Open Letter to Mike Dillon, Senior Advisor to Fed. Minister for Indigenous Affairs

– Open letter –

27 June 2008

M C Dillon
Senior Advisor
Office of the Hon Jenny Macklin
Minister for Indigenous Affairs
Parliament House

Dear Mike


I have received your latest letter (18 June 2008) on behalf of the Minister for Indigenous Affairs) in reply to mine of Australia Day 2008 to the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd regarding improving the health and well-being of Australia’s First Peoples (in general) and senior indigenous men (in particular).


I must give Prime Minister Rudd, the Minster for Indigenous Affairs (Jenny Macklin) and you – as Senior Advisor to the Minister – a “Fail”.

The thinking contained in your letter clearly demonstrates a complete failure to understand the bi-cultural realities of Australian life – and a complete absence of any real understanding of what is required to heal life in this country.

All the measures you mention are designed with one thing in mind – to protect the privileges of non-indigenous people and interests both here in Australia and elsewhere.

They are not designed to restore full health and full well-being to Australia’s surviving First Peoples.


I have never been one to deny the existence of chaos in the present day lives of First Peoples in Australia. They have been subject to an affirmation drought extending over two centuries.

During this time their lives and living-countries have been treated as the playthings of those who occupy powerful positions in Westminster style cult-houses of reason.

A true understanding of the origins of that chaos – and what produces the malaise in the lives of First Peoples – requires that we look into the heart of non-indigenous peoples and the presumptions of privilege which are so graphically represented by the Billion dollar white elephant of the Parliament House in which your political masters are located.

There is not one indigenous person as a representative in that House. You, your Minister, PM Rudd have no understanding of what lies at the core of indigenous life, yet you all happily promote the pretence that you do.

What results is, if not direct genocide, then various forms of cultural genocide/ethnocide.


When you assert that the ALP Government accepts the Howard Government’s ‘child centred approach’ you are repeating the mistakes of the stolen generations when ‘well-meaning’ and ‘decent’ people engaged in a genocidal act.

Contrary to what you say, the children are not ‘the key to the future’. That is an infantile level of analysis. The key to those children’s futures lies in the knowledge of esoteric indigenous law kept alive, despite the various levels of ‘government’ in Australia, and despite the odds.

Senior indigenous lawmen are the true key to the future of us all in this country. Senior Indigenous Lawmen are REALLY sacred, TRULY sacred in ways which the secular models of modern anthropology and mono-cultural Western forms of law cannot comprehend.

Until non-indigenous law-makers in this country undergo a change of their outmoded system of imperial and colonial attitudes to indigenous lawmen there isn’t a hope in hell that non-indigenous lawmakers will come up with sound laws and sound policies to protect, promote and restore the well-being of the authentic ways of life in this country.


All serious attempts to gain recognition of traditional/customary law in Australia (at all levels of ‘government’) have been blocked by the workings of a non-indigenous numbers racket which we are encouraged to believe is ‘democracy’. Where was this spirit of democracy in 1788? Hiding in the reserve powers of the British Governor?

Ideally, and in order to restore balance to the whole of Australian life, half the Senate would be reserved for indigenous representatives from every State and Territory in Australia.

The true solution to healing indigenous life requires non-indigenous people to change and to take the next steps in the process of coming into real contact with their true surroundings on this side of the planet.


Until that time, all people of good will seriously committed to restoring full well-being to Australian life should insist that the Rudd Government adopts a policy which:

1. champions the full-health and full well-being of senior indigenous men making this a matter of the highest national priority

2. establishes, without further delay, a Task Force on indigenous men’s health and well-being, composed of the Prime Minister himself, male representatives from the Federal Parliament from all parties; qualified non-indigenous men and, to ensure a spirit of cultural partnership, an equal number of senior indigenous men of good standing in their communities.

This may go some way to addressing a problem – the death rate of indigenous men – which can only be regarded as an international scandal.

In the absence of leadership from the Prime Minister we will have to form a Peoples Task Force to tackle and rectify this fundamental flaw in the heart of modern Australian life.

Please advise me what the ALP Federal Government intends to do (if anything) address this most neglected of major issues in Australia at this time.

I note that there is no impediment for the Commonwealth of Australia to demonstrate best practice (in this regard) in its Northern Territory.

Yours truly

Bruce (Japaljari) Reyburn
Lionel Murphy Scholar 1990.

cc Australia’s peoples
PS A personal note:

We both worked with the Central Land Council in the 1980s. How many of those wonderful senior men we both had the great privilege to know are alive today?

We both know just how come you are sitting in a comfortable office in Canberra while I (who was embraced by the senior Warumungu/Alyawarra lawmen) was consigned to the periphery (where I found my vocation).

Well, life has placed you – Mike Dillon – in a key position as a senior advisor where you can (not me) make a real difference.

Now is the moment of your personal truth. Show us what you can do when you are not merely composing lame replies for your political masters. What is more important – your career or your soul?

Accept life’s challenge – become a true champion for this country’s senior indigenous men (today, not tomorrow).

In keeping with indigenous protocols – Men only need apply.