Too little too late Tony

Recently for a University assignment I had to analyse the Closing the Gap Speech from Tony Abbott, I thought I would share what I had to say on such a passionate topic.

Tony Abbott’s speech on Closing the gap.

Textual Analysis:

Closing the gap, a speech given by Tony Abbott in 2015 in an annual Statement to the House of Representatives was shaped within a liberal democracy with the aims of inclusion and progression for the Aboriginal community within Australia. The speech has many underlying inconsistencies with the intended argument, however these will be discussed and analysed later in the paper. In order to develop a rounded understanding of the key arguments within this speech it is first important to outline and explain them. There are several points made with the overarching concept of furthering Aboriginal people within white society, breaking down barriers, and creating social cohesion.

Within the text Mr Abbott points to the concept that while he has studied the ‘Aboriginal problem’ and attempted to submerge himself within that dialogue, his contact has been, to this point insufficient. He makes the point that in order to understand the issues within Aboriginal society one must immerse themselves within said society for a longer period of time. Despite this argument he still manages however to pose the thought in a way that merely portrays him as a martyr among men, working with the disadvantaged communities that he so bravely seeks to enlighten and include into mainstream Australia.

Mr Abbott continues on arguing that the reason these communities find themselves falling ever behind the average white Australian is through a lack of education, more importantly the lack of attendance to mainstream schools. It is stated in this text that truancy from the Australian school system is a major problem for Aboriginal communities in their quest to find equal footing with people within the white community, and that there needs to be a focus on increasing Aboriginal attendance.

Lastly there is the argument made that the rest of Australia is ready to move forward with pride in their native heritage before the shame from international forces shadows our history.  “Australians are now as proud of our indigenous heritage as we are of all our other traditions” (Abbott 2005.) This statement attempts to cloud the judgement of listeners and readers, to have them believe that the crux of his speech is to drive home acceptance and pride in the Aboriginal people. A statement that when looked at on the surface ties in well with the rest of the arguments earlier outlined in the speech, but upon contact with harsher realities does not hold true. While Mr Abbott’s speech may appear to be a pragmatic approach to the ‘Aboriginal problem’ it is still lacking in progressive thought in the very fact that his words still carry the underlying idea that Australia’s native people are a problem to be ‘fixed’ rather than a community awaiting acceptance.

While the speech appears to be arguing for Aboriginal inclusion, and seeks out the closing of a gap in equality between white Australians, and their Aboriginal brethren. When analysed there is an intense lack of understanding of the true Aboriginal cause. While it appears that this speech is an extension of the Olive branch, the growth is still stunted due to a white agenda, rather than a true Aboriginal acceptance. The arguments made push for closing the gap, yes, however, there is merely new clauses added that move to squeeze the Aboriginal people into a box laid out by White Australians. While Mr Abbott appears to attempt to be progressive his thoughts remain trapped within the era of assimilation through consuming Aboriginals into white society.

Nowhere within this speech is there thought towards the desires of connection, to the concepts of land being law for native Australians. There is a repetitive nature within these written words that constantly pushes for Aboriginal’s to reach equality through white means. There is an emphasis on school attendance, truancy programs, education growth, and employment, but a lack of actual bipartisan understanding between the government and the community for which these programs stand to exist.

Australian history is shrouded in an intense cloud of secrecy and shame, and this speech does nothing but add to the illusion that white Australians have been building for themselves for decades. Over the years there is a constant focus on the ‘Aboriginal problem’ yet they’re still seeking so much as recognition within the Australian constitution. The issue with speeches like this is the dialogue with which they are posed, that being a closed variety. There is mention within this text of Mr Abbott’s work with Aboriginal communities, but there is no allusion to the concept of him seeking Aboriginal inputs. There is fleeting comments about dinners with respected members of the Aboriginal community, but there is no appearance of an actual two way relationship. The only concept evident throughout this speech is a charade of comradery to cover inflicting white ideology on the Aboriginal community.

Within this course we have focused on many indigenous writers, to whom it is clear Tony Abbott quite possibly should have sought out. For all of these writers, from Taikae Alfred, to Mary Graham, focus on the one thing that is clearly missing within this text. Instead of focusing on the ‘Aboriginal problem, Mr Abbott needed to be creating an Aboriginal dialogue. Taikae Alfred, in the excerpt First Words conceptualises the idea that while there has, in America, been a call for equality seemingly answered, there has merely been elected American Indian officials pushing the white agenda. Mary Graham talks on the concept of acceptance and inclusion of Aboriginal culture within the Australian view of itself in order for progression of interracial relations. However none of these concepts are evident within Mr Abbott’s speech.

