Monday, August 2, 2010

Oprah’s generosity is a smoke screen

Oprah’s generosity is a smoke screen. Given her audiences are predominately women I am concerned by my gender’s complicity in this government PR campaign. Worth examining is Oprah’s gift of 6000 Kimberley Coast pearl necklaces to Australian audiences. Several family-work visits to the Kimberley this year have revealed to me the huge social and environmental issues facing people here. Most stark are housing, health and educational issues for Aboriginal people. Many struggling ‘settler’ Australians also face a housing crisis and rapidly rising rents. As well, myriad issues around energy company Woodside’s gas project, north of Broome, needs an informed local and national polity to cut through the ‘environmental’ versus ‘development’ split.

Sadly Oprah’s circus, in tandem with a misguided Federal government, is ‘pulling the wool’ over the eyes of the woman in the street. Australian women, try not to be bought off by these ‘pearls’! Investigate the gas hub debate; research the history of the pearling industry in Broome; examine Indigenous infant mortality across northern Australia. Perhaps then you may consider donating your pearls to Aboriginal medical centres and schools in the Kimberley where your gift will be more than decorative.