David Risstrom - Greens Melbourne City Councillor 1999-2004
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ACHIEVEMENT: Indigenous Australian's of all walks of life have begun a process of telling their stories in public and have had them recorded in an oral history for perpetuity.

TARGET DATE: December 2005. PROGRESS: None.

DESCRIPTION: This project aims to provide a smaller scale Australian version of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but one that provides a variety of Australian stories, songs or other forms of expression that create an opportunity for Australians to express what it is for them to be Australian. I envisage that Australian Storylines would primarily be an opportunity for indigenous Australians to feel free to tell their stories and for them to be placed on the public record, but also that it might provide an opportunity for all Australians to have a chance to express what it means to them to live in Australia and to live with its unevenly received indigenous heritage.

I imagine some people would wish to speak, some to sing, some to dance. I would hope that resources could be organised to make a public record of people's stories, whether it be audio recordings, writing, transcriptions, video, painting or any other non-violent expression.

A good start to this might be to invite a group of distinguished individuals to exchange their stories on what it is and what it has taken to be who, what and where they are. Many indigenous people feel that too many of their fellow Australians are unaware of the richness of their heritage and the challenges they have faced. While the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission provided a much needed forum for aggrieved and grieving people to uncover the horrors they experienced during the apartheid era, I foresee Australian Storylines being a more eclectic process, involving the sharing of heritage such as storylines, local history and personal experience, as well as a much needed opportunity for people to be heard.

FURTHER INFORMATION: This idea occurred to me while talking with Amos Masondo, Mayor of Johannesburg, who spent a number of years in the cell next to Nelson Mandela on Robbin Island, South Africa, for opposing apartheid.


Cool Green Tip Of The Week -

23 April 2017: Only those who decline to scramble up the career ladder are interesting as human beings. Nothing is more boring than a man with a career: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918 -1956.

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