The view from Redfern

25 Jun

No doubt you will be able to read much more in The South Sydney Herald July edition which should be available to locals in two weeks time and online a few weeks later. In the June edition you may read:

The June 2007 SSH (3.2Mb PDF) reports the DoH redevelopment of the area bounded by Elizabeth, Phillip, Morehead and Kettle streets in Housing redevelopment commences, still seeking private partner. In Trevor Davies’ “Have You Heard” column, he seeks to correct the claims in a leaflet distributed by Standup around the Waterloo towers, which misinterpreted earlier suggestions that the towers were targeted for demolition in Matavi and Tarunga residents bothered by ‘Stand Up’. In the aftermath of the CUB site approval the SSH reports Get Out!- Foster’s to evict Kensington Street tenants. The SSH also looks at the issue of late opening pubs in Open all hours – at what cost? and at APEC: like Sydney during the Olympics, but in a bad mood. RWA CEO Robert Domm interviews Val Hinton and Ray Vincent about Cecil Hinton’s experience as a Changi Aboriginal veteran in An old digger’s black experience and in ’67 Referendum remembered Bobby Perry reflects on the referendum 40 years ago. Other articles of interest to the area include Green light for Green Square pool? and a piece about Juliette Kumari Indian Queen in Waterloo. On the cultural and events side, the SSH reports on Indigenous artists dream together at Performance Space (a mix of shows centred around the theme Ngalaringi Nangami Dyaralang (‘Our Dreaming’)) and a profile on Wire MC. Wire MC will perform at the Support Independent Media! Concert for the South Sydney Herald to be held on Sunday 8th July at the ATP (for details see Poster 623Kb PDF)

— Summary from RedWatch.

Shameless plug, as the SSH is a project of South Sydney Uniting Church, of which I am a member, but is a conscientiously independent and open-minded reflection of the local community.

Hard yards … a young player from one of the Redfern All Blacks boys’ rugby league teams goes for a run across the paddock.
Photo: Brendan Esposito in the Sydney Morning Herald

In the mainstream, the Sydney Morning Herald reminds us of approaches more likely to have long-term effects than the militaristic and police state* approach John Howard now favours, and which sadly is probably a vote-winner for him. [See the Insiders interview with Minister Mal Brough — a military man himself — for his views on the recent Federal intervention.] For a local approach: Meanwhile, Redfern tackles violence at grassroots.

…In the days before the riot, a violent sexual assault by a known heroin dealer had prompted a group of Redfern’s mothers and aunts to say “enough is enough”. They organised an anti-violence rally at the Block for Thursday, February 19. The Sunday riot put paid to those plans. Later, a rescheduled rally drew 100 people who set about publicly shaming those responsible for the sexual assault. Within weeks, the alleged rapist had left the area, as had his brother and alleged partner in crime, said Rob Welsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council.

So began the Blackout Violence campaign, which won a NSW Violence Against Women Prevention Award in 2004 and has now received federal funding to employ a part-time officer.

Designed to inform assault victims of their rights and educate offenders, it was launched at the 2004 NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout, the state’s biggest annual gathering of indigenous people, where all 85 teams wore purple armbands as an anti-violence gesture and about 2000 information kits were handed out.

The NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Catherine Burn said the campaign hit home. “I noticed it particularly with the women in the community. They became more willing to talk about it and confront domestic violence,” said Ms Burn, who was the local area commander for Redfern until December last year.

Dixie Link-Gordon, one of the pioneers of the campaign and a survivor of violence, said it showed indigenous people were “taking care of business”…

I know there was a meeting in Redfern last week where tears of frustration were shed by some local Aboriginal leaders on the grounds of having been ignored and sidelined for years, and now when there’s an election in the wind, Howard does what he’s done…

A quick reference to yesterday’s article by Miranda D. I said she and I share an enthusiasm for Noel Pearson, and that is true. I do recommend, though, that she and those who are sucked in by the government’s appropriation of Pearson and his — justifiable, in my view — pragmatism read carefully the qualifications that surround all he has said, and especially download and read carefully his brilliant Griffith Review article. There is a core idea there that the government and Miranda and company haven’t taken on board. Can you see what it is? More on this later.

Jim Belshaw has continued his careful discussion of the policy issues.

* I am now suspending judgement on the applicability of such language. Let’s wait and see.

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Posted by on June 25, 2007 in Aussie interest, Current affairs, Indigenous Australians, Jim Belshaw, Multiculturalism and diversity, Politics, Surry Hills


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