Thursday, May 08, 2008

Keating quote in Children's playground - political Correctness gone mad


Keating quote in Children's playground - political Correctness gone mad

City of Sydney Councillor Shayne Mallard has spoken out publicly against the decision of the City Council to incorporate a quote by former Prime Minister Paul Keating in a new children's playground.

The extract taken from Paul Keating's 1992 Redfern Park speech prominently includes the following lines;

"We took the traditional lands and smashed the traditional way of life.

We brought the diseases. The alcohol.

We committed the murders.

We took the children from their mothers.

We practised discrimination and exclusion."

Shayne Mallard said that the inclusion of the extract was out of context and would not advance reconciliation in the Redfern area.

"Keating's quote belongs in the history books and not in a children's playground," he said.

"Any parent coming to this playground whether white or Aboriginal will feel anger and shame when confronted by this message,"

"If or when children understand the words they will be frightened by the violent language and images."

"What happened to the age of innocence for our children?"

Shayne said that his concerns are not about the former Prime Minister's speech but the out of context extract and its suitability for a children's playground.

"The speech has a place in history and even elsewhere in Redfern Park,"

"This is the political correctness we have come to expect from this big spending, big brother, left wing controlled Council," Shayne added.

The work by artist Fiona Foley incorporates the extract of the speech as engraved paving as well as a cross shaped water feature and over sized steel lotus flowers and is part of the $30 million Redfern Park upgrade. When finished later this year the park will return as the spiritual home of the South Sydney Rabbitohs as their new training grounds.

7 May 2008

Liberal lashes nod to Keating

Ashleigh Wilson May 08, 2008

A SYDNEY councillor has criticised a playground sculpture for featuring an extract from Paul Keating's Redfern speech, claiming the words were a "real guilt trip" to non-indigenous Australians who had already apologised to the Stolen Generations.
Shayne Mallard, a Liberal member of the Sydney City Council, last night said the former prime minister's message was inappropriate for a children's playground.
"This is political correctness going mad when you put this in the playground," Mr Mallard said.
"What happened to the age of innocence?"
But Mr Mallard was ridiculed last night by Mr Keating's former speechwriter Don Watson, who said: "The truth never hurt anybody - including children.
"And for that matter, I don't remember children being damaged by inscriptions on public memorials."
The sculpture, by indigenous artist Fiona Foley, includes several lines from Mr Keating's acclaimed speech in the Sydney suburb of Redfern in 1992.
In the speech, he referred to the past injustice towards Aborigines in Australia, saying non-indigenous people had to recognise it was "we who did the dispossessing".
The sculpture, expected to be finished this year as part of the council's upgrade of Redfern Park, features some of Mr Keating's words: "We took the traditional lands and smashed the traditional way of life."
"We brought the diseases, the alcohol," the inscription continues. "We committed the murders. We took the children from their mothers."
Mr Mallard said the council approved the sculpture last week. He claimed he was not attacking Mr Keating's "great" speech, but said the council should find a way to commemorate the words in a different location.
"I don't see how young indigenous Australians going there will have a positive disposition towards white Australians," he said.
"We all commemorated and said sorry earlier this year, but this means everyone who goes there to play must say sorry every time because it's a real guilt trip.
"Every time an Aboriginal person or a white Australian goes there, they're going to be reminded of this. It's out of context ... I don't see this as part of the process of moving forward."
Mr Keating could not be contacted for comment last night.

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