In 2020 and 2021, the COVID pandemic, lockdowns, and other crazy stuff dominated our lives, but many people hoped that this year might be a bit less crazy…. then came 2022, and it was kind of the same thing, but at least Morrison’s reign as Prime Minister ended.
Here are a few highlights from 2022 and some background information for those people who just don’t get it…
Indigenous Identity Fraud
Identity fraud refers to the act of using someone else’s identity to gain a benefit or advantage. Indigenous identity fraud specifically refers to the act of pretending to be Indigenous in order to gain benefits or advantages that are intended for Indigenous people to help close the disparity gaps from colonisation.
This type of fraud is generally considered to be unethical and may be illegal in some jurisdictions but it is a serious issue in relation to closing the disparity gaps, as it can result in the diversion of resources and opportunities away from Indigenous individuals and communities, and can also contribute to the marginalisation and discrimination of Indigenous people.
It is important for individuals and organisations to be aware of this issue and to take steps to prevent and address it.
In 2022, there was much more traction for cracking down on Indigenous fraud, but more action is needed from both the federal and state governments to actually take real steps towards ending this fraud.
The federal government is focused on their “Voice” at the moment, so they probably won’t take real action on other issues or opportunities until after the vote. And the NSW Government is focused on putting its best foot forward for the NSW election in March, so it’s unlikely they will want to take any real action either.
There were 69 petitions submitted to Premier Dom Perrottet, and the vast majority of them are from NSW and the east coast of Australia, but the Liberal Party of Australia (NSW Division) has not even acknowledged this issue, let alone taken action on it during their time in office.
Government mismanagement of Aboriginal-led organisations
There have been many instances of government mismanagement of Indigenous communities, both in Australia and around the world. This includes failing to consult with Indigenous communities on decisions that affect them, ignoring their rights and interests, and not providing adequate resources or support for Indigenous communities to address their needs.
Some examples of government mismanagement of Indigenous communities include:
- Failing to properly consult with Indigenous communities before approving resource development projects, such as pipelines or mines, on traditional Indigenous lands
- Not adequately addressing the high rates of poverty, unemployment, and lack of access to education and healthcare in Indigenous communities
- Not respecting Indigenous land rights and failing to negotiate fair compensation for the use of traditional Indigenous lands
These and other forms of government mismanagement can have serious consequences for Indigenous communities, including social and economic disruption, environmental damage, and a loss of cultural identity.
A case in point is the mismanagement of Red Chief Local Aboriginal Land Council, a multi-million dollar community-run organisation, which I’ve witnessed firsthand being mismanaged by the Office of the Registrar (Aboriginal Land Rights Act, 1983 NSW) and NSW Aboriginal Land Council, under the control and direction of the current NSW Liberal government.
Government departments are failing their duties, with almost 30 per cent or 36 Local Aboriginal Land Councils in NSW rated as high risk or unfunded in 2020-21. And the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, which is partly responsible for driving local Aboriginal land councils to administration, is rapidly heading into financial administration itself and could be another disaster like ATSIC because of excessive spending and management issues, e.g. spending almost $35 million annually on employees and “other” expenditures.
Where are our elected leaders in addressing the disparity gaps? Indigenous Affairs departments have gone walkabout, while there is little to no progress in closing the disparity gaps.
Non-Indigenous Savior Complex
The “non-Indigenous saviour complex” refers to a belief held by some non-Indigenous people that they have a moral obligation or responsibility to “save“ Indigenous peoples or cultures. This belief often manifests as a desire to “help“ Indigenous communities or to “protect“ Indigenous people, and can be driven by a variety of factors, including a sense of guilt, a desire for personal fulfilment or greed, or a belief in the inherent superiority of non-Indigenous ways of life.
The non-Indigenous saviour complex can be harmful to Indigenous communities in a number of ways. It often involves a lack of understanding or respect for Indigenous cultures and ways of life, and can lead to a lack of genuine partnership or collaboration with Indigenous communities. It can also contribute to a sense of paternalism, in which non-Indigenous people view Indigenous communities as needing to be “saved” or “fixed,” rather than being recognised as sovereign and capable of determining their own futures.
It is important for non-Indigenous people to recognise and challenge their own assumptions and biases about Indigenous cultures, and to work in partnership with Indigenous communities rather than trying to “save“ them. This means listening to and respecting the perspectives and experiences of Indigenous people, and supporting their efforts to advocate for their own rights and interests.
One of the “best“ “philanthropist” that some people believe is suffering from the Non-Indigenous Savior Complex is Andrew (Twiggy) Forrest from Fortescue Metals Group.
From his “Minderoo Foundation’s revolutionary“ Cashless Debit Card that was proven to mostly be a failure from a social impact and government spending perspective, to a new ‘revolutionary’ venture in Canada where he promised to help First Nations groups…
But now seems to be backflipping on how he was going to save them after initially promising investment commitments of $180 billion… which is now purely dependent on Canada’s Government subsidies and support to deliver on his plans to save First Nations communities in Canada, like how he saved Aboriginal people in Australia from themselves…
But when did the alumni billionaires from the School of Hard Knocks and Western capitalism, which relied on competition and decentralisation, become so reliant on government subsidies and the tax-payer purse?
As Western capitalism continues to shift toward corporate socialism, let’s hope that the next few years are better than the last.
The community owes a debt of gratitude to Noongar woman Donnell Wallam, who stood up (just asked a simple question?) to the bullies who use money to buy social licenses and influence policies for their individual needs, not the best interest of the community.
If more sporting stars had the guts to question the Recognise campaign on their jerseys while earning big bucks, they could have saved taxpayers and First Nations communities a lot of money that could have gone toward closing the disparity gaps instead of going to a failed campaign for constitutional change which a few Indigenous elites keep pushing for.
Results in the Indigenous space in 2023 and beyond, need to be based on real results, not PR stunts and tokenistic gestures.