A view of multiculturalism from an Indigenous leader

Respected Indigenous leader Gularrwuy Yunupingu is good mates with Tony Abbott, as was recently demonstrated very publicly when they discussed land rights at the Garma Festival.

They are also linked by their criticisms of multiculturalism which has long been a government-enforced (and costly) consequence of high immigration.

We recently posted the text of Abbott’s 1990 essay, ‘The real issue is the changing face of our society’. Back in 1996, Gularrwuy Yunupingu expressed similar views.

The following paragraphs come from Note 1 to Denis McCormack’s article, ‘An Epistle to Traditional Australia’, published in The Social Contract (Spring 2006).

Most Aborigines and we Yobborigines who take the time to contemplate “what if” realize that some colonial power or other was going to arrive here eventually, and that between the best and worst intentions, unhappy stuff happens on frontier fringes of expanding empires no matter which one, when, or where. If we examine the fate of other indigenous peoples who were caught up in other empires, by and between other races at other times, we know why we thank our lucky stars that the British settled Australia. “Where most Asians are concerned, the survival of Aboriginal people has never had any priority,” said Prof Wang Gu Wu, Vice Chancellor of Hong Kong University, past- President of the Asian Studies Association of Australia in The Canberra Times 8 July 1992.

Gularrwuy Yunupingu, past Australian of the Year, and Aboriginal Community Leader in Australia’s Northern Territory warned of timidity in the face of multiculturalism over ten years ago in The Australian, 6 Jan 1996: “There’s too many outside immigrants…. People who are Aboriginal and who are Australian-born have the main rights. Those cultures should be dominant instead of Australia being multicultural. It’s an insult to say multicultural. You’re trying to hide behind other cultural groups. This is Australia it should have a culture of its own. Why do we have to hide it among the Chinamen, the Arabs and the Jews? We love outside stuff too much…”

Amen, brother Yunupingu!

We find this common-sense from yesteryear to be quite refreshing!


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