To my critics: I welcome your comments and accept them as …

Comment on Make September 8 Australia Day, anthem in Pitjantjatjara by Ted Egan.

To my critics:

I welcome your comments and accept them as being relevant to necessary, reasonable discussion on many and various topics on our minds at the moment.
Yes, I am old and yes, I once worked for Native Affairs Branch, the government body that implemented the policies established by the old Aboriginals Ordinance.
Like a few of my contemporaries I was always out to take the side of our Aboriginal clients, often questioning our superiors in the process.
I was never involved in the removal of a mixed race child, but I could have been.
I wept with Ted Evans when he refused to be involved again in such removals, specifically after he had been involved in the forcible removal of Maurie Jabada Ryan.
I could not sign the Sorry Books quickly enough and am now fiercely determined that this country never again has laws based on race.

My granddaughter Jessica is a First Australian. Her parents are my daughter and her First Australian father.
I am her grandfather: Jess and I share great pride in her First Australian inheritance and that of her children, no matter how “pale-skinned” they are. A First Australian is a person who can establish genetic links to Australia in 1787. No ifs or buts, no counting drops of blood, no percentages. I am classified as an Australian and that is fine by me: I was lucky enough to be born here. I respect and acknowledge ALL First Australians.

What I object to, in the debate about Australia Day and the references to Invasion Day, is the stance taken by many undoubted First Australians and their supporters, that they are the owners of Australia and the rest of the occupants of the nation are the ones who stole the land.
Yes, of course there was a settlement that could be called an invasion – so let’s discard 26 January – but the vast majority of First Australians have inherited the genes of the invaders, as well as those of their Aboriginal ancestors.

The sad outcome is that there will probably be internal conflict on this issue. Cronulla could happen again, for there are many ugly polemicists out there, anxious to take on anyone who is not 100% and aggressively Caucasian. They (and they don’t include me) are out to count drops of blood.

Most Australians of all backgrounds simply want a public holiday to enjoy: a day that Jessica and I can share together – and enjoy. Let’s take on Matthew Flinders as the man who first recognised this country as “a nation”.

To Rosalie Schultz:

Despite rejecting Kriol and Yumplatok as being languages and also suggesting that the lingua franca of Arnhem Land is Gupapuyngu rather than Djamparrpuyngu, I take your Census figures as being accurate. However I stick to my guns. Pitjantjara (as its speakers invariably pronounce the word) is the language that is most widely recognised in Australia.
And, crucially, its orthography is sound. In the absence of an Aboriginal alphabet, they have adopted the standard 26 word alphabet that is on everybody’s word processor. No accents, no tailed Ns, no humbug.

Let me recount a short story. I was in Arnhem Land in the late 60s, when we won the battle to use the proper Aboriginal place name for the new town. The mining company wanted to call it Gove. I suggested that it be Noolanboy (spelt thus) – the name bestowed by Wuyal. In came the orthographers. They insisted on the spelling being Nhulunbuy. Nobody could work out the pronunciation. Today, it’s generally called Gove.

Thanks Erwin for inviting this debate. Bring it on.

Ted Egan Also Commented

Make September 8 Australia Day, anthem in Pitjantjatjara
To Hal: I agree that it would be common courtesy to approach the relatives of Matthew Flinders first and I think a good case could be put by, say, the Prime Minister of Australia, to indicate the high level of esteem we have for him and seek their permission to have him re-interred in the land that he founded.
If not his actual remains, a worthy monument could be erected at Circular Quay. I simply raise these ideas in the interests of true Australian harmony, suggesting a day to be CELEBRATED by all Australians and particularly First Australians. If the idea does not take off, at least I “had a go”.
To Jan Martin: Thanks for your complimentary remarks Jan. Bungaree did not go into unanimity, or even anonymity. He was a highly respected citizen of the Broken Bay region until his death. He, too, deserves to be associated with the declaration of Australia’s Foundation Day. A joint memorial?

Recent Comments by Ted Egan

Stuart Highway trek maintains its allure after decades
Well done Kieran. I share your love of that trip. Once we did it in two days, now a more sensible three. Once loved, similarly, to choose a clever camping spot, and unroll the swag, nowadays preferring a good motel bed. But the escapism, the meaningful discussions, interspersed with thoughtful reflections, always enjoying the sheer beauty of it all: aren’t we lucky? I’ve done 30 albums of songs over a period of fifty years and most of the songs developed during such wonderful trips. Time to think. Time to sing. Can’t beat it.

Nuke power way to zero emissions, or a solar shortcut?
It’s like fracking. Until we know all the answers to all the questions, let’s dodge nuclear power.
Find out where the uranium is, but leave it there for the moment.
A Tennant Creek solar farm is a great idea. Has anybody ever noticed that Tennant is also perfect for wind generation?
It’s always windy, either hot or cold, but usually at speed desirable for effective functioning.
Here’s the chance for the Warramungu to become millionaires. It’s what they deserve.

Say no to no go, urge anti-frackers
Readers are invited to Google the map of the Great Artesian Basin and contemplate the outcome of fracking.
Fracking anywhere, at this stage of lack of knowledge, is nothing short of lunacy.
I hope it will be the major issue in the next NT election.

Ted Egan: Forget splitting hairs, counting drops of blood.
To Rose Jones
You ask: If you have a royal ancestor, are you necessarily superior?
No, and I am not asserting that First Australians are in any way superior: but they are primus inter pares, first among equals, if they can establish (necessary) genetic links to Australia dating beyond 1787.
The Queen gets recognition because of her family tree.
All persons have rights to property and other inheritances.
We base everything in life on inheritance: we draw up wills to enable our descendants to maintain the same rights to property that we accumulated.
All I am asking for is accurate history to be established in this country.

Town Council: protect Alice water from fracking
Fracking is lunacy. If you don’t know all the answers to all the questions, leave well enough alone.

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