29
Nov
07

A current of vibrant and healthy debate

The Australian Parliament consists of 76 Senators and 150 House of Representative members.  Aboriginal people comprise 2.6% of the overall population.  If this figure was translated to our Parliament it would account for 2 Senators and 4 MHRs. 

The recent election resulted in 0 Aboriginal Parliamentarians in both houses.

My views over the fold.

We can expect the following phrases in the forthcoming election cycle: self-determination, self-management, responsibility, leadership, individual responsibility, agency, control, contribute as active members of this society, involved in the decisions that affect them, need to be a part of the mainstream. 

And these: marginalisation, autonomy, isolation, dislocation, displacement.

It is not that there are no Aboriginal Parliamentarians that causes me concern, it is the fact that there are not enough to reflect a vibrant and healthy current of debate. 

The Aboriginal-State dynamic is a distinct yet complex relationship, and for the Aboriginal leadership there are varied opinions as to what political positions should be adopted.  Some Aboriginal leaders have rightly pointed out that Aboriginal politics consists of a diverse range of opinions, and that there is divergence across the mainstream political divide.

There are high expectations for our current Aboriginal leadership to convey the right messages, but they do so outside the caucus or cabinet of a political group in power.  Parliamentary Committees are filled with members who convene as a group to hear submissions from Aboriginal people, but none consist of Aborignal people. 

I disagree with democratic structures where certain seats or positions of power are allocated to indigenous peoples, or any minority group.  I also disagree with seperate structures where powers otherwise exercised by Parliament are vested amongst Indigenous peoples.     

The properties of Aboriginal opinion are deposit in mainstream political threads, whether it be the nominal Left or Right (or an extreme extent of either), Centre or Radical Centre.  For those properties to cascade there must be a current of vibrant and healthy debate – a process that requires a certain level of Aboriginal participation in democratic leadership across the political spectrum.

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