National Indigenous Times
June 12, 2005
Outrage at PM plan to keep blackfellas in the dark
By Chris Graham
NATIONAL: Prime Minister John Howard has hosed down speculation that
Indigenous Australia will receive another new dawn in the next few months,
sparking widespread outrage among journalists and sub editors at The
During a speech to the recent Reconciliation Australia workshop in Canberra,
Mr Howard said:
"I'm delighted to have had the opportunity to come and address this
gathering," Mr Howard said.
"In the past there has been a sense in which dialogue between the Government
and many of the leaders of the Indigenous community has dwindled almost to a
point of non-existence.
"I don't sense that today. I sense there is a spirit of hope and optimism
about what can be achieved.
"I'm not going to talk about new dawns in reconciliation, we've had too many
false dawns in the past and those approaches are always doomed to produce
The comments have sparked internal dissent within the News Corporation
publication, with one journalist from The Australian, who asked not to be
named, telling NIT that "the Oz is gonna get the Prime Minister for this".
"This newspaper told Australia and the world that Aboriginal people got a
new dawn only last week," the unnamed source said.
"And the week before that, we told them Aboriginal people got six new deals,
eight new agreements and one new accord.
"We've been predicting new dawns for Aboriginal people on an almost
fortnightly basis for the past five years, and now John Howard tells us
there are to be no more. Who the hell does he think he is?
"We may have backed him in the last election, and the three before that, but
that doesn't mean we're just going to keep on doing it."
Another informed source, who spoke to NIT on the condition of anonymity,
predicted a vicious campaign of cartoons and mocking editorials from The
"We're calling it the 'New Dawn in the War on Terra Nullius," she said.
"They can raid us, they can send the cops around, but all they find is a
truckload of government press releases and a few documents leaked by
friendly government ministers."
But not everyone at 'The Oz' was similarly outraged. One informed source,
who asked not to be named, said the "ending of the dawn of new dawns", also
known by staff as the "dawn of the era of no more new dawns" was, in fact,
"To be honest, it's a bit of relief," the anonymous, informed source who
asked not to be named and spoke to NIT on the condition of anonymity, said.
"I think the editor-in-chief of The Australian who asked not to be named was
getting a little too close to all this.
"A fortnight ago, after we predicted a new dawn and a petrol bowser for one
Aboriginal community, the editor-in-chief of The Australian, who I can't
name for reasons of anonymity, sent 'round a memo asking all staff to refer
to him as 'Sunshine' from now on.
"It really was getting out of control."
NIT made no attempt to contact the editor-in-chief of The Australia, who we
were asked not to name, to confirm the unsourced, anonymous and
unsubstantiated claims, however NIT understands he is outraged at the Prime
Minister's plan to keep "Aboriginal Australians in the dark".
An anonymous journalist from the Daily Telegraph - another News Corporation
publication - said he was unaware of the dissent within his sister
"What's an Aborigine?" he said.
Meanwhile, the editor of NIT, Chris Graham, who has also asked not to be
named, apologised to readers for the apparent decline in the quality of NIT
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