Firm Foundations

For the past few years, I have had the wonderful opportunity to engage young people across Australia and the world at various conferences, workshops and events. I am often asked to share my story and what led me to the path that I have been so blessed to follow, but in doing so I never begin at my story because the path that I am on has been made strong by both my parents, their cultures and their faith. I have simply made decisions in my life that have always been informed by strong values and passions instilled in me from an early age.

My mother is Aboriginal. She was born in Bordertown, a very small town near the border of Victoria and South Australia. It is through her that my siblings and I are connected to the Wemba Wemba, Wergaia, Jardwadjali and Gunditmara Aboriginal nations of western Victoria. My mother grew up in a time of great division between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. Until she was 11 years old she was classed by the Australian Government as ‘fauna and flora’ and not classed as a citizen of Australia. It is very hard for people to understand the impact this has on someone’s identity, not only being ‘state-less’ but not even being considered human.

Mum and DadShe spent most of her formative years living in a tin shed with dirt floors in a paddock on the outskirts of Bordertown. The walls were made out of crushed kerosene tins, and most of their furniture and toys were collected from the local rubbish dump. It is true that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Growing up in a time when it was government policy to forcibly remove Aboriginal children from families and place them in state schools and homes, my mother and her 8 siblings were fortunate to never be removed, but for my Grandmother it was a time of great worry, danger and suspicion. My Grandmother, who is turning 100 years old in September this year, remembers nights when my Grandfather was away shearing or on odd jobs, when she would have to open the door with one hand and a shotgun in the other.

My father is from New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea. We don’t know how old he really is because he was born on a beach in New Hanover, so he got to pick a date for his birthday. Each year it changes depending on when he wants presents from us. His father was from Neikonomon, which is located in the mountains of West Lavongai, and his mother was from Lafu on the west coast of New Ireland. From an early age, my father always had a curious mind. He fondly recalls leaving school at a very young age and following his father around New Ireland, who was a medical practitioner. He speaks 5 dialects and would often disappear for weeks, sometimes months, walking and exploring different villages across the Province. I think this is why he is such a people person. My father came to Australia over 30 years ago to follow his calling to become a Minister.

Their stories and individual journeys still amaze and inspire me. They met in a very small rural town called Cootamundra, in New South Wales, where they both attended Bible College. The story of how they both came to Bible College is a novel in itself; filled with courage, faith and determination – which I hope to write one day.

Faith has always played a significant role in our lives, as well as being at the service of others in our communities. My father once told me that he didn’t like the term ‘a sense of responsibility’ because it means doing something because of an external requirement, but if service is your core, if having a servant’s heart is what forms the flesh on your bones then ‘a sense of responsibility’ is not required because helping others is just an extension of yourself. It has been this idea that has driven me in my life. It has brought me courage when pursuing opportunities or overcoming challenges, because there is an ultimate belief that my life has purpose.

This path has enabled me to work with young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders across Australia to empower their voices on issues that impact them. Issues like climate change, mental health and suicide.

Below is a campaign called ‘unity in the community’. Our team of young people developed at the National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy in 2014. We engaged 50 Indigenous young people from across Australia – provided the tools and skills to develop youth-led social action campaigns. Here is just an small insight into the talent and passion in our communities.

Shifting Sands

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I believe that grit is an undervalued element of life. Grit can mean the difference between standing strong or simply standing by. It can be the difference between pushing through or being pushed over. Grit even sounds like its a gritty word as it forms on the back of your tongue, rolls across the roof of your mouth before the decisive and abrupt end to the textured word.

We disguise or misrepresent the importance of grit by associating it with the annoyance in your shoe after a visit to the beach or the unwelcome crunch in your salad sandwich. This association of grit as dirty or annoying has led us to dismiss the true power of grit when we sense it in others. We say things like “here we go again” or “when will they be satisfied?” It is often accompanied with an eye-roll or a disapproving shake of the head. But, we need to rethink grit and its value in our society.

I don’t know where grit comes from, but I like to think that it has two key elements; courage and integrity. The origins of the words courage and integrity refer to whole of heart, innocence and blameless. To me, grit speaks to a dedication to justice.

