Gladys Berejiklian stoking the fires of racism in Northern NSW
Gladys Berejiklian and the ruling Liberal party in NSW are pushing an absurdly Machiavellian ‘public consultation’ process over the future of public access to Mount Warning (Wollumbin). The process appears designed to create frustration and turn it into racial tension, which they will no doubt invent another program to address. They have achieved this by:
The Machiavellian nature of the public consultation process was initially spelled out very clearly on the NSW government website, but has recently been amended to make it appear more democratic. It initially made it very clear that the outcome would reflect only the wishes of the “aboriginal community” and obtain input only from people who are invited to contribute. Here is an excerpt:
To be clear, the government’s approach to consulting the public, and the outcome that it flagged from the beginning is inherently racist, and the outcome of racist government policy cannot be anything other than more racism. Not only does it openly admit that whether your opinion counts depends on the colour of your skin, it paints aboriginal people as backwards, superstitious and greedy. Gladys Berejiklian’s government has gone out of it’s way to exclude well known, more progressive aborigines, who happen to be the actual traditional owners and who actually welcome people climbing the summit, and to restrict input to selected members of more distant aboriginal groups who are onboard with Gladys’ agenda.
Gladys Berejiklian’s propaganda has already spawned a dangerous movement among supporters of the closure. They are already taking matters into their own hands and vandalising backpackers’ vehicles in the parking lot of the national park. Reinforcing the racist, self-entitled beliefs of the selected minority behind this behaviour will not solve this problem, it will only make it worse.
Gladys Berejiklian’s government is also endorsing blatant sexism. As with Ayers Rock (uluru), aboriginal men are allowed to climb, but aboriginal women are banned. This is supposedly for the women’s own good. Does Gladys actually endorse this sort of sexism? How many aboriginal women feel liberated by having these outdated, long-abandoned beliefs resurrected by the government and instituted by NPWS policy? All we can know for certain is that the NSW government will not be asking them. Even their opinion does not count.
Gladys Berejiklian has not offered Australians any explanation of whether the government ought to be endorsing a particular group’s religious beliefs and using laws, government institutions and taxpayer funds to impose those religious views on everyone else. The separation of church and state is an old concept in western civilisation. We have learned the hard way that it is absolutely necessary for a functioning society. Gladys Berejiklian seems unwilling or incapable of learning the lessons of history.
Once covid goes away, and the government sweeps its misrepresentation of the engineering assessment under the rug, the only reason they will acknowledge for the closure of Mount Warning is the religious beliefs of aboriginal people. They will pass the buck to those aboriginal groups, who will become the focus of the public’s frustration with this absurdly Machiavellian consultation process. Aborigines from the area will be held responsible for the closure by the broader public and will then have their racist, sexist views open for public scrutiny. They will be expected to justify their actions and their beliefs.
Gladys Berejiklian and her ministers have demonstrated great skill in letting others take responsibility for what is their decision and their responsibility. Will they hang the aborigines of Northern NSW out to dry, or will they invent even more absurd government interventions to address the growing racism problem that they created?