"WhiteNorthern Territory public servants are taking courses on indigenous culture, raising questions about whether the funds would be better spent teaching Aborigines about the consequences of sex abuse under Western law."A good thing, non?
Well, non, it would seem.
Let's repeat the central point here: " raising questions about whether the funds would be better spent teaching Aborigines about the consequences of sex abuse under Western law".
Deep breath now.
"Senator Nigel Scullion saw some benefits of cross-cultural training for whites, but said ... the priority should be to educate Aborigines about the dominant culture's laws relating to underage sex and sexual assault.
"For a long time we've understood that communication has to be improved ... Often Aboriginal people fall foul of the law because they don't understand it. Cross-cultural interaction is what needs to be expanded so they can understand the issues better.
"We focus a lot on people going into communities but it is important that indigenous people understand the law where they've been living in areas where there's a lack of compliance. We do need to ensure there's some sort of process to help them understand their obligations."
Northeast Arnhem Land artist, land-care strategist and avowed anti-interventionist Banduk Marika reacted angrily to the cross-cultural scheme.
"Why would they even bother with it when they're using this intervention to turn us into white people?" she said.
Ms Marika said Aborigines needed cross-cultural training, not whites. "If we're being taken over, if our culture is not good enough and if people want us to change overnight, we should get training in your laws."
Hmmm.Sounds to me as though Aboriginal communities are, indeed, in desperate need of training in "white man's culture" and "white man's law", particularly if an Aboriginal woman is angry at the notion of her people - men and women - complying with white laws against rape of children, rape of women, use of drugs, and assault and murder.
It would be truly excellent if things did "change overnight". Bring on the training!
I'm sure it wasn't long ago that I was reading some "history wars" in which many were insisting that Aboriginal culture has never encouraged, sanctioned or colluded in the rape and brutalization of children and women.
In fact, the insistence is most frequently that these barbaric ways are the fault of white culture.
Apparently adopting white-ways is a wholly selective - selective of only the negatives - process.
The Australian reported this story with no analysis, no quizzical asides, not so much as a furrowed journalistic brow or chewed cuticle.