In recent times, we have witnessed great social shifts in Australia. From our Government’s hardline approach to refugee and asylum seekers, discussion of privatising universities, which would impact the cost of and access to tertiary education, and dramatic budget cuts to the social services including organisations delivering programs to our most vulnerable and those most in need of support. This constant bombardment of regressive rhetoric and action creates a sense of ‘what can I really do’. This is creeping into the minds of the most steadfast human rights defenders, not to mention the everyday person who cares about issues, wants to be engaged but doesn’t feel like their voice matters. As these social shifts happen across Australia, cracks form and things we value fall through. Hopelessness grows, empathy diminishes and frustration peaks.

One such social shift which has fuelled this frustration has been the planned closure of over 100 remote Aboriginal communities, which will impact thousands of Australians; men, women and children. It will signal, in many cases, a disconnection from traditional lands and traditional ways of life for a large number of Aboriginal people in Western Australia.

“One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

– Martin Luther King Jr

On Friday April 10, people from across Australia came together and in one voice denounced the planned closures of these remote communities. They disrupted streets, bystanders and public transport to exercise a democratic right to protest. Flinders Street in Melbourne became the meeting ground of up to 5,000 people who are passionate about equality, care about community and who possess grit. They were met with disapproving head shaking, the rhetoric of ‘here we go again’, the slander of being labeled ‘bleeding hearts’ and ‘lefties’. The newspaper headlines read ‘Selfish Rabble Shut City’ and the Lord Major called it ‘self-indulgent’.

But as the disapproving cries rang out from mainstream media, it was swiftly drowned out by those who possess the fundamental belief that we are our brothers keepers, we are our sisters keepers – the belief that one community being impacted by laws that undermine universal human rights, does not just impact that community, it impacts all of our communities.

When we stand by while people and communities suffer in our own backyard we allow gaps to appear in the fabric of our society and the things we treasure to fall through.When we allow the value of one person’s life to be measured over another person’s life, our society ultimately pays the price. When we dismiss grit as an annoyance, we dismiss the courage and integrity of those willing to show grit.

The message here, beyond the importance of possessing true grit, is that if you find yourself being labeled the rabble, think about who had been labeled the rabble before, and draw strength from their dedication to justice in the face of unjust laws, draw strength from the friction created through grit.

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A Gathering of Inspired Minds

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The National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy (NIYLA) brought together 50 Indigenous young people from across Australia to connect, share and lead youth-led campaigns on issues they are passionate about. It was an amazing week, and one of the toughest I’ve endured as a facilitator. It had up’s and down’s but amazing things happen when you get like minded people together.

We gave the 50 young people less than 48 hours to identify the issue they were passionate about, plan their campaign; what is was going to achieve, who it would be targeting and shoot a campaign video. We set the expectations high and we are so proud to say that they exceeded every single one!

In less than 12 months, NIYLA has brought together 100 Indigenous young people from across Australia in 2 National Gatherings, launched 10 youth-led national campaigns on issues they are passionate about and has reached thousands and thousands of Australians.


 

How can you support NIYLA and the amazing #Fifty4Change Campaigns?! 

Share, Like & Comment on the youth-led campaign! If you know an organisation that might be interested then send them a clip and connect them to the campaign teams! 


Below are each of the 2014 #Fifty4Change Campaigns! Check out their Facebook page and campaign clips!

Yarn Up 4 Change: (Mental Health)

We are a group of twelve Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander young people from Across Australia who are encouraging our friends and families to have a yarn about mental health issues in our communities. Our vision is to break the stigma associated with Mental Health issues and empower our communities to identify issues and seek help before it becomes an issue – WATCH THEIR CAMPAIGN CLIP

Step Up, It’s Your Responsibility: (Juvenile Justice)

Step Up, it’s your responsibility is a group of nine Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander young people whose vision is to minimise the number of Indigenous youth coming in coming into contact with the juvenile justice system by promoting role models by asking communities to step up and be positive role models in the lives of our young people – WATCH THEIR CAMPAIGN CLIP

The ATI Project: Aspire to Inspire (Education; lifelong learning)

The idea of being helped or saved has changed we are no longer trapped in side a box, we are breaking down the walls, we are aspiring to learn, we are aspiring to change. Aspire to Inspire is a group of 8 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander young people whos vision is to empower communities to share their aspirations and inspire others – WATCH THEIR CAMPAIGN CLIP

