Tag Archives: Tom Uren

Visibility and invisibility 2022 #22

Sewn into the seams of our favourite garments, hidden from view, but not invisible to the naked eye, are memories. Sometimes you find grains of sand, a loose thread from a cobweb, a burr from a bush you did not even notice you had brushed past. Trinkets all to remind you of the path you were on and what carried you to those places. I recall a time when a friend returned home from the UK, lent me his jacket, and said, here are a few particles from Stonehenge, because this is where he had worn it last. It was a little bit magical to feel connected with the ancient druids even though I had never been to Salisbury plain.  There is always a tapestry being woven with us connecting us to past, present, and future.  

Halley’s comet features in the Bayeux tapestry and the tapestry based on an Arthur Boyd painting, in our Great Hall in the national Parliament. A single cosmic event connecting us in time and place. The moment in time we find ourselves and the place to which we are arriving right now has its own kind of Halley’s comet magic. It is a time of potential, of transformation and promise. It is time when all the weaving and connecting that has been going on for the past few years, needs to come together and is coming together to form a single picture. It is a picture of complexity, depth of colour, dynamic and textured. The seams have been sewn together with votes, hopes, aspirations and urgency.  We are the weavers and the threads. It will not be enough to repair, recycle or even reuse, we need to refund, refresh and regenerate.

In the refund department this will begin with the implementation of the Uluru Statement, paying the rent and giving measure and meaning to the wisdom of the oldest living culture on earth. We will need to press the refresh button on the values as Tom Uren AC (Prime Minister Albanese’s mentor and father figure) said, and is quoted in the introduction to the 2021 Tom Uren Lecture which was delivered by the now Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Hon Linda Burney MP.

“The strong should look after the weak, the young look after the not-so-young, the fit look after the sick”.

Tom Uren AC

If you want to get a sense of what is sewn into the seams and what we can expect and why the grains of sand are ancient and why the Uluru Statement from the Heart declaration from the new Prime Minister in his opening words moments after his election to that office became visible, you can do no better than reading Linda Burney’s address. You get an insight into future actions, decades, indeed generations in the making, stemming all the way back in the Labor tradition to Doc Evatt in 1944. It was not always plain sailing, and Labor can hang its head in shame and embarrassment for deals done in mining and with mates over the years. However, now, at the beginning of National Reconciliation Week and with National Sorry Day just behind us, there are solid foundations for the work that will become visible to us all and we will have a part to play. There will be a referendum and with skillful negotiation, I am trusting the process will have the support of all the major political parties, their friends and allies and go as a united front to the people of Australia. The Uluru Statement from the Heart is not a petition, it is an invitation and one I hope we will embrace and accept. Our history is calling. Click here to accept the invitation. 

Uluru, May 28 2021