The Australian “Cover up” Pattern Alive and Well Through the Coronavirus (COVID19) Pandemic; 2020.

Systemic Reflections

By Nina Ishtar

Reflective Systems


Australia’s own Brand of “Covers”; the blankets we all lay down with

As I have facilitated processes for businesses, organisations and individuals within Australia

this pattern of “cover up” re-appears. Of course Australia is not the only country where this

pattern may be apparent but I have found it very strong here with its own particular brand.

The pattern has the specific issues of distrust, lies, betrayal and hidden agendas attached to

it. What you see at face value is not what is really going on and below the surface there is an

inexplicable element of danger lurking. Why would this be?


In a business and organisation setting the pattern operates in a way that drains energy as

the environment is in a constant state of alertness. Even when there is no danger apparent,

the system is on guard for it. It is apparent when employees distrust leaders and leadership

teams. It seems the more senior the authority, the more distrust can be activated. For leaders the pattern is alive when they confront how transparent their leadership style should be and if transparency is indeed safe at all.


What we as system professionals know is that patterns are powerful influences of

behaviour. They can operate for long periods of time, sometimes transgressing multiple

generations. They can out live people and move through time. We also know that patterns

that are in larger systems can be reflected in smaller systems. For example organisations

and families within Australia are small systems within the larger system of the whole

country. It may come as no surprise to you that growing up in Australia my family of origin

have this cover up pattern operating strongly, as do many Australian families and other

modern day professional systems we belong to.


So systems reside in systems and patterns can attract patterns, a complex intertwining

shaping behaviour and influencing direction. The pattern I am referring to as “Cover Up”

appears to underpin so much of the Australian systemic landscape as I traverse it as a

system professional. Could this pattern account for the phenomena of so much of

Australia’s evolution as an advanced society, seeming to hit dead end after dead end?

Patterns and Systems, Survival and Belonging; what will keep life warm?


Patterns and Systems, Survival and Belonging; what will keep life warm?

‘One of the most important workings of the survival mechanism is the principle of completeness; belonging . . . Most patterns are in one way or another consequence of compromising the principle of completeness.’

Jan Jacob Stam and Barbara Hoogenboom


So what has all this got to do with my somewhat strange topic? Well quite a lot. As I have

learnt through my training at the Bert Hellinger Institute in the Netherlands (an Institute

leading the evolution of systems work for businesses and organisations) patterns form

within human systems to create stability and predictability and to keep the system alive.

Stam suggests that these patterns represent the experiences in group settings where people

repeatedly take certain positions or seem to follow an unstated rule. Human systems are

“living” so unlike more technical systems, a change in one element affects the whole.


We see this also in herd animals. They operate as a whole to keep the herd alive. They

continually sense changes moment to moment and adapt accordingly. Today our knowledge

of systems comes largely from our tribal origins when we lived closely alongside animals and

when our ability to belong to our tribe was imperative for our survival.


Fast forward to modern day and the professional field of System Dynamics where we are

concerned with the inclusion of all individual parts and observing how these parts

interrelate when they come together. Having an understanding of these human interrelationships can give insights into why a system functions as it does and what patterns are influencing behaviour. Our core issues of belonging and survival are just as prevalent even

though we now live in family groups (in their various forms) and work in organisations and

businesses in a vastly different world to that of our tribal ancestors.


So how can System Dynamics help us to gain some insight into the Australian Government

through this 2020 virus pandemic and our issues as citizens of trust and discernment? Let’s

explore some of the key systemic principles together, with my reflections on their relevance

to this specific pattern in Australia as we live through this extraordinary time.


When the Covers Get tangled; lying twisted and entwined


Have you ever covered something up? Go back through the mental filing system of your life

experiences. See if there was an occasion. Perhaps you were a child? Perhaps you were an

adult, at home, in the community or at work? Just see if an incident comes to mind.