Beat the Boredom to Break the Cycle: (Healthy Lifestyles)

We are a group of young Indigenous people from across Australia who would like to see change in our community through making healthy lifestyle choices. We are concerned about the youth of our community being bored and turning to drugs and alcohol as a relief from issues surrounding them. Our vision is for a world where our young mob live work and play in a health way – WATCH THEIR CAMPAIGN CLIP

Put Unity in Community: (GBLTIQ Young People)

Unity in the community is a youth based initiative designed by twelve Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander young people with the ambition to bring about positive change to the perception of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer community. Our vision is to fight discrimination through awareness and support – WATCH THEIR CAMPAIGN CLIP


 

NIYLA Brands all

 

We believe that leadership is about putting your values into action. Our young ones have identified their shared values and are putting into action through their social action campaigns!

What are you going to Put into Action?

Sparking Change: freedom fighters to fire starters

I have had the amazing pleasure of traveling across Australia, attending schools, youth conferences and universities engaging young people along the way. It has been a great opportunity to meet people that share the same passions, frustrations and drive as me.

On reflection of my past 3months of travel I realised it has also been the unexpected encounters that have made my journey so memorable and special.

It has been in conversations with older generations that have had the most impact on my journey, not only as the Australian Youth Representative but as a young man. Whether it be sitting around a table in Tennant Creek listening to the local police officers share their frustrations with the growing sense of institutional mentality in the communities or their ability to list 6-10 young people who have great potential but lack the direction and drive to break the strong pull of the negative cycles. Or whether it be sitting in a mens talking circle at the Native Title Conference listening to elders discuss the growing concern of the disconnection of young people with culture and feeling at a lose of how to rekindle the spark of pride in the next generations.

These are the moments that I will remember for years after my role is completed. These are the moments I’ve sat quietly listening to the tone of disappointment, waining hope and frustration spoken by people who desperately want this generation to take up the flag and fly it for the future of Australia. This frustration is real, this sense of disappointment is real.

I recently spoke at the closing address of the 2011 National Native Title Conference in Brisbane I spoke on the need for older generations to ignite the fire in young people through history, sharing struggles, victories and loses. If you understand where you come from, who you are, you have a sense of pride and worth. This is where the fire starts.

I’ve listened to old Aboriginal men and women speak of the pride they felt when they cast their vote for the first time, how they dressed up in their best and walked down to the ballot boxes as a family to finally have a say in the direction of their country. Tears surface but the warmth from their smiles express that the tears come from a place of pride and a sense of accomplishment. We marched, we fought, we waited and finally we voted.

These are the stories that offer me strength when faced with challenges and adversity. They provide me with fortitude, knowing that amongst the struggles and disappointments there is hope and the fire that drives this hope is alive and it flickers under the surface, under the social strains, under the layers of age and time.

I’ve seen and felt it time and time again. Walking into a community, a building, a conversation where the air is so thick that you feel pressure on your chest and each step is an effort. It is in these situations that the unexpected happens, you feel the warmth of the fire, see it in the eyes of someone or feel the force of their very words moving through you.

This is where the fire starts and I believe the older generations need to drive this and be that spark in our communities, breathing life into the hearts and minds of our generation, creating the understanding that the job isn’t done, progress has happened but we still have many miles to travel on this journey.

It is true that my generation has not lived through the struggles of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and our living memory is that of the NT Intervention and the 2008 Apology but this does not limit our ability to become the torchbearers for our generation and cause, this does not stop our ability to take up the flag and fly it for an equal, just and unified Australia.

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Follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Checkout the videos and interviews I’ve filmed over my Engagement Tour:

Generational Change: Overcoming Division

Over the past 10days I have had the honor of traveling the Northern Territory with four inspiring young people from the UN Youth Association of Australia. We began our journey in Alice Springs on the 15th May. All very excited to undertake, what we knew would be an amazing experience and one that would open our understandings to the issues facing young people in remote and regional communities in Northern Territory.

Our journey would take us to a number schools along the road to our final destination; Darwin. We had varying expectations of the key issues affecting youth within the various towns but through our high school consultations we hoped to gain a deeper understanding. The consultations would ultimately assist me in representing the Youth of Australia at the United Nations General Assembly in September but beyond that I hoped it would help me understand the division between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous relations in the specific areas of Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Elliot, Katherine and Darwin.

