As if we ever needed more evidence that the Howard government has a mentality which belongs with the 1950s, we now have it.
Showing the same dangerous ‘terra nullius of the mind’ which exposed First Peoples to nuclear fallout during British atomic bomb testing at Maralinga in the mid 1950s, the present Australian Defence Minister, Brendan Nelson, is seeking to dump nuclear waste into the lives of countless generations of indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory.
“BRENDAN NELSON: If the people of Sydney can comfortably live with a nuclear reactor that conducts research and produces isotopes for industry and for medical use, why on earth can’t people in the middle of nowhere have low level and intermediate level waste? “(ABC AM – Friday, 28 April , 2006)
Why on earth indeed? The answer is that one man’s ‘middle of nowhere’ is …
… another peoples’ eternal dreaming country.
All those who used to believe in ‘wilderness’ have come to learn this fundament truth about Australia. All country has people.
If in doubt, see the poem about Country by Rob Ferguson which Dr Nelson, as the Member for Bradfield, has on his website http://www.brendannelson.com.au/news/default.asp?action=article&ID=475
Rob Ferguson’s poem concludes:
“We will live in harmony in this land
Because this is the Land of the Rainbow Serpent
And we are the Rainbow People.”
In keeping with the unspecified selection criteria for Ministerial positions within Anglo-Australia (indigenous people are not urged to apply) non-indigenous Ministers of the Crown remain blind to the Dreaming dimensions of country.
They see parts of Australia – and especially the Northern Territory – as ‘nowhere’ and as being ‘empty’. This is a motivated form of blindness.
Seeking a quick return (without paying the real price) they and the commercial interests they represent have become habituated to the idea than First Peoples living countries are mere playgrounds for Western interests and, especially, for the play of speculative capital.
It is now second nature for such Ministers of the Crown (from 1788 on) to presume that these vitally important living countries (rich in dreaming messages) can be taken as an inexpensive and seemingly limitless resource to be used to solve the problems caused by other ways of life. Those times have to be declared to be over. We now have to start to learn to deal maturely with the root cause problems.
If taking nuclear waste is such a great deal, the Member for Bradfield should be trying to win it for his constituents in the northern suburbs of Sydney. But we all know just why the Minister wants to send these radioactively contaminated materials as far away as possible from where his constituents actually live.
Dr Nelson is well aware that, unlike the people in Sydney, what is being offered to people in ‘remote’ places is not the very short term benefits of the nuclear industry but the very long term dangers and risks. Radioactive materials which are produced for benefits have very short half lives, and travel very short distances.
The sizzling toxic cosmic soup which remains fries our genes, and will do so from here to eternity.
DOUBLE FORMS OF BLINDNESS
State Ministers of the Crown promoting nulcear ‘solutions’ suffer from a double form of blindness, one shared with their compliant technocrats, since they are also blind to the obvious reality that the main product of the nuclear industry is the very stuff they mistakenly categorise as ‘waste’.
Long after the cheap trill requirements for electric energy have been consumed (largely by distant peoples leading non-sustainable lives) and long after the limited liability companies have stolen away in the night, future generations of indigenous people in Central Australia will be faced with the problem of how to heal country contaminated with radioactive poison. Nothing is surer.
Categorised from the outset as ‘remote’ they are soon ‘out-of-sight’ and, as the true costs of storing even low level nuclear waste become apparent, out-of-mind. We can already see this problem in Russia, and failing modern Western states will be at least as bad as that.
As world economies wane, nuclear storage facilities will develop problems of containment and, lacking the resources to maintain them at the high levels promised, lead to lasting pollution.
It is not a matter of whether or not people suffering from these ‘Nowhereman’ forms of blindness should be steering our ship of state as Ministers of the Crown, or holding key executive positions in modern forms of organisation (be they non-indigenous or indigenous organisations or office holders).
Rather, we have to learn to fashion new eyes for life. We have to come up with new forms of relating, new forms of arrangements which will replace existing ‘modern’ forms of organisations. In short – new Ways.
We need to ensure that these new Ways place eternal well-being first, and relegate cheap thrills and quick profits to a much lower level of importance.
And in this search we can only draw inspiration from those senior law people who (when free from duress and other forms of insidious Whitemail) always insisted that we never rubbish country (whatever the price).
Respect for country is the most important (and a necessary) selection criteria for all positions in a mature means of governance. It is not a matter of simply changing the government, the challenge which confronts us is to change the very means by which life governs itself.
And this will require a new sense of who we are and how we relate with our true surroundings. A new cosmology fashioned (in part) from the insights kept alive, despite the odds, by indigenous peoples in many places.
Australia’s First Peoples have taught us well – living country is never ‘the middle of nowhere’ – it is an eternal soul to which we all belong. Rainbow Serpents represent this aspect of life in Australia, and may once have been found around the world.
With the Federal election approaching later in the year, the good people of Bradfield now need to realise their rainbow selves and ensure that their representative is not a person who nuclear dumps on sacred land but, rather, a person who lives in harmony with the land, and respects our true-life Rainbow Serpent heritage.
Exit the Nowheremen.
Here is a songlines movement.
Bring on the Rainbow People!