• Crisis in Aboriginal communities

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 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by owenss at 2007-12-12 03:58 PM

Ive been trying to find a reference to a story that I read years ago. It was about the people of Weipa who were placed on boats and told that they were being taken for health checks. As they were leaving they could see their homes being torched and they could hear their dogs being shot. They were resettled at Aurukun as the land they had lived on was rich in Bauxite.

 

I think the rights verses responsibilities argument must be resolved within the aboriginal communities, something that I have nothing to contribute. However I think we need to have the rights verses responsibilities argument in relation to our government. Our government in my view has no rights and all the responsibility for providing basic services and in this they have clearly failed.

 

In a previous post I called this site a communist web site. Please excuse this slip of the pen I meant to say progressive left web site.

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by byork at 2007-12-12 07:14 PM

I like Pearson's approach because it recognizes that rights and responsibilities go together and, in the case of Indigenous Australians, the denial of responsibility means continuing disempowerment. I also like his stuff on identity - how we each have layers of identity. Locking individuals into traditions - into a singular self-definition - works against personal growth and development. Pearson has a vision of the future in which the economic, cultural and educational opportunities of Indigenous Australians will be vastly expanded.

 

The great majority of Indigenous Australians live in urban centres and the majority of Indigenous Australians are married to non-Indigenes. In other words, integration is the norm. The glaring and scandalous problem is the situation in the remote communities and it's good to see the new Labor government at least talking about extending the previous government's 'intervention' into other States as well as the Northern Territory.

 

The pseudo-left underplays the extent of the national emergency conditions existing within the remote communities. The CDEP is part of the problem, not part of the solution, as it entraps people into (literally) pitiful dependence. This situation is essentially no different to what has happened historically: the first lot of 'friends' of Aborigines were missionaries who trapped them in missions and denied them any of the opportunities of the wider C19th Australian society. This of course was done to 'protect' them. Then came the late 1890s to 1970s form of white protection - the reserves, where again Aboriginal people were effectively detained and denied access to the benefits of the wider society. This, again, was to 'protect' them from the 'white society'.

 

Bill Kerr has written in this thread about the underlying paradox that was masked by the 1970s progressive land rights/self-determination period. 'Aboriginal rights' became 'white responsiblity' with some very bad results for women and children in particular.

 

Australian Communists supported the great pioneering Aboriginal leaders of the 1930s-1960s, such as Bill Ferguson, William Cooper, Pearl Gibbs and Jack Patten, some of whom I believe were party members, precisely because these leaders wanted to overthrow the separatist, segregationist, system (known as apartheid elsewhere). Organizations such as the Aborigines Advancement League and the Aborigines Progressive Association placed emphasis on educational rights in their petitions and protests. They wanted their children to have the benefits of the non-Indigenous society. In a nutshell, they supported integration rather than separation, responsibility rather than dependency.

 

As Pearson has pointed out, they were leaders of courage, personal dignity and vision who inspired others. They wanted to create conditions whereby Indigenous Australians would have equal opportunity with everyone else, especially the right to (Western) education. They wanted Aboriginal people to be truly responsible and no longer dependent on the 'saviours' of the C19th mission system or the 'protectors' of the C20th reserves.

 

And we may now add 'the saviours' and 'friends' whose best vision of the future is just more dependency on hand-outs in remote communities that, in too many cases, are totally dysfunctional and horrific.

 

Barry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by kerrb at 2007-12-13 01:55 PM
steve:

Ive been trying to find a reference to a story that I read years ago. It was about the people of Weipa who were placed on boats and told that they were being taken for health checks. As they were leaving they could see their homes being torched and they could hear their dogs being shot. They were resettled at Aurukun as the land they had lived on was rich in Bauxite.

 

I think the rights verses responsibilities argument must be resolved within the aboriginal communities, something that I have nothing to contribute. However I think we need to have the rights verses responsibilities argument in relation to our government. Our government in my view has no rights and all the responsibility for providing basic services and in this they have clearly failed.

You are arguing that because of historical guilt "our government" has no right to take tough stands on issues such as passive welfare and what that leads to in aboriginal communities - alcoholism, child abuse

Aboriginal people are citizens of Australia. The only sense I can make from your position is that you might be advocating for a separate aboriginal nation. Otherwise it just seems to be a case of "white guilt" --> We are paralysed and can't take the tough actions required because of past sins

Since aboriginal people are citizens of Australia you can't entirely separate what "must be resolved within the aboriginal communities" from the rights and responsibilities of our government. If you have "nothing to contribute" because you are white then you can still have an opinion of what some black leaders are saying.