From the outset it was clear that Indigenous and Non-Indigenous relations existed on a fine balance of tokenism, ignorance and out of sight out of mindedness. This became even more prevalent when visiting our first high school in Alice Springs; a private school in which we ran a whole day forum and workshops with a group of 30 students from 2 local schools. Understanding the issues that affected the youth consisted of various small workshops focusing on Local, National and International issues relating to Health, Education, National Security, Indigenous Affairs and Human Rights/Equality. Out of the 30 students there were no Indigenous students included in the groups. Under representation in the education system is a major concern of mine due to the fact that on the other end of the scale there is an over representation in the justice system not only in the NT but across Australia.

What concerned me more throughout the day was hearing the young students views on Indigenous and Non-Indigenous relations and the issues that they felt has consumed their community.

Over the past 5years I have been pushing for an inclusive society and promoting Indigenous relations within the corporate world as a representative from the Indigenous community working in Sydney and Melbourne head offices of a major bank, often as the only Indigenous person and often as the youngest person in the offices. Promoting a young, inspired generation of Indigenous youth who want positive change in attitudes and perceptions of the First Australians. These beliefs of positive change were to be challenged over the 10 days and my message of the exciting change young people can have in Australia’s future has taken a new focus of informing, discussing and biting my tongue on a number of views held by students and young leaders of schools.

Alcohol, violence and discrimination became the key themes across the Northern Territory, whether it was Alice Springs to Katherine, young people identified that these issues affected them directly by not feeling safe in their homes, concerned that friends and family might get caught in the cycle and the idea that the issues were to large to overcome.

Our role as representatives of the UN Youth Association of Australia was to facilitate these conversations and inspire the young groups to identify possible solutions in overcoming these areas of society disfunction. I am proud that we as a group encouraged free speech without limiting views or opinions on the various topics.

It is said that you are not born prejudice, it is a learned behavior. On the reverse of this, understanding, appreciation and empathy must also be learned behaviors. My concern is where are these lessons both positive and negative being taught and whose role is it to teach the socially acceptable lessons of understanding and appreciation?

Unfortunately the views of a large number of students were both ill-informed and socially bias against Indigenous Australians. Is this an individual or student problem? I don’t believe so. This is a short fall in the education of young people on Indigenous culture, history and government policy past and present.

We had a young student say the Stolen Generation would have worked if it was implemented properly, another suggested that black people should have their own school and be moved out of the towns. While these are deeply offensive views and disappointing to be held by 15-17 year olds but I have a hard time being frustrated at these individuals. If these students were informed of the past injustices and degradation of the oldest living culture I do not believe they would share the same view. This is an educational problem, a pit fall in the teachings of Australian history, the result of failed policies and the psychological impact of generational hurt within the Indigenous communities.

If we are to overcome the division in Australian society, my recent experiences suggest it must begin with the individuals understanding of these areas of division and the underlying factors that contribute to these divisions. I believe this should be the role of the teachers, schools and universities. Overcoming division will require a Generational Change through education with a strong emphasis on cultural awareness and social impacts faced by Indigenous Australians over the past 200 years.

 

Here is the 2011 Northern Territory Regional Engagement Road Trip Report: A Road to Change

Watch my recent interview with Roni Forrest in Perth, WA – Gen-Talk Interviews

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Partnerships: not a political quick fix

Originally published 28 March 2011 by Benson Saulo

On the 13th February 2008 former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd addressed the Nation in a powerful and emotional acknowledgment and apology to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Stolen Generations. Apologising for the pain, suffering and the degradation of the longest living Culture through past Government and Parliamentary policies. On this day, which has gone down in the history books and the hearts of many Australians both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous, there was a sense of National pride and the almost unspoken desire to become a reconciled Nation regardless of Race, Religion or Creed.

Kevin Rudd called for a “future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility for all Australians”. Like many young Australians both Indigenous and Non- Indigenous throughout Australia, I viewed this special event with excitement and pride. Watching the events unfold on the giant screen in Martin Place, Sydney, the energy of the crowd was evident though it was silent, hanging on every word.

