Aboriginal Children IV

There have been quite a few columns in The Australian newspaper leading the ideological chorus trying to howl down anyone who critiques the detail (or lack thereof) of the federal government’s intervention into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. So it’s always refreshing when some common sense on the issue appears in their pages.

Mike Steketee wrote in today’s edition:

The risk in the Government’s intervention in the Territory is that it will be another example, as former Aboriginal leader Charles Perkins described it, of ministers on white chargers, galloping into the fray convinced that this time, they really do have the answers.

If there is one lesson from the frequent failures and multiple reviews, it is that successful programs require indigenous involvement and ownership.

This observation would be unremarkable, were it not for the fact that so many Indigenous people and others with direct expertise on the issue have copped such a barrage of abuse every time they voiced any concerns about the implementation of the federal government’s plan, that one expects even statements of the to be dismissed as driven by anti-government malice.

Steketee goes on to note that a recent Productivity Commission report on key indicators of Indigenous disadvantage “includes many examples of things that work, and (Commission chairman) Gary Banks says they all have these factors in common: cooperative approaches between indigenous people and government, community involvement in program design and decision-making, good governance and ongoing government human and financial support.

I spoke about this Productivity Commission report in the Senate last month. One of its merits, apart from trying to collate more solid data on which to base assumptions and actions, is the way it doesn’t just provide a litany of mostly poor statistical indicators, but also provides examples of current programs that are successfully improving the situation.

Supporting and building on things that are working is an important part of ensuring action will lead to improvements, whether it’s in the Territory or elsewhere. Another example is the publication by ANTaR of a booklet detailing some of the success stories in Indigenous health. This was released in the week before the federal government announced its intervention. I mentioned it in this blog post. Next week I’ll be travelling to Cairns and Townsville to help promote the ANTaR booklet, which include programs in those two cities amongst its examples.

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60 Comments

  1. Coral:
    I think it is funny and insanely hypocritical of you to tell me that when I question John Tracey’s misuse of the term ‘concentration camp’ that I should ‘drag myself out of the past life of my Jewish Oma’.

    John Tracey and people like you live nowhere else but the past in discussing aboriginal issues. I don’t notice you telling black people to ‘drag themselves out of the past lives of their grandparents’ and get over it.

    Hypocritical and racist. Why should the Jews get over it while aboriginals wallow in it and blame their dysfunction on, not only the past, but everyone but themselves?

  2. LJ,
    The “get stuffed” was a response to…..
    ” – look at John Tracey – he is an Irish-Australian trying desperately to perpetuate the Culture of Compensation among aboriginals by deliberately employing loaded terms like ‘concentration camp’ and ‘war’. His target audience are the ivory tower white urban bleeding hearts who have never lived in communities with high aboriginal populations (or indeed may have never even met an aborigine).”

    and again I say get stuffed.

    Still you have not tackled one issue that I have raised and continue to resort to personal attack in an attempt to cover the obvious fact that you are speaking from ignorant prejudice.

    This is the essential reason that Aboriginal communites are in such a bad way. The general Australian population has denied their existence, reality and history since the declaration of Terra Nullius – empty land. It is not convenient to remember the water hole poisonings, “Abo hunts”, Native police and reserves, so it has been repressed from our memory, not taught in schools and rabidly denied without any real understanding by people such as yourself.
    So everyone rests assured that these things never really happened and therefore the state of Aboriginal Australia is their own fault, whose else could it be?

    But with anything that we repress in our psyche it reacts when it is uncovered, not with a rational attempt to resolve it, to come to terms with the truth, but rather it lashes out irrationally, desperately defending all prior assumptions and comfort zones.

    prove me wrong and refute something of what I have presented without stooping to personal abuse such as provoked the “get stuffed”.

    p.s. I chose to discuss with you because of your obvious prejudice displayed in your posts, not because you were a potential convert (to what I’m not sure).

  3. LJ:

    You don’t even bother to read other people’s posts. If you had, you would know that I don’t entirely agree with JT, but respect his right to a point of view.

    You don’t appear to have any respect for anyone.

    As a person trying to hold the centrist position here, I think you should get stuffed as well.

  4. Rita:

    To Adolph Hitler, a “coloured person” was anyone who was not deemed by him to belong to the Aryan race (blonde hair, blue eyes).

    That would include a lot of French, Italian, Greek, Spanish, Jewish and Polish people and probably plenty of others.

    The same applied if he didn’t like the “colour” of your politics – that is, any colour except his.

  5. Hello Coral, this is perhaps the first time we have agreed on something?

    Anyway,you probably will disagree with my take on the following so it was good while it lasted.

    This You Tube video “The kidnapping of Brenton Gregory” of policing in Doomadgee, Qld. looks like S.S. troopers to me, walking into peoples homes with no concern for due process and dragging them away.
    http://paradigmoz.wordpress.com/2007/07/17/jackboots-in-paradise-police-at-doomadgee/

    These thugs are not the best people to be dealing with child sex abuse or any other sensitive issue in Aboriginal communities.

  6. LJ,

    You said “unlike you, I have lived in communities with big aboriginal populations and I have seen firsthand a side of (some of)them white people don’t want to acknowledge.”

    If you want any credibility you need to refrain from making such empty statements. You have no idea where I am and what I do. As a matter of fact I’ve worked for and with aboriginal people for years in a city that has a very high proportion of aboriginal people.

    There are social problems here, and there were social problems in the city where I was born, which had no visible aboriginal people- they’d all been taken elsewhere. The “white people” were the ones fighting each other. Gosh, they still do.

    I don’t like vandalism or serious crime no matter who perpetrates it. I’m sorry that you seem unable to put come to terms with the loss of your families business for whatever reason.

    Surprisingly, it has not given you any insight into the loss of their entire country that aboriginal people suffered after white colonisation … and the loss of children, of culture, of land, of their own language even that Jews have suffered in various places and various times. My relationship with my Jewish heritage might be one geneneration further back than yours, but I have made the effort to find out that it is foolish to make wild generalisations about “alll [such and such a nation/religion/skin colour/ religion] are the same ” — it tells us a lot more about you than about the subject of your tirades.

    May you find peace and the desire to bring it to ur nation – not the desire to foment divisions.

  7. Even for your very wide circle of acquaintacnes Coral and experiences, which I note now inlcudes a stint as a medical seceratery, I find it hard to belive you were on speaking terms and personally acquainted with the views of the Fuehrer…#57

  8. ken: #post 57

    I didn’t say I was personally acquainted with the Fuehrer. Anyone who has studied the history of World War II ought to know what Hitler’s agendas were.

    But I will admit to a better knowledge than some people of the machinations of political cults, due to education in that field.

    BTW it will probably not surprise you to learn that I have numbered among my friends the Father of the Year 1998, and another man with an award from Beyond 2000.

    John Tracey:

    I don’t think this is the first time we’ve been in at least partial agreement on something.

    I read the link and it does make a lot of sense that racial hatreds, distrust and past bad experiences (on both sides) might mitigate towards an increase in the number of Aboriginal people in custody.

    Perhaps the government should send in the ladies I mentioned at post #45 and see what they can do. The lady who is my friend seems to understand a lot about racial tensions.

    Until now, I had no idea that Jewish Omas taught neonazism to their grandchildren.

    LJ, Lana or whoever you are currently pretending to be: #post 47

    I do not belong to either group described at (1) or (2). You will have to accept that I am a Group (3) person: neither of these.

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