Noel Pearson:

"In fact, part of the whole breakdown, the social and cultural breakdown that we see in our communities is the consequence of courts taking into account the historical and social background of Aboriginal offenders.


"In the past 30 years there's been a tendency for the judicial system to take into account this cultural and historical background of Aboriginal offenders and therefore resulting in leniency, when in fact the imperative has all along been to make sure that social norms are observed and maintained in communities.


"If we want to diminish in the long term the number of Aboriginal people in prison, we have got to have low tolerance of anti-social behaviour and criminal behaviour.


"We have got to have low tolerance to interference sexually with children. We have to have low tolerance with adults who are behaving badly and affecting sober members of the community and so on.

-Aurukun Rape the tip of the iceberg

Have you read this thread? Pearson has been arguing for years that to throw white historical guilt into the mix is part of the problem, not part of the solution.




_________________________
Bill Kerr

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by kerrb at 2007-12-13 02:21 PM
GuruJane:
Instead Dalek uses the word "appalling" to describe the rape.  But it is not the gang rape that is appalling. These are commonplace now in the remote communities. What is appalling is the prevailing - I have to use the "pseudo" word, there is no other way to describe it  in this instance - pseudo Left culture still dominating the judiciary and protection agencies in the NT and Qld and to lesser extent in WA at the behest of those who think like Dalek.

Noel Pearson supplied some data to the media yesterday which supports Guru's contention that child abuse is commonplace in the remote communities:

"This is the tip of a tragic iceberg and it's a problem that has been going on for a long time," he said.


"It's a problem that we've been trying to highlight for a long time now and it's a problem that is not disappearing.


"There's nothing that we are currently doing that is decisively avoiding this kind of tragedy."


Mr Pearson says there are on average 80 reported cases needing child protection per month in the Cape York region, although not all are sexual abuse cases.


"They involve neglect of children as well, the vast majority involve neglect of children from malnutrition or general care, but they do also include abuse cases," he said.


"We will get 80 cases reported month - 30 are substantiated and this is an average monthly reporting level for child protection."


He says this is a crisis.


"It's a crisis that the State Government has attempted to respond to through its new child safety system and through alcohol limitations and so on, but it's not a crisis that we are on top of," he said.

Pearson's proposed solution to the situation, which involves increased responsibilities associated with welfare payments ...
("send your child to school, to keep your child free from abuse and neglect, to make sure that you abide by the law and to make sure that you look after your house and abide by your tenancy rules")
... ,  has been agreed to in principle by governments but there has been a hold up at the Queensland State legislation level:

He says federal funding has been granted for a plan to trial a families commission in four Cape York communities.


"We have approval from the previous government and the Rudd and Macklin government have confirmed their continued support for this, so we have Commonwealth support for the program," he said.


"The program involves putting obligations on every person that receives income support from Government.


"Those obligations are to send your child to school, to keep your child free from abuse and neglect, to make sure that you abide by the law and to make sure that you look after your house and abide by your tenancy rules - those are the four conditions.


"Now, what we need in order for this to work now and we're proposing to start the implementation of this program in January next year, in four communities, including Aurukun, four communities in the Cape are ready to go with this new approach to welfare conditionality.


"But what we need is state legislation, Queensland Government legislation, to create the necessary decision-making body.


"Now we had federal legislation passed byMal Brough in July.


"So the Commonwealth part of the jigsaw has been put into place. The money has been put into place. The third part of the jigsaw which is the state legislation to create this body is still missing."

- Aurukun Rape the tip of the iceberg


_________________________
Bill Kerr

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by owenss at 2007-12-13 10:45 PM

Bill I'm surprised at you interpreting my position as stemming from "white Guilt"

 

Nothing could be further from the truth. I consider that when people use the term "white guilt" that they are running some sort of distraction tactic.

 

I don't believe in white guilt but in inter racial solidarity

 

Aboriginal people have suffered 3 waves of dispossession. Firstly to make way for sheep, then for cattle and finally for mining interests.

 

The people of Cape York were dispossessed during our life time by government and corporate interests. As far as the question of guilt goes it rests with the wealthy land owners and their running dogs in parliament.

 

As late as the early 1980s the Queensland government appointed protectors ( usually the local cop) who had so much control that they could decide what bathing attire was appropriate and jail aboriginal people for up to 3 months for the crime of not shutting a gate.

