8.2 C
Byron Shire
August 16, 2022

Keeping the flame of hope alive

Latest News

Alarming footage of devastation in Ellis State Forest

Today north coast conservationists say they are shocked and alarmed at footage of the devastation being wrought in Ellis State Forest south of Grafton.

Other News

Council acknowledges desire for house relocations, buybacks and land swaps

Last night Lismore Council looked at House Relocations, Land swaps and Buy Backs when Councillor Adam Guise’s moved a motion that “Council acknowledges flood impacted ratepayers' desire for house relocations, buybacks and land swaps."

Alarming footage of devastation in Ellis State Forest

Today north coast conservationists say they are shocked and alarmed at footage of the devastation being wrought in Ellis State Forest south of Grafton.

Concerns over future of Murwillumbah Hospital

Northern NSW Local Health District have sought to reassure locals that facilities won't be downgraded or closed at Murwillumbah Hospital when the controversial new Tweed Valley Hospital in Cudgen near Kingscliff opens in 2023.

Bullet Train

A former and unlucky assassin codenamed ‘Ladybug’ is determined to do his job peacefully after one too many gigs...

The COVID-19 Booster: Latest news from the pandemic

The COVID-19 Booster is Cosmos Magazine’s weekly shot of the latest research, news and data from the pandemic.

Autocracy or democracy for Byron Shire?

The New Yorker Magazine recently wrote a quote from Mr Rupert Murdoch ‘The truth is authoritarian governments do work!’...

During the past couple of weeks, I’ve been in Canada visiting Indigenous men’s drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities in Vancouver, and attending and participating in an Indigenous men’s gathering in Churchill, in the sub-arctic region of Manitoba, the polar bear capital of the world.

Churchill is a small community of 800, 80 per cent of whom are Indigenous, First Nations, Inuit and Metis.

The visit filled me with awe and inspiration as I sat and listened to the stories of Indigenous men who are striving to heal from trauma-induced substance abuse, and to positively turn around their lives for themselves, their families and their community.

Professor Bob Morgan is a Gumilaroi man from Walgett in western NSW. Photo supplied.

Men shared their paths to addiction but, more importantly, they wanted to celebrate their journey to recovery. The stories were shared in a culturally safe and supportive environment, sponsored and created by Movember, the men’s health organisation who have funded various men’s health programs in Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

Travelling with staff from The Glen, the men’s rehabilitation centre on the NSW Central Coast, we had a stopover in Winnipeg, where we were joined by the Maori delegation prior to flying onto Churchill the next day. Interestingly, we discovered that the hotel we were staying in was a designated accommodation hub for refugees fleeing the atrocities in Ukraine.

The accent of young Ukrainians and families filled the breakfast room and blue-and-yellow ribbons representing the Ukrainian flag was worn proudly by those displaced by insanity and the thirst for power.

Speaking with some of the young Ukrainians with uncertainty in their hearts and fear in their eyes, I was able to gain a small glimpse of what they had endured, as they described the circumstances of their flight from the pathology of war.

Canada has opened its hearts to the Ukrainian refugees, who have been forced to flee the Russian invasion of their country. An estimated 30,000 have been granted refugee status in Canada. By contrast, as of May 2022, Australia had accepted only a reported 3,000 Ukrainians.

In an interview with CTV, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) declared: ‘No matter how long it might take, if we believe in the values of territorial integrity of nations, of the self-determination of peoples and of the sovereignty of states, then we have to breathe life into those actions.’

Compassion, empathy and a sense of common humanity defines Canada’s contribution to the plight of the Ukrainian refugees, who are in search of safety and the promise of a new life while their country defends its sovereign rights and freedoms against an aggressive and callous Russian invasion.

Arriving back in Australia, I was greeted with the news of a new Pauline Hanson political stunt, this time involving Hanson reportedly storming out of the Senate, as Senate president Sue Lines delivered an Acknowledgement of Country.

Hanson is reported to have declared that she ‘didn’t and never would acknowledge Indigenous lands in Australia.’

Hanson’s stunt serves to remind us just how fragile and contested the process of reconciliation, social and restorative justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples really is.

Hanson of course has form where issues of equity, justice and human rights are concerned.

Who could forget the burqa stunt of 2017, when Hanson wore a burqa into the Senate to publicise her attempt to have the burqa banned?

The then federal attorney-general, Senator George Brandis, castigated Hanson for her stunt telling her that her attempt to drive the burqa ‘into a corner, to mock its religious garments, is an appalling thing to do and I would ask you to reflect on what you have done.’

Obviously, Hanson didn’t reflect on her antics, but rather simply waited for yet another opportunity when she could engage in her politics of division and the opportunity to disseminate her hatred and racism.

Hanson’s hatred and racism are in stark contrast to the acknowledgement of history, and a commitment to cultural diversity and social justice, that greet travellers when they fly into Vancouver international airport.

Travellers are greeted by magnificent first nations artwork, while the prestigious University of British Columbia (UBC) acknowledges that the land on which the University is situated is the ‘traditional, ancestral, and unceeded territory of the Musqueam People’.

Likewise, when air travellers arrive at Auckland airport in New Zealand, they are greeted in the Maori language. These are acts of respect and acknowledgement and neither of them have damaged the respective countries, but rather tell a story of respect and of human dignity.

Perhaps the hatred and racism peddled by Hanson will be with us for some time, but I remain hopeful that the majority of Australians will embrace the need for our country to heal and to commit to a world where a peaceful, dignified and honourable co-existence can be the legacy that current generations leave for those who follow.

As previously declared, I am a captive to hope.

♦ Professor Morgan is a Gumilaroi man from Walgett, western NSW. He is a highly respected and acknowledged Aboriginal educator/researcher.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


    • Do you know why she did it? She explains on her youtube channel. She wants Unity instead of the division you lot push.

  1. A wonderful story from a traveller. Thank you so much Professor Morgan. The best stance one could take in the human struggle is to be a captive of hope!. Compassion, empathy and a sense of common humanity have been displayed by N.Z and Canada and is growing in Australia despite the ‘stunts’ of Pauline Hanson, who is really suffering from relevance deprivation. Her stunts reveal more about her political anxiety and ongoing ambition to harness dis-content and politically wedge. “Moving on” and acceptance of difference is not within Pauline’s heart and that is her great sadness, this we see. Archie has ‘gone home’ but left us his heart….breathe.

  2. Christian – many of us have ‘lived & listened’ to this ‘said person’
    over many years. Nothing has changed for the better. Believe it
    or not.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Mental health explored at Ballina symposium

250 people attended the first free Community Mental Health Symposium last Thursday at Ballina RSL, with a range of expert speakers from various organisations explaining the dimensions of the problem and how best to move forward.

Have your say on aged care facility in Kingscliff  

The developers of new $150 million redevelopment ‘designed to meet the growing and evolving needs of seniors in the region’, are inviting Kingscliff residents to take part in community consultation.

Fuel stolen from farmer

The cost of fuel continues to be a major consideration in the budget, particularly in country areas where distances travelled are inevitably further for your average daily needs like accessing shops, schools and other activities.

Developer proposes light industrial in Federal

Tasteful, reasonable and useful? Or noisy, oversized and intrusive? This is the question at the heart of the debate over a light industrial development that has been proposed for the heart of Federal.