Australia Day protest revisited
More has come out about the protest that caught up Julia Gillard – I’m surprised and relieved that it isn’t being called Shoegate, but I suppose it could be by Monday – along with its intended, albeit undeserved, target of Tony Abbott. It’s sounding like another person was involved.
Sources at the Aboriginal tent embassy say the mystery intermediary between Julia Gillard’s office and the protesting mob on Australia Day was Kim Sattler.
Ms Sattler is a well-connected Labor figure, who has worked with UnionsACT.
Aboriginal woman Barbara Shaw, who told the crowd of Tony Abbott’s location on Australia Day, confirmed to The Sunday Age that she believed the intermediary was Ms Sattler.
“Now I know who she is and what her position [is], it’s really disappointing,” she said.
“It breaks my heart to know who she is.”
Ms Shaw said she didn’t identify Ms Sattler on sight at the embassy rally but later confirmed her identity speaking to others who were there.
“She said I should let people know Tony Abbott is over there, so I did,” Ms Shaw said.
“I wasn’t the first person she told and the coffee shop is a public area, but there were already people from here going over there.
“I was told and I was told to tell everyone else.”
One of the founders of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Michael Anderson, said Ms Sattler had spoken to him as well.
‘‘There was a lady running around here when I was doing a radio interview and she said the prime minister’s office wants to talk to you and I thought she was joking and said I’ll talk later,’’ he told reporters.
‘‘I know that woman to be Kim Sattler.’’
Mr Anderson said he believed the protest incident outside the restaurant on Thursday was a set-up.
‘‘Someone set us up. They set the prime minister up. They set Abbott up,’’ he said.
‘‘And they knew that feelings and emotions were running high here and I think they knew that reaction would occur.’’
Lovely. It’s looking more and more like an exercise in tactical shit-stirring that backfired, though even if it had been a success inasmuch as only affecting Abbott I’d still feel that the reaction was disproportionate. Hell, even if he had actually said what the protestors thought he’d said it would have been disproportionate, but if – and I stress ‘if’ – they were given misleading info on purpose just to wind them up and provoke a confrontation I think that mitigates things somewhat. Still doesn’t excuse violence, but all the same…
What it does suggest to me is that the Tent Embassy has at least one thing it can point at to refute Abbbot’s suggestion that it’s had its day: it looks like there are still white people prepared to use and manipulate Aborigines for their own purposes.
Shame on them.