Whilst standing shoulder to shoulder next to a complete stranger I couldn’t help but reflect on the stories I’d heard about Charles Perkins and the 1965 Freedom Ride. The excitement and unfamiliar sense of accomplishment as they travelled throughout country NSW, exposing on a National level the inequality and divide in Australian society. Building momentum and awareness on the road to the 1967 Referendum, in which more than ninety percent of Australians voted in favor to grant Indigenous Australians the right to be recognised as Australian citizens and for the Government to introduce legislation relating to Indigenous Affairs.

33 years following the Referendum the 2000 Bridge Walk, attracting over 300,000 participants from all ages and backgrounds from politicians, Indigenous leaders, mothers and fathers, marched in the name of National Reconciliation. Another milestone for Australian society, another symbol for social inclusion and progress, yet 12 years after the momentous Bridge Walk and 3 years following the Apology Speech this sense of progress and reform at the highest level of Government is beginning to fade.

The same factors continue to plague the progress of Reconciliation in Australia; Education, Employment and Health, particularly in Remote Communities. These are factors that should not be identifiers for the divide between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians, but rather be a uniting factor in the push for social inclusion regardless of heritage.

But does the ideology of sustainable change and positive outcomes fit within the life cycle of a Government? Or is it something that should be pursued outside of the political point scoring rhetoric of the current and past Governments?

In a recent article featured in The Age, the CEO of Julalikari Council Aboriginal Corporation, Ms Pat Brahim highlighted this issue when interviewed on the recent article focused on Tennant Creek: Teens roam Territory streets looking for sex, alcohol and trouble as quick fix policy fails by Lindsay Murdoch (28th March 2011)

“the town’s problems a symptom of policy and program failures over many years – programs imposed by often untrained, uninformed bureaucrats living far away who seek quick fixes that suit the electoral cycles of successive territory and federal governments “

The idea of self-determination and self-governance has been marred with Indigenous people being setup to fail, through lack of infrastructure to grow success at the grass roots stage of business and short sighted Parliamentary targets set on monetary injections with no longitudinal view for building a successful community. Followed by intergenerational view of ‘nothing works’ and ‘we’ve done everything for these people’ being the ultimate fall out and hopelessness as the inherent outcome.

It is clear that before we can effectively close the gaps in Education, Employment and Health we need to remove the ability of the Federal Government to use Aboriginal Australia as an election tool and place it into the hands of a bi-partisan task-force with a 7 to 10year life span to include and pro-actively consulate with Indigenous community members to implement effective community strategies. Effective strategies in areas of:

  • Alternate learning styles within the public school system
  • Cross-Generational Relationships throughout society
  • Health and Well-being including traditional medicines and dietary education
  • Financial Literacy at school level and beyond
  • Drug and Alcohol education and rehabilitation
  • Attracting graduating students to remote areas to build on teaching skills
  • Governance training and small business management run through Corporate and Organisations
  • Land management and tourism opportunities.

These are just some of the basic and broad areas that should not continue to be controlled at a Government Level but rather on the ground with frameworks and resources in place to enable organisations to engage and promote community participation identified and supported by and through the bi-partisan task-force.

You may look at these ‘Effective Strategy Areas’ and think these ‘strategies’ exist already, organisations are out there doing these things everyday. This is true. Alternate learning styles and drug and alcohol education aren’t new ideas, these are areas with proven positive outcomes yet why does a $4 million drug centre in the APY Lands of SA go under-utilised in a community that has been identified as a community ‘at risk’ by the Federal Government.

Jonathon Nicholls from Uniting Care Wesley, in response to a SA State Government report to the Federal Government on the utilisation of the Facility, said;

“The report un-categorically says that those services don’t need a $4 million facility to operate”.

“It doesn’t need a collection of six buildings to meet the needs in remote Aboriginal communities”.

An un-targeted, short sighted, large financial injection political nightmare. A plain example of the lack of community and community based organisation consultation on the part of Government. SA Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Grace Portolesi advised the decision on the centres future will be made shortly and that:

“I’d be more concerned about throwing good money after bad money in, insisting for the sake of pride that we maintain the service that does no longer resonate with community it’s seeking to service.”

Yet another service or facility wound back to save face with voters and the public, yet another Indigenous community falling into the “nothing works” category of Indigenous affairs.