I found one. When I was a teenager I was aching to borrow my elder sister’s blue, snake

skinned, high heel shoes. They epitomised womanhood, sophistication, sexiness and style.

On the edge of my own adulthood transition I wanted those things, so I borrowed the shoes

without permission when my sister was away for the weekend. My intention was to return

them with no harm done, and you guessed it, harm was done.


I was about half a size larger in shoes. On the way back from my outing, to my horror the

top strap of one shoe broke! I rushed home and hid the shoes under my bed, strap carefully

resting inside. Thinking quickly on my now bare feet I grabbed my dad’s repair glue from his

shed. I did the best repair job I knew how to do and placed the shoes back in my sister’s

room after a quick clean. Nobody knew and to this day I have never told anyone. Not even a

few months later when the same strap broke again on my sister’s foot. Now it is out!

Writing this I connect again with the emotions of that hiding, covering up.


If you have found an incident yourself I now ask you to reflect on the following questions;

  • Why did you cover up the incident?

  • What were your fears?

  • What function did cover up play?

We will return to this reflection further on, so keep it alive with you.


Crisis and Trust; where oh where is the truth in the face of danger?

So right now in Australia and across the world we are in the crisis of the coronavirus (COVID

19) pandemic. The issue of trust has been activated, especially in relation to the Australian

Government leadership. Who can we really trust as citizens to lead for the common good

and to get us through this crisis? Can we trust what we are asked to do? What about that

tracking app? Schools closing, schools re-opening, what is the right thing to keep us safe?

Are we actually in any danger at all? What about the statistics; are they rigged? What about

the vaccination? What is in that stuff? Are they going to coerce us to be vaccinated? Does

anyone know what they are really doing? Where is the hidden agenda? Is that danger

lurking not only in the virus but also in our leaders?


The distrust and questioning is palpable and social media is particularly alive with it but at

times also the mainstream media. From the Governments perspective can they trust us as

citizens to abide by the rules and procedures they put in place? What do you think? Does

the Australian government still “cover up” and operate with hidden agendas?


Add to the mix that this is an unprecedented worldwide pandemic and in Australia we are

just post our recent 2020 wildfire crisis. Our core issues of health, mortality, and finances

are in sharp focus! The stakes are high; everything is heightened. Many of us are thrown

back into our survival patterns and unresolved traumas from the past can re-surface. Where

oh where is this all coming from?


Origin, Roots and History; who planted the trees and where are the shady ones?

‘It could well be that that deeply rooted patterns in your organisation today directly relate to the origins of the organisation.’

Jan Jacob Stam and Barbara Hoogenboom.


One of the fundamental systemic principles is origin. Where did it all begin? What was the

big bang of the system you belong to and what was going on at that time. It could be as

Stam and Hoogenboom suggest that the patterns that are operating today are deeply

rooted in this point of origin. This is my experience and reflection on the cover up pattern in

Australia reoccurring in my work.


Everything has an origin: we as human beings, organisations, businesses and countries. Our

origin cannot be changed. It is where our seed first sprouted and began to grow roots. Plant

roots pull nourishment from the environment, they provide support and anchoring for new

seedlings to grow and they store nutrients for future use. Perhaps human roots are not that

different. The more people are able to connect with their roots it appears the more resilient

they become.


After our roots have taken hold and a degree of stability has been obtained more can grow.

Throughout this growth different events occur and these events make up our history.

Certain historical events can also affect patterns. These events appear to travel through

time, subsequently affecting the present day where patterns can repeat themselves.


System Memory; the system remembers what we were never told or would rather forget


Human systems have memory. This memory appears to operate through time and space,

responding particularly when:

  • Important things are not acknowledged,

  • Parts are excluded or

  • Traumatic events are not resolved.

As systemic practitioners we do not know how this happens but we have evidence that it

does happen and it happens a lot. The past can return via invisible doorways, at unexpected

moments when the event no longer exists and the original people have long gone. The

origin of a problem can be hidden in the past so finding solutions from present

circumstances can remain ineffective.


