In Saturday’s The Australian newspaper, we see a barrage of conflicted articles:
- Michael McKenna’s ‘exclusive’ on page 1: ‘Push for Aboriginal ID tests’
- Nicolas Rothwell, insightfully, on ‘bankrupt policy and the renewed Canberra push for assimilation’
- Jeremy Sammut on ‘why sometimes kids should be removed’
- Brendan O’Neill on ‘colour blindness as the big new no no’
- Michael McKenna on ‘modern day black trackers and getting at the truth to claims of Aboriginality’
- Noel Pearson on ‘recognising native languages’
We think about some of Patrick’s key ideas and concepts: Repressive authenticity, invasion as a structural, ongoing process, not some historical event, settler colonial societies as premised on the elimination of native societies, the Australian settler colonial formation being premised on displacing indigenous people from the land, and (from the Journal of Genocide Research) ‘positive’ outcomes of the logic of elimination including officially encouraged miscegenation, the breaking-down of native title into alienable individual freeholds, native citizenship, child abduction, religious conversion, resocialization in total institutions and a whole range of cognate biocultural assimilations.
Patrick, with almost a mystical sense of timing in putting this mess of circumstances on display the national newspaper has unwittingly paid a great tribute to your enduring legacy and, in our view, extraordinarily insightful analysis of Australian settler society.
RIP dear friend, close colleague and brave intellectual leader, you will be sadly missed.
– Jon Altman and Melinda Hinkson