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230 pages, Hardcover
First published March 1, 2016
We have been told what an Australian is and we know so often, in so many ways, we are not that. We die ten years younger than other Australians. We are twelve times more likely to be locked up. Over the age of forty, we are six times more likely to go blind. Indigenous children are said to have the highest rates of deafness in the world. Indigenous people are three times more likely to be jobless than other Australians.
That I am on television, earn a good living and send my kids to good schools, does not redeem our history. It is as illogical as saying Julia Gillard becoming Australia’s first female Prime Minister vanquished sexism. Of course it is a step forward, but the fact that it is exceptional reminds us how far we have to go, how far apart we are in this country.
I was aware always that we were marked by something more than poverty; that no amount of hard work, honesty or decency would untether us from our destiny. We lived in Australia and Australia was for other people.
Here is how we – indigenous people – see the Australian dream: here’s the worst of it. Aborigines rounded up and shot, babies buried into the sand and decapitated, women raped, men killed as they hid in the forks of trees, waterholes poisoned, flour laced with arsenic. The Australian dream abandoned us to rot on government missions, tore apart families, condemned us to poverty. There was no place for us in this modern country and everything we have won has come from dissent, it has been torn from the reluctant grasp of a nation that for much of its history hoped that we would disappear.