Working with system memory can bring to light the key to clearing a successfully path

forward, freeing us from the unconscious grip of repetitive patterning. This patterning may

be keeping us trapped in a paradigm that does not facilitate healing, growth and inclusion.


Colonisation, Terra Nullius; the wars that were blanketed but left us all cold

Today if you google frontier wars in Australia many articles appear. There is documented

evidence of wide spread violence across the country as Europeans established their

dominance in the fight for land and the fight for survival.


‘The first fighting took place several months after the landing of the First Fleet in January 1788 and the last clashes occurred in the early 20th century, as late as 1934. A minimum of 40,000 Indigenous Australians and between 2,000 and 2,500 settlers died in the wars. However, recent scholarship on the frontier wars in what is now the state of Queensland indicates that Indigenous fatalities may have been significantly higher.’

Wikipedia


So let’s go back to British colonisation in Australia in an anecdotal way. I am asking you to

return with a particular purpose. Now, with this Wikipedia information, plus the knowledge

of system memory and the significance of origin, roots and history, what if this pattern of

distrust we are witnessing today, comes from what was covered up at the very dawn of our

beginning as a colonised Nation? What if that original cover up is still not only affecting us

today but in fact running the show? Was this the original cover up?


British colonisation and subsequent Australian land laws were established on the claim

that Australia was terra nullius, unoccupied land. Of course we definitely know this was not

true. In a way this was its own version of a cover up. Not only was Australia occupied, it was

occupied by one of the oldest living cultures we know of today.


Two cultures meet upon one culture’s land, not fully understanding each other. One culture

has the intention to establish a new life for itself on this occupied land. The seed for the

first colonised government is forming. Roots start sprouting trying to take a hold in a land

that already has well established tribal lore’s and ancient deep roots. After initial attempts

at cohabitation, or at least distant tolerance, time soon finds the pioneers and the

Aboriginal people competing for land, food, water and cultural dominance.


At this point I need to reference some information and I can tell you it is hard to go there.

As a white, 55 year old Australian woman with British and Scottish heritage who works with

system memory, who is writing this with the hope of shedding light, it is so hard to go there.

The power of the cover up is very strong, the gains high. Uncovering is very frightening, even

for me writing this. Yet my sense is that this is the very place we need to go, a place we have

collectively avoided for a long time.


The Aboriginal Massacres; the unspeakable origin of the Australian cover up pattern

The “Killing Times”, an online map of Aboriginal Massacres during the Australian frontier

wars, is a collaboration between the Guardian Newspaper in Australia and the University of

Newcastle’s colonial frontier massacre research team. It is very confronting. It comes with a

warning of how distressing the content could be for some before proceeding into the map.


The site is a collection of the most accurate information of massacres and massacres sites

across Australia as painstaking research is happening in many forms by historians,

archaeologists, artists and descendants on all sides. It is in a constant state of update as

verifying sites takes time and incredible care as the process of truth telling evolves. There is

a growing body of researchers and oral historians committed to a national truth telling

process about these horrific acts.


The stories of the killing times are not told in Australian history books. Aboriginal history is

not comprehensively taught in our schools, thus many people have little knowledge of

Aboriginal history in general, let alone Aboriginal massacres. Yet these stories remain

resilient and they have not gone away.



This wish of truth telling is expressed in the Uluru Statement of the Heart, a statement of a

possible path forward with recognition of Aboriginal Australians in the National constitution.

The statement was released on 26 May 2017 by delegates to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander Referendum Convention, held near Uluru in Central Australia. The statement says:


‘We, gathered at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention, coming from all points of the southern sky, make this statement from the heart . . .With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.’

Reconciliation Australia’s 2019 barometer of community attitudes found that 80% of people

consider truth telling important. Yet why does this all remain so desperately incomplete?


