Monday, May 08, 2017

A VERY interesting article by Stan Grant below

Grant has in the past made much of "discrimination" against Aborigines so it is an interesting turn that he makes below.  He says that Aborigines are NOT disadvantaged and that many have succeeded in white society.

That is an excellent counterblast against the constant wails from Leftists about the sad state of Aborigines.  It discredits their implicit claim that Aborigines can not get anywhere without Leftist "help".

What Grant omits however is that most of the successes he quotes are like him -- people with substantial white ancestry.  Some could pass as whites. Grant himself is little more than a white man with a good tan. I cannot think of a successful full-blood even in sport. 

But Leftists insist that part Aborigines and full-bloods are all the same.  All are just Aborigines.  So Grant's argument should lack no force with them if they were consistent.  But expecting consistency from Leftists is a big ask, of course

Historian Tony Judt was big on challenging conventional wisdom. He warned of the dangers of "received wisdom": those things we accept as truth and cease questioning.

I recalled his words just this week as I was confronted with the received wisdom of views about Indigenous people.

I was at the International Convention Centre in Sydney. Before me was a room full of some of the most successful people in Australia and they were Indigenous. Yes, Indigenous.

I looked out and there was Kyle Vander Kuyp, an Olympic hurdler. In the middle of the room was Mark Ella, in some minds the greatest rugby union player in the history of the game and a former captain of the Wallabies.

Aden Ridgeway was there, former Democrats senator. There were lawyers, doctors, university professors.

In one room was probably the single largest collection of Indigenous millionaires ever assembled in one room.

They were there to celebrate black business. It was a conference organised by Supply Nation, Australia's leading directory of Indigenous businesses.

It was formed to capitalise on a Federal Government policy that mandates that all Government contracts include a proportion of business awarded to Indigenous owned and run companies.

Proud, successful, ambitious Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders — how does that fit with the received wisdom of a demoralised, disadvantaged people?

No-one ever did Mark Ella a favour on the football field. There was no special treatment or easy pathway to a Wallabies jumper. Mark is now an executive at National Indigenous Television.

Kyle Vander Kuyp did not walk onto the world's biggest sporting stage because he was a victim. Post-athletics Kyle is forging his own successful career in the private sector.

These were people who made things happen. The people in that room had earned their hard-won success. Yet, it still surprises people.

Suffering need not be a life sentence

As an Indigenous man and a journalist whose career has taken him around the world, I have lost count of the times someone has said to me, "Oh, but you're not like the others".

As I took to the stage to speak to these amazing people, I wanted to puncture that received wisdom that consigns into permanent misery and suffering.

I wanted to challenge this idea that to be successful is somehow not to be Indigenous.

Our forebears were the first people to cross the open water in the history of humankind. They first touched these shores at least 60,000 years ago and forged a civilisation.

Colonisation was devastating. Indigenous people still live with the legacy of injustice and segregation.

It is a sad fact that by any measure the first peoples of this land are its most impoverished. Indigenous Australians have the worst outcomes in health, housing, employment and education.

Statistically Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders die ten years younger than other Australians. Rates of suicide and imprisonment are catastrophic.

None of this should be forgotten. But does that story of struggle and pain tell the story of those before me?

How does it explain me? Yes, I was born into poverty. My family was itinerant and we had no permanent home for much of my childhood.

For my parents it was a struggle to put food on our table.  Now, I live a privileged life.

Poverty need not be permanent. Suffering need not be a life sentence.

There is alternate history in Australia. It is a history of Aboriginal people struggling against adversity and successfully engaging with white Australia.

Australian Historian Paul Irish writes about this in his new book Hidden in Plain View. It tells the story of the people of Sydney.

They did not vanish after the coming of the British, they resisted, they survived and their descendants live here still.

Irish tells a tale of ingenuity and resilience; a people rendered strangers in their own land, who adapted and embraced the ways of whites while holding to their own traditions.

