Welcome to my web portal. I acknowledge with deep respect the traditional owners of the land on which I live and work and the land referenced in may of my writings. I acknowledged that this land always was and always will be Aboriginal Land. i pay my respects to Elders, past present and emerging. I am grateful to Elders whose names and images feature in my writings.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples are advised that some text and images may include references to deceased persons.
I invite you to explore my life and interests online using the menu on the right. My hope is that you will find material that will engage us in conversation and reflection.
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Another NAIDIC Week across the country has provided opportunities for sharing culture, community and the political reality of First Nations peoples in Australia.
I spent much of the week taking advantage of the many local events to immerse myself in relationships and awareness of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Three moments stand out for me as highlights of the week:
On Monday of NAIDOC Week I attended the Brisbane Launch in City Hall. Later in the afternoon I dropped into a local city bar which is a favourite hangout. I was wearing my trademark hat with the Aboriginal colours around the brim. As I walked into the bar a women called out to me and admired the hat. She introduced herself as Jackie from the Torres Strait Islands and we chatted about some of the events scheduled for the week. Jackie insisted on a selfie with me in my hat and asking my name said she would tag me as “Uncle Tony Robertson” in her post. To be tagged and named as “Uncle” in such a way is an honour and a responsibility particularly as a white fella. This is the tag that some of the young Murris have also given me from our conversations and encounters on city streets.
The second moment happened on Friday of NAIDOC Week. I boarded a bus from my usual stop for the city and three young Murri boys sat a couple of seats in front of me. Again I was wearing my trademark hat with the Aboriginal colours which they noticed. After a few minutes one of the boys turned to me and asked where I got the hat. This was the beginning of a conversation that took us into the city over the next 25 minutes. We sat across two seats, a 66 year old white man and a young 18 year old holding the plastic bottle from which he inhaled as we spoke. It was a remarkable conversation about the reality of addiction, the alienation from culture and the families and people we knew in common. My phone camera with its collection of images of Aboriginal Elders is a great asset in these moments. The young man told me his name and proudly spoke of his tribal group for which he had a hand signal. He trusted me with. his personal details and I promised to look out for him if I was around the spaces he hangs out. We got off at the same stop but walked in different directions.
The other Aboriginal artist whose work is currently displayed in the Francis Rush Centre but not mentioned in the online resource is Fiona Foley. A panel of the Cathedral art collection is a brief clue to the series that are mounted in what is now a foyer space:
The story of these beautiful works and their mistreatment is recorded strangely enough in the documentation published by those who agitated for the works removal from their original installation inside the Cathedral of St Stephen. Since their removal the works have suffered from neglect and abuse in unprofessional storage.
Telling the story of Fiona Foley’s was an important part of acknowledging that the voice and truth themes of NAIDOC 2019 will take all of us into uncomfortable places on the journey to reconciliation.
My images and captures of my support for events during NAIDOC 2019 are available here.
This week Geelong celebrates another AFL victory with a decisive win over Essendon. Earlier in the week a quiet victory for Geelong was played out on the veranda of the Queensland Parliament building.
Back in April when the Federal Budget announcement was filling the media a previously unknown Queensland politician made headlines in Geelong.
Responding to a Budget promise to build a fast rail link between Geelong and Melbourne, Queensland Government Minister, Cameron Dick suggested the money would be better spent in his state.
Unfortunately Minister Dick chose to expand on his proposal by telling the Queensland Parliament “Geelong is a place that no-one wants to visit . Even people from Geelong don’t want a fast rail to Geelong — except perhaps for one person — Sarah Henderson, who is Josh Frydenberg’s factional ally sitting on a wafer-thin margin of 3 per cent.”
Despite an attempt to explain his perspective to 3AW’s Tom Elliott Cameron Dick was kicked “out of bounds” by a tirade of emails and social media commentary. As a Geelong born Queenslander I added my voice to the defense of my birth city.
I challenged Cameron Dick to at least honour the city with a photo shoot taken with a true blue Pivotonian. Minister Dick not only agreed to this conciliatory suggestion, he also offered to eat some “humble pie” in response to the public outcry from Corio Bay.
Week of Solidarity for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
From 21 to 27 March is a week of solidarity for the elimination of Racial Discrimination
In Australia this usually begins with Harmony Day (which was yesterday)
This is the week when we consciously look at our own actions in regards to racial discrimination, our own attitudes, and then that of our country, our world… • Are we discriminating against others on the basis of race and if so what can we do about it? • How can we be compassionate to the victims of this discrimination, to those enabling this discrimination? • How can we raise the powers of love upwards to the next stage of consciousness – consciousness that will lead to action? Perhaps if, for one week, I lived in the shoes of someone suffering daily racial discrimination, my eyes would be opened Read the whole reflection here