On rates and reparations: a personal approach

We bought a house in Adelaide, our first small piece of ground.

But with the excitement, anxiety, paperwork, money story and moving boxes has come a surprise serving of white, colonial guilt and responsibility that we didn’t experience when buying our previous apartment in the sky.

We live on the land of the Kaurna people. We have exchanged money for land that was never ceded. We continue to benefit from the ongoing dispossession of South Australia’s First People.

With those acknowledgements comes a new personal approach to reparations: that for each year we own this Adelaide home, we will make a donation of the amount we pay in Council Rates to an Aboriginal-owned and led not-for-profit organisation, starting with Tandanya in 2019 and 2020 and the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement in 2021.

We do not offer this small act as a solution, but as an expression of solidarity.

We do not offer it as a perfect model, but as an addition to the growing list of grassroots reparations going on worldwide, and as the start of an idea on which we’ll consult and build.

And we do not offer it as a way of signalling our virtue, but as a contribution to the ongoing conversation about privilege, respect and what it means to be an Australian.


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