The Governance Truck
Participants at Reconciliation Australia’s Sharing Success-Indigenous governance workshop in Port Hedland (WA, 26–27 June 2007) likened their community governance to their faithful old community truck. It’s not an unrealistic fantasy. Its been designed to do the job they need it to do in the local conditions.
Here’s how they saw it:
- It’s a manual Holden ute—nothing flash—but it can be push-started if it breaks down. It’s got a jerry-can in case it runs out of fuel and there’s a good set of spanners, wrenches and a spare tire if it breakdowns on a trip. It’s registered and has all its papers, and you need a license to drive it.
- It’s got large bench seats—not bucket seats for individual people who think they can just drive by themselves—everybody can fit in. But not backseat drivers because there can be only one driver in the driving seat!
- It’s got clean transparent windows to let everyone see the road and scenery properly and to let other cars see them, and the headlights are the vision lighting up the path.
- It gets routine maintenance to keep the engine and other parts in good nick, and occasionally has to go in for a big service.
- This car is economical—it has to be what with the price that you pay for petrol these days. It’s a reliable old model with new parts and has solid power steering.
- Yes it’s got dents—it’s been through some tough country but it can still move safely. It goes across country and has good traction on both the road and gravel. It’s a friendly vehicle, all-weather, comes with a bit of rust, but it carries any load. And it’s even got karaoke so everyone can have a bit of fun along the way!
- Everyone in the family has an equal share in the ute. They all chuck in for petrol and repairs because they all get some use out of it—just like we all have shares in our governance. And it’s got a towbar, so if anyone wants to attach to our governance truck they can be pulled along—or if the governance truck goes off the road and turns over, it can be towed back onto firm ground!