We are back in our house, and painting throughout has helped me heal from a disastrous experience of landlordship. My camp-dog, Muddles, despite his obvious proclivity for wandering and wanting to come and go, has been a source of comfort to me; my little piece of country. Friday was a flurry of communications with the powers that be. I sent some strongly worded emails, and over the weekend; radio silence. I am edging ever closer to blowing this open completely. I want to make meaningful change in the APY lands and I’m being shut down. The Premier received this on Friday;
“Dear Mr Weatherill,
In my previous correspondence to you I indicated my hope that you would extend the same warmth of spirit that you displayed to Aboriginal students of the ASSETS program to my concerns around the safety and well-being of Anangu students in the APY lands.
So far I have met with silence from your Department.
I have contacted the Chief Exec of DECD (6 weeks ago) and the Minister for Education (2 weeks). What I have observed is each time I have moved up a Political level, the lower level , has put forward the possibility of meeting with someone.
But so far no meetings have been organised despite my willingness to do so.
Let me be clear what I want; a conversation that then drives meaningful change into the Anangu Lands, particularly around child safety.
Let me be clear also that I have tried to follow appropriate paths that might bring about the best outcomes for students on the Lands. If, however, I am forced to believe I can achieve nothing through what should be the appropriate paths of DECD, Minister for Education and Premier then perhaps I should speak with the Leader of the Opposition to try and enact intervention.
I look forward to discussing this with you further in the very immediate future.
I meet with a member of the media tomorrow with significant experience trying to bring about change in the APY lands. Something he said over the phone blew my mind: this whole notion of it being private Anangu land and keeping the whitefullas out? It’s not to just to keep White Australia out, it’s to keep accountability out.
The problem, he said, was that he doesn’t have access to the APY lands.
But I do.