 

The question of a thoroughly broken people taking responsibility for their actions is a very complicated matter and can easily be used as  victim blaming and is a matter for those people to resolve.

 

There was a case several years ago where a council cut off water to an out station because of non payment. Its easy to justify the cut off on the grounds of consequences of people not taking the responsibility of making payments. In any system of self responsibility there must be consequences if people refuse to take responsibility.

 

The point I was trying to make is that the government has the responsibility to provide basic services where is the talk of them living up to their responsibilities?

 

 

 

 

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by owenss at 2007-12-14 04:22 AM

Bill I have read the Tip of the Iceberg article that you recommended.

 

My questions are these

 

Why shouldn't an aboriginal persons circumstances be taken into consideration when a judge passes sentence, white people are subject to this basic piece of the justice system. I'm no lawyer but one is always hearing of judges taking records into account, of taking the likelihood of re offending into account, of expressions of guilt and remorse into account. Why should Aboriginal people be denied a basic piece of the judicial system.

 

Noel Pearson argues that we should not hesitate to remove at risk children. My question is where to? The foster care system is struggling to meet demand now, how could it cope. I know from media reports  that the foster care system here in South Australia has made headlines recently with it's inability to cope with children with behavioural problems and there are kids living in motel rooms with social workers because they cant find places in the foster care programmes.

 

A friend used to say for every complex problem there's a simple solution the only problem with the simple solution is that its wrong.

 

If Noel Pearson's solution to the child at risk problem had only included a solution to the foster care crisis I think he would be on a winner.

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by GuruJane at 2007-12-14 06:32 PM

owenss:

 

I don't see anyone here making the case that aboriginals should be deprived of the same rights before the law as non indigenous citizens. What is at issue here is the sentencing.  9 boys and young men pleaded guilty to raping an intellectually impaired 10 year old child and were then released back into their community. Would this happen anywhere else except in non indigenous Australia? Furthermore it is not an isolated incident.

 

To requote Marcia Langton:

 

"Instead of jail sentences that would apply to any other member of an ethnic group, they are freed immediately after a laughable lecture from judge or magistrate, or sent to a prison for a few months. They are then released back into the communities where their crimes were committed and where recidivism takes on a special meaning: the younger sisters or cousins of their original victims are the next in line to be raped. ...

 

....As is so typical in such cases, several of the rapists are from the ruling families of Aurukun, where anti-social behaviour, which varies from day to day only in its intensity and detrimental outcomes, is graced with labels in the media, such as riot."

What is, on the face of it, unique about these legal proceedings is that it was the prosecutor, not the defence, who spoke so eloquently in mitigation and did not ask for a custodial sentence. Given the age of the victim, it is hard to imagine this happening in any other jurisdiction outside those  imbued with the "other world" of the remote communities. Would this was only happening in cyberspace! But if it were, it would have been made illegal by now.

 

 

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by owenss at 2007-12-15 02:03 AM

Gurujane Noel Pearson is clearly advocating that mitigating circumstances for aboriginal offenders be curtailed in the sentencing aspects of trials.

 

He also argues that sending more aboriginal men to prison will have a long term beneficial effect on aboriginal incarceration rates.

 

But where is the evidence to justify such a belief? Currently 22% of the prison population is aboriginal. This is a 10 year peak. On any one day 6% of aboriginal men aged between 25-30 are in prison.

 

Surely if  incarceration was the way forward aboriginal communities would already being enjoying the benefits.

 

 

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by owenss at 2007-12-15 11:36 PM

Bill any policy that gets tough with aboriginal law breakers will mean at least an initial increase in the number of aboriginal people in prison.

If you look at page one of the Adelaide Advertiser December 15 2007 you will see a story about prisoners being released early because of "chronic overcrowding"

 

Its hard to see how we are going to get more aboriginal people into prison when the government is releasing people early. Governments are notoriously stingy about spending money on prisons.

 

If you get tough on aboriginal people that don't take responsibility on say paying rent well the logical outcome is eviction. Its hard to see how more homeless aboriginal people will improve the situation.

 

I have already covered the situation with foster care but I should say that where as prison problems can be fixed by throwing money at them foster care can't. No amount of money can convince families to take in troubled youths as living with someone with destructive and self destructive behaviours can be an emotional nightmare.

 

Often when you get tough the problem just moves. Making some communities alcohol free has lead to petrol sniffing and has lead to people travelling hundreds of kilometers in car to get boozed and then drive back.

