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The chisel box

An occasional blog on woodworking by The Sniper, Barry Tucker

When I wanted to build a chisel box to transport and protect my chisels I ran into some unexpected problems. The identifying and solving of them might be of interest to some woodworkers.

I am an amateur, who is training himself by attempting various projects. I began with the simple design below, for which I planned to use 5-ply Pine (mainly due to the hinging requirement). I then decided to use 16mm Maple for the sides and ends, with 3-ply Pine for the bottom and the hinged lid.

Chisel box

You can see straight away, I think, that 3-ply is a bit thin for hinging, especially when the weight of four chisels will be bearing down on the hinge. A piano hinge may or may not be a better solution, but I have no experience with them.

This design would also mean the chisel box would tend to topple backwards when opened, or the lid would slam shut due to the weight of the chisels. I thought of adding a strap or a elbow bracket to hold the lid back at a slight angle, but the box would still topple backwards because the centre of gravity (mainly in the chisel handles) is too high.

My next thought was to provide space for more chisels, because my collection is sure to grow. This meant a design that was similar, but wider. That did not solve the problems of choosing 3-ply or the lid slamming shut or toppling the box backwards. A wider lid would also require a piano hinge, or more hinges, for stability and smooth operation.

Blog 1

The extra width is not drawn to scale in the picture above.

The picture above shows the hinges have been crossed out and a recessed channel has been drawn near the top edge of the box for a sliding lid. The chisels no longer appear on the lid. The re-design provides for them to be sitting in a regular chisel rack inside the box — so the box would be used for safe-keeping and transportation only. The chisel rack would be removed and hung on the wall above the workbench.

The idea of a sliding lid did not survive for long. I couldn’t imagine a large piece of 3-ply sliding easily in and out of a rebate or channel cut into the Maple sides of the box. I was also beginning to run out of space because the 3-ply floor was going to be rebated as well. A good glue job would hold the floor to the base, but I am anxious to try various rebating. At this stage a router is still on my shopping list.

Inside measurements are provided because the ends of the box will have mitered joints. When I first mitered end joints my project ended up a bit narrower and shorter than expected because I had measured as you would for simple butt joints — by measuring for the outside edges.

I should point out here that I don’t have a regular workshop. I use the open-ended garage, which is not secure, of course, so all my tools are housed in bookshelves in my large kitchen (just as well I live alone, eh). I’ve had to build a back door ramp to facilitate moving my portable table saw and a tool tote box to avoid numerous trips back and forth for more gear.

Blog 2

The little sketch above is an idea of mine that I haven’t yet put to use. The lug at the bottom end is an alternative to the metal hinge, which can be tricky to fit properly. A wooden or metal axle goes through the sides of a box, through the lugs, and replaces the metal hinge and the careful fitting of them. I was going to use a variation of the design on a mailbox lid.

The chisel rack mounted on this axle hinged board would be fitted to the lower end of the chisel box. The chisel box would be opened on site, the chisel rack lifted and secured at an angle by the lid coming down behind it. Alternatively, or additionally, the chisel rack could be unhinged by pulling the axle out and hung on the wall via keyholes at the top of the chisel rack mounting board.

I then thought I could remove all the alternatives and problems considered so far by designing a free standing chisel rack. That led to the odd-looking design below.

Blog 4

The sketch in the centre is a transparent view. It shows a chisel rack mounted on a board, supported by triangular sides and a backing board, with keyholes for wall mounting. For transportation and safe-keeping, a trapezium-sided lid fits over the chisel rack and its stand. This last design involves a lot more careful measuring, cutting and construction, but it is a simple design with a measure of flexibility: bench or wall positioning. To facilitate safe transportation and prevent accidental opening, the lid could be secured with clasp latches.

At this point I have identified some problems and considered some alternatives. An idea of what I should do has not yet been formed. I’ll update the blog when I have a final solution.

Day 2

The design issues were easily resolved this morning when I decided to build the chisel rack first and mount it on a backing board with keyholes at the top for wall hanging. My axle hinge has been discarded for this project because it isn’t necessary. The chisel rack will be carried in an attaché-type case.

On site, the carry case will be opened, the chisel rack will be lifted at the top end and the lid will be brought down to support the rack at an angle (yet to be determined) by sitting under a bead near the top end of the chisel rack backing board. Removing and replacing chisels will be a two-handed operation, for stability.

