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.
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.
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 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.
More Storylines articles
Many are asking ‘who do I talk to?’ if I want to work with mob? Taking the time to yarn, engage and build relationships is key.
My grandfather would often tell me a story. A story about a community. This community was self-sufficient, self-reliant, and self-determining of their own lives.
Kinship and Country obligations for mob resulted in bands, or groups of families living together and sharing everyday life, prior to colonisation.
On election night 2022, in his victory speech, the first commitment Anthony Albanese made was to pledge a referendum to enshrine a voice for First Nations people in the Constitution.
Having spent a long time reflecting on the last 13 weeks since the floods devastated our region, many important issues have come to my attention – loss of homes, possessions, safety, schools suspended from flooding, chaos, death, loss of animals, extreme anxiety and desperation, and so much more.
As a First Nations woman I have a complex approach to voting. I acknowledge that the right to vote was hard fought and won for both my race and my gender so I feel an obligation to those who came before me to participate in the electoral system.
In our efforts to change and dominate our landscape we have altered the very fabric of how our ecosystems and geography manage in times of severe weather. Severe weather that is becoming more frequent, more devastating.
Dr Bronwyn Bancroft disdain the current crop of politicians and bureaucrats 'who build walls; impenetrable walls of misinformation, and disguise corruption as expedient to being elected to office'.
As the 50th anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy draws near, the attention of the nation is again being drawn to the lawns of Old Parliament House. However, this time the actions of the few do not encompass the views and needs of First Nations people.
♦ 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...