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Indigenous Australians have been forgotten in this election campaign but the conversation won’t go away

My father, in his more despondent moments, will say to me: “Son, they don’t care about us.”

“They” are Australians, and “us” are Indigenous people.

My father is not a man of bitterness, nor without hope. He says it with resignation and sadness, not with anger.

It comes from hard experience. My father has lived a life of struggle. As a Wiradjuri man he was born in to the harshness of Australia’s frontier. Raised on missions and fringe town camps, he has seen family taken away, felt the sting of poverty and exclusion and lived at the whim of the state.

He has worked to keep alive our culture and our language. He helped lead a revival of Wiradjuri language and established a post graduate language studies program in Wiradjuri culture at Charles Sturt University. It is open to all: Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike. My father believes in love and reconciliation. He has kept our language alive as a gift to this nation. He knows there has been some progress, progress that has been hard won and led by us.

Yet, care? When we remain the most impoverished and imprisoned people in the country, where is the care?

Stan Grant (right) with his father, also named Stan, who has worked hard to keep Wiradjuri language and culture alive.(Supplied: Stan Grant)

What matters to Australians?

This federal election campaign has reminded us what matters to Australians. Interest rates, inflation, housing, defense and security.

We even managed to find time to devote two weeks of headlines to nasty, vilification of trans women in sport. Whatever the pros and cons of that issue, it is hardly an existential crisis. The numbers are so small, yet the vitriol has been so intense. But that’s what Australians and our politicians and the media apparently care about.

Where are we, First Nations people? In the only leaders debate thus far in the campaign not one question was posed about Indigenous issues.


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