I almost completed the chisel rack today. It still needs the keyholes and the supporting bead (or double beads) to be positioned. The sides and ends of the attaché case were cut and I completed dovetail joints for one corner of the case. The floor of the case will be 3-ply Pine, glued to the bottom edges, which will be lightly sanded for safe handling. Once again, the opportunity to practise routing to secure the floor has been abandoned.

I’m now planning to make the lid of the case from laminated strips of 60 mm Maple. I have fitted small hinges to the end “grain” of 3- and 5-ply. While the recesses are easy to chisel away, fixing screws into the end “grain” of plywood does not appeal to me. The Maple (also easy to carve with a sharp chisel) will provide for more secure hinging.

Finishing touches will be fitting a clasp to secure the lid and making and fitting a wooden handle to carry the attaché case.

Days 3, 4 & 5

Chisel box 1

The chisel rack is being used to determine fit and spacing inside the chisel box. One dovetail joint completed. The relatively soft Maple tended to chip easily when being sawn and chiseled. Probably due to poor technique, but I’ll choose a more dense wood next time I attempt to make dovetails.

Some of the pencil marks made inside the tails while marking the pins are off target. The side carrying the pins is off by about 1 mm. The sharper line below the curved pencil marks was made with a chisel — that’s where the saw cut should have been made. I’ll get better at dovetails with more practise and more care.

Chisel rack

The chisel rack goes operational while its storage/carry case is being completed. I added another slotted 3-ply board at the bottom of the rack to prevent the chisels flopping from side to side.

I also made the toolbox, most of it from salvaged pallets. The carry handle is supposed to be reminiscent of an ox yoke.

Handle suports

Back to the chisel box.

Handle 2

I made a handle from a scrap of Maple. It’s screwed in place from the inside.

Chisel Box fin

With the addition of plated hinges and clasps, the chisel box is complete. Despite appearances, the longer chisel narrowly clears the edge of the lid. The lid securely holds the chisel rack in place when removing and replacing chisels. The rack has keyholes near the top in case I want to hang it on a wall. I might lacquer the box to help keep it clean.

End of project.

Project: Vegie patch work bench

Something new from The Sniper, Barry Tucker, who joined the Men’s Shed Movement a few months ago to pursue a long-held interest in carpentry.

The project is to salvage a battered low table, restore its metal legs, extend them somehow, rebuild the structure supporting the table top, replace the top and end up with a taller work bench. The timber will come from salvaged pallets.

I inherited the old table below, which had a worm farm sitting on it. The metal legs appear to have been painted with blue enamel; beneath that there are glimpses of a silver finish — probably nickle plate; surely not stainless steel. The first step is to place the table upside down on my new work bench (also made entirely from recycled pallets) and unscrew the timber supports and the table top, which will go to the tip. The old timber supports were a peculiar half-frame that didn’t provide full support for the 3-ply table top (now disintegrating), which was covered with a Laminex-type material.

Project 1

The old table has spent most of its life outdoors and is suffering from the experience.

The goal is to salvage and restore the metal legs and use them to carry an easily squared up, oblong frame to support the new bench top.

Project 3

The metal legs provide a good base for a new bench top.

The next step is to scrub the rust and peeling paint off the metal legs.

Project 4

After scrubbing and wiping a good coat of rust-converting undercoat was applied. I will add a layer of enamel spray paint.

Project 2

The timber for the supporting frame, the bench top and the leg extensions will come from pallets discarded by bulky goods retailers. My last collection included some really solid and lengthy pieces of timber. These pallets are destined for the tip, unless someone picks them up and takes them home for projects like this one.

With patience, care and a lot of muscle, the pallets can be taken apart with a wrecking bar. Be careful with the nails. There are many of them and some are rusty. Nails can be hammered back and pulled out with a wrecking bar; not as easy as it sounds. Alternatively, the protruding nails can be hammered flat, but only if they will be covered with something eventually to protect unwary fingers. Other alternatives are to cut off the protruding nails with a heavy pair of pliers, a nail puller or a small angle grinder

If you are going to dress the recycled timber using a hand plane or any high-speed machinery, or dock or rip the timber, or cut any joints into it you will want to be sure you have removed every nail completely to avoid damaging your equipment or injury to yourself. I got tired of hammering the nails back through and decided to cut them off with pliers. The first sharp I cut off hit me in the forehead! I’ll be wearing goggles when I resume this task and I’ll be armed with heavier pliers.

