Posted by: jkirkby8712 | January 28, 2012

Saturday, 28 January 2012 – looking at Aboriginal protests.

Yes, we are in for a rather warmish day, in the mid – 30s this Saturday. Hope that Susie, wherever she is, does not overdo her time in the sun!

Let’s have a brief look at some of the headlines in today’s Age newspaper:

  • PM’s man gone after ‘leak’ – a Press Secretary to Julia Gillard has been forced to quit after it was revealed that he had disclosed Tony Abbott’s presence at the restaurant stormed by Aboriginal protestors.
  • Flag burned and spat on – Aboriginal tent embassy protestors burned and spat on the Australian flag on the front steps of Parliament House, as tensions at the controversial protest site erupted in Canberra yesterday.
  • Abbott says he was misunderstood – Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said he does not resile from comments he made on Australia Say on the ongoing relevance of the Aboriginal tent embassy, only that he had been misunderstood.
  • Sense of adventure putting Australian tourists at risk – an average 1600 Australians a day are getting into trouble overseas, including an increasing number of adventure seekers, the Department of Foreign Affairs says.
  • Prisoners tortured by Libyan militia – Three months after the killing of Muammar Gaddafi concerns are mounting about  the mistreatment and torture of prisoners held by Libyan militiamen.

An early Saturday morning at the gymnasium today – and the instructor upgraded some of the levels I have undertaken up until now –  expect a few extra aches and pains between now and Monday morning, already noticeable by early afternoon. Followed that hour up with a bit of shopping, and a treat for Bill – an iced coffee in the Blues Plus Café!!

While Adam and his Sunbury B Grade cricket team were completing their 2 day game over at Bacchus Marsh this afternoon, the Australian cricket team wrapped up the 4 Test series against India around Noon today – India all out for 201, with the final scores being Australia:  7 for 604, and 5 for 167 defeated India: 272 and 201. Won by 298 runs. Australia won the Series 4-0. Man of the series was Australian captain, Michael Clarke, hard to look beyond his 300+ in Sydney, 200 in Adelaide and a further century in Perth   Player of the Series Clarke had a golden series with the bat, amassing 626 runs at 125.20 with a strike rate of 69.86, while Ricky Ponting’s series reaped 544 runs at 108.80.  Both men scored double centuries in the 4th test, and I notice that Ponting was not out with 60 runs in Australia’s second innings.  India have now toured Australia 10 times and are yet to win a series here, with this campaign arguably the most miserable of the lot. This was Australia’s first 4-0 series sweep over India since 1967/68.  Sir Donald Bradman’s 1947/48 side won the first-ever rubber between the two teams 4-0, albeit in a five-Test series, likewise Allan Border’s 1991/92 outfit, while Steve Waugh’s Australians swept to a 3-0 triumph in 1999/2000.

Meantime, in relation to the headlines above concerning the Australia Day protests at the unofficial Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, this was the way the Age Editorial saw things in this weekend’s paper.

“Australians all did not rejoice   January 28, 2012   [Opinion from ‘The Age Newspaper]]

A CINDERELLA story it wasn’t, though a dropped shoe has come to feature prominently in it. The Aboriginal protest outside the Lobby restaurant in Canberra on Australia Day, which led to Australian Federal Police officers whisking away Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, has been noted and commented upon around the world as well as around the nation. This is chiefly perhaps for the extraordinary images it produced. It is not every day that a democratic head of government can be seen held firmly in a protective clutch by one of her police escorts, then stumbling and losing a shoe, and finally being dragged by the escort and his colleagues to a waiting car. And that dropped blue shoe, retrieved by a protester and waved triumphantly at the departing Prime Minister as she sped away, provided a concluding dramatic flourish to the day’s events. It does nothing, however, to help understand them.