 

Well I think that your entitled to ask me what are the solutions then. Well first I think that the answers Lay within the aboriginal community that's why I welcome Noel Pearson putting ideas forward. I also agree with him that the safety of children is paramount and that rapists should serve prison time. It may seem contradictory but I also uphold the recommendation of the Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Royal Commission that prison should be used as a last resort.

 

I think things that stand in the way of progress are things like then Premier of Queensland Peter Beattie's decision that recommendations of the Fitzgerald report into Cape York Justice must be cost neutral.

 

So there's my opinion fix the prison system, fix the foster care system, find alternatives to imprisonment be prepared to spend some money and once that's done we could talk about a responsibility agenda replacing the rights agenda.

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by byork at 2007-12-20 12:00 AM

owenss, I keep expecting you to reply to this point by gurujane from a week ago. It's a direct question, deserving of a direct answer from you. Here it is: Would this happen anywhere else except in non indigenous Australia?

 

The context was:

 

I don't see anyone here making the case that aboriginals should be deprived of the same rights before the law as non indigenous citizens. What is at issue here is the sentencing.  9 boys and young men pleaded guilty to raping an intellectually impaired 10 year old child and were then released back into their community. Would this happen anywhere else except in non indigenous Australia?

 

Barry

 

 

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by owenss at 2007-12-20 12:40 AM

Barry I did reply to Gurujane

 

I pointed out that she was wrong about aboriginal people not loosing some rights under Noel Pearson's plan as he is clearly advocating that there be a reduction in mitigating circumstances in the sentencing process for aboriginal people only.

 

Gurujane asked me to comment on one case in particular that to her indicated some sort of judicial bias in favour of aboriginal defendants. Instead of discussing one judicial outrage I produced figers that showed aboriginal people to be overrepresented in the prison system by a factor of 11xs

 

I took gurujanes silence to my reply as an acknowledgment that I was correct just as I take peoples silence to my points about the massive overrepresentation of aboriginal people in prison, my point about the chronic overcrowding  currently in prisons and my point about the inability of the foster care programme cope at current demand levels as an acknowledgment that the get tough approach that you Barry was championing is a dead duck of an idea.

 

Barry if you think a get tough approach is the way forward just tell us where the extra aboriginal prisoners will be put. Tell us where the extra foster care places will come from.

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by GuruJane at 2007-12-20 12:54 PM

Nowhere have I seen Pearson arguing that indigenous persons should have lesser rights in mitigation pleadings (the right term?) than non indigenous. What he is criticising is the sentences.

 

Again: 9 youths and a man plead guilty to raping an intellectually impaired 10 year old child and are then released. Could this happen under the law in non indigenous Australia? Yes.  But would it happen anywhere other than in non indigenous Australia ? That was my question.

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by owenss at 2007-12-20 09:50 PM

Gurujane, Bill provided a link called Aurukun rape the tip of the iceberg. In that link Noel Pearson states "In the past 30 years there's been a tendency for the judicial system to take into account this cultural and historical background of Aboriginal offenders and therefore resulting in leniency,......"

 

Clearly the cultural and historical background is one of deprivation and abuse, a mitigating factor. Noel is arguing that this mitigating factor be curtailed for aboriginal offenders.

 

My point was, are aboriginal offenders really the recipients of widespread leniency? It's hard to argue that they are when 25% of aboriginal males spend time behind bars in any one year and that we are currently seeing peaks in the number of aboriginal people in prison.

 

Despite this Bill, Barry and you Gurujane seem to support a new get tough approach to aboriginal offenders and call for many more aboriginal children to be taken into foster care.

 

My questions that go unanswered are why do you think increased imprisonment rates will improve the situation? And where are you going to get the large number of foster care places when the foster care system can't cope with the current level of demand.

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by owenss at 2007-12-21 07:54 PM

Gurujane and Barry have asked me to answer Gurijanes question so I will give it a try.

 

Firstly when I read your question guru it doesn't seem to make sense. What I think your trying to ask me is do I think such a strange judicial  outcome would be found outside of a court dealing with aboriginal defendants.

 

My answer is yes I think that strange judicial outcomes do happen to the wider community. Now I have no expertise in law but I am aware of famous cases such as those in South Australia like the Nemer case where a young man shot a random stranger through the head. The guilty party was given a good behaviour bond. Or there's a famous case about 10 years ago where 2 young men went to a homosexual meeting place. They clubbed a man almost to death with metal clubs that they had brought with them. The judicial outcome was acquittal on the grounds of self defence. Apparently his head had attacked their clubs.

