Sunday, December 19, 2010

Labor Greenhorn approves Brighton Bypass. Mckim says "sorry nothing we can do". Aboriginals set for a fight and accuse 'lax' Mckim of "flying under the radar"

Which planet has Tasmania's most senior left wing parliamentarian and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Nick Mckim been on whilst the Brighton Bypass issue has been unfolding?  Mckim, the Leader of the Tasmanian Green's response to the devastating decision to build a freeway over and trash part of one of the worlds most significant archaeological sites has been inadequate to say the least.

Ever the politician Mckim reminded devastated aboriginals that The Greens were ..."the only party who have consistently stated our opposition to any impacts upon the Jordan River Levee site......and  reiterated that the decision on the permits issued by Minister Wightman did not go to Cabinet".

One contributor to the Mercury's online comments railed........"What a joke Nick McKim. Your excuse that the decision "did not go to cabinet" is laughable, because if it did go to cabinet yourself and Cassy would choose not to take part in the cabinet discussions/vote - exactly as you have done in the past when you couldn't handle the heat of an earlier unrelated decision. Now that you've used the excuse "the decision didn't go to cabinet" and the excuse "we chose not to be in cabinet for the decision" What excuse will you use next time? Back when yourself and Cassy chose not to be in cabinet for a different decision you said it was because the issue wasn't important enough to risk breaking the Labor - Green alliance, with that in mind I ask you exactly what would it take for you to risk the Labor - Green alliance?...
Posted by: James 11:01am today

Todays Mercury Newspaper reported that Aboriginal Heritage Officer Aaron Everett accused Nick McKim of being "lax in his responsibility toward Aboriginal people and "staying under the radar" when it came time for real action".

The Leader of the Tasmanian Greens said of his Labor cabinet colleague's decision to approve the controversial bypass.....“We must all learn from this distressing, and potentially divisive, situation".................WHAT THE??

POTENTIALLY divisive? calling the Greens leader.

Tasmanian Aboriginal protesters are already flocking to the contested site at Brighton, 25km north of Hobart and appear ready to go to war with the Tasmanian Government. They have vowed to stand their ground and fight for as long as takes, even if that means being arrested. All the 'learning' and debriefing in the world will neither console them or bring justice.
If Gunns find a joint venture partner and build the Tamar Valley pulp mill one wonders whether the Greens leader and born again Labor mate will proffer up similarly soft and useless platitudes to another devastated community.

........"Seven metres below the planned elevated highway lies the bank of the river, where it is indisputable that ancient Aboriginal communities have moved, met and camped for epochs -- literally 36,000 thousand years before the great pyramids of Egypt or Stonehenge were built. The Jordan levee silt bank is special. Because of specific geological and geographical features in the surrounding river valley it has not been disturbed, moved or dramatically altered by flood waters through the course of at least two ice ages and eons before as well.
Across the 14-hectare site, it is estimated as many as three million ancient stone tools, fireplaces, ash and bone fragments are spread deep through the soil profile.
They are the remnant traces of one of the earliest civilisations known in Australia and, indeed, across the world.
It is an extraordinary thought that these flints, axe heads and stone tools, some made from rocks found only in far distant locations, are the remains and debris of 1600 generations of Tasmanian Aboriginal people who have lived in the area.
Compare that with the maximum eight generations of white Australians who have lived on this island since 1803 and it is easy to feel like a tiny ant barely scrapping the surface of history in comparison.
Archaeologist Robert Paton, writing about his unexpected discovery in a recent issue of 40 degrees South
magazine, describes the Brighton levee bank as "one of the most significant archaeological sites in the world". "We were expecting dates of around 10,000 years. These new dates made it the oldest site in Tasmania by several thousand years, and among the oldest archaeological sites in Australia," Mr Paton writes.
"[At depths dated to the period between] 26,000 and 41,000 years, the layers of human occupation were neatly sandwiched between sandy deposits. "This was an extraordinary archaeological find. [It] gives us an unparalleled glimpse into the lives of people from so long ago and their vibrant and changing culture."
One would expect amazement, awe and pride to be the overwhelming sentiment and feeling of all Tasmanians at the discovery of such ancient evidence of early man existing on Hobart's rural doorstep.
Yet ever since the debate about the significance of the Jordan River levee bank began early this year, after Mr Paton revealed his astonishingly early dates going back 41,000 years, Tasmanians have revealed a disturbing lack of interest or curiosity -- let alone pride -- in some of man's earliest beginnings being found in Tasmania. Instead, the reaction has largely been antagonistic and abhorrently racist. The finds have been dismissed by many Tasmanians as being "only" about Aboriginal heritage -- and therefore of no interest apparently to the wider community. Overwhelmingly, the ugly sentiment expressed on website blogs such as the Mercury's, has been that Aborigines should stop whingeing and let the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources get on with building the long-awaited four-lane upgrade of the Midland Highway across the historic site for the good of all Tasmanians.
Progress rather than history -- the dominance of cars and trucks over the unique culture and heritage of the first Tasmanians, has been the base level of debate.
Just as distasteful have been the disingenuous assertions made by the department and other build-the-highway-regardless proponents who have claimed that putting a flyover slap-bang across the levee bank actually preserves and protects the precious treasures and history below"...........Read More Here

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