It is time to move away from government controlled initiatives relating to the serious issues in Indigenous Affairs and our put faith back into our community through the long term support from a bi-partisan task-force working independently from the Government electoral cycles and working inclusive with Indigenous communities and organisations to develop and implement sustainable outcomes for Indigenous people right across Australia. This is the “future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility for all Australians” that Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd spoke of.

World Poetry Day: The Dawn is at Hand

I would like to share a special poem to mark World Poetry Day with a very special and famous Indigenous female poet named Kath Walker, her traditional name being Oodgeroo Noonuccal. Oodgeroo Noonuccal was inspirational in her fight for equality both as a woman and an Indigenous Australian and is remembered for her wonderful printed works.

The piece I would like to share is called ‘The Dawn is at Hand’ taken from her amazing book of poetry also named ‘The Dawn is at Hand’ first published in 1966 by Jacaranda Press Pty Ltd. This book was a gift from my mother who had owned it for many years and I feel this piece is timeless but in saying that I do hope the words its speaks becomes in time a reflection on a past journey.

The Dawn is at Hand

By: Oodgeroo Noonuccal

Dark brothers, first Australian race

Soon you will take your rightful place

In the brotherhood long awaited for.

Fringe-dwellers no more.

 

Sore, sore the tears you shed

When hope seemed to folly and justice dead.

Was the long night weary? Look up, dark band

The Dawn is at Hand

 

Go Forward proudly and unafraid

To your birthright all too long delayed

For soon now the shame of the past

Will be over at last

 

You will be welcomed mateship-wise

In industry and in enterprise;

No profession will bar the door,

Fringe-dwellers no more.

 

Dark and white upon the ground

In club and office and social round,

Yours the feel of a friendly land,

The grip of the hand.

 

Sharing the same equality

In College and University

All ambitions of hand and brain

Yours to attain

 

For ban and bias will soon be gone

The future beckons you bravely on

To art and letters and nation lore,

Fringe-dwellers no more.

 

A powerful piece of hope. Considering the time of its publish 1966 there would have been so much hope in the air for a positive change which rolled into the 1967 Referendum in which over 90% of Australians voted in favour to grant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander the right to be acknowledged as citizens of Australia.

I will leave you with that because I think the piece speaks for itself. Hope and the importance of being Hopeful.

If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything…

Mark Twain once wrote:

“There are only two forces that can carry light to all corners of the globe. The sun in the heavens and the Associated Press down here”.

But what happens when the light no longer shines equally on all Australians, what if the light is simply to highlight disadvantage or cast shadow on injustices in our society.

In 1997 Professor Michael Dodson, the then Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner presented ‘Democracy, the media and human rights‘ in which he discussed the evolution of the role of media and the impact the media has on shaping individual views, influencing outcomes and dictating directions of debate. This powerful discussion is driven by two strong components:

  • Professor Michael Dodson’s own passion for advancing Indigenous Australians and;
  • that negative perspectives of Indigenous Australians in society can be changed through positive media.

A barrier for such view is summed up by the 1974 Noble Peace Prize recipient and prominent Irish Government Minister Sean MacBride:

“The freedom of a citizen or social group to have access to communication as both recipients and contributors, cannot be compared to the freedom of an investor to derive profit from the media. One protects a fundamental human right, the other permits the commercialisation of a social need.”

In this age of technology and connectivity; media is very much classed as a social need. A social need for staying up-to-date with events as they unfold as well as an increasing social need to be connected with friends and family across the globe.

So where does this leave the fundamental importance of human rights and the participation in media, at the mercy of the times and trends of a commercialised society? Unfortunately this is true.

Trends and conflict dictate the direction media takes because it is what audiences want but what if trends moved towards positive stories on the great successes happening every day in every community across Australia. What if the mindsets of wider Australia became switched on to the powerful stories being told and re-told throughout Aboriginal Communities.

Professor Michael Dodson acknowledges positive steps have been made since the 1960’s, which he states Indigenous Australian’s…

“Presence in the media was characterised by ‘invisibility’.”

And calls for a continuous evaluation of the relationships between the media and Indigenous Australia.

While society continues to grow and small victories continue to advance our participation in mainstream media it is with optimism, the clouds obstructing the view of wider Australia will be swept away and the light that Mark Twain spoke about will flood the hearts and minds of a progressive Australia.

Check out GenerationOne.org.au for some great stories happening around Australia!

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Title Acknowledgement: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything” – Malcolm X