The current Australian debate addressing the Voice now seems lost in neoliberal politics. Media organisations are falling over themselves to maintain exploitive and divisive structural social complexities, lacking historical colonial/genocidal/incarceration information.
An obvious strategy of social manipulation to dumb down consciousness. As a young woman in the 1970s and 1980s, researching for a documentary on land rights and self-determination in Australia I was adopted and mentored by warrior woman, ‘Mum Shirl’. A revolutionary woman/saint who changed Redfern forever, an area rich in an Indigenous community, poverty, over-policing, drug dealers, homelessness, trauma and distrust of white people.
I watched Shirl stand up in court cases and beg the representative magistrate for systemically brutalised Indigenous children be sent to her, with mob support, rather than to state prisons.
Father Ted Kennedy, from the Redfern Catholic Church gave a large church space to Shirl. This space was lined with beds and in my old bomb of a car, I drove Shirl to many op shops as she gathered bedding, clothes, etc.
Over the years 64 children were saved from prisons.
On one occasion Shirl had to go to the Redfern Police Station to get the children. Waiting outside for her and the children, I heard angry voices, on top of this terrifying noise I could hear Shirl yelling. After approximately 15 minutes Shirl appeared, minus the children, running towards the car. She had been badly beaten by the police and had a swollen face, cut and bleeding knees. She had fought back physically. I viewed the legacy of the Redfern police.
Shirl then tirelessly worked to establish the Redfern Medical Centre, and Redfern Legal Centre plus a daily food hub for homeless folk.
Shirl was a frontline woman who took no shite. Her black eyes pierced through any point of any contention with a razor-sharp mind. In 1983, at the Pine Gap demonstration, Shirl and I were in the central desert one starry night which was to be an ‘aha moment’ for me. Shirl, who could not read or write, explained the connectedness of Mother Earth to the greater starry cosmology. I learnt that ‘all is connected’, as the greater cosmology in the sky travels, the dynamic emanations so impact all ecology on Mother Earth.
I saw no neoliberal star, no Johnny Howard/Dutton star, no Rupert Murdoch star, no Western corporations’ star (tho’ much junk in the sky). I saw a constellation of ‘deaths in custody’ stars. I faced my own ignorance, it seemed colonial/Western philosophy and social relations remain in infancy, a primitive mind-seat with a greed trigger point. At that point, prisons entered my life. Another tragic story of Indigenous terror.
Folks who feel ‘No’ in their consciousness, view Gerry Bostock’s film Lousy Little Sixpence. It will help with historical understanding. I have waited 50 years for a ‘Yes’ vote – accountability please.