Mr Abbott’s arguments centre on an outdated saviour complex that has plagued white Australian communities for decades, this overwhelming need to ensure that all people are equal by being exactly the same. He says that all Australians are proud to accept their past and the traditions of the Aboriginal people in a way that absolves all of a treacherous history. So what if there are signs of Aboriginality within white communities, they’re still segregated, we teach religion in our schools, but there is no mention of traditional Australian folklore. He argues that the truancy rate among Aboriginal students is high, but that’s because we as Australian’s are separating them from their traditional roots and forcing our engrained systems onto them without even a chance at integration.

Mary Graham talks of the need to have a connection with the land, a spiritual yearning that exists within the Aboriginal community, yet the only opportunity for Aboriginal students to fulfil that need is to be shipped out to desolate schools in the middle of nowhere. This speech, while trying to argue for inclusion and equality highlights the very nature of the Aboriginal problem, and it’s not the Aboriginal’s it is the oppressive white nation that continues to dull their shine and force them to conform. Rather than trying to squeeze Aboriginal’s in a narrow box that seems to conform to Abbott’s view of equality his arguments clarify the need for, as stated previously, a social dialogue. There will be no cohesion and acceptance with continued force and narrow-mindedness.

Abbott needs to be arguing for an equality on the Aboriginal communities terms, not on his own, and until that is done the arguments within this text will fall on closed ears. Closed from the Aboriginal community tired of being silenced, and closed from the white community feeling like all these opportunities are just being handed out to Aboriginal’s without truly understanding that these opportunities aren’t what that community is yearning for. So many people within mainstream white Australian society look at speeches like this and see a ramping up of social inclusion and handouts to the Aboriginal community without thought to the actual needs of the Aboriginal community. While the Aboriginal community cry out for a societal shift that does not include a conformist, money driven plan from the Australian Government. Thus, the point here being, the arguments are there, as a fluffy public relations concept, with no true policy thought and progress, for both parties involved in the ‘Aboriginal problem’ are being misguided.

When told to analyse these texts, we as a class were told to analyse first and foremost, what the Aboriginal problem has been portrayed as, it is clear that the argument within this states that the Aboriginal problem is a self-created lack of willingness to improve social standing. Upon deeper analysis it is clear that the Aboriginal problem is in fact the white community’s inability to come to the table with open hearts and minds ready to accept the true way of life within Aboriginal society. It is time to stop throwing communities into boxes they don’t belong just so they fit within our perceived realities, instead, Australia needs to start altering their perceptions of reality so that they can openly accommodate, integrate, and accept other cultures and ideologies. While there is a continuing presence of dominance, oppression, and hierarchy of power between Aboriginal people and white Australians there will be no change in the ‘Aboriginal problem’ and analysing this speech with an intense microscope has really shown that.

Tony knows what needs to be done, he pointed it out himself at the very beginning of his speech, yet his arguments remained framed in a way that prevents correct action. He is right, Aboriginal people need to be worked with, not for, they are people to be engaged with not problems to solve. But in order to actually act on this there is clearly more work to be done.


The tale of the can.

One night in a busy pub far far away there was a man who clearly had no cares for the standard of his work and far too much ego to burn. Now this man he was very funny, and a joy to work with, but how badly he treated customers was evident early on. Now he was a larrikin this man, and fun to joke with, he would greet you with a smile, but annoy him, or increase his workload and you would soon  be feeling his juvenile wrath.

So on this fateful busy night there was a girl, lets call her Thelma and her friend, lets call her Louise. Now Thelma and Louise were out at the pub getting particularly white girl wasted when they came up to me at the bar and ordered two schooners of Carlton, a particularly cheap beer at our establishment. I served them their beer and went to take their money.

Me: “That’ll be $5.50 thanks!”

Thelma:”Aw but it was $5.00 last time.”

Me: “Nope, it’s been $5.50 all night hon.”

With the awkward money exchange taken care of Thelma waits for Louise to fish the coins out of her purse to offer up to our capitalist gods, and while she waits she decides to finger the froth out of her beer on to the bar top. A motion not missed by our Larry larrikin bartender.

