I have no idea what else should be done either.

One of the really hard things was the successful artist saying, "hey, I brought my son up well from when he was a baby and he still ended up a petrol addict, trying to kill himself".

Law-and-order, law-and-order. It's like a mantra. I just don't believe this is the solution, but right now I'm sniffly and have a stuffy head and am not thinking clearly enough to come up with an alternative.

Meanwhile, tonight's other adventures included the launch of my old supervisor, Jeff Lewis's book, Language Wars: Media and Global Terrorism. It looks fantastic, so go buy it.
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Today, some of the indigenous leaders at Camp Sovereignty decided they didn't want non-indigenous people in the camp after dark and some people expressed a desire that non-indigenous people stop helping out. As a result, the food not bombs people have packed up their kitchen and gone home and many of the other organisers, some of whom are from Arabic heritages or Indian heritages and are not Anglo, have left also. That we even have to discuss who is from what heritage is depressing in a way; surely the Anglo people who want to be at Camp Sovereignty are not the enemy?

After yesterday, when Aunty Sue was chatting with a Palestinian woman in a hijab and I thought we had an amazing example of real multiculturalism functioning in a microcosm of sharing and welcome, I have to say this is a gutting result from my perspective.

And tonight I hear on the news that the Government is trying to push through a law that anyone who calls the terrorist hotline could now have their phone, e-mail or sms tapped. Yeah, free country, great. Not only do we want a culture of suspicion where you dob in your neighbour but reporting someone will now, without your knowledge, implicate you in their capture in other ways. What if it was your son or your brother you were reporting, out of fear they were getting into something they didn't understand and that you felt powerless to stop? The only good result to this I can see is that fewer people might use the service to anonymously slander someone on the basis of their appearance.

And The Body Shop has been bought by L'Oréal and apparently Green and Black organic chocolate was bought by Cadbury-Schweppes last May and I missed it.

It's all much more fraught with complexity. I preferred it when I was a teenager and had all the solutions.
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Tonight at Camp Sovereignty, I was welcomed by an Elder and placed gum leaves onto the sacred fire. For the first time, I feel like I have asked permission to be in this land and been welcomed by its people rather than being here by default, progeny of an immigration that continued invasion.

I sat down with a man named John as the rains started again and we talked. He was musing about why the Greens had not come down to the camp and I mentioned this idea of feeling I'd finally been given permission to be here. I mentioned I'd prefer to pay rent out of my income to the indigenous people rather than tax to the government, or at least an option to nominate rent payments rather than military investment with my tax. We talked a little about brainwashing and how insidious it can be. I asked him where the treaty process was at and he said with 500 different nations, he thinks there needs to be a federation of nations first. He said that was one of the only ways the divide and conquer strategy that was currently in play could be defeated. He talked about joining forces with the Republican movement because there cannot be a Republic in Australia without first having reconciliation and a treaty as its first step. I started thinking that would be an interesting role, helping liaise on that stuff.


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January 2011

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