Irish introduces us to people like Jack Harris, one of the so-called "last of his tribe", who worked and traded with Europeans while never missing a chance to remind them "this is my country".

This was common right across the country. It runs counter to a story of an unrelenting and tragic clash of civilisations.

Anthropologist Ian Keen has said that Aboriginal people were invisible in our economic histories.

Economist Christopher Lloyd has written about this: "Indigenous people developed economic relations with settlers in some places and supplied labour while at the same time being marginalised and impoverished due to land seizures."

Of course, that does not mean people were not exploited. The struggle for unpaid wages continues.

But the instinct to survive and prosper never wavered.

They were not victims

I have written about this in my recent Quarterly Essay, The Australian Dream: Blood, History and Becoming.

I traced the journey of what I called Aboriginal economic migrants. These were people leaving the missions and reserves looking for a place in a new country, an Australia that had excluded them.

They walked — often hundreds of miles — for work on farms as fruit pickers or saw-millers or drovers and railway workers.

They fought to get houses in town and enrol their kids in schools. They fought in Australia's wars and demanded the right to be full citizens.

They were not victims.

They hitched a ride on the post-World War II economic boom. They worked alongside the migrants of southern Europe and saw the face of this country change as the nation abandoned the old White Australia Policy.

Movement is change and Indigenous Australia changed. They married non-Indigenous people, sparking a black population boom, and gravitated to the cities. Today the grandchildren of these pioneers are graduating universities in record numbers.

The Indigenous middle class is growing. Indigenous people are on our television screens, on our stages and our sporting fields.

We don't tell this story often enough. We don't even yet have a language for Aboriginal success.

Redefining what it is to be Indigenous

Indigenous lawyer Noel Pearson blames what he calls a soft-racism of low expectations. White Australia can be disbelieving and black Australia can be sceptical if not hostile. Success is sometimes seen as betrayal, a sell-out to the struggle.

Academic Marcia Langton has called this out in her Boyer Lectures of 2012. She coined the term "The Quiet Revolution", but says success comes at a price.

"Those of us who are successful run the risk of being subject to abuse, accused of being traitors to our own people, 'assimilationists'," she said.

"These detractors will never help you and they can resent your success. They will become increasingly irrelevant as you become more successful."

There are deep, historical, structural problems in Australia; successive generations of policy failure and pockets of racism that lock too many Indigenous people out of the Australian dream.

But identity framed around misery can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The people I spoke to in Sydney this week are redefining what it is to be Indigenous.

Received wisdom would say they are disadvantaged — but don't try telling them that.


Brutal or beautiful? The battle to "save" Sydney’s Sirius building

Why are so many people fighting to protect a Sydney eyesore? Locating the building in a premium area was a wasteful act to start with.  As welfare housing it generated only a fraction of the income it could have generated if it had been used for high-end accommodation.  But it gave good views to a few privileged poor people and the Left liked that. Rationality is however now catching up.  The money made by selling the building will fund much more public housing than  before

The arty-farty arguments for retaining an ugly building are amusing.  The best they can do is to say it adds to "the social mix".  So what?  Why is that a good thing? It is probably a bad thing. Having lots of poor people in a given area tends to elevate the crime rate in that area.  But you are not allowed to mention that, of course.  Assumptions are all the Left need -- not those pesky facts.  They don't even bother to argue for their assumptions.  They just "know" the truth

FROM her 10th floor apartment, Myra Demetriou has the kind of view many Australians would kill — or at least spend several million dollars — for.

The Sydney CBD soars to one side, while before her the Harbour sparkles as the Opera House bathes in the afternoon light.

The magnificence of the view is lost on the 91-year-old. "I’m blind, so I’m lucky if I can make out a ship," she tells

She is one of just two remaining residents of Sirius which sits in the tourist mecca of The Rocks. Night and day the words ‘SOS’ flash from her bedroom window — ‘Save our Sirius’.

