Sunday, January 27, 2008

Wayne Wharton's Invasion Day Speech

Hamish Chitts, Brisbane

This is a transcript of Wayne Wharton of the Kooma people's speech to Brisbane's Invasion Day (Jan26) rally outside Queensland's parliament.

Photo: Wayne Wharton by Owain Lewis Jones

These boys are free men (pointing to the boys at his side) they are not citizens belonging to Australia, my daughters they are free women. When they go to school and they ask my children to stand up there and sing the national anthem my kids sit down. When they ask my children whose flag that is they tell them “It’s yours”. When they ask what their (the children) flag is they show them (pointing to Aboriginal flag). These are our children educating teachers. When we send our children to school we should be sending them there with the truth. Not with the lies that these fellas spend millions and millions of dollars on portraying to their children down the road and across the road today (Australia Day celebrations in Brisbane).

Our people have done many things over the years to survive. I can remember the time watching Dennis (Dennis Oodgeroo Walker) and the other fellas, the other warriors that fought in the early days. I know other people and myself when we went home got spat on by our own people. “Don’t bring your black shit here, we’re good black fellas here, we’re living alright we’ve got a job. Don’t bring your land rights shit here!” Now every bastard wants to be a traditional owner. The same bastards, my uncles, my father’s brothers that spat on me and told me don’t bring your shit here, they were the first pigs at the trough looking for their T.A. The same dogs are coming at your door now.

This Rudd Government he’s going around hand picking the Jackies, hand picking the Marys, how many secret meetings trying to get an amicable solution to his problem, we don’t have a problem with being black do we, he’s got a problem with us being black. His community, Brisbane, has a history of leading the politics of Indigenous affairs in this country. I’m proud to stand here with the handful of staunch people that showed up today, that haven’t given up the fight. The other people that couldn’t be bothered getting here they’ll come along when the T.A. is on the tray, I’ll bet you. The thing is they talk about this national body, a new mob of Jackies to sit up there and rubber stamp their racist ideologies and their racist politics. They are doing that now, we as a community we have an opportunity this year to jam that process, to take the staunch back and put this community back in line and pull Rudd and Swan into gear and start running the agenda back to us fellas rather than hand pick Jackies and Marys around the country.

How we do this is to start acting like the Brisbane Blacks community that we were. Turn up at the community meetings get the resolution on the floor and start taking it to their electorates and their offices here in Brisbane. We don’t have to rake up money to go down to Canberra or down to Sydney, we got the bastards here in this town. If we can’t get a $2.50 fare to get to a meeting, to turn up for a march and go and show these blokes out there in the electorates, we shouldn’t be standing here. That opportunity is in our grasp this year. With the proper leadership in this community and this community starting acting like a community again we can take these bastards on and we can change the agenda and we can lock out the Marys and the Jackies.

But it takes effort. Where do we go? We’ve got Lex Wotton's case coming up in April, we’ve got to be here again in numbers. All these other people as soon as he (Rudd) decides on his national body you look around here, you where it is, when the time comes we have to make the right decisions and in April this case means we’ve got to double this strength (of the crowd). If you’ve got cousins, sisters, brothers, aunties still sitting at home you make sure they turn up to the next one. Have your debate at home, but we’ve got to stand, we’ve got to tell the truth. There are people in Townsville marching today, there are people in Cairns, Cunnamulla, Geraldton, Perth. They might only be 10 and 5 and maybe a couple of hundred at the others but they are all talking the same.

Stay strong stay true!

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