Project 9

The type of nail often used for pallets. Not easily removed.

Pallet nails are made of high tensile steel, I’m told, and are fired into the wood with a nail gun. Some have a twisted shank, like a screw, and have a fine copper thread running through the twist. They do not come out easily. When the sharps are cut off with pliers or an end gripping nail puller they take off like bullets. When they are cut off with an angle grinder they simply fall to the side. Carefully collect and thoughtfully dispose of each sharp to avoid injury to anyone.

I have separated enough timber from one pallet for the oblong-shaped support structure for the bench top and two or three cross sections, to be fixed by half-joints at each end, glued and screwed. I have a choice of thick or thin planks for the bench top.

Day 2.

I added a nail puller and a small angle grinder to my kit this morning. It is worth the expense because I will be recycling a lot of these pallets.

Two main beams were measured, cut, drilled (using existing recessed screw holes in the metal frame) and screwed into position. Everything has squared up perfectly, after pulling on alternating ends of the metal legs to ensure the side and end measurements were exactly the same.

Project 5

It was necessary to screw the two long beams into position to ensure the cross members could be measured and cut accurately for a firm and strong fit.

Project 6

Four cross members roughly positioned.

The decking, or bench top, will be produced from the narrow pallet in the centre of the picture above. The length of those boards determined the length of the two main beams. This is all undressed timber, with some warping. No need for anything fancy here.

The metal frame has four more recessed screw holes near the centre of the structure. I was going to utilise them, but have decided to spread the two centre cross members further apart.

It is interesting to see the various stages and the available timber come together. I have noticed the same thing when writing fiction, as other authors will be aware. You can write yourself into a pickle and, just when you need it, a solution magically appears.

The next step will be to number each of the cross members before marking out the positions for the half-joints that will fix them into position. This is necessary to ensure each beam ends up in its original marked out position because, again, the timber is undressed, of varying width and thickness and has suffered some warping.

I’m not looking forward to cutting these half-joints with my tricky 4.5 cm hand-held electric saw. The short cutting line soon disappears under the body of the saw, the laser beam guide is useless, the saw pulls to the right and cuts at a slight angle rather than at 90 degrees. The timber I am using for the bench top supporting frame is not the usual soft pine commonly used in pallets. It’s a white hardwood (?) and it’s dense. The saw cuts through it so slowly that every cut is showing burn marks. I’ll try to get a piece of this wood identified at the Men’s Shed. I may have to take the marked up wooden supports to the Men’s Shed to have the half-joints cut on our compound bench saw. It is very accurate and produces a clean finish.

After assembly the wooden support frame will be removed and the metal support structure will be given a thick coat of outdoor enamel over its rust-converting base coat.

One unsolved problem is how to extend the metal legs to give me the height I want. I have drawn up three possibilities, but they all involve too much work. I like a simple design when I can achieve it. The right solution will turn up when the time arrives. Just like getting a fiction character out of a pickle.

Project 8

Hard and tricky work dismantling pallets sometimes.

I was not able to use the narrow pallet because levering the planks away from their supporting members split the timber almost every time. I couldn’t remove them by sawing through the ends because I had already decided to use them full length.

I had to start again with a heavier pallet. The same problem presented itself due to the nature of the nails. You can see three of them above. I decided to sacrifice the planks on the underside of the heavier pallet by sawing through them, which allowed me to knock the cross members sideways. This loosens the boards and allows the claw of the wrecking bar to get a grip on the nails — one of the recommended methods for dismantling pallets.

A sledge hammer would have been safer than swinging a double-ended mattock across the front of your legs with considerable force. However, the hoe end of the mattock and the mechanical advantage provided by its long handle was perfect for prising the planks loose.

There was still a lot of collateral damage, along with less than desirable planks being salvaged and the better ones being wrecked. Plan B, Mark II, will involve making the bench top from some shorter pieces of timber. It will be fine. Plan B, Mark II, didn’t work because I can’t cut a straight line with my little electric saw!

Day 3.

I took the wood for the bench top supports to the Men’s Shed to finish the marking out and to cut the half-joints. The results were less than desirable because, frankly, I was not listened to by the two professionals who did the job (one completed the marking up and the other did the cutting). My very careful marking out was not accepted because it didn’t line up when the two long beams were placed side-by-side. I explained that some of the undressed wood was slightly warped, its appearance was not critical and everything would line up as intended. Some of my cutting lines were “adjusted” and the width and depth of the half-joints varied.