If the Government has its way the public housing structure could soon be rubble and Ms Demetriou will be out.
Myra Demetriou, who is legally blind, can barely make out the view from her public housing unit. The Government wants her, and everyone else, out. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Myra Demetriou, who is legally blind, can barely make out the view from her public housing unit. The Government wants her, and everyone else, out. Picture: Jonathan NgSource:News Corp Australia

Sydneysiders may not know the name Sirius, but most will recognise the building. Situated next to the Harbour Bridge as you enter the city from the north, it looks like an all grey Lego set, the dark and brooding blocks stacked on top of one another as it flashes by. A small precursor of the skyscrapers to come.

Built in 1979, it’s been dubbed the ugliest building in Australia by its detractors. It’s fans say it’s an icon of period.

Last year, the NSW Environment and Heritage Minister, Mark Speakman, refused to heritage list Sirius. The announcement had developers salivating at the prospect of a prime plot with harbour views.

"Whatever its heritage value, that value is greatly outweighed by what would be a huge loss of extra funds from the sale of the site," Mr Speakman said.

Shaun Carter, the former NSW President of the Australian Institute of Architects and the head of the Save our Sirius campaign, admits the building can be hard to warm to for fans of more historic buildings.

But, you know what, so is Madonna, he tells

"Sirius is a bit like Madonna, people either love it or they hate it, but at least they notice it."

He is firmly in the former category.

"I used to see it when crossing the Harbour Bridge. I would sit on my dad’s knee when he was driving and I’d see it as we came into the city. It was one of the buildings that made me fall in love with architecture."

In the 1970s, public housing tenants were being displaced from The Rocks as the previously working class suburb was gentrified.

Unions eventually placed a Green Ban on the upper end of Cumberland Street and refused to allow any building unless it rehoused those in the old terraces it was making way for. Sirius was the result.

It’s partly this role in Sydney’s history that has galvanised many to see it preserved.

It was ahead of its time. Richly designed community spaces were built in, all flats had access to the outdoors, palms lined rooftop gardens and units for elderly residents sported alarm bells to ensure help could be quickly beckoned.

In a TedX talk, Mr Carter compared it to the now much loved Queen Victoria Building in Sydney’s CBD which too was once threatened with demolition — to be replaced with a car park.

"The only way we knew how to value these buildings was through a financial model and a car park stacked up pretty well," he says.

"I get that to try and understand brutalism is a struggle because it’s not the architectural orthodoxy. But these buildings have grand gestures, they are like medieval castles built as utilitarian structures."


More snobbery from a Leftist


Senator Sam Dastyari has put a little video up on Facebook, and it’s a little bit offensive.

The topic is everyone’s favourite — housing affordability — and Sam starts reasonably enough by saying Sydney house prices are expensive.

But does he have to mock people’s homes to make his point?

In the first scene, Sam is shown standing in front of a house he clearly regards as a bit of a dump. "This is what a million dollars in Sydney will buy you," he says, with scorn.

"This is what’s called a classic house … (It’s) on one of the busiest roads, and you know if it’s got security shutters, you’re onto a good thing."

Call me old-fashioned, but I think it’s rude to mock other people’s houses. That house was somebody’s home. A place where a family may well have raised their kids, and very proudly, too.

The house had those roll-down shutters that are commonplace on busy roads. I know heaps of Mums who have asked their hubbies to put them in, to help keep the noise and the dust down. I don’t think those people are losers.

Sam soon moves on to a different house that isn’t up to his standards, saying: "This is what a million dollars will buy you in Northmead, but’s it okay, because it’s described as having a functional kitchen!"

But again, that was somebody’s home. Maybe their first home, that they slaved to buy, where they raised their kids. It looked like plenty of the homes in Melton, where I grew up. Not a palace, sure, but one man’s dump is somebody else’s proud castle.

It’s okay for Sam. He’s on a big income.

He is also shown mocking a vacant block of land because it was on a train line. So what if you live on a main road or God forbid a train line?

I grew up on a train line. In an old house. Maybe Sam would think it was a dump but that’s his business. It was our home.

