worth, then you'll get to Inverell and then Moree. From Tamworth, it's just towards up near the border, near Boggabilla. It's inland, west of Lismore. I think Lismore is Bundjalung. Is there an Indigenous language in that area that is still in existence? Yeah, yeah I think there's a dictionary. Can you speak it? No, I can't speak it. It's a tough ask... No, but I really want to. It's on my bucket list of things to do. It's so sad, firstly because people were forced to not speak their language - they were forced to speak in English because they were scared that if their kids spoke their own language then they would be taken away - so I feel very strongly about keeping it alive and learning it so I can teach my kids. You would normally learn it from your grandparents, then your parents teach you, or whatever. The first time I heard my grandmother speak any indigenous language was four years ago. She still remembers it, obviously, but she has just repressed it her whole life, which is pretty crazy. I went to Uluru a couple of years ago and a lot of the Aboriginals there don't even speak English. It felt like going to another country, as ridiculous as that sounds... Some people in the Northern Territory, especially the central desert mob, they'll speak four or five other languages before English. English will be like their fifth language. One of the things that I learned when I was in Canberra was that they do early childhood learning statistics and part of that is they get kids to read something - a basic skills test, or whatever - but for these kids English was their fourth or fifth language. At home they weren't speaking that, they were speaking in a local language, so they
42 The Beast August 2019
would be like, “These kids are so dumb, they don't even know how to string a sentence together.” No, they're actually just not used to speaking in English. “How well does your four year-old speak French or Latin?!” Was that for government statistics on literacy? Early childhood learning and that sort of stuff.
"It's not my job to go around educating every single person who thinks differently, or who has extreme views one way or the other." What's it like being a Gamilaroi woman on morning TV when other people on morning TV like Prue MacSween have said things like, "There needs to be another stolen generation"? Are you in a position where you feel like you can have a voice among the sharks? Yeah, look, I don't want to shit on anyone, everyone's entitled to their view. Sometimes they are rooted in misinformation, sometimes they are just not exposed to Indigenous perspectives. I see Prue all the time, we've been on TV together before and she's a really lovely person. I kind of wish we had this moment in our national discourse where people can disagree with each other without hating each other. Politics has become like religion in a lot of ways... I know, it's very divisive. People feel very righteous, like their view is the only and one true view of the world. I don't feel like that about myself; I don't feel like my view is the correct one, the one true view, or whatever. It is what it is, it's my view, it's my perspective on something and, as far as having a voice in an ocean of voices that have otherwise not
been Indigenous, yeah that's really important. It's absolutely vital to democracy and having a good country to have different perspectives on breakfast TV, but also throughout the whole day on radio and podcasts, and on YouTube and stuff as well. If our kids grew up thinking that there was only one perspective and that was Prue's or just mine, that's a problem for me. Even if we had a show and it was five Brooke Boneys as the host, I feel like that would be an awful thing because people need to see themselves reflected. People need to see themselves reflected in the media and people need to be different. Not everyone can think or sound or look the same. It's really important for us that there are different people involved in making TV and involved in shaping policy and involved in public discourse. In the interest of independent objective journalism, was there any kind of context to her comment that might make it slightly less offensive? I think around that time maybe there'd been some sort of abuse scandal, but I can't remember exactly when it was said. So it was just a poor choice of words, rather than anything really evil... No, I think that she probably does think that. If I asked her tomorrow if she thought that, she would probably say, “Yeah, that's what my view is,” but then I've not actually talked to her about it. If I did I would just say something along the lines of, that part of the reason that we're in such a dire situation now with Indigenous outcomes being so much worse than non-Indigenous outcomes is because of the trauma related to dispossession, and not just of our land and culture but also about our parents and our right to feel safe in your own home and the right to... you know, access to our own community.
The August 2019 edition of The Beast featuring Brooke Boney...