As to the conduct of the protesters, the judgment of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda, suffices: ”While we need to acknowledge that there’s a real anger, frustration and hurt that exists in some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities around Australia, we must not give in to aggressive and disrespectful actions ourselves.” All Australians have a right of peaceful assembly and protest, but hammering on the glass walls of a restaurant with enough force to give rise to fears that the glass will shatter, potentially harming those inside, is hardly peaceful protest. There is no justification for such aggression. And, though some have criticised Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott for leaving under the cover of a police cordon instead of boldly speaking to the protesters, the Prime Minister had to take heed of her security detail’s assessment, which was that it would have been unsafe for the politicians to remain.

The hurried departure of Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott is not only, however, a story of a protest that got badly out of hand. It is also a story of a protest driven by the ”real anger, frustration and hurt” of which Mr Gooda spoke. That does not excuse the protesters’ actions, as Mr Gooda and other indigenous leaders have recognised. The frustration and hurt were real nonetheless. Specifically, the protesters, who were associated with the Aboriginal tent embassy that has stood outside Old Parliament House for 40 years, were reacting to a comment by Mr Abbott that the embassy may no longer serve a useful purpose. He was referring to the fact that Australians are much more aware of indigenous issues than they were 40 years ago, but it seems that at least some of the protesters misunderstood him. He spoke of a need to move on, though he did not literally mean that the tent embassy should be torn down. Yet that is the implication many took from his words – with the connivance of one of the Prime Minister’s staff, now no longer on staff, who revealed Mr Abbott’s presence at the Lobby.

Many indigenous leaders would agree with Mr Abbott that the tent embassy has passed its use-by date. If it is to go, however, the decision should be made by those who maintain it. The right of peaceful protest must not be infringed, and white politicians who presume to offer indigenous people advice – especially on what many, perhaps most, of them think of as invasion day – should think carefully about how it might be interpreted. It is too early to know whether the restaurant protest will have long-term consequences for Ms Gillard, Mr Abbott or the tent embassy. But January 26, 2012, is already an unusually memorable Australia Day, for all the wrong reasons. It starkly reminded the nation of divisions that have not yet been resolved, and it did so at a time of renewed agitation to recognise indigenous people in the constitution. Some may see the day’s events as an obstacle to that overdue change; on the contrary, they should be a spur to bring it about” [end of editorial].

Personally, I don’t think the causes that the protestors are concerned about will gain much additional support of sympathy because of the nature of their actions on Australia Day and since. The nature of their concerns are in many cases quite real, but they will never get the broad support of the Australian electoral through protests that become violent, and/or through the kind of ‘language’ being directed to the Australian government and it’s people by some of the protest leadership – the kind of response which does not even have the support of the principal Indigenous leaders in Australia.

Now, back to the tennis – two nights to go, with the Women’s Final due shortly.  At least some Australian success this afternoon, with young Luke Saville [who won the Junior Wimbledon title last year],  also won the Australian Boys Single Championship today.  Saville, the world’s No.1 junior and top seed, beat unseeded Canadian Filip Peliwo 6-3 5-7 6-4 on Saturday to add to the Wimbledon title he won last year.  He joins Bernard Tomic as a dual grand slam junior champion and is the third local to win the Australian Open boys’ title in six years. Tomic won the title in 2008 and followed that with the US Open junior championship the following year, while Brydan Klein took out the Australian Open boys in 2007. Saville, who turns 18 next week, is the only local to win a title at the Australian Open this year.  The Junior Girls Singles Final result saw Taylor Townsend [USA] defeat Yulia Putintseva [Russia]  6/1, 3/6, 6/3.  I note also that some Wheelchair Tennis finals were also held today – everyone is catered for!

Two major finals on tonight – Women’s Singles, and the Men’s Doubles. The Women’s match was over rather quickly – the girl from Belarus was simply too strong for Maria Sharapova tonight, as after a nervous start, she virtually won every game after the first couple. Australian Open Women’s Singles Final:  Victoria Azarenka [Belarus] defeated Maria Sharapova [Russia] 6/3, 6/0. The Men’s Doubles Final followed – red hot favourites, the Bryan Brothers expected to win yet another  Well, another shock result, and another match over much quicker than anticipated  –  Leander Paes [India] & Radek Stepanek [Cze] defeated  Bob and Mike Bryan in 2 sets – 7/6, 6/2.










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