 

Or there's the judge here in Adelaide who said that sometimes in rape cases where a woman has said no that "No doesn't always mean no"

 

So guru the answer is that I think instances of judicial bizzar outcomes can easily be found. I don't think that holding up one sensational case proves much. That's why I moved on to talking about the larger picture of aboriginal imprisonment.

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by kerrb at 2007-12-21 08:05 PM

hi steve,

i'm travelling at the moment so can't research a detailed answer - just a few quick points

the main task at the moment is to win hearts and minds for correct policy - developed by Pearson - this is heavily contested at the moment

if hearts and minds are won then things become a lot easier to implement, despite the considerable practical objections that you raise

if problems arise that can’t be solved in this society (not enough foster carers) then that raises broader questions - why do we have a society that can’t look after its members, how could society be changed to meet this gap? Such issues ought to be used to raise new questions not to hold things back

now your objections are at the practical level, (important, yes) - you seem to have put your objections to Pearson’s policy at a policy and or ideological level on the back burner or dropped them, ie. Earlier on you said that our government ought to be responsible for aboriginal welfare and had no right to expect any responsibilities from aboriginal people

the idea that a policy blueprint ought to have all the detail worked out and should not proceed without that detail worked out is just a way to criticise the policy not for its substance but because it is not detailed enough for you – if the policy is the best one available then a better approach would be to look at ways to overcome the problems of implementation – is your approach one of mainly sitting in judgement rather than supporting those who are trying to solve hard problems?

a tough decision is a tough decision - yes the gaol population would probably increase but hopefully that would be a temporary rise - Pearsons policy is a long term policy to save the new generation after effective policy paralysis for 20+ years – there are no easy answers in such a situation of spectacular neglect because people like you put it all in the too hard basket

lets say that Pearson’s policy could only be implemented in one area of Australia due to the practical objections you raise - then would you be against it then?

in the absence of a policy that works from you or anyone else then shouldn't Pearson's policy be given a try - he has put in the hard yards analytically and on the ground, he has not just jumped in for a recent critical comment, like you

how many Pearson articles have you read? I'm glad you have read one, tell us your thoughts on the others you have read

if one child had alcoholic and abusive parents then would you support government intervention to protect that child

if yes to the above then why not support government intervention for a small group and expand the group size if the policy is seen to be working in places where it is not white anted and the hearts and minds are in place

 

_________________________
Bill Kerr

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by GuruJane at 2007-12-21 10:13 PM

I still don't see where it is that Pearson is calling for indigenous Australians should be deprived of the same rights as non indigenous Australians, but recognise you could reasonably hold that interpretation. So let's give the nitpick away.

 

" you Gurujane seem to support a new get tough approach to aboriginal offenders and call for many more aboriginal children to be taken into foster care."

 

In fact I believe the situation is far more complex than "getting tough". In the RC "virtual world" that exists in this parallel universe to our own, children are sexualised at a much earlier age, some even from infancy. Children don't have the distraction/diversion of pre-schools followed by school and homework because school attendance is not compelled. In fact 1 in 5 children in the RCW aren't even enrolled in school. In addition, it is not unusual for children to live in houses holding 20 or more adults and kids, so intimacy is not conducted in privacy.  Finally pornographic dvds etc are widely obtainable in the RCW and the inhabitants have plenty of "authority" provided  income with which to buy it. All of which  results in "minors" - our term, not theirs - being well versed in imitative behaviour.



As result, oral, anal, vaginal and digital penetration of minors is commonplace in the RCW be it child-to-child or adult-to-child. One of the most illuminative observations in the LCAS Report was the inquirers noting that indigenous people in RCW were genuinely perplexed by the term "child sexual abuse." ie : they didn't know what it meant.



Re the Arukun case, the judge and the prosecutor are part of the RCW so they don't see it as child sexual abuse either. They understand that the indigenous in the RCW see it as "doing what comes naturally", not as an "offence".  Doubtless, judge and prosecutor felt the charges should not have been brought in the first place, let alone worth custodial sentence. And in the RCW terms they are correct.

 

Given the implacable logic of the RC world, to me you are right to suggest the  jailing of offenders is pointless and underproductive.  For instance one of the offenders/rapists was actually the son of the Mayor of Arukun - in other words, a tribal elder authority figure in the community. It appears that he  may not have set much of an example to his son in the past,  but that is part of how the RCW has been programmed and there's no point in blaming him. Nor would I see the point of removing  the infants/children from "harm" or "abuse" since those are our terms, not concepts programmed to be understood in RCW, and since the program has  in fact been designed by us, the government,  one can ask why should we be getting so exercised about it? Curses on Lateline for exposing it and setting us off on this pointless moral outrage.

