« Back to Publications

‘We just Black matter’: Australia’s indifference to Aboriginal lives and land

Chelsea Bond writes in The Conversation (16.10.17) that, despite the promise of the global Black Lives Matter social movement, it has not been taken up as a central political movement by Indigenous Australians.

‘In a uniquely Aboriginal articulation of the global Black Lives Matter movement, Batdjala rapper Birdz sings not of Rice, Garner, Martin or Bland. Instead he sings of Mulrunji, Elijah,  Yock, Hickey and the Bowraville children – each of whom died in seemingly different circumstances.

‘What ties them together, however, is the indifference to their deaths and the apparent disposability of Black lives in Australia.

‘Much of the media attention in Australia surrounding the US-led Black Lives Matter movement has focused on police brutality and the murder of young African-American men on public streets, captured on smartphones and dashboard cameras.

‘Meanwhile, the murders of Aboriginal people in Australia have been less visible. If mentioned at all, Aboriginal deaths at the hands of the state are variously framed as “suspicious”, “unknown”, “accidental” or “inevitable”, despite the presence of CCTV footage, protests, perpetrators, witnesses, coronial inquiries and a royal commission.

‘Where murder is not even considered manslaughter, where Black witnesses are deemed “unreliable”, where royal commission recommendations aren’t implemented, where coroners refuse to exercise their power to make recommendations, and where White murderers of Black children enjoy the privilege of being unnamed for their own protection, it is blatantly clear whose lives really matter in Australia.’

The TJRyan Foundation does not guarantee the accuracy, currency or completeness of any information or material available on this website. The TJRyan Foundation reserves the right to change information or material on this website at any time without notice. Links from this site to external, non-TJRyan Foundation websites should not be construed as implying any relationship with and/or endorsement of the external site or its content by the TJR Foundation, nor any commercial relationship with the owners of any external site. Should any TJRyan research project be funded by an individual or organisation the source of funding will be stated beside the research report. In all other cases contributions are provided on a pro bono basis.
Receive the latest news

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get notified about new articles

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.