Why do people still refer to the “conspiracy of silence”, a “cult of forgetfulness” in relation

to Australia’s trajectory on this truth telling path? Why does the cover up prevail in our

collective consciousness and in our modern day systems?


My Sisters Shoes; walking barefoot on top of the truth

I want to return to my story of cover up and my suggestion for the reader to reflect on their

own experience. This is in no way comparing my teenage anecdote to what Aboriginal

people and white settlers endured in this country over the violent process of British

colonisation. I am attempting to show that most of us have concealed something at some

stage in our life and what underpins this experience, in principle, may well be very similar in

us all.


So this is what I discovered on my reflection:


Why did you cover up the incident?

I knew what I was doing was wrong. I should have asked my sisters permission to borrow her

shoes however the thing I wanted; the shoes (and what they represented) was so important I

took the risk. I thought I could get what I wanted by covering up the way I got it.


What were your fears?

I was so frightened of retribution and punishment. What would my sister do? What would

my parents do if they found out? Could they at some level disown me? What would my

sister, who I loved very much, think of me now that I had deceived her?


What function did cover up play?

Covering up what I did protected me from some of my worst fears and got me what I

wanted. It somehow seemed as straight forward as that. Although it got me what I wanted

did it really get rid of my fears? Where did they go?


In summary; we cover things up because we know what we are doing is wrong. The thing we

want or need is so important to us we are willing to take big risks even when there are big

fears.


What did you discover?


The Pioneers; uprooted and trying to survive in a foreign Land

Let’s now turn towards the white settlers who perpetrated those unspeakable crimes: the

one’s responsible for massacring many Aboriginal people. They all have a story. The early

Australian pioneers consisted of immigrants from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales,

accompanied by the government officials, largely from England, sent to administer this new

settlement. Many were convicts sent to Australia for simple crimes associated with survival,

for example stealing food, and in some instances more serious crimes.



Here there is a lot of documented literature with quite detailed accounts. I am not

attempting to write a history lesson but paint a picture of the pioneers as a whole system.

All of these people, regardless of their individual stories were removed from their

homelands, endured long, difficult sea journeys, to arrive to a foreign, often harsh land

where they were faced with their very survival and the Aboriginal people and culture.


It is noteworthy that the gender imbalance was a significant part of the pioneer picture.

Men far outnumbered women among convicts and government officials. There are various

attempts at suggesting ratios, some as high as 9 to 1. Regardless of the exact figures

anecdotal history demonstrates that the physical skills required to build the foundations for

a new country, undoubtedly gave preference to male labour. What of our early pioneer

women?


At the origin of colonised Australia, there existed a significant gender imbalance in the

whole pioneering system. How this impacted upon interactions with Aboriginal people and

what this meant for women as the early immigrants is another topic deserving its own

attention. One that I suspect also involves incidents of cover up. This too is likely to be

fundamentally impacting gender dynamics across Australia today; another article yet to

come perhaps.


Motive for Massacre; what caused the cover up pattern to form?

Defining motives for these massacres is a complex task. The Killing Times map has bravely

attempted this very task but acknowledges that the sources of information are written from

a European perspective and are ‘alleged’ motives. My point here is not to prove motive

from a historical perspective but to provide some systemic reflections on the cover up

pattern and how things may have played out in the origin of its form. Let’s refresh a

systemic principle: patterns form to keep the system alive and to create stability. They

operate in the unconscious human realm. They are about our survival.


Let’s surmise that like me, when I was a teenager and you in your chosen cover up example,

those men wanted something and wanted it in the face of their very survival and the job at

hand of establishing a new colony. Let’s imagine that what they wanted was the Australian

land and its resources. Standing in their way, in their minds, was the original custodians of

the land, the Aboriginal people. The drive for what they wanted would have been very

strong. It was directly linked to their survival and their capacity to develop new life and new

opportunities.


