Make a Difference

re-defining the nature of power in politics

“It is becoming evident that a single seemingly powerless person who dares to cry out the word of truth with all his person and all his life has surprisingly greater power than do thousands of anonymous voters”

Vaclav Havel, imprisoned under the communist regime, first President of a democratic Czechoslovakia.

The future is already happening. We can focus on the negative, on Labor versus Liberal struggles for political power, but beneath the surface the way forward is already unfolding and gathering strength.

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My involvement in reconciliation began at New England University, where I ‘discovered’ Aboriginal people. I somehow started tutoring Aboriginal children, and when each week as I looked at the young children in front of me I realised I knew next to nothing of their story, a story that would change my own Australian story for good.

That led to getting involved, but the more I did the more I realised it was making a difference to me rather than anyone else. But it did help to make a difference to others also. I was responsible for initiating events in the New South Wales Parliament, our first Myall Creek event drawing in a third of the Parliament. Myall Creek relates to the 1838 massacre, and I serve both on the national committee, and as convenor of Sydney Friends of Myall Creek. In 2008/2009 I was on the NSW Reconciliation Council, as the non-indigenous Sydney rep.

Reconciliation I came to realise is not about ‘helping’ Aboriginal people. The have had enough of that! It is really about the rest of us understanding who we are as Australians. We can never really belong here until the relationship so brutally fractured is restored. ‘The path to the future passes through our past’. We have very largely been deaf to, and devalued, what Aboriginal culture has been saying to us, values and principles fundamental not only to our future as a nation – respect for the land, community, spirituality – but for our global village. This is the message I today try to convey, mainly through writing and politics.

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