'In Australia there have been for a long time two distinct yet connect-led public and intellectual debates concerning the significance of descent, belonging and culture. One revolves around the cleavage between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, and especially the status of indigenous claims deriving from a history of colonisation. It is about land, health, heritage, housing, intellectual property, identity, education, 'stolen children', and much else as well. The other debate centres on the immigrant, and his or her challenge to Australian society at large. It focuses on the non-British immigrant and the notion of multiculturalism, and is about cultural diversity, ethnic politics, and immigration policy. In this chapter I develop the argument that these two debates can neither be conceptualised together nor maintained as fully distinct. As a result of the public debates on both indigenous and immigration policies triggered by independent member of parliament Pauline Hanson in 1996, they converged and interacted in the later 1990s to a greater degree than at any time in the previous two centuries. Yet their conversation remains uneasy.' (Introduction)
'This chapter began as a presentation made at the 'Women and Human 1 Rights, Social Justice and Citizenship' international conference held at the University of Melbourne on 30 June 1998. The session was chaired, at our joint request, by Ann Curthoys. During the presentation the three speakers remained on the dimly lit stage and each moved for-ward when it was her turn to speak. Points made in the talk were illustrated by accompanying slides. Sometimes there was a blank wall to demonstrate that what was being spoken about was not recorded by the camera, or the evidence had been deliberately destroyed. Both the presenters and the audience found the event extremely moving. The speakers were, it should be recorded, disappointed that so few white feminists chose to hear the presentation. The audience consisted of the indigenous delegates to the conference, some of the European-American delegates, as well as European-Australian feminists Ann McGrath and Anna Haebich — even allowing for the number of competing sessions, this did not amount to a gesture of support by European-Australian delegates. Sir Gustav Nossal, the deputy chair of the Council for Reconciliation attended the session and asked to address the audience. He remarked that this talk was an important milestone in the road to reconciliation and also lamented the relatively poor attendance. We felt strongly that this presentation attempted to confront the issue of the history that we share and that divides black and white Australians. ' (Introduction)
'In 1988 the Australian Aboriginal author Colin Johnson changed his name, following the example of Aboriginal poet Oodgeroo (previously Kath Walker):
I was talking to Oodgeroo Noonuccal ... and she ... said seeing that we are writers why not the paperbark tree? `Oodgeroo' means paperbark in the Noonuccal language and `Mudrooroo' means paperbark in the Bibbulmum language which is my mother's people's language.'
In 1988 the taking of a 'working totem', in the sense of a writer's `trademark', was also a political gesture. It was meant, ironically, as a `bicentennial event', an act of public protest against the official celebrations of the beginning of the European invasion of Australia. Thus, Colin Johnson stressed his Aboriginality and confirmed his commitment to the Aboriginal movement by adopting an Aboriginal name. He became Mudrooroo Narogin, the family name that refers to his birthplace in Western Australia. Subsequently he adopted as his legal name Mudrooroo Nyoongah, the name of the Aboriginal people of the southwest of Western Australia, while his nom de plume was shortened to Mudrooroo, the name that now appears on the covers of his books. To complicate matters even further, already in 1964, prior to the completion of his first novel, Mudrooroo had contemplated a name change when he thought of publishing Wild Cat Falling under an assumed name. It is perhaps no surprise that an author with such a history of re-inventing himself, whose work has appeared under three different names (Colin Johnson, Mudrooroo Narogin, Mudrooroo), should be concerned with the issue of identity. But was the taking of a new name a 'reverting' to the author's 'Aboriginal name', as the bio-graphical note in the 1990 edition of Wild Cat Falling suggests? (Introduction)