Add to this potential scenario revenge; the human phenomena of retaliation for a perceived

wrong. Many of the motives listed on the Killing Times map are theft and theft of livestock,

the very thing that many convicts sentenced to life in Australia were guilty of themselves,

stealing food that was necessary for survival. What of retaliation for murder or abuse of

colleagues, friends and family? Imagine the intensity in these scenarios and the

accompanying emotions.


Now include the following information quoted on the Killing Times website in reference to

Aboriginal Massacres;

‘The majority of these attacks were planned, not random clashes, and had government involvement or sanction. In this context opportunity means that attacks were deliberately carried out in the knowledge that there would be no formal repercussions.’

The picture develops further. Take a moment to take this information in, as it is highly

significant. Planned massacres with the knowledge there would be no repercussions. The

fears I and perhaps you experienced in your reflection exercise seem to be magically taken

away. The government is on your side. It is not only condoning what you do, it is sometimes

participating because they want it too.


Imagine how strong the drive to proceed would be now. Not only can you get what you

want, which your survival depends upon, but an authority is backing you and guaranteeing

there will be no punishment. See if you can transfer these conditions to your own example

and reflect on this in the most honest way you can.


Let’s at this point review a crucial element of the phenomena of system memory. System

memory responds particularly when:

  • Important things are not acknowledged,

  • Parts are excluded or

  • Traumatic events are not resolved.

Can you see the intensity of how this pattern would have formed and how it would be very

alive and easily activated in our country today?


Now like system memory, let’s travel through time . . .



Australia and New Zealand; the sinner and the saint of government leadership

Here we are back in 2020 and the world is in the crux of the coronavirus pandemic.

Leadership through this time is up on the world’s stage. There are many reviews and

opinions on leadership styles and government’s approaches to the pandemic across the

globe.


Scott Morrison the Prime Minister of Australia went into his job of navigating the country

through this pandemic not long post the Australian bushfire crisis. His approval ratings were

very low as he suffered public condemnation about holidaying in Hawaii at the time of the

fire crisis and implementing funding cuts to firefighting services in the preceding budget.

The public were outraged and trust in the government plummeted dramatically. Many

Australian people felt left on their own, without support.


Scott Morrison none the less remained in his leadership role as the pandemic unfolded. We

witnessed an unprecedented event as both major political parties halted their normal

political combat and got busy working together to solve problems. Both leaders publicly

voiced this intent and appeared to be on the same team. Leading for the common good as

opposed to criticizing the opposition was suddenly in our domain. This is a very common

systemic phenomenon in that when a threat to the whole system appears boundaries to

smaller systems and established behavioural patterns can fall away.



The public responded positively, as we witnessed a health care system that is far from

perfect but full of dedicated professionals working through this crisis with the resources

they had and the government doing their best to back them with more. The government

began releasing financial stimulus packages that aimed to ensure most people could survive,

while trying to keep the economy afloat. They made daily public announcements about virus

strategies and procedures and provided multiple platforms for support and information.

There was a gradual approach to implementing restrictions coupled with explanations.


Scott Morrison’s approval ratings went up. The public was witnessing a change and

responding to the message “we are in this together” as our political leaders were reflecting

this in action by working as one team. It was very evident that human life was put before

economic gain. Something “rose up” in Australia and some sense of trust appeared to

resurface.


Then something interesting happened in the collective consciousness. At the point when it

seemed Australia may be able to contain the virus and the outside threat diminished, some

of the public started questioning what our Government was doing.


Why are we losing our freedom and ability to make a living? Why is the Government making

us dependent upon them to pay our bills and telling us what to do? What are they hiding

from us? Distrust soon started creeping back in as it appeared the cover up pattern regained

its grip. Social media came alive with a multitude of conspiracy theories of what the

government’s hidden agenda could be and danger was right back in our terrain. It has in

relation to this pattern, never fully left us. Understanding system memory and how patterns

form, is it any surprise?


