Australia Day in Doomadgee

Doomadgee, we write it
In our orthography
Really should be
Dumat’ji
 

No flag raising here
No speech or ceremony
On Australia Day
In Doomadgee
 

River runs warm
Kiddies swim and swarm
On Australia Day
In Doomadgee
 

Uncles bashing
In Australian passion
On Australia Eve
Here in Doomadgee

 
Broken hand, broken
Jaw, cut faces and more:
That’s Australia Day
In Doomadgee.
 

Adam Goodes
Too far away
This Australia Day
In Doomadgee
 

A busy day this
Australia Day
In the hospital
In Doomadgee
 

We plaster, we suture
Like there’s no future:
Future no feature 
of Australia Day,
Not here, no way, 
In Doomadgee
 

The end of Australia Day –
Quietness falls
In hospital halls
Of Doomadgee
 

But short the respite –
Quick! Elder sick,
Dying On Australia night –
Dying here in Doomadgee?
 

Quiet, quiet, his voice, his breath –
Small his smile at threshold of death –
Good night Australia:
System failure in Doomadgee
 

Beside him, quiet woman – or girl –
His guard and ward in this world
Trembles, faces an Australian day
Elderless in Doomadgee.
 

He slips away from teeming kin
Who hold tears and keening in;
A dreadful peace on Australia Day
And quiet, this night in Doomadgee.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ogholotse and Adam

This blog has seen me leap into print recently in a familiar posture of righteous urging on the subjects of the public humiliation of a footballer and the plight of a lady with a disability. Brace yourself for more righteousness.

I wrote of my schoolmate, Hilary, a social worker and ceramicist – did I mention Hilary’s ceramics? – who works from home, counseling the lost and confused, supervising tribes of fellow therapists, contributing to the health of persons and, through her taxpaying, to the health of the economy. Hilary is an agent for good. She is not a leaner. Financially stringent governments should love Hilaries.

This particular Hilary has a couple of disabilities, however: she is not young and she has a touch of quadriplegia. She needs carers around the clock. She pays these persons from her earnings and they in turn pay taxes. No leaners here.

One of Hilary’s two carers, Ilaisaane – called Saane – is not a citizen of this country. A skilled person (she’s a State Enrolled Nurse), Saane comes from Tonga. She’s allowed to stay here as the spouse of another person, who holds a skilled immigrant visa. That person, Ogholotse, is highly skilled. A graduate of Melbourne’s esteemed RMIT University, OG as he’s called, holds both Bachelor and Masters degrees in multimedia. (As an unimaginative unimedium person I am bemused that such a skill might exist.) However, exist it does and an employer exists who needed someone with Ogholotse’s skill. So the someone employed him, he came into the country, he worked and he paid his taxes. Another non-leaner. Everyone is happy. Ilaisaane cares expertly, intimately, tenderly for Hilary in a relationship rich in mutual respect.

Everyone’s a winner.

So far so good. But hard times struck the employer and OG was let go. He has sought alternative employment in his sanctioned area of skill, but he has not found it.

Now Australia will let OG go and with him Immigration rules we must let Ilaisaane go. Being near-indispensible, once Ilaisaane goes, Hilary just might go too: Hilary’s going would be into institutional care, into a life of dependency, of expensive involuntary leaning.

Everyone loses.

There’s a simple solution: OG needs to find a job. RMIT graduates are the most work-ready, highly employable skilled persons in industry. Employers love RMIT graduates, seeking them out and hiring them even in times of deep economic recession. At present we don’t have a recession. Skilled jobs exist. Odd that Ogholotse doesn’t have one. He’s strong and healthy and clever, he’s experienced, willing and personable. And as you’ll see from the photo, he enjoys that unfair advantage in job-seeking of being good looking.

  
What can be his problem? Sure, he’s black. That couldn’t be his problem, surely. Not here, not in Australia. We aren’t racists. Ask Adam Goodes.
Postcript:

If you happen to be or to know a colour blind employer who needs a person skilled in multimedia, please write urgently to Hilary at quincetree@gmail.com. Time is very short.
Previous post on Hilary’s story http://wp.me/p2QU0B-Mg

Adam the Original

 
Years ago I had the privilege of working in partnership with a Brownlow Medallist. Dr Donald Cordner was the scion of a family as distinguished for Medicine as for football. I learned many things from Donald: it was he who transformed me from a sluggard to a mechanism for perpetual motion. Like my father he personified a thirst for a meaningful life both within and without medicine. 

Donald captained the Melbourne Football Club in its fertile years of recurring premierships. Of the Medal he spoke seldom and little. I remember one datum: the Charles Brownlow Medal is awarded to the player voted by the umpires as the FAIREST and the best. Over the twenty years we worked together that described Donald Cordner: he was the best at everything he put hand or foot to; and he personified honour.

 

Like Donald, Adam Goodes captained his club. Like Donald he saw a role for himself in community service. Like Donald, Adam Goodes is a leader, a man of vision, of substance.

 

In 2003 we saw Adam receiving the first of his two Brownlow Medals. Although he shared the distinction that year with two other champions – one of whom captained the club of my own allegiance – it is the image of Goodes that lingers. More particularly the choice of his companion. Alone among the great young men, Adam brought his mother along, the sole parent who raised him and his siblings. Goodes’ mother contrasted with the other companions, generally blondes, frequently trophy females with cleavage.

Mrs Goodes looked what she is, an Aboriginal matron. Nothing fashionable – read, ‘mutable, evanescent’ – just his Mum, the woman Adam Goodes chose to raise to public honour.

 

When I looked at this man, this original, I saw one who stands for family, for loyalty,  one who knows his roots and is proud. Like his ethnically distinctive medallist forebears, Robert Dipierdimenico and Jim Stynes, Adam is Australia incarnate. He reminds us of our inextinguishably diverse makeup. That diversity, for most Australians, is our glory; for some an intolerable truth. When those persons boo Adam Goodes, they boo their community, they boo themselves.

  

 

Australia Day in Doomadgee

Doomadgee, we write it

In our orthography

When really –

It should be – Dumat’ji

 

No flag raising here

No speech or ceremony

On Australia Day

In Doomadgee

 

The river runs warm

Kiddies swim and swarm

On Australia Day

In Doomadgee

 

Blackfellas bashing

(It’s the national fashion)

On Australia Eve

Here in Doomadgee

 

Broken hand, broken

Jaw, cut faces and more:

That’s Australia Day

In Doomadgee.

 

Adam Goodes

Too far away

This Australia Day

From Doomadgee

 

A busy day this

Australia Day –

Hordes in the wards

In Doomadgee

 

We plaster and we suture

Like there is no future:

Future no feature of Australia Day,

Not here, no way, in Doomadgee

 

The end of Australia Day –

Quietness falls

In hospital halls

Of Doomadgee

 

But short the respite –

Quick! Elder sick!

Dying on Australia night?

Dying here – in Doomadgee?

 

Quiet, quiet, his voice, his breath –

Small his smile at the threshold of death –

Good night Australia:

System failure in Doomadgee

 

Beside him, quiet woman – or girl –

His guard and ward in this world

Trembles, facing an Australian day

Without him in Doomadgee.

 

He slips away from his teeming kin

Who hold their tears and keening in;

A dreadful peace on Australia Day

And quiet, this night in Doomadgee.