Aboriginal self-determination: The Whiteman’s dream – Gary Johns

GARY Johns, a former colleague and friend of many years, has just had a book published by Connor Court entitled ‘Aboriginal self-determination: The Whiteman’s dream’.   I haven’t got my copy yet, so can’t provide a review, but no doubt it will be hard hitting.   Gary believes in integration, not self determination, for Australia’s aborigines.  According to Gary:

“Aboriginal self-determination is a white man’s dream. Those who continue to lobby for the grand experiment of aboriginal self-determination, long after its costs have been revealed, should say sorry to those the policy has harmed – every woman bashed, every man drunk out of his mind, every child molested, everyone without a job. Aborigines, especially those in remote Australia, need an exit strategy from the dream. The exit strategy outlined in this book destroys the rallying cry for culture. Instead, it shows that the way to self-determination is through individual dignity.”

Order your copy here: 


12 Responses to Aboriginal self-determination: The Whiteman’s dream – Gary Johns

  1. spangled drongo December 30, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

    Let’s face it, we’re all “out of Africa”. Why shouldn’t we all integrate? And that goes for all cultures and races in this country.

    “Siddown Money” for aboriginals to get drunk in hopeless, jobless bush settlements is not providing any dignity or helping them face reality in the 21st century.

    Prior to 1967 aboriginals had to work for a living the same as everyone else and they were very capable, respected and proud of their skills. Some choose to still be this way.

  2. Dennis Webb December 31, 2010 at 12:10 am #

    Some years ago I read there were two waves of aboriginal settlement along the Murray River.

    First came the Negritos people, they had the river to themselves for some 35,000 years. Then came the Murrayians some 5,000 years ago with better spears and new innovations in stone technology.

    Did the Murrayians displace or integrate with the Negritos?

  3. el gordo December 31, 2010 at 6:29 am #

    We should integrate all the people, each according to their ability, each according to their need.

    Half a century ago the white man made a big blunder and will now have to admit his mistake. Sadly, going to prison has become a ‘right of passage’ for the original people of this country, we have virtually turned the locals into the ‘nobel savage’ of the Enlightenment.

    Time to get real, for their sake and the whole community. And good luck to Gary Johns with this very controversial book, I shall watch its progress with interest.

  4. val majkus December 31, 2010 at 6:49 am #

    I have long been an admirer of Noel Pearson and sounds to me that he and Gary Johns may have a lot in common
    An exit strategy sounds fine but how to achieve it; I used to live in Chippendale (next to Redfern) in Sydney in the late seventies and from what I noticed of Redfern then life was pretty dismal; slum living conditions and there was high unemployment; it seemed to me then that outback Australia in a hopeless jobless bush settlement might be preferred by the Redfernites. Now I think that thinking was wrong. So I’ll be interested to read Gary Johns’ book to see what he suggests.

  5. Debbie December 31, 2010 at 9:34 am #

    I would also congratulate Johns and wish him every success with this book.
    There is so much resentment towards our native aboriginal people and much of it is because the “do gooders” have unrealistic expectations and Government money gets thrown at them “hand over fist”.
    It is not their fault.
    It is definitely the fault of our legislation and our blind adherence to programs that are not achieving their stated goals. Throwing more money at projects that aren’t working does not change the fact that they aren’t working.
    My son works in Northern Western Australia and has worked on many of the “self determination projects”. The general observation there is that an incredible amount of money gets spent for very little gain. Because there is no “end game” for these people they just end up with new houses and new cars but no real sense of personal achievement or future vision.

    There are exceptions. The Aboriginal community at Cape Levique and other surrounding communities have done some excellent work. You can observe true intergration with the tourism industry there. It works here becaue there is a way to intergrate into the tourism industry and Government money just assits, it is not the main stimulator. These people have been able to set up a profitable enterprise.

    Interestingly: here is an excerpt from Bob Katter’s letter to Julia Gillard after the last election that includes some of his observations on our “first Australians”

    (Environment; Agriculture, Fishing and Forestry)
    6. Return of recreational freedoms enabling an increased access to traditional pursuits of fishing, camping and outdoor sports and activities. As part of this restoration, we include the removal of the Wild Rivers Legislation and other such sanctions which have deprived, among others, our First Australians from any hope of achieving economic self-determination and independence (aquaculture, cattle, farming and tourism. All are seriously impeded – some precluded by what has been rightly described by Noel Pearson as theft – the seizing and confiscation of these rights when no compensation was provided or offered.)

    (Prime Minister’s Department)

    7. The provision of title deeds providing ownership of homes, businesses and farms – a right enjoyed by every other Australian and most people on Earth. Such deeds to be inalienable – that is, cannot be sold to non-community residents – otherwise they are simple, ordinary freehold title. This privately owned title deed is essential for the foundation of an economy or even any economic activity. The building of all First Australian housing to be by exclusively local indigenous labour. Probably 2000 homes in Queensland in the mid-late1980s were built exclusively by local indigenous labour .

    There appears to be some common sense in these observations.

