FIRST NATION:

The politics of aboriginally

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On 16 February 2022 the Sydney Morning Herald published an article written by the journalists Matthew Knot covering the opening debut of a play At What Cost at the Belvoir Theatre Sydney, written by Nathan Maynard based on the system of the identification and the promotion process for the support to Australian aboriginals

NOTE: For the sake of simplicity in the rest of this article I will use the term ‘aboriginal Australians’ to apply to persons who may alternatively label themselves as ‘indigenous’ or ‘first nation’ persons.

Okay! I know, I know, these terms are not a correct synonym but nobody seem to care about that - anymore.

According to the article, the playwright wanted to share his frustrations with the system whereby people were being assigned the status of an Australian aboriginal without the necessary scrutiny essential to conform with the Australian government’s definition for this category. A system the playwright labelled “Tick-a-box”

From the article it is clear that the context of the play was nothing really new, to those 'in-the-know' within Australia. What was new and interesting was that it had been written by an Australian aboriginal and Australian aboriginals where amongst the cast.

Apparently, the theme of the play, according to the article, was to address circumstances where people without any real experience of, involvement with, or commitment to, the world of the Australian aboriginals were basically self-certifying themselves as belonging to this racial group.

His observation was that the motivation of people who fell into this category was driven by any number of possible reasons.

Firstly, due to the system lack of scrutiny for fulling the established requirements, set out by the Australian government, Australians were being offered a virtual open door to the status of an Australian aboriginal.

This allowed such persons access to a plethora of varied and generous funding programs, implemented by government and initiated by private sector, at the instigation of government.

Programs that initially were designed to address lifestyle impediments for those Australian aboriginals still struggling to cope with the advanced technological systems that had arrived unexpectedly into their world as little as 5 generations ago.

The playwright belief was that the explosion in this phenomenon was not necessarily or exclusively driven by financial gain available to those with this status but also easy access to new wave of celebrity oppertunities that had arisen within the community as a consequence of the massive government promotion campaigns elevating the status of the descendants of Australian aboriginals into a special race of people in a benefited category.

The other unpalatable outcome cited as a consequence of this system failure was that some of the 'open door' people were speaking publicly and acting as if under the umbrella of being part of the Australian aboriginal community and were doing so despite the fact “they don’t have a connection to country” like real Australian aboriginals do.

One issue that didn’t seem to be included was this huge growth in the numbers of the Australian aboriginal population, must meant that in some programs competition must now becoming fierce for members of this once small and somewhat novel group of individuals, for the opportunities offered.

Other issue not addressed in Matthew ‘s article on the play are raised by some of the individuals that completed the comment section on the webpage

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