Economic Literacy Radio Programs


This extensive radio series explores a large range of economic issues, with the aim of assisting Yolngu to understanding the contemporary economic system and how it relates to traditional economies as well as new businesses. Yolŋu Matha with some English

Yolŋu Matha with some English

This extensive radio series explores a large range of economic issues, with the aim of assisting Yolngu to understanding the contemporary economic system and how it relates to traditional economies as well as new businesses. Developed by Richard Trudgen.

Economic Literacy Series - Part 01 of 26 Introduction to Economic Literacy

Getting Yolngu back into business employment and how money works: This program discusses how the series examines the meaning behind business, employment and the way money is used in the trading system. The series has three main areas: 1 A time in the past when Yolŋu traded and produced things. 2 The contemporary economic system for Yolŋu. 3 A way for Yolŋu to become independent, running their own private businesses. Also economic, business words will be discussed and explained e.g. economic literacy.

Economic Literacy Series - Part 02 of 26 Meaning of Economic Literacy

This program discusses the meaning of economic literacy. Understanding is achieved by looking at the words separately and then relating them back to Yolŋu law, business, and trade culture, and how they are used in many ways.

Economic Literacy Series - Part 03 of 26 The Economy is in good shape

Firstly, this program revises the word Economy and what that really means. The three parts of Economy are discussed: 1 Food production, 2 Manufacture (the production of things) and 3 Services. It is shown that Yolŋu culture had all of the three parts of economy thus enabling a thriving trading system. Secondly the phrase “The Economy is in Good Shape” is explored.

Economic Literacy Series - Part 04 of 26 The Economy is in bad shape

This program discusses what is meant by the phrase “The economy is in BAD shape.” This is examined by looking at how the struggling Australian mining industry (iron, coal and bauxite) is having a negative impact on the general economy, communities and wider employment. The phrases: “Down turn in the economy” and “The economy is slowing down” are also explored.

Economic Literacy Series - Part 05 of 26 The Economy in Makassan time

This program discusses the economic history of the past 200 years of East Arnhem Land and the Yolŋu people. At this time they had a thriving economy with strong trading links with Makassar. Their healthy economy also benefitted wider Australia due to import taxes and they had many viable industries including pearl farming and food production.

Economic Literacy Series - Part 06 of 26 Who stopped the Makassan trade

This program discusses the happy working relationship and contracts that the Yolŋu and Makassans had; what was traded, and who stopped the trade in Christmas 1906.

Economic Literacy Series - Part 07 of 26 Good times between Yolngu and the Makassan

This program discusses the happy relationship between the Yolŋu and the Makassans. There was employment, cultural exchange, inter-marrying and the economy was strong and healthy. Also discussed; old Yolŋu language is not ceremonial language but business language and inter-tidal zone business is now possible since the winning of the Blue Mud Bay court case.

Economic Literacy Series - Part 08 of 26 The Yolngu Economic crisis

This program discusses the economy and history in the time after the trading with Makassar had been stopped. The economy was in crisis. There were many pastoral wars due to the change in the economy brought about by the stopping of the trading and Balanda boats coming and taking what Yolŋu people used to trade e.g. pearls. Plus massacres and the Spanish influenza decimated Yolŋu population. Some Yolŋu moved to the missions thus beginning a 2nd economic time.

Economic Literacy Series - Part 09 of 26 The second Yolngu Economic Crisis

This program discusses the second economic crisis. 1935 saw the Yolŋu economy in collapse, a recession in Arnhem Land, and people on the move with some of them never to return to their homelands. Some Yolŋu tried to stay on their homelands with the help of Sheppey secretly trading Arts and Crafts products and crocodile skins. In 1972 the Federal Government passed a law to stop crocodile shooting as the crocodile grounds were being stripped by Balanda. Thus closing down another Yolŋu industry.

Economic Literacy Series - Part 10 of 26 Missions and trade

This program discusses the state of the Yolŋu economy prior to the 1970s. The economy was good. A strong trading system existed between Yolŋu, Sheppey and the missions. Both Yolŋu on the homelands and Yolŋu on the missions relied on their own production and sweat to survive. The main currency at this time was tobacco. Yolŋu used a system of saving called putting it “back in the book”. In this way the things that were needed could be saved up for and bought.

Economic Literacy Series - Part 11 of 26 Missions relying on industry for income

This program discusses how the missions relied on their own industry for income. Mission stations only received a small amount of money from the government. Income was raised by trading power from the 24 hr manned power plants, cattle, fish, mud crabs, produce from the market gardens, timber, and arts and crafts. This way Yolŋu and missionaries were able to care for their own needs.

Economic Literacy Series - Part 12 of 26 Current state of trade

This program discusses how presently trade is only going into communities and that all Yolŋu industries are now in Balanda hands. Today Yolŋu economy is in bad shape. There is no equal trade with only a small amount of economic activity in Arnhem Land. Communities are completely dependent on what is brought in from the rest of the world and Australia. All Yolŋu industries are now in Balanda hands. This economic status is not Yolŋu culture. How did this happen?