One of the operators assembled the finished job on the saw bench, but ignored my labeling of Front, Rear, LH side and the numbering left to right of the cross members. When I assembled the support structure in my kitchen, some of the joints had gaps of 2 mm or more, they were not flush and one was so tight it had to be encouraged with a hammer.

Project 10

I would have preferred to do the job myself, but I haven’t been authorised to use the compound bench saw. That is weird because I use our drop saw, band saw, drill press, belt sander, thicknesser, planing machine and the wood lathes.

Project 11

Although they are not perfect, the half-joints will do the job of providing a solid base for the bench top. The bench is unlikely to bear more weight than a few pot plants and a bag of seeding mixture or fertilizer. There will be gaps between the bench top planks to facilitate the run-off of rain water and debris.

Day 4.

I took the deck timbers to the Men’s Shed so I could cut clean, straight ends with the drop saw, following a frustrating afternoon trying to do this with a small, hand-held electric saw. The cut drifts to the right and at a slight angle to 90 degrees. A Men’s Shed member who has one of these saws said the cut drifts when the blade heats up; I don’t understand why. When docking (cutting the end off and working across the grain), the saw will cut a straight line if the guide rail is used, but for that you need a square cut on the end of the timber to start with.

Project 12

The bench top has now been screwed down. There’s a space of about 7 mm between the boards to allow for the run off of rainwater and debris. The next step will be surface preparation, mainly filling the old nail holes, before applying the undercoat and top coats.

I’m leaving the bench at its original height until I come up with the perfect solution for extending the legs. Long legs tend to be unstable, causing sideways movement and twisting. I think a solution will involve a lower shelf, which will stabilise the bench and be useful for storage. I’ve also had some “flashes” about a double-decker bench — the lower deck giving me the height I want and the two decks easily coming apart for greater versatility. I’ve no idea how it might be achieved, as yet, but I am looking forward to the challenge.

Why religion?

I’m an atheist. A hard core non-believer.
Religion grew out of Mankind’s increasing self-awareness and a feeling that somehow we were just too significant for our life to end with our death. Hard to say when it began, but Neanderthals showed reverence for their dead and ancient Egyptians (and not only the Pharaohs) went to extraordinary lengths to provide for their afterlife.
Religions are now firmly rooted in almost every culture and all without a shred of evidence for an afterlife. Most are based on a magical mystical unexplainable appearance of rarely seen “entities” issuing orders on how to behave from now on. In much the same way, the conquering general rides into town, climbs the town hall steps and tells you how it will be from now on.
I object to this nonsense because basically it relieves many from the need to think for themselves. Because of that, I see religions as being anti-human rather than humanist.
In my world, I have no doubt about my “afterlife”: worm fodder, dust to dust, and no soul or spirit to go to some nonexistent place.
I am not religious, but I manage to behave in a moral way with constant concern for the well being of my fellows. I wonder what we could achieve as humans if we all dumped these old-fashioned, unproven and very strange religious beliefs and began to think for ourselves.

Why TURC is a farce

The Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption (TURC) is a farce. It is not hard to prove this.

Proof hangs on a single item: A Royal Commission has been established to do the job existing law enforcement agencies should be doing. It is as simple as that.

For reasons not known to me, the trade unions do not argue my case. They have appeared before the Royal Commission for months, only objecting recently when it was learnt that Commissioner Dyson Heydon had accepted and deferred an invitation to be a guest speaker at a Liberal party event.

Whether or not the event was a Liberal fund-raiser is irrelevant. Commissioner Heydon initially responded by saying he would attend only if the Royal Commission was no longer sitting. At that point he was well aware of the possibility of a perception of “apprehended bias”. He responded appropriately.

The Royal Commission has been set up to drag trade unions and Labor through the mud. There is no doubt about that. “Some mud always sticks” — a well established principle in dirty politics. The Coalition government leader, Tony Abbott, announced his intention to establish a Judicial Inquiry into the Australian Workers Union (AWU) while he was Opposition Leader, just before the 2013 federal election. After gaining government, he announced the inquiry into the AWU would become a Royal Commission and would be extended.

If we go back to Abbott’s days as an economics and law student at Sydney university we find a young man who aggressively attacked student unions across Australia, as a disciple of the extremely reactionary Bob Santamaria, who hated the Labor party, trade unions and practically everything else. We also find Dyson Heydon sitting on the Rhodes Scholarship selection panel and favouring Abbott ahead of at least three Honours students.