    As with all successful financial enterprises there has to be supply and demand. A lot of our aboriginals get “supplied” but there is no way for them to contribute to the economy or the community. Except for places like Cape Levique, they end up with nothing that we would “demand” from them.

    It seems the only “demand” is for them to stay out of our way.

    I sincerely hope that Gary Johns’ suggestions get some traction where they are sorely needed and therefore help his people to become valued and productive members of our society.

  6. Neville December 31, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    Good luck to Gary Johns with his new book but I’m afraid he is tackling a pc myth as big as CAGW and he will need a very thick skin to present and argue his case properly.

    I grew up with part aboriginal people in my community and up to the election of the idiot Whitlam govt in 1972 they lived and worked along side the rest of us.

    Unfortunately since that time the crap has really hit the fan and most ( not all) of the generations since that time have been unemployed and are now unemployable, at a cost of incalculable billions right across Australia.

    I’m sure it can be fixed but it will require a lot of care and discipline to encourage these people away from stupid cultish behaviour and hopefully in time they will again want to work and live like the rest of us.

    First step of course is to get rid of stupid labor govts full of numbskulls who haven’t got a clue, but that’s easier said than done.

  7. John Sayers December 31, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

    I’ve always believed one of the solutions is to open up the roads (bitumen all weather roads) to these isolated communities and allow the grey nomads and tourists into these beautiful areas. Places like the northern coastline west of Kakadu, the gulf country, the Gibb river road to Kalumburu etc. so the locals can offer these people services and create viable businesses. It would also allow the locals to get in and out during the wet. The people in the isolated regions will never get meaningful employment whilst these areas remain totally isolated.

  8. spangled drongo December 31, 2010 at 2:27 pm #


    I too worked alongside part and full aboriginals and they always impressed me as often being smarter than I was even though they had received no formal education. One old bloke used to get me to write letters for him to other aboriginals around the country and his administrative skills were impressive.
    Many part aboriginals with self taught literacy and numeracy ran contracting businesses such as fencing, stockyard building, droving, mustering etc and managed big cattle stations.
    They were very clever people.

    The bleeding hearts felt that keeping them off the grog, which for most is something they just can’t cope with [particularly under their present soul-less existence] was too paternalistic and racist so instead we have sold them down the drain with these mad pinko academic policies.

  9. Jennifer Marohasy December 31, 2010 at 4:52 pm #

    I admired Cathy Freeman’s reply to a leading comment from an ABC journalist before the 2000 Sydney Olympics. There was talk of their being an indigenous games, and she was asked whether she might consider boycotting the main event to take part in the exclusive games. She replied along the lines: I only compete against the best.

  10. spangled drongo December 31, 2010 at 6:13 pm #


    From Keith Windshuttle, according to anthropologists Birdsell and Tindale:

    “There were three major waves of migration of quite different ancient people who came to the Australian continent from southeast Asia. More than 40,000 years ago, when sea levels were much lower and Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania comprised one landmass, called Sahul, the first to arrive were a slightly-built people of pygmoid stature with dark skin and very frizzy hair. They were Negritos (named after the Spanish “little negro”), and they provided the initial population for the whole of this Greater Australia. About 20,000 years ago, a second type of people arrived from Asia. These newcomers, called Murrayians, were comparatively lightly skinned, wavy-haired, stocky in build, with a lot of body hair. They drove the Negritos before them until the latter retreated to the highlands of New Guinea, the rainforests of North Queensland and to then ice-capped Tasmania. The Murrayians became the dominant population on the east coast of Australia, and the open grasslands and parklands of the south and west of the continent. Then, about 15,000 years ago, a third wave of hunter-gatherers arrived. They were comparatively tall, straight-haired and dark skinned, with very little body hair. Named Carpentarians, they colonised northern and central Australia.”

  11. spangled drongo December 31, 2010 at 6:19 pm #

    More on that here:


  12. val majkus December 31, 2010 at 6:39 pm #

    Please leave a supportive comment on Dr Stockwell’s blog
    he’s in Emerald
    I’m miffed about the flood victims appeal; at the time of the Black Sat fires Red Cross and other charities were accepting donations and currently the only appeal I’ve seen is the Premiers Appeal (okay I know the Red Cross is admin’ing it but I’d rather donate to the Red Cross rather than to a Premier for whom I don’t have much admiration.) I’ve e mailed the Red Cross; there was good coverage on the ch 7 news tonight and the victims are stiff lipped but don’t know what the ABC will show; my gripe is that the charities should be launching appeals not the State Govt and I am appalled at the miserliness of the amt offered by the State and Fed Govts; I’ve passed that on to the Red Cross; I recall at the time of the Black Sat fires I donated through the Red Cross and Qld was also suffering flood damage at that time but the Black Sat victims got the majority of the appeal funds and now I think it’s Qld’s turn – hopefully the Red Cross will come to the party; I think they are much more photogenic than the PM and State Premier
    Anyway please offer support to the people of Emerald through Dr Stockwell’s blog

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