The Australian media somehow isn’t seeing the true significance of yesterday’s skirmish outside The Lobby restaurant following Tony Abott’s ignorant comments about the significance of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra. I unfortunately have no real connections to the Aboriginal community here. But only last year on a cool autumn morning I was walking through the rose gardens, when I caught a whisper of smoke on the air from a campfire burning over in front of old parliament house. It reminded me of the bush, it reminded me of the Australia that exists beyond the monoliths of the parliamentary triangle, that existed on this spot for millenia, and I was immensely grateful for it then.
It is terrible that there can be no recognition among people like Tony Abbott of the importance of the ongoing protest that has been occuring at this spot. It is symbolic of the whole state of affairs that still exists with the role of Aboriginal people in Australia. I thought last Autumn – why don’t Aboriginal people have a permanent home here in Canberra, why do they have to keep on with this temporary place? But perhaps by asking that question I am shewing how out of touch I am with the heart of the issues. Whatever the solution is, I hope that it does not put out the fires that drift their aromatic smoke among the rosebushes on the lawns of parliament. It seems to be the only signature of humane occupation that exists in Canberra.