Later in Abbott’s life, as an employee of former Liberal Prime Minister John Howard, we find Dyson Heydon sitting on the legal panel that advised Abbott’s “No” case at the Republic Convention.

Heydon was later appointed to the High Court by the Howard Liberal government.

I now return to my original premise. Speaking outside the Royal Commission, Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) secretary, Dave Oliver, said any offences committed by trade unions or their officers should be investigated and handled by the State police, the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Crime Commission, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Fair Work Commission.

He’s right. The really important question in all of this is why are these authorities not doing the job they were established to do? Why is it necessary to budget $80 million, so far, and to spend $60 million, so far, to investigate trade unions through a Royal Commission?

This superfluous spending is occurring when the nation is said to be suffering a “Budget Emergency!” and a “Debt and Deficit Crisis” brought on by the previous Labor government, according to Treasurer Joe Hockey. Hockey used this imagined situation to introduce a shocker of a Budget in 2014, which he described as “fair”. He later told a New Zealand audience the Australian economy was not in trouble.

Tony Abbott used the imagined critical Budget and deficit situation to carry out wholesale slaughter of the Labor government’s climate change, environment and other programs, along with a heap of welfare and funding for NGOs considered by some to have a voice capable of criticising his government. Allied with that was an on-going campaign against perceived bias in the ABC — again silencing his critics, but there’s more to it than that.

Abbott admitted the 2014 Budget had gone too far, that his government had to learn how to be “fair”. The 2015 Budget was designed to recover some of his lost political capital, but his personal popularity rating has not recovered since early in 2013.

The Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) Abbott’s government is signing will create great disparity between the wages and conditions of imported workers and those of trade union members. If the trade unions are silenced, discredited or wiped out they will not be able to highlight and campaign against these discrepancies. The big unions are also the main financiers of Labor party election campaigns.

Abbott’s actions are also part of the Liberals’ long-term campaign for lower taxes (replaced in part by a bigger and broader GST) and smaller government, the one depending on the other. The long-term implications of this are not being dealt with by the news media, or anyone else, as far as I can tell.

The government’s implementation of a harsh reconstruction of Australian society and culture is allied to the terms of its FTAs, as well as for ideological reasons.

It was necessary to digress above to point out what the Abbott government has been doing.

Why are the established authorities not dealing with crime and corruption in the trade unions? They are ferreting out and dealing with crime and corruption in corporations, companies and political parties.

It has been put to me by a union member and by a Queens Counsel that the Royal Commission into trade unions is necessary because the various police and other authorities have not been able to gather evidence of crime and corruption in trade unions, or are incapable of prosecuting it. But, clearly, this is a nonsense.

Proof of the nonsense lies in the evidence that has been uncovered and recorded by the Royal Commission. The Royal Commission is an authority, with authority to investigate, just like the authorities mentioned above. The Royal Commission’s investigators have this information in their possession before they put their questions to those who appear before them. They are not relying on their imagination or speculation. If the Royal Commission investigators can do it, so can all the other authorities that are charged with doing it and paid to do it — but are not doing it.

Abbott has an almost life-long hatred of trade unions. A severe warning from one trade union official caused Abbott to walk from his first paid job, in a cement products factory. His government slashes funding left, right and centre to reduce the accumulated deficit but provides $80 million for his war on trade unions.

The Labor party’s shadow ministers, MPs and some trade union officials have said they support the cleaning up of trade unions. No further proof is needed of Abbott’s ideological witch hunt against unions and the Labor party.

The real need is for a Royal Commission to discover why those charged with fighting crime and corruption are doing only half the job.

Tony Abbott — leader or destroyer?

A small heading in today’s Sydney Morning Herald said Tony Abbott is not a bad leader. But how do you judge?
If you judge him by his party’s 2PP polling he would fail the test. If you judged him by his personal popularity polling he would fail the test.
If you judged him on party loyalty, based on continuing Cabinet leaks, he would fail the test.
If you judged him by his ability to deliver balance in government and policies for all citizens he would fail the test.
Is there any test that Tony Abbott would pass as a national leader?
It’s often said that he was a very successful Opposition Leader. By this it is meant that he successfully destroyed a Labor government. He is and always has been a successful destroyer — he does pass that test.

