Divided Australia sails into the future

Posted by Aboriginal Art Directory | 12.04.08

News source: Nation Media

An article about the changing face of Australia.

Quoted from the article:

In an age when the world is becoming aware of the number of cultures that it is losing, the Aboriginal revival came at just the right time.

Big business sat up and took notice. Now Qantas, the national airline, is covered in Aboriginal motifs. Elegant galleries have opened everywhere featuring Aboriginal art, and the National Gallery of Victoria has a special section devoted to it.

Although this may depict Australia as some kind of paradise, the country has been stricken by serious drought in the past decade, which has forced Australians to rethink their economic strategies, particularly the country’s dependence on sheep and cattle farming.

The population, having tripled within my lifetime, has meant that there are teething problems when it comes to settling immigrants. In December 2005, race riots shocked the residents of the eastern Sydney suburb of Cronulla, and shook them out of their complacency. This even though Australia is strict about who it lets in, even as a visitor — bank balances, status, respectability are all carefully examined, and an intending traveller from, say Kenya, risks losing Ksh12,000 ($187.50) if the visa application fails.

Furthermore, there is an unresolved trauma that refuses to go away. The truth is that Australia is not really one country but two, with the Aboriginals (the oldest continuous living culture in existence) often choosing a kind of apartheid mostly at the “top end” of the country, shutting themselves in their communities and insisting on permits from those who profess a wish to visit them — granted only if the applicants show a serious interest and respect for their way of life.

Apart from that, there are hordes of children who do not go to school and who wander about aimlessly, whose parents can often not be found and who inhabit a kind of no-man’s land.

Belated attempts by successive governments to create housing for many of the communities have failed due to their dislike of the nuclear-family-oriented home.

Alcoholism is so severe a problem that the police routinely perform random breath tests, invariably more often on blacks than on whites.


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