Parliament moves to revive Aboriginal languages
It was a strange vision outside NSW parliament yesterday with many people dressed up in Stubbies shorts and smeared with what might have been toothpaste. They danced in the rain celebrating the legislation to revive Aboriginal languages, the cost to taxpayers was not mentioned. This foolishness must be the “innovative” brain-fart of premier Berejiklian now languishing in a semi coma from the disaster left by the fleeing Mike Baird.
Anyway, this legislated initiative is to soothe about 1,800 Aboriginal people that speak any one of about 35 languages with dozens of different dialects at varying levels of fluency in NSW. Wiradjuri is the most widely spoken of them. MM wonders if Woolworths’ 175, 000 employees will have to learn passable Wiradjuri.
Coles might follow suit, as might all NSW government employees. Legal experts say such legislation could be adopted in federal parliament. As NSW is flush with money with an excess of electricity and stupidity, a silly-old white Editor at MM, who struggles with english, has enrolled in a language course in preparation to the expected rolling electricity blackouts this summer. He only wants to learn how to say in 35 languages and many dozens of dialects, “fridge not working boss, beer plenty hot—no bloody good boss—make missus crook!”
NSW introduces nation’s first laws to recognise and revive Indigenous languages
An Australian parliament has moved to recognise and revive Indigenous languages for the first time in the nation’s history.
Hundreds gathered outside NSW Parliament in Sydney on Wednesday to usher in an historic piece of legislation — the Aboriginal Languages Bill.
As part of the new legislation, the State Government said it would appoint an independent panel of Aboriginal language experts and establish a new languages centre.
Dr Ray Kelly from the University of Newcastle, who sung and spoke his Dunghutti language in the Parliament, said it was an emotional day.
“[The bill’s] genesis is 30 years, 40 years old, so people have been talking about the rights for language and the protection of Aboriginal languages,” Dr Kelly said.
“And [this is] for all of those older people who are no longer walking the path with us.
“If the resources are made available, we believe that we will bring great change to those languages considered dead.”
Aboriginal Affairs Minister Sarah Mitchell read a preamble in the Parliament stating that past NSW governments tried to destroy Aboriginal languages.
“I’m so proud that this house has been able to play a part in ensuring the First Peoples of this state have their languages acknowledged, re-awakened and nurtured,” she said.
‘Our language belongs to us’
Ms Mitchell said about 1,800 people spoke Aboriginal languages in NSW, with Wiradjuri the most widely spoken of them.
An estimated 35 original languages are spoken across the state, with dozens of different dialects and varying levels of fluency.
Elders from many different clans gathered in the Parliament today, and in a rare move were permitted to sing and speak their own languages in the upper house chamber.
Barkindji man Murray Butcher spoke in language, urging the Parliament not to try to control the preservation of Indigenous languages.
“Let’s do something right and help us save our languages. Put the power back in our people to save our languages and give us the power to control our destiny,” Mr Butcher said.
Not dead, just sleeping
We used to speak about languages “dying”, but as more and more Indigenous people seek out and learn their languages, the metaphor has changed.
“Our language belongs to us, it will never leave our hands.”
For decades, speaking Indigenous languages was discouraged by state governments, missions and schools.
Language revival has mostly been a grassroots movement, and the NSW Aboriginal Land Council wants it to stay that way.
Council chairman Roy Ah See called for changes to the bill to ensure communities have the final say on revival efforts.
“The NSW Aboriginal Land Council is concerned that the legislation could seek to impose ministerial controls or intervention in relation to Aboriginal languages,” he said.
“For many years, our communities have worked tirelessly to retain, teach and promote Aboriginal languages.”