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Byron Shire
October 4, 2022

Storylines: Committing to change

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This article is made possible by the support of Ninbella Gallery.

The last two years have been a time of deep reflection for me personally. When grappling with the death of family members, mass hysteria around the pandemic, isolation and acute awareness of being controlled has been a rollercoaster.

I have experienced many close encounters of empathy and kindness, and I have witnessed immense cruelty delivered to disadvantaged and vulnerable families.

When empathy and kindness die, like family members, the impact of lost knowledge, memories and lived experiences are lost to the portal of departed souls.

Real experiences and knowledge gained are essential requirements for the future. How will we cope when the ‘leaders’, failing to see the inherent value of humanity and the natural animal world, lead us to the brink of destruction?

When politicians at local, State and national levels consider that a personal agenda, and their enormous egos are the key requirements to their success, and the caressing of their monetary gain are more important than the people, we have a problem, Scotty! We have a massive clot in the arteries of a system whose ‘use by date’ was 1788.

Fossil-fuel dinosaurs excited about a lump of coal.

Corruption and injustice

It has been amazing (not in a great way) to see the increasing number of incidents connected to corruption by major political parties, which is disturbing, and I do recall a saying about ‘letting the fox loose in the hen house’!

These behaviours are a disgrace to us all. This is not some awkward pantomime that is here to entertain us. It’s a travesty of injustice, a cacophony of mistreatment in our society of the poorest and most disadvantaged.

Where is the justice for our collective hard work and volunteerism, being squandered by self-seeking individuals who allow big business to siphon money overseas to avoid paying tax, allowing huge mining companies to destroy culturally significant sites as if 80,000 years of historical, cultural and spiritual significance is a blight on the profits of these companies! Shame, Australia! Shame!

Under the system that favours the rich, more women are homeless, families are at risk as expenses skyrocket, especially rents that swallow almost all household income. Our most vulnerable people are being stranded by a regime that supports seed sowen by the English squattocracy when they stole this country from the original peoples.

Women have been surrendering their time to work endlessly in low-paid jobs with little chance of a pay rise to combat the constant increases in daily living expenses.

Are we, as a collective of humanity, so lethargic about being bombarded by the excessiveness of raconteurs who handle our money like it’s theirs?

I am pissed off, and happy to vocalise my disdain for the current crop of politicians and bureaucrats who build walls; impenetrable walls of misinformation, and disguise corruption as expedient to being elected to office.

Challenging the status quo is time-consuming and exhausting, but it’s paramount to continuing as a species in the natural world.

It is time for us to demand a future for our children and their children, and all children born in the future. We can challenge a toxic system that has reduced the rights and power of people in Australia. This system is based on patriarchy and we all should be able to comprehend that this construct has disadvantaged women and children since colonisation. I am writing this as a woman, a mother and a grandmother.

The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1962 granted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people the option to enrol and vote in Federal elections. Photo www.nationalapology.org.au/pivot-points

In 1902, the Commonwealth Franchise Act allowed non-Indigenous women in all states to vote and stand as candidates in Federal elections.

Contrast this with the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1962, which received assent on 21 May 1962. It granted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people the option to enrol and vote in Federal elections – 60 years after their non-Aboriginal female counterparts. It is a lifetime!

I use this specific example as it is one that illuminates the devastating and ongoing lack of equity that prevails when we embrace a system that not only openly discriminates, but also continues to diminish poorer community members by applying a class system imported from England. This was combined with a police state that was created in 1788 when the whole country was turned into a jail, except for the privileged who succeeded through land grants and slave labour – a formula used in all colonised countries.

How do we change and challenge this system? The answer is simple: Tell the truth, return to concepts of collectivism and community control. Meet your neighbours, help your friends, grow food if you can, do not buy from multi-nationals, and fight for Mother Earth above your own needs. Imagine a future for everyone on the planet!

This, of course, is a micro-element that I have highlighted that can instigate change, but mobilising change must be our mantra.