It is interesting to note that our neighbouring country, New Zealand’s Prime Minister

Jacinda Arden, who has been publicly referred to as “Saint” Jacinda has since her time in

office lead her country through a terrorist attack, a volcano eruption and now a word wide

pandemic. She has become known as a compassionate, clear communicator with strong

policies to back her up. Her decision to shut New Zealand down swiftly and strictly to

prevent the virus spreading, received public praise and support. There was no suspicion that

there was any agenda other than the common good, even if there was some disagreement

with this approach.


There are articles referring to her leadership in this crisis as a Masterclass. Simply put the

public not only trust Jacinda Arden, they love her and not only the New Zealand public.

Australian social media has been alive with the question can we please have Jacinda here?

Although we may think we want this type of leadership would our current patterning as a

nation allow this?


While New Zealand has its own patterning and like Australia was colonised by the British

with first nation’s people (the Maori) already occupying the land, a significant difference

occurred. The Treaty of Waitangi was signed to establish British rule, consider Māori

ownership of their land and property and give them the rights of British subjects. While

there have been complex problems with this treaty and New Zealand has not escape

violence in its history, at the origin of colonisation Maori people were formally

acknowledged and negotiations and agreements occurred. It is interesting to reflect on this

profound difference and its potential implications for leadership patterns today.


Disrupting patterns; can the covers be pulled off, who would lie naked on the bed of truth?

‘Crisis and War are mechanisms that can destabilise so strongly that it causes room for new patterns.’

Jan Jacob Stam and Barbara Hoogenboom



Post colonisation and the frontier wars, Australia has lived through two world wars, fought

in approximately 8 smaller wars and experienced countless natural disasters, most recently

the worst wildfire crisis we have ever seen. Yet the cover up pattern has prevailed, keeping

its firmly established place in the Australian collective consciousness. So could there be a

crisis strong enough to destabilise this pattern?


During the coronavirus pandemic, which we are still traversing, we have witnessed many

patterns being shaken up as our structural systems responded to rapidly changing rules,

changing policies, changing procedures. For example unemployment benefits doubled in a

matter of days and eligibility criteria changed to become very inclusive, while previously a

heated political debate had been occurring about this for years. Some long term homeless

people were quickly housed in 5 star hotels that lay empty to protect them from the virus

spread. Many citizens were entitled to early release of superannuation funds, something

that had to date been strictly guarded against. Stimulus packages became easily accessible

to most. Small businesses and sole traders were included while in the past they have often

“missed out”. The Australian systemic landscaped changed and it changed rapidly.


The two opposing major political parties came together like never before and literally sat

around the same table problem solving. Given all this “shaking up” and the subsequent

swing back into distrust and danger, is this pandemic crisis strong enough to destabilise the

cover up pattern? I am watching, I am wondering and to date, in my view, no it has not

been.


Aboriginal people today; those with the most ancient roots in this land


Incarceration

In September 2017, Indigenous prisoners represented 27% of the total full-time adult

prisoner population, whilst accounting for approximately 2% of the total Australian

population aged 18 years and over.


Physical Health

In 2014-15, hospitalisation rates for all chronic diseases (except cancer) were higher for

Indigenous Australians than for non-Indigenous Australians (ranging from twice the rate for

circulatory disease to 11 times the rate for kidney failure). [6]


Mental Health

In 2015, the Indigenous suicide rate was double that of the general population.[8]

Indigenous suicide increased from 5% of total Australian suicide in 1991, to 50% in 2010,

despite Indigenous people making up only 3% of the total Australian population.


Life Expectancy

Non-Indigenous girls born in 2010-2012 in Australia can expect to live a decade longer than

Indigenous girls born the same year (84.3 years and 73.7 years respectively).

