Why are these people smiling?
The two on the left are smiling because they've not long returned from Harvard. The two on the right are smiling because they're about to depart for Oxford.
These three (excluding of course, the not-for-much-longer PM) are smiling because they're off to Oxford & Cambridge.
And yes, they're all Aboriginal. All helped to achieve their dreams and more success than they imagined by the generous people at the Roberta Sykes Indigenous Education Foundation & The Charlie Perkins Scholarship Trust, with help from the faithful taxpayers of course.
Both organisations make some pretty high aims. Some of them I even agree with, like needing more positive Aboriginal role models and mentors out there, however, I disagree with having an overwhelming majority of white faces cast to play those roles. That is not to say that each of those people in the photo above won't be a great role model due to their achievements and efforts for their own family, or their friends, but a nationwide beacon of hope to all Aboriginal people? You can't even hope to claim such a thing is true.
What these opportunities have done is help these specific people. Not all Aboriginal people . We have no end of Doctors, Lawyers, Academics, Artists and Authors who identify as Aboriginal, however - it seems a smaller and smaller number of those are easily identifiable as Aboriginal - and therein lies the difference. Whilst someone of a similarly fair complexion who identifies as Aboriginal may be able to look up to the group above and see one or more of them as someone whose achievements they can aspire to, that is just not the case for me.
Perhaps, what is most disappointing, is the fact that when we question this lack of black faces among those receiving assistance in the name of Aboriginal Equality, we're called racist, or perpetrators of Lateral Violence. Whilst taking part in the 'Aboriginal or Not' SBS program, Greg Lehmann stressed the point that those of us questioning the motives of those like him were guilty of Lateral Violence and responsible for much of the infighting amongst Aboriginal people.
A pretty comfortable position to take when you're on the blackfella dollar at Oxford, bruz.
Similarly, Kyle Turner, recipient of a scholarship in excess of $50,000 for Aboriginal students, wrote a piece denouncing any questioning of heritage in a piece in The Global Mail in August last year, using the tired line of 'Bolt is a neo-con', rather than address the questions people like Bolt have even raised. It is just easier to keep labelling people I guess, as engaging in a dialogue on the issues may just bring to the surface some uncomfortable truths that cast some of us in an unfavourable light.
But who is that helping to succeed?
Let's look at the local cohort of Indigenous Barristers here in Victoria.
Or have a gander at the Board over at the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association.
What gaps have we closed again?