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2022 Truth to Power Cafe, Riverland Youth Theatre, Renmark. Participants and Crew


On 19 November I took part in Truth to Power Cafe, at the Riverland Youth Theatre, Renmark.  This was a powerful experience.  The amazing, talented and generous Jeremy Goldstein provided participants with a platform to say something to those that hold power over them.  I chose to speak about my concerns about government power in the form of broken systems, policies, acts and laws that continue to imprison, oppress and persist with discriminatory, racist doctrines and practices against First Nations people.  It was a very scary thing for me to do.  I however felt that in the light of so many young people dying at the hands of police, and in violent attacks, simply because of the race, it was time to speak up and say something meaningful to government policy makers and institutions. Here is the poem I read on this night.

Let’s talk about government policies made amongst political games.

Made for our own good you say... Are you insane?’

Made under the guise of protection, assimilation, self-determination, reconciliation.

Bullshit terms...fluffy words, motherhood statements, paternal declarations.

Sugar sprinkled on shit doesn’t make it sweeter.

So-called moral standards used to dispossess, oppress, deceive.

Quoting the colonisers laws, acts, policies.

Psychological disposition to hate and despise.

A society flooded with blood-soaked lies.

Blind to ignorance, arrogance, prejudice, racist practices.

Colonisation and invasion.


Stolen generations.

Racism and discrimination.

Violence and assimilation.


Forced relocation.


Trauma through each generation.

Relentless government intervention.

A whitewashed nation.

This is our truth, not that nonsense you teach in schools.

You think we’re all a bunch of fools.

Tell our kids what really happened, what’s happening, what’s being done, right now, in this time, in this place, in this day...right now

The massacres, the slavery, the bigotry, the intolerance, the injustice, racist government doctrines lathered with lies and

How do you live with the lies of this great nation?

It’s been more than 30 years. 3 decades and nothing’s changed.

A Royal Commission ... written in vain.

Things go on without question. Imprisoned, incarcerated.

We’re dying at alarming rates. Doomed, ill fated.

You lock us up, like Ferrell cats.

Imprisoned, you keep us in your systemic traps.

You say incarceration is a last resort.

‘Truth in sentencing’... what a rort.

Johnston shot in the back … dead

Walker shot again and again and again … dead

Bugmy asked for help, before his heart stopped … dead

Cound raised concerns about mistreatment, two weeks later … dead

Wright at 16 he was chased, pursued by coppers … dead

Nelson begged for help, pleaded, cried, ignored. Organs shut down … dead

Wynne, held face down on a busy road, pinned under a copper’s knee…she stopped breathing … dead.

Stuck in a cycle of violence, degradation, criminal institutional integration.

A vicious cycle … a revolving door of incarceration.

Then there are those ... the innocent ... the untainted ... those that have done nothing wrong,

merely starting out, a life yet to be lived, a life yet to unfold.

Cassius, 15, a gentle giant, we’ve all heard of him … dead

You turn your eyes…ignoring your responsibilities…claiming no need to change,

No need, no need to be concerned, no need to take charge, no need to be afraid.

Well, here’s what I have to say.

We will not stay quiet, we will not be silenced,

we will not sit idle, we will not be titled,

We will stand up, speak our truth,

be prepared, we are ready to challenge you.

Don’t hide behind your precious rules, your acts, your laws, your political lies.

Stop bullshitting us about your intentions, your folly, deceit, fools’ surmise.

Your systems are rorted, flawed, broken deceptions.

You hide behind them and their weak cowardly exceptions.

No more. We’ve had enough. ENOUGH.

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