Larry turns to Thelma and orders her (in a laughing but serious tone) to clean up her mess as this is apparently the fourth time she has frothed on the bar. He hands her the cloth to which she stares at him shocked. Good old Louise pipes up indignant at this stage in defence of her friend exclaiming that she did nothing wrong and that this treatment is ridiculous, I stand back amused.

Poor Thelma embarrassed wipes up her mess and stands next to her clearly annoyed friend as she continues to fish coins from her purse. What feels like an eternity later Louise finally hands me the cash and continues to berate Larry. I return to Louise with the change and as she places it in her purse she accidentally spills her beer. Ho-ho what a chance to extract revenge on Larry.

Louise: “Oh no, I’m so sorry, I accidentally spilled my beer on the bar may I please borrow the cloth so I can clean up my mistake.” (Or some drunken version of this script.)

Silly Larry hands the girls the cloth, she wipes up her mess then pegs it right back at his face, and man do I snigger, you go girl! Larry turns to me shocked and I give him my best OMG what a cow face before quickly averting my gaze and busying myself in the spirit well. Larry takes himself off to the dance floor.

Some 10 minutes later Larry comes laughing into the bar….

Larry: “I regret that (hahahaha) I really regret that…”

Me: “What did you do?”

Larry: “I was on the dance floor cleaning and that drunk chick was right next to me so I threw an empty can at her (hahahaha)!”

Me: ………

Now this exchange is pretty bad, but wait, there’s more!

…….. 20 minutes later……

Thelma and Louise approach the bar, I am busy serving so they have to order from Larry, I keep my head down trying to eavesdrop while still being external to the drama.

Louise (clearly the dominant friend): “Can we just have two glasses of water?”

Larry: “No.”

I am shocked, it is literally illegal not to serve a patron water… I quickly look up…. Thelma and Louise are horrified. Larry walks off. The girls turn to me, yes, I am still serving someone else.

Thelma and Louise in chorus: “Can YOU please get us some water?”

Me:”Sure girls, just let me finish these drinks up here, I wouldn’t let you not have water.” (Glare at Larry)

Larry ambles to me and whispers in my general direction… “I’m scared they’ll throw it at me.”

All I can pray is that they do, my goodness what justice, many laughs… I pour them their drinks, they scowl at Larry, but no drinks are thrown (disappointing). The girls slink into the darkness of the dance floor and are never seen again. Larry jokingly berates me for not having his back. I leave my shift equal parts horrified and bemused.




Instalment One: city hospitality

So I have worked in and out of hospitality since I was a little girl. My mum was a waitress, come bartender, come manageress, and my father is a master pastry chef. We have worked in small towns, coastal oasis’, and bustling cities. But one thing I have noticed is that the hospitality industry is losing its hospitality.

I meet ‘career hospitality’ members who don’t know the answer to  – “how do you greet a customer” or, “how do you deal with complaints?” The new generation seems to be hell bent on fancy spaces, and cool décor rather than customer relations and atmosphere. Everyone seems to think they can open their own restaurant and do it better than the guy before them, unfortunately though, doing better than rubbish isn’t much of a goal.

I am sitting down over the next few weeks to share with you some stories that make me really see the lack of care, attention, and most importantly hospitality in the hospitality industry. Some of these stories have happened to me, some I have merely observed or been told. These are not complaints, they are observations, these are not necessarily new tales, I have had my eye out for many years. So sit back, cringe, laugh, cry, and enjoy.

Instalment one:

The city, a bubbling cosmopolitan, a mixing pot of colour, life, and enjoyment. You only have to stroll down one street to meander past a varying array of pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants. While this adds choice and variety to the consumers, it adds uncertainty and increased pressure to those who man the bars, and run the food.

In the past few years of living in the city I have noticed unlawful practices left right and centre, mismanagement and inappropriate conduct from staff that goes unchecked purely out of fear. Because, why would you correct someone when there are 100 more people ready to take your place? The employers know this, and it seems in a city they take full advantage of it.

I have worked eight hour shifts without so much as a five minute break, I have been called a bitch, a cunt, incompetent and stupid for things I haven’t even done, I have had rosters that ignore my university timetabling which was a promised factor in structure, and all the while I keep quiet because I need the money and the market is so competitive. These things would never happen in the smaller towns, the coastal oasis’ but we deal.

