Is the “Welcome to Country” scam finally running dry? Broken Hill council opts out

Is the “Welcome to Country” scam finally running dry? Broken Hill council opts out. By Otis Filley.

The motion was put forward by Broken Hill’s mayor, Tom Kennedy, at a meeting in the last week of May and supported eight votes to two. Kennedy defended the decision on ABC local radio, saying “why do we need to be welcomed to our own land?” …

Kennedy told the council meeting that traditional owners would still be invited to perform welcome to country but at no financial cost to the council. It had previously paid between $150 and $250 for traditional owners to perform a welcome to country and $300 for a smoking ceremony.

Those rates were already well below those recommended by the National Association for the Visual Arts, which suggests $300-$750 for a welcome to country and up to $1,500 for a smoking ceremony. …

Kennedy argued that a welcome to country lost its value if it was being paid for.

Aboriginal shock over axing “Welcome to Country for Cash”, by Lushington Brady.

Is the “Welcome to Country” scam finally running dry? It’s had a good run, this “ancient ceremony” that was invented in 1976. But, in a classic tale of hubris, just when it’s become all-but-ubiquitous, the racket may finally be going broke.

Not just because Australians are thoroughly sick of the empty virtue-signalling, and constant tacit implications that they don’t belong in their own country. But also because more and more Australians are waking up to the fact that it’s a cynical money-grab.

Members of Broken Hill’s Aboriginal community have criticised a decision by its local council to stop paying them for undertaking Welcome to Country ceremonies. Under the revision, Broken Hill’s traditional owners, the Wilyakali people, would still be invited to perform the ceremony, but at no financial cost to the council.

Naturally, the grifters are miffed at their nice little earner coming a cropper.

For Wilyakali woman Taunoa Bugmy, who has been performing the ceremony for more than 15 years at various events, it was a shock — especially during Reconciliation Week. “I’m heartbroken, I’m spiritually disrupted, I feel detached a little bit from my community, I feel outcasted,” Ms Bugmy said….

So, what she means is that every time some pseudo white, calling themselves “Aunty Bev Possum” or “Uncle Billy Noonuccle”, whack on a bit of ochre and bore the pants off everyone at a school assembly, local council meeting, or footy match, they’re trousering a few grand in their lap-lap.

What part of this isn’t screaming “scam”?

Stephen writes about the recent fiasco in Perth, at the opening of a section of freeway, when two opposing groups turned out to do the Welcome and started bickering:

Recently we saw the farce at the “grand opening” of the Romeo Road extension of the Mitchell Freeway. There all the dignitaries were standing around like stuffed chooks under an overpass as two aboriginal elders/custodians/grifters bickered about who should be conducting the “traditional” smoking ceremony.

On the ground was a pitiful looking coloured plastic bucket, made in China no doubt. Inside were some smouldering green eucalyptus tree leaves, clipped illegally from a native tree one suspects. The fire, such as it was, would probably have been started with a fire lighter, made in China, and some fire starter material, also, probably from China. All very “traditional”.

As the two geniuses bickered one might wonder about what the dispute centred around. It was the right to conduct a ceremony, wasn’t it? But ceremonies are well, ceremonial aren’t they? Why would anyone want to be paid to perform a ceremony? Isn’t it honour enough to be asked? And there’s the rub.

Remove the financial incentive and all the infighting over who gets to perform a ceremony will instantly vanish — as likely will the people wanting to perform said ceremonies. You can bet Sydney to a brick that had there been no pecuniary interest in that smoking ceremony those two upstanding but bickering native gentlemen would not have graced us with their  presence. Strange that.

An Old Bushy’s View:

I’m both tired of and bristling at the seemingly endless stream of demands that I back with a ‘yes’ vote something our PM Albanese calls the Voice. I am exhorted by most sections of the media to support this or be castigated as a racist, a redneck bigot indelibly opposed to a fair and equitable Australia. A future of harmony and reconciliation, I am assured, will inevitably follow if we give a very small proportion — roughly three per cent — of our population a second or third voice in Parliament. This is something the non-Aboriginal rest of us do not have.

My initial reaction was one of perplexed annoyance. Surely, this Voice business is unnecessary and counterproductive, I reasoned, but this mood soon became an appalled bemusement when I read The Australian‘s profile of Marcia Langton and saw the headline ‘Vote ‘No’ and you won’t get a welcome to country again’. It sounds like a good deal to me.

Another reason to vote “no” on the Voice.

hat-tip Stephen Harper