CAMPAIGN DAY 13 – 28 TO GO
Veteran Aboriginal rights campaigner Galarrwuy Yunupingu backed John Howard’s pledge to recognise Aboriginal rights yesterday. In his speech at the University of Melbourne, he spoke of this being “the most serious business we have faced as a nation” and as an issue on which the Prime Minister “trying, on behalf of the nation… to get it right”.
This area has always been problematic for John Howard. As his biographers have stated, he has always believed in integration rather than multiculturalism. At the time that the policy was announced, he talked about how this has been an area with which he has long struggled; it is one in which his background has shaped his views. It is easy to mock his position as electoral jockeying. It will certainly have surprised many amongst both admirers and detractors. Personally, I really do think that it’s the result of a process, a long journey on which his opinions have changed over time.
In any case, if Yunupingu’s speech had been made in praise of Rudd, it would have received widespread coverage – even though it would have been less newsworthy, given the long and understandable affinity between such campaigners and the left. Instead, when an Aboriginal rights campaigner has endorsed the position of one of the most conservative figures in politics, it has been received in all but silence from the media, with only the Australian giving it an outing (apart from The Age, a remarkable home of leftism, which managed to covered the story and reprint the speech without discussing any of the positivity towards the PM). Such is life.