I have watched girls hit on, grabbed at, forced to pay for transaction mistakes and tips not shared out when they are promised. I have watched men forced to do all the heavy lifting, jobs not anywhere close to their actual job descriptions. I have noticed rostering that doesn’t allow for the legal break between days… the list goes on.

However, despite the crappy conditions that workers endure in the hospitality cityscape they sit and deal because at the end of the day it pays the bills. And sit and deal is literally all they can do at one particular job. I have observed a place who takes full advantage of the employee pool by fully leaning on their staff regularly. This establishment is busy predominantly on nights where there are events nearby, on these nights pretty much all employees are rostered on, but if you arrive at your rostered time and its not yet busy? You better believe you will sit outside not clocked in, not getting paid, just waiting, waiting, and waiting, and you say peep? You better believe they’ll probably replace you, so you waste your night, on illegal hold. Yes the work is fun, and yes it pays the bills, but should workers really have to endure such wasted unpaid time just because they’re deemed replaceable?

Diving in the deep end ~ summing up the opening Act of 2016

2016; this year has turned into a strong year with huge changes that have come out of left field but I am meeting with joy head on. This year so far has come with so many changes that my life is no longer recognisable from what has come before.

In 2015 I took on a show on 4ZZZ where I hosted the Saturday news show alongside a friend of mine from UQ. I had an internship with the Army Museum South Queensland, worked part time at a printing shop on campus, and towards the end of the year I began volunteering at 4BC radio. Personally; I went through a break up before meeting my current partner who I happily settled into a new relationship with quickly.

However, in 2016, I felt it was time to really tackle things head first. My job at the printing shop is a semester job and I hadn’t had an income for two months. I had been looking for new work but had been picky and would only apply for day work that I felt wouldn’t interrupt the life I had created. However, with a negative bank balance I realised I just needed to take whatever came my way. That day I landed my job bartending at the Caxton Hotel. I walked in, handed them my resume, and within three days (after my trial) I had been hired.

Professionally I felt that my time at 4ZZZ, although enjoyable had come to a close. I felt that in order to move forward in my journalistic career I needed to untie myself from the community station that had exposed me to radio work for the first time. The day I quit my position at 4ZZZ I was told there would possibly be an upcoming paid position for me on a casual basis at 4BC. One week later I went on the payroll as a casual journalist!

This position meant that I would need to leave the security of my print job, however I realised that the risk was needed if I wanted to back myself into the career of my dreams, and with a secure housing arrangement I knew it was a risk I was willing to take. Then BAM! Within two days, those ‘secure’ housing arrangements turned to tatters in my hands. Unfortunately, where I had been living was no longer a viable option as the owner sold the home and I was left with no address. Relationship to the rescue! I began the process of moving on in with my boyfriend. An option that to many may seem full on, but to us seemed natural.

Two days after the decision was made I find myself home alone while he is on course, wading through piles of paperwork while we break through the red tape that will get it all sorted out, both with Centrelink, and with his work.

Although it all seems ever so chaotic, it is also so very exciting, I am in a career trajectory that seems to be pointing me towards my dreams, the risks are high, but the rewards seem worth it. I am moving in with the person I care about more than anything else, and while the paperwork seems never ending, it is all worth while. If this is what January alone has changed, I am excited to see everything else coming my way over the next eleven months!

The point of all this? Take the risks, make the hard decisions, it will all work out in the end. It may be scary, it may be hard work, but come on, dive in the deep end, its fun getting wet! ;p




Where is the trust?

Isn’t it sad that the world is so riddled with horrible people that will take their first opportunity to cheat and steal from you? Isn’t it horrible that in the modern world trust is a hard to come by thing? Doesn’t it suck that we pass dishevelled people on the street and instantly plead with God to let us pass without pain?

I had an interesting encounter last week when I left the radio station with a rather unkempt, yet lovely man. As I left the studio and crossed the road to my car a guy called out to me from the front seat of his beat up Holden Commodore. With my headphones in I could have easily ignored him and kept walking, but I looked around the street, and noticing that there were many people around I decided to approach the man and his car.