 

It seems to me that Noel Pearson and a few others like Marcia Langton are attempting to de-program RCW and then re-program it so the remote communities can survive, but as a functional NOT disfunctional  part of the wider Australian community. ( The alternatives would have to be either dismantling RCW altogether, or leave it to expand as is. ) For their efforts calumny is  poured on Pearson and Langton's heads, some of it quite vicious,  and great resistance is mounted from thoughtful concerned citizens like yourself. I have hopes that Pearson/Langton will succeed, but for no other reason than  Labor is now in the ascendancy across the land  and every single one of those Premiers, along with the PM and Jenny Macklin, are calculating they  may have a political price to pay  down the track now that they no longer have a Coalition government to blame for all indigenous ills? So I figure they will back Pearson and Langton, if only to flick pass the blame if it doesn't work.

 

My optimism will be tempered if the premiers and Rudd/Macklin water down any of Pearson's initiatives. That would indicate the classic political/bureaucratic manouvre - proclaim loudly  you are supporting a  reforming measure but under-the-radar remove key elements so it fails. Then wash your hands of it and return to status quo.  However, if this happens,  the logical course of the RCW  will continue: ie  the sexual component will become even more "depraved" than it already is. We have not had reports yet of widespread, organised sado masochism, bestiality and so on involving "minors", but perhaps that is what Pearson is referring to in saying Arukun is only the tip of the iceberg. 

 

btw in the examples you gave of like-minded sentences in the non indigenous world, it appears these case were contested? Can you cite a similar case where multi offenders pleaded guilty to the rape of a intellectually impaired, 10 year old child and were released without penalty?

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by GuruJane at 2007-12-21 10:23 PM

owenss

 

In all of the above  realise I haven't even thought to mention the RC World  of gross and growing domestic violence against women. Just goes to show how quickly we can internalise the once unacceptable into the norm when it doesn't affect us?

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by owenss at 2007-12-23 11:50 PM

Bill you again try to pigeon hole me saying that I have put my ideological objections on the back burner.

 

I have no ideological axe to grind. Anything that improves the lot of the aboriginal people is worthy of support. You seem to see an ideological position when I say that governments don't have rights but its just a statement of fact. Only people have rights governments are instruments of policy and administration.

 

As instruments of social change governments have failed the aboriginal people. I see this partly because government is such a blunt instrument able to offer carrots (leniency) or sticks (tough measures)

 

My ideological position is that any aboriginal community will be impervious to change unless significant elements within those communities embrace change. A lot of well meaning change just folds in the face of people who don't "own" the changes.

 

Noel Pearson now has 4 Cape York communities to try out his ideas on. I hope he has enough local support to do some good.

 

 

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by owenss at 2008-01-09 02:09 PM

Someone should jump all over my posts. Here's me saying that a get tough approach will trip up on services like foster care and prisons. Well I was wrong it's the court system that's the first to say that it can't cope.

 

Today News Radio reported that the court system that services the Cape York area has admitted that it can't cope with the demand.

 

Now the solution is obvious. The government must allocate more resources to the courts.

(any noise you hear from me is just me whistling  while I wait for the government to act)

 • Re: Crisis in Aboriginal communities

Posted by kerrb at 2008-01-19 02:21 PM

Everyone knows that aboriginal education is a disaster zone

... the relative failures affecting students in the mainstream pale in comparison to the absolute educational failures diminishing the life prospects of thousands of students in remote indigenous communities.

A significant minority of students from these areas leave school without having acquired any literacy or numeracy skills, and are therefore unlikely to participate in the real economy. This is the most critical disaster in Australian education
- Incentives will bring top teachers
Noel Pearson has a viable plan to do something about it. Read the above article. Pearson's plan borrows from the McKinsey report.

Who is against this? The teachers union.
Adam Lampe, from the Australian Education Union, says any introduction would be fiercely resisted.

"We would fight wholeheartedly against the introduction of any kind of performance pay," Mr Lampe said
- Plan to entice teachers to remote Australia
So the union is against a viable plan to help the most disadvantaged people in Australia.

The role of the unions is to help the disadvantaged? Maybe at one stage, earlier on in their history. Not any more. The role of the union is to help their middle class members. Too bad about the disadvantaged.
_________________________
Bill Kerr