Crikey Clarifier

Mar 19, 2010

What’s with Welcome to Country?

Aboriginal people have for thousands of years formally welcomed people onto their country. When other Aboriginal nations visited to trade, it was accompanied by welcoming ceremonies, explains Chris Graham.


Forget the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the floods in Queensland and Northern NSW, the problems with our health system, the Northern Territory intervention, and global warming. A much bigger problem has emerged: some Aboriginal people have apparently been welcoming other people onto their country.


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14 thoughts on “What’s with Welcome to Country?

  1. Jim Reiher

    Terrific article. Thanks Chris.

  2. Daniel

    I might be wrong, but is there any evidence that Piers Akerman knows anything at all about anything or anyone? How does he still have a job? Why isn’t he begging for cash on a street corner somewhere?

  3. Daniel

    I’m not even being mean of spiteful. I honestly want somebody to link me to where Piers Akerman shows insight and knowledge about a topic. It doesn’t even have to be politics. He might have written a very good piece about how to cook a really nice steak or something.

    I call this the Piers Challenge. And it will last from now until the heat death of the universe, or until Piers Akerman knows something, whichever comes first.

  4. John Bennetts

    Do I detect a one-eyed apologist?

    The “Welcome to Country” nonsense is unnecessary baggage, pure and simple. I wince every time I am forced to witness this charade.

  5. Stevo the Working Twistie

    Hopefully you won’t have to put up with it any more John. Something tells me you are no longer welcome.

  6. Chris Graham

    Anytime you’re ready to head back to the Mother Country John, just sing out. I reckon it would take me about three seconds to raise enough cash to fly you first class.

  7. Roberto Tedesco

    The lovely caring thoughts of the sleazy right were laid bare by Wilson Tuckey this week – he wants to go back to a pre 1967 situation. No “baggage” there at all, oh no.

  8. John Bennetts

    Sorry, Chris. I was born Australian. It made me laugh some years back when I met a young lady with Pommy/Aus father and Aboriginal/Aus mother (these are all separate countries, aren’t they, with different citizenships, laws and rights?) saying that she carried two passports. Kinda backing three horses in a one horse race?

    I am one of those Australians who waits hopefully for some kind of true equality for all Australians. By all means, support social programs for the needy, right the wrongs where property or other theft has occurred, but why the black flag view of Australia? Isn’t an unhealthy or underpriveleged Aussie of vietnamese cultural background, or Latvian, Greek, Indian, etc etc entitled as a human being to the same level of social services as those who claim aboriginal antecedents? It is devisive, somewhat irrational, especially in a city or town context and stands in the way of real social progress.

    I have written in these pages before how much I detest the Howard/Rudd Government’s response to the “Little Children are Scared” report. I also am concerned that a class of children (private school attendees) have apparent rights to claim free public transport daily for as far as they wish, simply because they want to go to a faraway school, or that these schools appear to me to be somewhat more generously funded than those of the public systems. In my own town the Catholic school’s windfall from Krudd has about 3 times as great as the local high school with more than twice the enrolment. That isn’t fair either, or in the interests of social progress.

    Some part of the above has become linked to my desire for an Australian Bill of Rights.

    Mate, I do not share your supremely racist view of aboriginality. I am Australian. Come and join me in this, our country, and please do bring your friends.

  9. Gavin Moodie

    No formal or semi formal function I’ve attended in Aotearoa New Zealand has started without an acknowledgement of the traditional owners, in Maori, often of 5 to 10 sentences. Likewise at conferences every speaker starts their address with an acknowledgement in Maori. This basic respect to the traditional owners shows a decency – civilisation? – which it would be nice for Australians to emulate.

  10. Kevin Tyerman

    Thank you Chris,
    I felt a bit ignorant for not actually knowing what “Welcome to Country” was, as it was being raised at the current time.

    There is a heck of a lot of the current Australian culture that wasn’t even invented in 1976 (this form of media and communication for starters).

    All of our cultures should be constantly evolving and developing, hopefully sometimes even in a productive direction, in spite of the ignorance of some of those who believe that they are influential within our culture(s).

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