I must be well on my way to becoming an Aussie, because I've started disagreeing with much of what Germaine Greer, the ex-Aussie, is saying! We Can Dream Too. She says that us white Aussies have to admit to our Aboriginality, in order to move on!
I think like many books which have the cure to all our ills, she's very good at describing the symptoms and what ails us, but crap with the solution.
Like many/most countries, Land Rights is an embarrassing issue, because depending how far you go back in history, different people can lay claim to "ownership" of land.
I'd love Ms Greer to use her rule of thumb on the Israel/Palestinian conflict, but who wants to bet me she'd change her tack and side with the poor Palestinians, negating her "we were here first" argument she uses for the the Aborigines.
She's right, in that there's something not quite yet right about Australia, which is difficult to put your finger on. But compared to where? The UK? The USA? Europe? There's nowhere I'd more like to live than here in Melbourne. We don't all vote for Johnnie Howard (I can't vote yet!), we don't all agree with the relationship with the USA and the situation in Iraq. We see wrongs and we want to put it right. Why are there no Aborigines in Melbourne and Sydney? It's something that has puzzled me since I first arrived here. This country has been built on a rocky history. But which country doesn't have wrongs it has to right? It's the tone in which Germaine Greer talks like some kind of Nanny who can see what we can't. Maybe she can drop in like Mary Poppins with her umbrella, snap her fingers, give us each a spoon full of sugar (i.e admitting our Aboriginality), and it will all be ok. Like as if we don't have her intelligence and experience. It's patronising, and to a degree it's wrong. It's one person's view, it's an interesting view, and it's worth taking into consideration. The fact of the matter is that this country has 20 million people, and therefore Aborigines are becoming a small minority. It doesn't affect most of us "Whitefellas" living in our big metropolitan cities, watching our "Whitefellas" news. This land is no-ones. It's Earth. The minute you put timelines on ownership, where do you draw the line? All you can do is draw a line in the present, respect the past, and get on in the future. If we all vacated back from where we came from, we'd end up in Kenya or The Garden of Eden, or maybe a passing Comet.
It's true that the plight of the Aborigines is not at the top of the agenda, and something needs to happen, so Good on Yer Germaine, for putting it back up the agenda with your patronising British voice.