Last year Pat Cash joined a Children’s Ground workshop and had a one on one talk with 2016 Aboriginal Elder of the year, Jo Willmott.
Pat Cash surprised Australia with his statement that he views Australia Day as Invasion Day. Since Sunday those words have sparked a social and political storm around the Date of Australia Day.
But what prompted a man who has been out of Australia for 30 years to become so outspoken on the issue of Aboriginal rights? When Pat Cash made his comments live on the TODAY show, his core message was about the work that the charity (Children’s Ground) is doing in Aboriginal communities. His comment about Australia day was just one comment at the end of his interview.
Pat’s main drive to campaign for Indigenous rights goes back to last year when he joined a Children’s Ground workshop by Jo Willmott, the 2016 Aboriginal Elder of the year. During her workshop she outlined the historical factors which have resulted in present day Indigenous disadvantage and the white privilege non Indigenous people gained from this disadvantage. During her sessions Jo often uses the phrase ‘racist by association’ in regards to those in Australia who ignore or do nothing in regards to ending Indigenous disadvantage.
It was those 3 words that struck a chord with Pat and even brought tears to his eyes. He brought this up again with Jo during a one on one interview he had later that year. Once Jo had finished outlining the way in which the missions, the Aboriginal protection policy, the stolen generations and stolen wages had all combined to create present day Indigenous disadvantage and white privilege, Pat was once again left speechless.
Unlike other interviews when he normally says thanks for your time, he was left thinking, What’s next? Where do we go from here? That’s when Jo reminded Pat that he needs to make a commitment to help creating a better future in Australia. With his new understanding of the past and by using his white privilege and celebrity status, Pat now has the choice to make a difference. You can listen to the full interview below.
Jo also reminded Pat not to become a white saviour and listen to our people when it comes to advocating for change. It looks like Pat is off to a great start and we look forward to seeing his passion and commitment in the future.