The same people involved in the Uluru Statement were involved with ATSIC which had to be dismantled because of corruption, the Native Title Act and they control the voices of the Aboriginal leadership.
Josephine Cashman: What do you like about Wilcannia Micheal?
Michael Kennedy: It is where all my people are from we are the Barkandji people. The one thing we love most here is the river. It is full at the moment, isn't it? Yeah, it is good, real good.
Josephine Cashman: How many children do you have?
Michael Kennedy: Four.
Josephine Cashman:What are their ages? The oldest ones 18, youngest ones is two.
Josephine Cashman: Have you heard of the Uluru Statement?
Michael Kennedy: Yeah, I have heard of it.
Josephine Cashman: Has anyone asked you what your view on it is?
Michael Kennedy: Nah. We have had no consultations.
Josephine Cashman: Do you know a person call Noel Pearson?
Michael Kennedy I've heard of him.
Josephine Cashman:Marcia Langton?
Michael Kennedy:Yeah a little bit about her.
Josephine Cashman: Megan Davis?
Michael Kennedy: Yeah, same.
Josephine Cashman: Mark Leibler?
Michael Kennedy: Yeah.
Josephine Cashman: Do any of these people speak for you?
Michael Kennedy: I would like to think I speak for myself and for my people, where I live here in Wilcannia. They're saying that the majority of aboriginal people want the Uluru Statement. Yeah I don't think that's entirely true. Why can't aboriginal people own their own homes? Individually yeah not individually.
Josephine Cashman: Do you think that would make a difference to people's lives if they could have their own home?
Michael Kennedy: Yeah a lot of them it would yeah.
Josephine Cashman: What do you think needs to happen in aboriginal affairs?
Michael Kennedy:People that actually make decisions need to come and sit at the table with us. And heard straight from us as on the ground people that live here. You know people outside and probably never been here making decisions on a lot of the stuff in the community.
Josephine Cashman: A lot of people say well aboriginal people should take responsibility and all this but if you've got no decision making do you think it affects people like psychologically you gotta wait for someone else to repair your home you don't own your home you have someone else comes in and tells you what to do you think that's part of the problem?
Michael Kennedy: Yeah well you know it takes away that sense of leadership ownership. You know I grew up around a lot of aboriginal politics showing me grandmother and grandfather and my aunties and uncles gone back a few while there was a lot of decisions they made that used to be directly impacted on the community and now a lot of that decision making was it has to go through you know different organisations or different levels of people and before a decision can be handed down to the community. That decision used to be made with underground people. I used to work on properties for a lot of years like contracting with mustering, and fencing and stuff like that.
Josephine Cashman: Do you enjoy it?
Michael Kennedy: I used to love it, yeah and that's why I did it I didn't do it because of the money and that it was just a lot so peaceful at times you know you go to work and it's peaceful at work after work or when you get up early in the mornings it's just so peaceful being out bush on country.
Michael Kennedy: Since my involvement with the Land Council and you know being the chair role and that it was always my vision to get to that stage where we do have control over our lives basically. You know the decision making what we want to do being told or how to run our own affairs. A lot of the people around here, they went off the land and back into town and that's when a lot of not so much that generation but as generations went on it slowly drifted out of our people that that work mentality and not having a job. You know because station hands was a very very big part of the job industry around him like every family around he was working on the land you know like there's not one family here their grandmother or grandfather didn't work on the land everyone around in this community their family worked out on the land. And that's how I have it instilled in me because, true nan and pop with Ben Terrigar and you know my old great grandfather before that you know they used to work like Uncle Les he was a full-time fencer, wasn't he? And Aunty Glad up there and as time went on and things started changing like they could not afford or did not want to pay them they came back into town. And as generations went on it slowly drifted out of them it impacted us a lot because there was a lot less employment. I know me being a man. I love to provide for my family that's, I've always been I felt I needed to be the one that's you know put the bread on the table and that's just my pride. You know like I hate it if I can't provide my family with a meal or you know keep the lights on in their house like I feel like that's my responsibility you know, that's my job.
The deeper meaning is about having a right to speak,having the authority to speak of the matters at hand.