— Barry Tucker (Twitter: @btckr)

The white trash of Asia

Hockey this much

Australia’s federal Treasurer Joe Hockey could retire today and he’d live comfortably on his parliamentary pension, apart from his accumulated wealth and income from property investments. But he’s still working, because he wants to ensure millions of Australians have a smaller pension to live on. He refers to this as “making the pension sustainable into the future”.

Joe Hockey also wants to ensure poor people are paying more for their health care and education, because “the Age of Entitlement is over”. Meanwhile, Joe ensures that his entitlements and those of other wealthy Australians go absolutely untouched.

The Liberal Party of Australia, directed by the policy makers of the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), rather than its membership, wants government spending reduced (less welfare, States paying more for health and education through increased GST revenue) and smaller government (fewer departments, fewer public servants). This is designed to lead to “lower, fairer taxes” because the Age of Entitlement is not over for the wealthy who already reduce their taxes to the bare minimum. They can afford to buy taxation minimization advice and set up trust funds. Poor people don’t have access to these things.

Australians’ rights, freedoms, jobs, welfare and democracy are all being simultaneously trashed by the Liberal Party of Australia while our once great Australian Labor Party and trade union movement sits on their backsides and say and do nothing about it.

Critics in NGOs, the Public Service and the news media have been silenced, some under threat of jail for speaking out. The ABC’s independent voice has been questioned, its departments, producers, presenters and panelists are stacked with Liberal party operatives and moves are under way to censor and silence the ABC even further.

A former Labor Prime Minister, Paul Keating, warned Australia was in danger of becoming “a Banana Republic” — an unstable country whose economy is dictated by a single export (say coal or iron ore) owned by foreigners. Singapore’s first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, warned that Australia could become “the poor white trash of Asia”.

Both men were right. They just didn’t predict that the Liberal Party of Australia and a complacent and compliant Australian Labor Party would combine to make these predictions a reality.

The injustice of non-recognition

The failure of white Australia to recognise Indigenous inhabitants in the Constitution from the very beginning has been an on-going disaster.
Reports to the English government and instructions to Governor Phillip make it clear the land was occupied and the original inhabitants were to be treated with respect.
Pretty weird when you think about it. We’re going to invade them and steal their land for settlement, but be nice about it.
By the time a Constitution was knocked up and the States and Territories formed into a federation, the Indigenous people had been “decimated” one way or another, forced into isolated corners and were generally disregarded. It was thought they would die out, a convenient solution.
But then WWI happened and some Indigenous people signed up. But what was their status? When they were uniformed, trained and armed, did they swear allegiance to the King? As what? Paid mercenaries? After the war these men were not recognised for their efforts.
Later still, some bright spark thought it would be a good idea to kidnap the children of some Indigenous and put them in “Christian” institutions or good Christian homes, so they could grow up to be good Christian people. Another presumption, a travesty and a tragedy for many. Imagine the effect on their parents.
If these Indigenous children were not recognised in the Constitution, who or what were they? What presumption to take them from their parents. It’s little different to sneaking into a neighbouring country, kidnapping children and taking them away to be given to “Christian” families for their own good.
The long fight for recognition of Aboriginal Title over lands held for perhaps 60,000 years, the fights with miners and other entrepreneurs for respect, justice and fair recompense still goes on today. Where you were born, your “country”, is extremely important to Indigenous culture. It is equally important that you are put to rest in the same country, otherwise your spirit will roam restlessly. If we expect them to recognise Christian values (not too dissimilar), it’s only right that Christians should respect Indigenous spiritual beliefs.
I know it is extremely important in Indigenous culture to say “Sorry” for wrongdoings. The white invaders have said “Sorry”, finally, and only recently. To me, it seems barely enough and nowhere near enough.
Some months ago I launched an effort to create the Centre Party of Australia. One of its policy discussion papers included a proposal to compensate Indigenous title holders for the exploitation of resources on their lands. This certainly seems right to me, and far better than the present federal government’s policy of abolishing and slashing everything to do with Indigenous assistance. God knows, they are already the most disadvantaged people in this nation. It irks me that the man responsible for this hacking and slashing is Tony Abbott, the one bleating about recognition in the Constitution and now taking the credit for it.
I’m sure I could take my Biro or Artline pen and fix the recognition problem in the Constitution by editing a few key lines. But because it’s the Constitution we have to have a drawn out discussion, a conference and a referendum, adding to the can of worms and further delaying justice.
A document on Constitutional Recognition has been prepared by the Australian Human Rights Commission.


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