Still here 

I haven’t updated you in a while – life, kids, work, art, fighting the fight – takes up all my time! But there have been significant developments that I want to share.

I met again with Tim Ryan and Tony Harrison – this time, Tony seemed to have been genuinely receptive to my reccomendations and has addressed them. Things that can be implemented, have been – but there is a long way to go. Some of my reccomendations it seems, were borne from misinformation. The principal of one Anangu school spoke of being in the red – and allegedly took artwork from the school and auctioned them to purchase iPads for the school. It seems that APY schools are not as under-funded as it seems – I wonder if the issues are with the allocation and use (or mis-use) of funding instead? 

It was a positive meeting and I left feeling that perhaps I might finally be able to see the change that I’m striving for. But Tim Ryan summed it up – when I posed the question to them both: “what would you do, if you had unlimited funds and resources?” Tim said that he thought that nothing we can do right now will end sexual violence and dysfunction in community altogether right now – but if we get it right, and get it right now – we will see a positive generational change; a shift in attitudes and a shift in behaviour and conduct. But we need to do this thoughtfully and meaningfully. 

I also met recently with Tammy Franks – the Greens MP – who gave up a significant amount of time on a Friday night to listen to my story and my concerns. The plan going forward is this:

  • To speak to Joseph (Eddie) Hughes – the sitting member for the seat of Giles which encompasses the APY lands. 
  • To speak to the Aboriginal Lands Parliamentary Stading Committee about presenting to them – in whicb parliamentary privilege would extend to me, indemnifying me against people who would try to have me silenced. They are waiting for a response from the minister before we move forward – I’ll be very interested to hear what she says.
  • Nigel Scullion…. I can’t say I’m optimistic about contacting him – but as my opinion on Steven Marshall has completely flipped – possibly I need to wait and see! 
  • To draft a submission to the Nyland inquiry
  • To draft a submission to the Premier’s inquiry about early years education and the impact of disadvantage here. 
  • To draft a reflective piece for submission and hopefully publication in education, health, or social science journal/s. I have a wonderful academic who does much peer reviewing on board to help me here! She suggested this as an alternative means to get this information to the foreground of academia – where possibly it will be noticed. I like this idea and need to make time to sit down and do this! 

In recent days I’ve received some feedback from someone I have an enormous amount of respect, time and admiration for – that she was concerned about my lack of communication and consultation with Anangu Elders – namely the women. Which would be difficult from the city – but not impossible, and perhaps I should have tried harder. I knew that not everyone would agree with my ideas, my process, my goals. I also know that much of the information regarding my campaign and my actions that has filtered through will largely have come from Pirinpa (white people) up there, who have openly criticised, mocked, questioned, disparaged and denigrated me – and I’d suggest that information isn’t necessarily reliable. But even if this information came first-hand from my words alone – it isn’t Anangu way. I know that. There is a bitter conflict in my heart about what I want to change, but how I know I should behave – and it hurts me. It hurts me deeply. But what hurts me more, and what I cannot walk past, is those tiny little souls who’s life-path, sense of being and sense of self, is being damaged. I under stand that not everyone can be a whistle-blower, for a hundred different reasons. And some people can scaffold and support from the inside, and do more good by keeping silent than not. 

Anangu – Nganana! We all need to work towards a better future for our tjiitjii. Please know that everything I do – I do for the betterment of our children’s lives and for the future of Anangu – to preserve our culture and our way. I know I don’t speak for Anangu. I just so desperately want to end the prolific sexual abuse of children. I’m sincerely sorry if I need to step out of line to do it. 

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One thought on “Still here 

  1. Dear Liz, as always you have my unswerving admiration. I know that you are conflicted about causing distress to people via your actions but please never be sorry for taking action. As you point out you are fighting an evil that is great and which is universally evil. No matter what culture one is from, one is still human and there are some things which should never, ever be tolerated simply because they are too hard to fix. Stay strong beautiful warrior.

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