10 July 2009

Peter Garrett and National Parks Australia to ban climbing of Uluru

This will be a huge blow for Australian tourism - an own goal.

I don't when or why Australia started going down this whole political-correctness-gone-mad route but it's got me irked. Giving a blank cheque to one group under the guise of "respect for culture" is not always useful.  This ban could in fact be a setback for the political cause of Aboriginal people.

Supporters of the ban have equated the rock to a European church or the Wailing Wall. They say: "Would you let people climb all over the Notre Dame or the Sistine Chapel?" They've left their logic at the door. A church is a building. It was built by humans for a purpose sacred to them on freehold land. It has an interior. No-one is expected to scale the outside of a building with grappling wires - sacred or not. A building is also temporary. It lasts maybe a few hundred years if you're lucky and then the function ends with the building. A rock is handed down by nature and lasts for thousands or millions of years. Who owns that? Past Aborigines had the most sensible answer: no-one. But their present day descendants have changed the rules for their own ends.

Supporters of the ban also cite tourists peeing and pooing on the rock. According to our modern culture it's uncivilised but in biological terms it's surely no worse than excrement from animals. Are we going to put a huge dome over the top to stop birds and lizards from peeing and pooing on it? No.

Beyond Thunderdome: Poo Dome