He asked me through his window if he could borrow my phone for a couple of dollars, and he promised to let me hold his car keys so I knew he wouldn’t do a runner. It was here that I became disgusted with myself. Did I really think so much of myself that I had almost walked past this guy asking for my help without even a second glance. Or was I a victim of societal norms telling me that I, as a woman shouldn’t approach an unknown man alone? And how was it that I stood there looking down on this clearly in need and slightly nervous man still concerned for my own safety and my material possessions?

I steeled myself, scolded myself even, and realised that the world had really turned into an ugly place, a place where a poor man was scared to ask for help out of fear of being ignored, yelled at, or worse, a place where a woman would look over her shoulder for re-enforcements in the bright lights of day when she was merely asked for help.

I gave the man my phone and felt extremely awkward as he handed me my insurance policy, his keys. He made a quick call and offered me $2, I declined, smiled, wished him a good day, gave him his car keys, and walked away. In the entire interaction he was nothing but courteous and polite, yet still when I got back to my car and sat down I pondered the idea of having harassing phone calls from some unknown phone now that my number was out in the open. How crazy is that!?

I rang my mother and discussed my encounter with her explaining my mixed feelings. These being my entrenched need to keep myself as a single young woman safe, and my desire to help those who need it. I came to realise it was neither myself nor this man who had anything wrong, but more a society that has let down its members, a world that has grown dark and untrusting through bitter and twisted societal norms.

Maybe one day we will all learn again what it is to be a good neighbour, a smiling stranger, and an even better friend. But until then, I plan on helping where I can in giving others the small acts of kindness I can without an instant judgment and fear for my safety.

Pleasure in pain.

So in the current year, I have entered into as unemployed. Although I have a job, it doesn’t start back until March, and I do technically have my three internships, I would still count myself as unemployed seeing as I have a lot of free time and no cash monies.

For the first two months of this state I felt slothy and depressed, like I wasn’t pulling my weight, however I have sprung into 2016 looking at it a little bit differently. While I am still frustrated at my income and employment status I have found something that can bring joy back into the long days. Exercise!

I have started training at an MMA gym in Brisbane as well as maintaining my training at my regular gym and have found the feeling of pain is leaving me thriving. Am I crazy in the fact that I only feel good, productive and useful when I ache my way through the day? The joy tight muscles and aching abs brings me makes me laugh as I drive from my third training session of the day back to my home to eat my body weight in meat and vegetables.

I know I am not alone in my joy of pain, I merely am surprised that I have joined the ranks of crazed individuals that crave the pain that progress causes, the ache that shows your personal fitness growth. Because, let me be honest, it wasn’t long ago that my life goals were polishing off an entire tub of ice cream in a day and slothing around in the sun with friends.

However, while I do find an immense joy in aches and the lack of bloated bread related gains I will admit I am not yet the dedicated mad woman I idolise. I still, and probably will forever fall victim to allowing morning Sunday cuddles, and the call of a greasy cheese toasty. But I don’t mind, that’s just balance right?


So it is the first Monday of 2016 and my first post in approximately two months. No it is not because I am a slacker. It seems to be because I am a written pessimist in an optimists life. What does that mean I am sure you wonder?

Well, looking back on my posts over the last two years there is a pattern, my writing seems to only flower under negative circumstances, because who wants to hear about how madly happy I am, right?

But, this does not a productive blogger make when one is currently so happy as such a constant, hence why my blog has sat vacant, and lonely for months, a predicament I am here to change.

Recently I was told I am becoming aggressive and controlling, that my life is full of self made stressors and constant complaint, and while on the inside I feel happy and content, I have realised that the image I throw out to the world is a different reflection.

Therefore I herald in 2016 as my first year in a while where I will have a New Years resolution. Obviously one always has goals they wish to acheive over the year to come, however this is my one true resolution –

I, Aroha Liebhart vow to express myself in the positive manner in which I truly feel. I will seek out a life of positivity and true happiness. I will write about all I encounter be it either good or bad, and I will strive to lead a more stress free, laid back life.

For it appears I have professed how positive I am, I have preached that I have relinquished the reigns of control, however the self I have portrayed to others is not the true reflection of my ramblings. It is not okay to only write on topics of sadness and distress, it is not adequate to feed my written fire with naught but the sadness of my past. It is important to share both my trials and my accomplishments, and 2016 is the year to do that.

I walk into this year armed with career progressing internships, University studies approaching completion, an adoring and supportive partner by my side and so many other positives, and it is about time I start sharing these musings with the world as well.

Here’s to 2016!