Day 5: In The Arena

As I prepare to leave home to drive to Boronia, the Labor leaning northern part of the marginal electorate of La Trobe, in Melbourne’s south-east, Julia Gillard is speaking to nurses in Sydney. Without warning, Sky News switches to a Brisbane school where Kevin Rudd is surrounded by cameras and engaged in a detailed conversation with the Principal about the stimulus spending which has delivered a new assembly hall.

Rudd’s return excites the commentators but it seems a long way from the concerns of people at The Alchester Village, a nondescript shopping centre which derives its name from the junction of Albert and Colchester Roads in Boronia Heights, nestled at the foothills of the Dandenongs. Internal political party rivalries rate poorly here against the concerns of local traders, small business and suburban home-owners. [Read more…]


Calwell Memorial Lecture: South Australian Premier Don Dunstan Announces Land Rights For The Pitjantjatjara People

The South Australian Labor Premier, Don Dunstan, used a speech in Melbourne on July 24, 1978 to announce that his government would legislate for land rights for the Pitjantjatjara people.

Dunstan delivered the A.A. Calwell Memorial Lecture, named in honour of Arthur Calwell, leader of the ALP from 1960 to 1967. The lecture was hosted by the Monash University ALP Supporters Club and delivered in the Robert Blackwood Hall.

Legislation was introduced after this speech to recognise the traditional land rights of the Pitjantjatjara people. The government lost office before the Bill was passed. The Anungu elders negotiated with the Liberal government of David Tonkin and legislation was finally passed in 1981. South Australia was the first state to recognise land rights with a direct communal title. [Read more…]