In the next scene, Sam reminds young people they’ll need to be frugal if they ever want to own a house, and he starts salvaging furniture off the street like that’s something only a loser would do.

Most people start with a bit of old furniture pinched off the street or rescued from grandma’s garage.

There’s no shame in that. Not everybody has everything brand new.

Finally, there’s a scene where he mocks the fridge that’s been dumped with no door.

Any truly working class person could tell Senator Sam why the thoughtful owners removed the door before placing the fridge on the kerb.

Anyway, I said on Twitter: "This is offensive. Running around disrespecting people’s homes. And who hasn’t salvaged furniture from the street? @samdastyari is a snob.


A prolonged outpouring of Leftist hate from an alleged comedian below. America's Stephen Colbert is not alone

By Ben McLeay, writing from Australia

If we cut funding for private schools where will Australia get its arseholes from?

Malcolm Turnbull has triggered discord within the Liberal Party and among conservative voters with proposed education funding reform that would see money reduced from 24 private schools and redistributed among government schools. It’s difficult to make a case that private schools should get government funding when non-private schools exist exactly for that purpose, but there’s one thing we really need to consider here: Australia’s arseholes need to come from somewhere.

Look, I understand, your extremely precocious 6-year-old, Bartholomew, is special. He needs an education where a) they will teach him the appropriate way to address a butler and b) he won’t have to be exposed to anyone who knows what the inside of a Centrelink looks like. While government schools certainly get the job done, there’s a certain je ne sais quoi that private schools provide, specifically, the ability and inclination to use the phrase ‘je ne sais quoi’ in a sentence.

In a utilitarian sense, Australia might not strictly need people who know how to fence or speak Church Latin, but if we don’t have our private schools, who will be rude to our waiters? Who will leave one-star reviews of restaurants because the tap water tasted like it came out of a tap? Who will park their obscene Porsche four-wheel-drive partially across two parking spaces – one of which is handicapped – just to make sure that no one dings it? Who will complain about homeless people making the neighbourhood look ‘untidy’?

It might seem like all of those examples are awful things that a horrible person would do, but this country is a rich tapestry of human beings that would be far less rich if it weren’t for the sort of people who move next to an iconic music venue and try to have it shut down with noise complaints. And where do these people come from? Private schools.

Private schools aren’t just about removing your child or children from the real world and placing them in a hermetically-sealed bubble of families who all own at least a half-share in a racehorse, they’re also about teaching your child or children that they are, in every way, better than everyone else. Private schools give children the confidence and determination to demand things they are not entitled to and to be outraged at not having things they don’t actually deserve.

There’s a reason that a lot of wealthy and powerful people come from private schools and it’s because they are taught one supremely valuable thing: a complete disregard for the wellbeing and feelings of anyone who has never been to the opera or played polo. Our politicians and titans of industry are empowered to make the sorts of decisions that only benefit the wealthy and are massively detrimental to the poor because private schooling blessed them with a childhood completely free from interacting with the filthy rabble who "needed that money to eat".

An idiot would see the religious right demanding government funding for Catholic schools and the same religious right demanding the government stop funding Safe Schools because it’s "too ideological" as a hypocrisy of titanic proportions, but religious private schools are about more than just making sure children are taught creationism and evolution with equal weight. They’re also integral in raising the next generation of people who will come under fire for posting pictures to Facebook of themselves next to an endangered African animal that they shot with with a bazooka out of a helicopter.

Obviously, arseholes come from all walks of life, and not everyone that comes from a private school is an arsehole, but no other institutions in this country provide as comprehensive an introduction and indoctrination into the arsehole lifestyle as our private schools do (except maybe the university bodies involved in student politics).

As always, we must think long-term. Sure, it’s easy to defund private schools now, but in 20 years’ time, who will try and take away your penalty rates? Who will try and defund Medicare? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to have to live in an Australia where P-platers in $80,000 cars aren’t empowered to run into your car in the Woollies car park and not leave a note.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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