There are lots of coverage and comment about the report by the independent group reviewing the Northern Territory intervention. This is one of the more important amongst the many reviews set in train by the federal government. I hope the government is able to ignore the politics and focus on the substance of the report.
As I said many times in the various pieces I have written about the Intervention, this is a classic area where symbols and ideological combat seems to have been more important than examining the reality of what was happening on the ground. It is a sad indictment of the way some in government and the media have gone about this that universal agreement about the need to improve the situation for Aboriginal children and families in the Territory has become subsumed by the culture wars.
I have written a longer piece about it for Crikey. As I point out there, Noel Pearson, often used as a shield of credibility by the former government and their cheer-squad to justify every aspect of the Intervention, made very clear statements last year that the Intervention needed to “decisively improved”, including moving it more towards the model of welfare quarantining that has been adopted in Cape York. The report seems to have recommended this, so I don’t understand why it is being attacked quite so vehemently by the usual suspects.
I recommend reading this piece by Bob Gosford, who lives in Yuendumu, 300 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs. It focuses mainly on a long piece written by Paul Toohey, the Territory based correspondent for The Australian newspaper, about the situation faced by Aboriginal people in the Territory.
I wrote here about Paul Toohey’s appearance before a Senate Committee back in April. His evidence was a mixture of fascinating insight and aggressive contempt. Some of his pieces for The Australian have a blend of the same. This one for example is a balanced look at the mixed feelings among local Aboriginal people about the Intervention, but this one is more focused on political point scoring.
This piece in Crikey by Bob Gosford about one of the impacts from all the rhetoric around CDEP not being followed through with action is also very much worth reading.