Economic Literacy Series - Part 13 of 26 Employment and Award wages

This program discusses what employment is and introduces the subject of award wages and how they came about. All Aboriginal people across Australia must be paid award wages. What are they? Many Yolŋu think that to become employed you need to get a grant off the government to get a job. This approach means Yolŋu could “wait forever and ever”. The government wants all people to be employed, self-employed, or have their own businesses. How can Yolŋu do this when all the Yolŋu industries have been stopped?

Economic Literacy Series - Part 14 of 26 Small private business

This program discusses that most employment comes from small private businesses not government. Contracts can be won from government to do work for them, however most employment comes from small private businesses. People can also be self employed or sole traders working for themselves. Today there are good opportunities for Yolŋu to get their own small private business.

Economic Literacy Series - Part 15 of 26 Award wage not government grant money

This program discusses award wages and that they are not a grant from government. In the 1970s government decided that Aboriginal people (as well as Balanda) had to be paid award wages. Award wages are rates of pay set out by the government. From this time employers had to pay employees the government set rate of pay; the award wage. The money for these wages can come from private business, industry, selling products, knowledge, or labour; from working for the government or from the many other ways of raising income.

Economic Literacy Series - Part 16 of 26 Real meaning of award wage

This program discusses the real meaning of award, Yolŋu citizenship 1967, and award wages 1973. In 1967 there was a big referendum (vote) on whether Aboriginal people should be citizens. The people voted yes and Aboriginal people were made citizens. In 1973 Aboriginal people were given the award wage. From that time from on everybody employed in Australia must get the right rate of pay, the award wage.

Economic Literacy Series - Part 17 of 26 How can we return to trade and employment

This program discusses how Yolŋu can return to trade and employment and that there are lots of opportunities for Yolŋu right now. Yolŋu were awarded citizenship in 1967. Yolŋu have equal rights in the Australian parliament and land rights. Land rights and winning of the Blue Mud Bay court case (inter-tidal zone rights) mean there are lots of business opportunities for Yolŋu right now.

Economic Literacy Series - Part 18 of 26 How can we return to trade and employment - continued

This program discusses how Yolŋu can get back into trade and employment. How many different businesses could be developed from the raw products on Yolŋu land, by Yolŋu for Yolŋu. Valuable businesses such as the natural farming of pearls, crocodile skins, buffalos and also timber.

Economic Literacy Series - Part 19 of 26 Economic confusions

This program discusses the confusion caused by Balanda telling Yolŋu to forget their old way, their culture and to learn a new way. Yolŋu waited to be shown the new way. They were never shown. All that could be seen was the welfare way of life. Many thought that since Balanda have stopped Yolŋu industries that welfare must be the new way. Great confusion has sprung from this. Why should Yolŋu forget their culture?

Economic Literacy Series - Part 20 of 26 What’s a legitimate business?

This program discusses how many Yolŋu think that the way to make money is from selling drugs and prostitution. This way of thinking is not the fault of Yolŋu and it is not Yolŋu culture. Available to Yolŋu now are good legal business opportunities. A legal way of making money.

Economic Literacy Series - Part 21 of 26 What does “free country, free world” mean?

This program discusses the confusion that has been created by the phrase ’Free country, free world”. This confusion has lead some Yolŋu to think things were free, help yourself and that lawlessness was the way. Also discussed are democracy and communism and how European political history has lead to the phrase, “free world, free country.”

Economic Literacy Series - Part 22 of 26 What does “free country, free world” mean? - continued

This program discusses the history about the terms free world, free country, dictatorship and democracy. Democracy is the rule of the people, by the people, for the people. Also discussed is the freedom to vote but not freedom from the law.

Economic Literacy Series - Part 23 of 26 What does “free country, free world” mean? - continued

This program discusses more about free country free world, and also introduces what is free trade. The 2nd World War helped to bring about the terms free country, free world. Free country does not mean a country has no rules. All countries need and have laws. Free trade means that countries that have set up free trade agreements with each other have no tariffs or quotas or other restrictions on each other‘s trade. For example there is now a free trade agreement between Australia and China.

Economic Literacy Series - Part 24 of 26 What does “free country, free world” mean? - continued

This program discusses free trade and what it actually is. Free trade agreement means those countries that have a free trade agreement with each other won‘t charge a tax on each other‘s products. Each country is allowing the others products to come into their own country free of tax.

Economic Literacy Series - Part 25 of 26 Coastal businesses

This program discusses the coastal business opportunities that are available in the inter-tidal zone. The winning of the Blue Mud Bay court case means that all that all that is between the low tide and high tide area belongs to Yolŋu. This is not just for Blue Mud Bay but for all the beaches in Arnhem Land. One example of a valuable business available to Yolŋu right now, is natural pearl farming; worth three hundred million dollars a year. There are many more businesses too.

Economic Literacy Series - Part 26 of 26 Buffalo industry live trade

This program discusses the buffalo industry opportunity available to Yolŋu. There is now a new market in Asia for buffalo. The Land Council wants Yolŋu to get involved in buffalo industry. There are around 140,000 buffalo in Arnhem Land available to Yolŋu. There are thoughts of putting a live export harbour in Gove to export live buffalo to such places as Vietnam. Balanda are interested in getting section 19 leases to increase their buffalo herds. The buffalo industry is sitting, waiting for Yolŋu to develop it and keep it out of Balanda hands.

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