The Rio Tinto thing with blowing up the Juukan Gorge caves to make a road to their mine got raised in parliament. Juukan Gorge was destroyed in 2020 and it was all perfectly legal. That doesn’t make it morally or ethically right. Preserving human history wherever and whenever possible is an important thing in the story of humanity.
Where the government failed is the way in which they have over-sensationalised it by comparing it to Stonehenge and the pyramids. That sort of cheap comparison is a sure-fire way to get people offside. You simply cannot compare one to another when it comes to this sort of stuff. Juukan Gorge is much like the caves in France that record early humans and is very precisely documented, while Juukan Gorge was basically unknown to Australia, and the world, until Rio Tinto let rip with a big bang.
Preserving our history is the issue here. I’m sure some wankers would say that as a white fella it isn’t my history. Yet it is. It is the history of all humanity and how we spread out and populated this planet way back.
It is the history of human movement and settlement. It is about how we went from nothing to something. This is not just one race, one tribe, one culture, but about how all of humanity developed way back when and how we populated the world.
This is also about how modernity values one thing over another in the scheme of things. Anyone can go and visit Stonehenge and all the other historical sites within reason, but not everyone can get to remote areas and visit sites like Juukan Gorge.
Modern Australia is young, and we have been really slack at preserving that part of our history. In fact in recent times it has been popular to destroy that history as it is an ‘ism’ of one type or another.
The older history of when all those dudes made their way here and set up shop is also important and must be preserved along with the more modern history of this country. It is our story and ours alone to have. Yet recent years have seen one valued more than the other. That is fundamentally wrong and as well as morally and ethically bankrupt. We need to do better than we currently do.