The gap for men is even larger, with a 69.1 year life expectancy for Indigenous men and 79.9

years for non-Indigenous men.[3]


Family and Community Wellbeing

Median weekly income for Indigenous Australians was $542 in 2014-15 compared with $852

for non-Indigenous Australians.[14]


Rates of family and community violence in 2014-15 were around 22% for Indigenous

people.[16]


Education and Employment

About 62% of Indigenous students finished year 12 or equivalent in 2014-15, compared to

86% of non-Indigenous Australians. This is an improvement on previous years.[11]

The employment to population rate for Indigenous 15–64 year olds was around 48% in

2014-15, compared to 75% for non-Indigenous Australians.[13]


https://australianstogether.org.au/discover/the-wound/indigenous-disadvantage-inaustralia/



Exposure and Death; the deep fears in the collective unconscious in Australia

So what would it take for Australia to really “Close the Gap”? Closing the Gap is an

Australian government strategy that aims to reduce disadvantage among Aboriginal and

Torres Strait Islander people. It has been operating since 2008, yet it does not appear to be

working well. I suspect that until we fully own the truth and then allow the deep fears of

the collective unconscious in Australia’s systems to surface we may just continue to repeat

the dominance we “administered” as new settlers to this land, further entrenching

disadvantage to the first nations people.


So what would these deep fears be? What if we could stare into the full truth of what we

have done, own it and begin to re-address the imbalance of power? Can you imagine that in

the unconscious patterning (concerned with our survival) fear of revenge would be strong?

In a new paradigm when we are no longer holding the advantage with guns in our hands,

what would happen? Who would gain and who would pay the price? What would we have

to risk? Could we be ready for this mature shift? Our conscious evolution as a nation may

depend upon it.


Business not as usual; waking up with no covers, rising to a warmer dawn

Patterns can be destabilised by a crisis or they can be outgrown. Both are a process which I

will not discuss in detail here. Collective patterns within a country are very powerful. The

cover up pattern in Australia is so deeply rooted in our origins as a colonised nation and

attached to such deep, unacknowledged trauma it is still affecting us all today. In many ways

it is keeping our country frozen in time and operating in an incomplete paradigm.


There can be no doubt that white people have massively gained as Aboriginal people paid

an unbelievably high price. But what have we gained and where has it lead us? In the

genuine and profound attempts of truth telling and the movement happening towards

reconciliation in this country I see a very important step we often do not recognise. We

have a tendency to jump very quickly into wanting to heal the wounds to make it all better;

which is another form of covering up really. For a deep wound to heal (and truly

contemplate the depth of this wound) we must first look at it, see it fully, and know what

the wound is before we can determine what will heal. In fact, facing the wound is

profoundly healing in its own right.


The step I am referring to is one that moves us into a still and frightening place. It’s a place

where for the first time, we collectively as the new arrivals to this land stare fully into the

truth of what we have done to Aboriginal people, this ancient land and indeed ourselves. If

we look with the clear, honest eyes healing requires, we will see that it is not just what we

have done, past tense, it is in fact what we are still doing but in a modern form. It is

shocking and heart breaking to confront this truth and almost too much to bear yet we must

find a way to bear it before collective healing can begin.


Imagine how life could be in this profoundly beautiful country if we could all live together in

the truth we are capable of as human beings . . .



Articles and References


Stam, Jan Jacob and Hoogenboom, Barbara, 2018: “Systemic Leadership”


https://hellingerinstituut.nl/en/


https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/mar/04/the-killing-times-themassacres-of-aboriginal-people-australia-must-confront

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/ng-interactive/2019/mar/04/massacre-mapaustralia-the-killing-times-frontier-wars


https://www.referendumcouncil.org.au/sites/default/files/2017-05/Uluru_Statement_From_The_Heart_0.PDF


https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/apr/07/guardian-essential-pollcoronavirus-response-boosts-scott-morrisons-approval-rating


https://theconversation.com/three-reasons-why-jacinda-arderns-coronavirus-response-hasbeen-a-masterclass-in-crisis-leadership-135541


https://australianstogether.org.au/discover/the-wound/indigenous-disadvantage-inaustralia/


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Waitangi