I write at my dining room table, with a fire on, as I live in a rainforest and off grid as I did in the 1980s. I have made a huge vegetable garden and a native medicine garden. My water is harvested from my roof. I live with a dog I rescued from the rainforest and my two daughters are here, but my son lives in Bulli.

This action is my commitment to change. I have to feel as if I can contribute, even if in the scheme of things it is miniscule. Let us hope we can sing the words:

The times they are a changin’ – Bob Dylan.

Dr Bronwyn Bancroft. Photo Sharon Hickey.


Dr Bronwyn Bancroft is a proud Bundjalung Woman and Artist. Bronwyn has been exhibiting nationally and internationally for over three decades.

Bronwyn has a diverse Artistic practice including public art commissions and imagery design for private commission. Bronwyn illustrated her first children’s book, The Fat and Juicy Place in 1992. Since then, Bronwyn has authored and/or illustrated 41 children’s books.

Bronwyn was the Australian finalist for the Ezra Jack Keats Award for Excellence in Children’s Book Illustration in 1994.

In 2010 Bronwyn received the Dromkeen Medal for her contribution to Australian Literature and in 2016 was the Australian Finalist for the Hans Christian Andersen Award (Illustrator). Bronwyn is currently nominated for the 2020 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

Bronwyn holds board positions with Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (Director) and the Commonwealth Bank Indigenous Advisory Council. Bronwyn has been a volunteer senior strategist at Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative since 2009.

Bronwyn has a Diploma of Visual Arts; two Masters degrees from the University of Sydney, one in Studio Practice and the other in Visual Art. Bronwyn was awarded her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in 2018.

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Storylines – Returning to old ways of housing

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Storylines – First Nations votes

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Storylines: Committing to change

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Storylines – An escape from reality

♦ Budgeram means story in Bundjalung language. I am a teacher. I teach at University Canberra, on Ngunnawal country, in ACT. This university went into ‘Lockdown’ about four months ago. We were all locked out of workplace and told to stay home and...


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  1. I hope you got the jab they told you to take that was developed by their corporate buddies that they receive money from. Don’t forget your fourteenth booster.
    Your complaints are about the economic arrangements of Liberal International Order that the Eco-catastrophy religion is part of. It’s one big package of enslavement dressed up as liberation that people who don’t understand Political Science fall for and champion.

  2. The problem with this thinking is that solutions are very difficult to elucidate. Hoping people will form loving and supportive communities belies human nature. One can always form a group of like minded individuals and remove oneself from the mass group, but that doesn’t solve the problem. The things you allude to do not have simplistic answers and if they do, it is often found that they also have unintended consequences. Appease one group and penalise another. Liberal democrats tend to try and please everyone and end up upsetting most. We all want our own charmed version of how the world should behave.
    Stop indiscriminate jungle clearing and gold mining in the Amazon and put thousands of native tribes into poverty and hunger. Heavily tax corporations and they will move off shore, stop research, lay off people and the money flow to ancillary small businesses dries up. Preserve natural bush for indigenous species and there is a shortage of land for housing your kids and grandparents.
    I agree that there are a lot of things that I believe is wrong ethically and morally and a lot of tax payers money is wasted at federal, state and council level and should be better monitored. But just by saying they are wrong or unfair in your own opinion does not solve the problem. Neither do simplistic answers to complex problems that involve multiple stake holders. As a society we need to have leaders that are deeper thinkers to analyse the ramifications of their decision and be held accountable for agreed outcome. Currently I believe the putting a political party in power for three years is insufficient time for planning and implement well thought out legislation. Politicians are only really interested in keeping their seats, so the first year they find out what’s happening, the second year they try to quickly get some answers and the third year they are only interested in keeping their jobs.

    • THE problem is clearly not “this thinking”…
      There’s a pattern in these comments.
      I just read a great book, The Dawn of Everything, in which Graeber and Wengrow question myths and assumptions about our past and propose we ask, how did we get stuck (in a fixed social arrangement based on violence)? The archaeological record shows societies over the world have rejected war and slavery and instituted collective decision making many times and for a significant chunk of human history.
      How much of YOUR thinking is not ours?


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