What we are witnessing is the (re-)adoption of empty and often unwelcome symbolism as a cover for the failure of practical policies in Indigenous affairs. And this is a direct outcome of what was one of John Howard’s most significant interventions into Indigenous affairs: his bifurcation of the “symbolic” and “practical” aspects of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia, and the flow-on of this cleavage into Indigenous affairs policy-making more broadly.
The justice process is tied to telling stories and to telling the truth. All around the world, victims of human-rights abuse are judged on their stories.
Roland Boer traces the use of 'pietism and sacrimentalism’ in Peter Sutton’s writing on White Australia and Aborignal reconciliation.
Matthew Ryan: There's a New War on an Old Frontier and Indigenous Cultures are in the Firing Line