Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

A dry argument for a great culture

By Graham Ring - posted Thursday, 4 October 2007

Don't stand between a whitefella and his grog. Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough is learning this hard lesson as he continues to backtrack on his much-vaunted intervention arrangements.

In this most grave of circumstances - this “national emergency” - the federal government has imposed a raft of changes so draconian that they could only be foisted on blackfellas.

What other group in Australia would have their social security payments quarantined, even when there is no suggestion that they have behaved irresponsibly? Would have the very title to their land compulsory acquired without consultation? Would have their private property thrown open for the casual gratification of rubbernecks?


As you would expect, there has been a fierce backlash. But it hasn't come from those who have had their basic human rights wrenched away. Incredibly the howling and wailing and gnashing of teeth have come from the tourist industry and the liquor lobby groups.

Regular readers will recall our recent discussion about “beers and boats and boys and bulldust”.

The Minister made it clear that a few passing concerns about the sexual abuse of Aboriginal children were not going to prevent blokes from exercising their God-given right to drink beer on fishing trips.

Now the florid hyperbole of “national emergency” has again been drowned out by the clink of the cash-registers.

Mal “Backflip” Brough has changed the rules to ensure that tourists on organised bus trips can continue to have their sunset sips at Uluru.

The Anangu people who have lived and died on this country for thousands of years know The Rock as a holy place. The sheer immensity of the magnificent mesa rising in stark contrast from the surrounding plains leaves an indelible impression.


To suggest that there are tourists unable to contemplate this wonderment without a drop of the doings indicates a tragically primitive whitefella society. Now, I am no wowser. A cold beer on a hot day is one of life's joys, as is a nice glass of red with the rump steak.

But let's get a grip.

Remember, the viewing areas at The Rock are all of 20 minutes drive from the cheesy tourist resorts of Yulara. Here, waiters in crisp, white shirts are only too happy to present poolside, bearing cocktails festooned with plastic monkeys and umbrellas.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

First published in the National indigenous Times on September 20, 2007, Issue 138

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

4 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Graham Ring is an award-winning writer and a fortnightly National Indigenous Times columnist. He is based in Alice Springs.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Graham Ring

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Graham Ring
Article Tools
Comment 4 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy