Q. Why are we failing to 'close the gap'?
A. Because Aboriginal people didn’t invent the wheel.
In 2000, the then Reconciliation Minister, Philip Ruddock was asked by French newspaper, Le Monde, about why Aboriginal Australians are so disadvantaged compared with other indigenous peoples around the world. Ruddock explained that Aboriginal people didn’t come into contact with ‘developed civilisations’ until much later than many other Indigenous groups, and as such were simply taking that much longer to catch up.
In defence of his comments, Ruddock further explained: “The only point I was making is that contact between Indigenous people in Australia and others really only developed in the last two centuries. And if you were looking at, for instance, North America, contact was over a period of something like four centuries. I'm not offering it as an excuse. It's merely a factual matter.”
Q. Should we change the date of Australia Day? Many Aboriginal people refer to the 26th of January as Invasion Day.
A. Australia wasn’t invaded – it was a form of foreign investment by the British Government.
In 2014, during a keynote address at The Australian-Melbourne Institute conference, Tony Abbott was asked a question about importance of foreign investment in residential real estate, to which he replied, "I guess our country owes its existence to a form of foreign investment by the British government in the then unsettled or, um, scarcely settled, Great South Land."
Q. Is racism a big issue affecting Aboriginal people?
A. Reverse racism is a much bigger problem.
Pauline Hanson says she was called “white trash” by Aboriginal elders in 1996 so, you know, who’s the real victim of over 200 years of brutal colonisation and ongoing institutional racism? Pauline Hanson is, that’s who!
Q. Don’t we need 18C to provide protections against racial discrimination and vilification?
A. Are you a Communists Nazi?!
Senator Malcolm Roberts told parliament during the 18C debates that, “"The pretence of protecting people from injustice was in fact a Trojan Horse to silence those who dared to dissent from the Communist Party line"
"Those of us in this parliament who believe passionately in the right to free speech are implacably opposed to this Soviet legal landmine and strongly support this amendment."
He went on to explain that, "similar laws in the pre-war Weimar Republic had not only failed to prevent the rise of the Nazis but had been successfully used by the Nazis to silence their critics, much as radical Muslim groups and their apologists do now.”
We hope these handy tips will help any public servant working in Indigenous Affairs to 'pass the pub test' and keep their comments in line with some of our top political minds.