QUEENSLAND: Prominent Aboriginal leader Gracelyn Smallwood has hit out at some Aboriginal academics, describing some positions on welfare as “unbalanced”.
In a keynote speech to a conference on racism in Cairns on Thursday, Professor Smallwood took issue with the public comments of fellow academic Marcia Langton, who has criticised a welfare entitlement mentality in the Aboriginal community.
“Welfare was won through a struggle by the poor,” Prof Smallwood said.
“It was never given to us because the rich and the powerful felt sorry for us.
“Let me explain to Professor Langton that Aboriginal people were the very last to get welfare in this country, and there is no welfare provision specifically targeted towards us.”
Prof Smallwood said she did not accept the “neo-liberal” approach to welfare, the advocates of which support welfare quarantining and the Northern Territory intervention, describing such positions as “unbalanced”.
“For the neo-liberal, welfare represents interference in the smooth workings of the market,” she said.
“I have met many Indigenous victims of white racism, but I have met no Indigenous people who feel entitled to what Professor Langton laughingly describes as government largesse.”