ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

A fourth-generation farmer from our town’s fertile Channel Country grazing district to the south has spoken of how much he hates the culture of handouts and getting things for nothing. Michael Bigg (of the Biggs of ‘Euchambe’ via Eromanga) made it clear to The Advocate today, in polite terms, that he disagrees with much of the ‘Yes’ discourse because he feels it puts up a fence between him and his First Nations ‘brother-cousins’ and ‘divides them off from society like weaned calves.’

The 70-year-old told our reporter, too, that he’s never got any special treatment from anyone. He’s never got anything for free and doesn’t expect anything except for things to be fair.

“And even then,” he said.

“I know it’s not going to happen because life isn’t fair, you see. But look, this Voice rubbish is just the top end of BOTH cultures coming together to make more bureaucracy and strife for everyone else. If you could promise me that this Voice will speak for the Aboriginal families in town and in other remote and rural parts of Australia, then maybe I’d get behind it. But it just looks, from the outside, like another layer of bullshit from politicians and activists. I’m from out here; I’ve spent a lifetime in this community.”

“I’ve never got anything from anybody, and neither did my father. We’ve been farming this country for two hundred years. My father’s father got nothing from nobody, too. Neither did my father’s father’s father. It’s all been hard work.”

When asked who his father’s father’s father got the country from, Michael laughed.

“The Hughes’ actually,” he chuckled.

“Nah, but I get what you’re saying. This country was once just gidgee and rocks. Gibber stone flats and lignum. I can say that about that fancy flat you live in back in Betoota. Who you renting that off? Some bloke on the land council or some fat old prick who needs your rent money to fund his retirement? I don’t know if my ancestors got this country for free. It’s a stupid argument,”

“Inheriting something doesn’t mean you’re getting it for free. It means someone besides you has worked for it.”

Michael shrugged.

“The way this place is going, I’m fuckin glad I’m 70 and not 17. What a fucked place this country has become.”

More to come.


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