Brian Manning concluded his address at the 45th Anniversary of Gurindji Freedom Day at Daguragu (previously known as Wattie Creek) by reading this poem:
Wild horses can’t drag me,
and you’ll never tempt me
to get into line and pretend
you have the truth – the answer:
I’ll resist you to the very end.
I’ll not praise your lying jugglers
presenting half lies and distorted images as fact.
You’ll not hear me rabbiting on about people smugglers.
I am prepared to wait until the final act.
You will not catch me wearing budgie smugglers.
When leaky boats arrive I see asylum seekers
brought here by poor Indonesian fishermen.
I’m not interested in your sticky beakers
or the really amoral who’d return them to Malaysia
or Manus or Nauru or to wherever they fled:
such people care little if they end up dead.
You’ll not hear me musing on “the simple dignity that work brings”
nor the need to cut the number of pensioners with a disability
because they are doing what they can to the best of their ability.
I’m aware of the struggle poor people face: of the outrageous slings:
of the uphill climb just to get their hungry children fed,
coping with the daily grind, finding the shelter of a nice warm bed.
So to the Government and Opposition I want to put the proposition
that “It’s Time” to find a way to embrace all who live in our land:
to share and care and do what’s fair, giving all a helping hand,
to come to a just resolution of Indigenous people’s claim,
to be generous to the first peoples and end the old blame game,
to close immigration detention centres and lock the door,
to end the gross disparities between rich and poor,
to end poverty and malnutrition and what’s more,
to help end world starvation and stop every war,
to comfort the afflicted and bandage every sore.
Copyright © 2021 John Tomlinson