So much is heard of Noel Pearson in relation to solutions for problems confronting Aboriginal communities that, to the casual watcher, it might seem that there are no Aboriginal leaders other than he - and, if perhaps there were, certainly none with anything intelligible and intelligent to say. The reason for this is not only Pearson's own self-promotion. Here is an Aboriginal leader saying what certain powers that be want to hear. A man who speaks their language. Pearson's ideas fitted the economic rationalism [sic] of certain whitefella ideals. What a meeting of minds.
The senior indigenous leadership of the nation - including Pearson - though having individual differences have always endeavoured to provide a united front. This has been an admirable effort. Reflect now on what is happening with Pearson. Walk a mile in the moccasins of the national Aboriginal leadership. Miss Eagle's guess is that they are saying to and among themselves: Great, Noel. You've put Aboriginal policy issues on the front pages of the newspapers and in the forefront of the Prime Minister's mind. But, real-ly great, Noel -irony, irony- look what you have brought about.
In Miss Eagle's former employment as a union official it used to be known as bringing on the crabs. In other words, the crabs don't always stay in their crab-pots and once they get out they can crawl all over you and nip and bite and tear you to shreds.
Guess what, Noel? My bet is that the senior indigenous leadership of the nation are thinking that you have brought on the crabs. You've lifted the lid of the crab-pot, Noel, but it's not been good news.
Aboriginal leaders are now speaking out: Pat Turner, Mick Dodson, Bev Manton, as well as the man who is, arguably, the most senior of all the indigenous leadership, the Father of Reconciliation, Patrick Dodson. Here is Patrick's latest press comment.
And now that it is quite clear that the crabs are out and about, we appear to have Pearson himself backing away from what he has unleashed. Here he is on 27/6 attacking critics while maintaining some reservations. Here he is less than thirty minutes ago as my fingers hit the keyboard. To-night Four Corners on the ABC at 8.30pm, Pearson's own program of solutions for Cape York communities comes under scrutiny.
And, in case, you think that Pearson saying one size does not fit all is quite generous of him. Miss E recalls when Linda Burney, Aboriginal leader and a minister in the NSW Government, and Rick Farley appeared on Late Night Live with Phillips Adams on 13 May 2006. Adams asked Linda what she thought of Pearson's policies. There was a slight hesitancy and Linda said that what needed to be remembered is that one size did not fit all communities. This, Miss Eagle believes, was the first time this phrase was used in relation to Pearson's policies.