Germaine Greer: Australia must become an Aboriginal country

From the Royal Society of Arts lecture by the author and broadcaster
Click to follow
The Independent Online

I don't feel so much anger against my own white ancestors in Australia as I do tremendous pity. Everywhere I go in Australia, I see land that was cleared at a human cost that you can hardly imagine. I don't condemn my ancestors who displaced Aboriginal people. I may deplore them, but I don't condemn them. I'm not here to apportion blame; I'm actually looking for a way forward.

I'm not going to argue for separation for autonomous Aboriginal homelands. As far as I'm concerned, the notion of Aboriginal sovereignty only makes sense if it's understood to be sovereignty over the whole of Australia, and this is what my argument is.

Why don't we say, this is an Aboriginal country? We're here on sufferance. We're going to earn our place here by understanding hunter-gatherer values. We're going to try and understand sustainability, how you can move across the land and live well without wrecking it, without gashing it to its vitals.

Imagine a destiny where there was a nation that was officially a hunter-gatherer nation, highly developed, full of well-educated people, but committed to a hunter-gatherer system of values. Imagine what a role that would be in the international community, just when everybody really needs it. Imagine if all the hunter-gatherer peoples of the earth understood that Australia would plead their case in the international forum.

You couldn't do it now, we'd be laughed out of court as complete hypocrites. But it is an option. It is a destiny that we could have. All it takes is really daring thinking. All it takes is courage.

Comments