Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 21 October 2010



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 21 October 2010

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Parliamentary Record 15


Debates for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Thursday 21 October 2010 honouring, and if we can assist in some way that would be honouring as well. Finally, I found as I was reflecting on what was a journey, we look at the highlights, however it is the points in between which really instruct, and the points in between about the challenges which have been faced. If we are careful in our observations we draw that lesson; there are many challenges each of us face where we must not be distracted and must remember the purpose of the list. That is why there is such a magnificent legacy, and it is instructive for all of us as we are endeavouring to bring about change. He brings to us a challenge and an opportunity to draw from that legacy and to continue. Thinking of it as a journey, we are part way through our journey - whatever mile post we have passed. I am sure he sang this song - it kept coming to mind as I was thinking about this last night - Walk A Country Mile. It is one of my favourites because it is a story of life. If I may conclude with the verse and chorus of Walk a Country Mile by Slim Dusty, as it encapsulates what I have endeavoured to say. I am sure he sang this many times as any good Country and Western singer would. Well I've walked a mile or two-oo in my lifetime And I've travelled down some muddy tracks and dry 'Cause if I wanted to get where I was going I knew I'd just have to walk that country mile Now a country mile would be the longest distance A man could ever travel when he's down And you curse the never ending road before you When you think you'll never make it into town But you meet a friend or two along the highway And you'll learn a lot you never knew before And if the journey takes a lifetime When you thought a year or two Well you just don't give up easy anymore Rest in peace, Mr Williams. Ms ANDERSON (Macdonnell): Madam Speaker, I support this motion today. When you are a person like me who came from that area and grew up with Gus and Serena, and Serenas sister who passed away in Hermannsburg - we have lost a very proud and wonderful man. A man, as the Chief Minister said, who attempted reconciliation before reconciliation was at the forefront of anyones mind in this country. He did that through music, and he brought non-Indigenous and Indigenous people together. He was friends to everyone - friends to the white man, friends to the black man, friends to the poor, and friends to the rich. As we heard, he has mixed and rubbed shoulders with the best in this country. As a part Arrernte and part Luritja Pintubi person, I am honoured to have known this great man. He was a hard-working man, and I said in my adjournment on Tuesday night he was one who thought very hard about the entrenched welfarism Aboriginal people have found themselves in because he came from a time where everyone worked. People were butchers, bakers, carpenters and tanners, getting salt, and weaving and sewing, saddlery - all sorts of things. As we move on in our journey through life policies change, life changes. He was a man who loved his children very much; loved his grandchildren. Everyone who went to Hermannsburg, who knew Gus, knew he was always surrounded not just by his children, but his grandchildren his grannies loved him, he was special to the grandchildren. We also heard at the funeral the two granddaughters singing, and what wonderful voices. We did not hear Serenas daughter, Joella. These are just magnificent voices at Hermannsburg. Serenas daughter, Warrens daughter, Baydons daughter; it is a gift and Gus knew the gift of his own children and grandchildren. Reconciliation, in those days, was very hard, but he did not make a big thing out of it; he just went on his way, going on his journey every year. It did not matter if he was sick; he took the trip to Tamworth. It did not matter if anyone said to him: Dad, you are a bit sick this time, maybe you need to give it away, he was always on that trip to Tamworth. That was his way of chipping away at the music industry without saying anything; without making a big fuss about it. Gradually, his music was well recognised and, as we now know, his son, Warren H Williams, is the greatest country singer as far as Aboriginal people in Western Australia are concerned. As I said, when we were children and going to Palm Valley listening to Gus and Rhonda sing, we used to call them Mr and Mrs Rick and Thel Rick and Thel Carey. Mother would always stand beside and harmonise with dad. It was one of those really fantastic events which took place in the time of country music when we knew Buddy Williams, Rick and Thel, Slim Dusty, but our greatest singer was Gus Williams. This man fought very hard for not only reconciliation, also for land rights. Land rights was his passion. He fought for the 1967 referendum - everything gets given back to Aboriginal people. The land had been given back to Aboriginal people. He was against the intervention and leasing. He wanted to maintain 6492