The UnAustralian

Monday, May 12, 2003
Weak Arguments

Since I'm already mocking Ron Brunton, I can't find a compelling reason to stop, so here goes....

From an RB article that I cited in my last post we get the following:

Von Doussa's own treatment of some of these apparent facts also leaves much to be desired. For instance, he acknowledges that the timing of the claims about 'secret women's business' seems strange to what he calls 'the Eurocentric mind'---a term which suggests that he is unaware that the great majority of Ngarrindjeri, a people who have been actively engaged with mainstream Australia for well over a century, also share 'Eurocentric' assumptions.

In interesting argument (Von Doussa is the judge who vindicated the claims of secret women's business). Fortunately, via the internet, and the find function, one can rapidly learn what Von Doussa actually wrote (as opposed to Brunton's three word quote) on this subject:

To the eurocentric mind accustomed to the open exchange of information, the late disclosure of an important claim or explanation which supports the interests of the discloser will be viewed with suspicion. However, it is now well recognised in this Court and I think widely in the community, that under Aboriginal custom not all information is open. Much cultural information is surrounded by restrictions on disclosure. Some cultural knowledge relating to sacred beliefs is highly secret. Some, though sacred, may be revealed in part. The concept of graded secrecy, that is layers of knowledge is recognised, where outer layers may be widely known, but inner layers, including knowledge as to the significance of the belief to the culture may be known to only a very small number of senior people in the clan who are considered to be its custodians. The transmission of restricted cultural knowledge is likely to be strictly governed by traditional customs and a system of respect which delineate by whom, to whom and in what circumstances the knowledge may be revealed. The phenomenon of eleventh hour disclosure when all means short of disclosure have failed to protect an Aboriginal tradition is also recognised.

Now, my knowledge of the difference between white Australia and the Ngarrindjeri altitudes is rather lacking, but Von Doussa's argument strikes me as far more intelligent and thoughtful that Bruntons.

In fact, one doesn't even have to read the court's summary to suspect that Brunton is full of it.

Is he really suggesting (on the basis of a three word statement) a judge is so stupid that he is unaware that the Ngarrindjeri people have interacted with mainstream Australia for a long period of time?

Or perhaps when he writes "a term which suggests that he is unaware that...", he actually means "a term which allows a right wing idiot to make a completely stupid argument with absolutely no basis in reality, which will convince only those who are so ideologically correct that they have lost all grip on the real world".
| 8:26 PM