'Survival Day' 2016

I watched Stan Grant's speech a few days ago. Like many others I had him placed in a box of low expectations, largely based on his history as a commercial TV star and his too perfect movie idol good looks.

Let me tell you what we heard
when we heard those boos; we heard a sound that was very familiar to us.
We heard a howl of humiliation that echoes across two centuries of dispossession, injustice, suffering and survival.

Grant here refers to the way crowds booed Australian Rules footballer, Adam Goodes. How in that moment, a howl of pain was heard that mocked any notion of the 'Australian dream' ...

The Australian dream, we sing of it and we recite it in verse: ‘Australians, let us rejoice for we are young and free ...’
My people die young in this country. We die ten years younger than the average Australian.
And we are far from free.

Aboriginal Australians number three per cent of the total Australian population, Grant tells us, but make up 25 per cent of the country's prison population (an Indigenous child is more likely to be 'locked up', he says, than to finish secondary school).

Commentators in Australia have rushed to make comparisons with foreign speakers to bestow some credit on Grant, who responded differently to the speech's success, speaking instead of family and the many Aboriginal Australian activists, elders, writers and artists.

Those who came before. Grant's voice, he says, is just one among many, never hidden forever present.