1. The act of accomplishing or finishing.
2. Something accomplished successfully, especially by means of exertion, skill, practice, or perseverance. See Synonyms at feat1.
1. something that has been accomplished, esp by hard work, ability, or heroism
2. successful completion; accomplishment
Success. It’s all a matter of perspective. What is valuable to you may well be meaningless to me. For many, achievement is evidenced by educational attainment, career progression, financial security. Others place greater value on a stable family environment, secure marriage or social standing. Often a blend of all of these and more is desired before one finds a sense of personal value, of self-esteem.
If you are a minority in a country that places little value on the diversity between cultures and opinions, your sense of achievement is likely to be skewed by the necessity to succeed in the world of the ruling elite. Ask any homosexual, any female executive, any Aborigine in Australia and I have no doubt that they will tell you that success often comes at the cost of denigration for those aspects of your life that are beyond your control.
The former Commissioner for ACT Revenue (‘Pat’) was one such person, who despite his heritage worked hard to achieve within the systems defined by the ruling elite. Born an Indigenous man in the Wiradjuri nation, he was taken from his family, a Stolen Child, tainted by the racism of an era when the Aborigine was still fighting for voting rights.
Pat educated himself. He did more than simply complete high school; he completed an undergraduate degree in arts and a diploma of education. He never lied about his qualifications, evidenced by documents held by both Ernst & Young (Pat’s Docs, 13 July 2000) and the ACT Department of Treasury (Pat’s Docs, 13 October 2003); in fact, he was prepared to accept a reduced salary from Ernst & Young when his deficiencies were pointed out. Pat subsequently succeeded in working alongside the majority in roles that were not earmarked specifically for Indigenous applicants. Pat succeeded in attaining not just any job; he achieved by being sought for roles that were open to anyone, regardless of their heritage, including that for which Tanya Taylor head hunted him for Ernst & Young and the role of Commissioner for Revenue. Pat was also undertaking further study at the time of his dismissal from the ACT public service.
Ms. King, who was assaulted one day when she lunched with Pat in Canberra’s commercial and government centre, also identifies as indigenous. She remains the most senior Indigenous female banking executive within Australia. The role she held and continues to hold is not one which has been designated for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders. Ms. King, like Pat, has succeeded in the mainstream, despite her cultural identity. She has studied and risen within the ranks of the private sector through her own efforts and education.
The irony for both Pat and Ms. King is that they have both been racially vilified by public servants. The Inquisitor has assaulted both, threatened both, defamed both, destroyed the career of Pat and yet has never once been called to account for his actions. His intent and actions in writing to the ANZ Bank (Pat’s Docs, 7 July 2003), the Commonwealth Department of Treasury and Ernst & Young (Pat’s Docs, 18 December 2003) have been acknowledged as racist. The letter written by Ms. Ingram is dated just one week after that sent by the Inquisitor to the ANZ Bank, providing contemporaneous evidence of a multi-faceted racist attack upon Pat. If the word of Ms. Veronique Ingram, the then Chief Advisor (International) for Commonwealth Treasury (Pat’s Docs, 14 July 2003) and now the Commonwealth appointed CEO of ITSA is not good enough on this front, whose is? Insolvency is all about transparency and accountability. If Ms. Ingram can sniff out the racist lie here, surely the AFP and Department of ACT Treasury need to investigate.
Both Ms. King and Pat have been denied the consideration and protection of the Australian Federal Police and the ACT public service. The AFP are responsible not just for the policing of the Canberra precincts, but also the nation’s ports. Makes you wonder about the treatment they dealt to the Vanuatu Prime Minister’s Private Secretary Clarence Marae, arrested in transit at Brisbane airport when traveling to Israel on a diplomatic passport in May of this year. The ACT Government and Department of Treasury are heavily subsidized by the Commonwealth, but patently the racism and failure to adhere to the public service code of conduct are of little or no concern.
By comparison, the achievements of the Inquisitor who coveted the role of ACT Commissioner for Revenue and was still unable to attain it after his racial denigration of Pat, makes one wonder what special immunity he has to prosecution. If all people are subject to the same laws, what makes him so special? Fifteen minutes of stolen fame, a false heroism built upon nothing that required any true test of courage and put no-one’s life in danger. True heroism involves the potential of harm to the self in saving the life, or quality of life, of another. The Inquisitor has in fact harmed the lives of numerous peope. Hardly heroism. It also helped for the Inquisitor to drop the name of none other than the ACT’s former Police Minister and Treasurer, Ted Quinlan.
The Inquisitor is not the sole example of a false hero getting off lightly when he breaks the law. Last week in the Albury Local Magistrates Court Carlton footballer Heath Scotland recorded no conviction for the assault of another man at the Mulwala Ski Club. He knocked Mark Foote unconscious with a single blow. In light of the recent campaign to bring an end to club and pub violence, how is it that this sportsman was the only one of four men charged by the police to be let off without conviction or fine?
Influence, it seems, influence and being fortunate not to be born Indigenous. Because of the possibility of a conviction stalling Scotland’s ambition to join the fire brigade and the outstanding possibility of suspension and fine by the club to which he is contracted, because he is a recognizable sporting identity, Scotland got off lighter than everyone else charged that day. Foote himself was charged and convicted for his part in the brawl, however, he has one consolation over Pat and Ms. King, in that his assailant is at least on a two year good behaviour bond. The Inquisitor has absolutely no legal binds whatsoever for any of the pain he has caused any of his victims.
Back in the capital, Pat and Ms. King can get no such consideration or support from the likes of the administrative or legal systems that supposedly enforce the rule of law and the ACT’s much touted Bill of Rights. Both achieved in the world without taking a role specifically targeted to ATSI Australians and as such, they are two of the most highly appointed Indigenous people within Australia to have been awarded a role that is open to any Australian resident or citizen. The impediment in the administration of justice in the cases of Pat and Ms. King are the Australian Federal Police and a blinkered and corrupt ACT public service, who have allowed the past glories of a false hero to hold greater weight than the ongoing successes of two people who applied themselves diligently and accountably to their much lauded roles. Ah, but what’s ignoring a couple of highly appointed blackfellas compared to ignoring the rules of international diplomacy? Not much it would seem.