June 23, 2007

Jack boots – finally

"ABORIGINES in remote communities will be subject to sweeping new controls over their lives in an unprecedented intervention by the Howard Government to stop sexual abuse of indigenous children.

Declaring the indigenous child sex crisis a "national emergency", Prime Minister John Howard said yesterday drastic action was required in isolated Northern Territory townships because "in the end, the duty of care to the young of this country is paramount".

Under the plan, Aborigines in 60 settlements will face bans on alcohol and pornography, and their welfare payments will become conditional on school attendance and child health.

Authorities will be able to demand child health checks, seize control of Aboriginal land and homes for five years, and dispatch interstate police, indigenous troops and managers into the settlements."

Not a minute too soon, the Prime Minister has announced a sweeping plan to sweepingly remove what some folk might consider to be other people’s rights.
“I’ll be slammed for taking away people’s rights but frankly I don’t care”, the PM said

Good for him!

Loonies on the loose, on the other hand, are more concerned with bullshit rhetoric and friendly chats than they are with a couple of generations worth of Aboriginal children being abused to hell and back.

“While the National Indigenous Council (NIC) and Reconciliation Australia backed a crackdown, some indigenous leaders condemned what they described as heavy-handed tactics and a lack of consultation.

Democrats Leader Lyn Allison called it "an outrageous authoritarian crackdown" and a "jackboot approach" and Greens leader Bob Brown slammed 11 years of inaction.

Rormer Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission chairwoman Lowitja O'Donoghue said stripping people of control was not the way to get tough on child sex abuse.

"It's just Brough and Howard doing their sergeant-major routine, clicking their heels," she told The Age. "You can't just come over the top of people, you've got to talk to them."

Indigenous activist Michael Mansell also condemned Canberra's move as immoral, racist and illegal.”

Enough already you gibbering arseholes.

Last time I checked, the sexual abuse of toddlers and children was immoral and illegal.

As for “racism”: if this level and depravity of child sexual abuse was prevalent in white communities the deafening screeching would have seen jack-boot action a decade ago. The perpetual reverse-racism that many Aboriginal activists demand is perverse and one of the most abiding causes of current Aboriginal circumstances.

Throwing in a red herring, Mick Gooda, urged Canberra to:

"engage with incentives rather than punishment". "Anything we do to protect our kids I will support. We've got to be hard on our own mob … I just hope this isn't a Trojan Horse to destroy land rights in the Northern Territory."

Forget land rights, or any rights. Individuals, no matter their color or ethnicity, have no entitlement to any rights under these circumstances. If entire communities are afflicted and affected, then the entire community and the individuals within them can bleat all they want about “rights” of which they deserve no consideration or entitlement.

Unlike other State leaders, the Premier of South Australia has declined to provide 10 police to boost the police presence in the Northern Territory. The whole of S.A should be ashamed of him.

Kudos to John Howard.

The jack boots are sadly overdue, but lets be relieved over small mercies and hope that the next generation of Aboriginal kiddies can be spared the hideous physical, psychological and emotional scars that will be carried by many of the current young. It’s the least that we can hope for them, and the least that our politicians, on our behalf, should attempt to enable.

There will be a great deal of debate over these actions, and that’s fine, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that, in these circumstances, even an entirely half-arsed plan, vigorously implemented today, is far superior to a perfect plan implemented a few years hence - or never. That's the choice.

A national emergency ...

States must help ...

Old approach hasn't worked ...


  1. Anonymous11:00 PM

    ...hope that the next generation of Aboriginal kiddies can be spared the hideous physical, psychological and emotional scars that will be carried by many of the current young. It’s the least that we can hope for them, and the least that our politicians, on our behalf, should attempt to enable.


    I don't neccessarily agree with all that went before but I'm not about to argue it now. Get medical professionals to these kids.

    Just the one question: why no response to the Chief Minister's invite last year to take control?

    I hope that Jonhnny come lately backs it with more than punitive measures.

    And, yes, I am just the fuck a little cynical. I hope God forgives me.

  2. Don't recall anything about the Chief Minister's invite last year Mike, but that's the same Chief Minsiter who hasn't done a god-damn thing, and also sat on this recent report for EIGHT WEEKS before releasing it, then said her gov't would need another couple of weeks to think about it. There was nothing in the report that she hasn't known for the last couple of years.

    As much as Johnny may be coming in late, the NT Chief has sat back and done bloody nothing - an "invitation" for the Feds to step in sounds like admission of inability to govern or take action, an admission of defeat before even attempting to do anything?

  3. Oh, god will forgive you.

  4. Anonymous1:32 AM

    No, I doubt God will.

    It was not an admission of anything per se, more an invitation to take control of the direction of the response to matters now made plain in this report.

    It was acknowledged that this was somehting that required more than simply another Territory gov'nt "it's alright" thingy.

    Mal Brough toured the top end and lectured all and sundry on their responsibilities or dereliction thereof. End of story.

    Again, pardon my cynicism.

    It isn't nice but it has to be said: if it were next March, with the government returned, and this report came to light, there would likely be nothing like this response.

    As Noel Pearson would say though, thank god there is a response. And, make certain it's targeted at those who are indulging in "responsibility failure" - including, now, those in Sydney, Melbourne and elsewhere.

  5. Well, that’s interesting Mike, so perhaps there is reason for cynicism, on the other hand, with “a report” to justify intervention, the Fed gov’t wasted no time, so I’d like to believe that there is a level of sincerity about their actions.

    I did notice the significant divide in responses in yesterday’s paper, those who think it is “good … but ….”,. and those who reject the actions out of hand as being nothing more than electioneering and a grab for land. The problem with the latter is that many of the opinions dive into the “sure we should do something about abuse, but there’s abuse in white communities too” blah, blah, blah. It’s a negligent thought process, by any standards. The former would like to see the “causes” tackled – all of them – which assumes that anyone can correctly identify the root causes, and assumes, again, with negligent and lazy thought processes, that problems shouldn’t be addressed until 100% of “everything” can be addressed, and that’s dumb and negligent. You don’t wait to figure out where and how the fire started, and how best to put it out, before rescuing people from a burning building.

    Imagine if science and medicine worked that way? Imagine what the world would look like if science and medicine waited until they had the complete answer for everything before acting.

    Besides, tackling this particular problem will, inevitably, have (positive) consequences for other problems, just by accident, not by design. That’s not uncommon. By focusing on something narrow, with significant commitment, unplanned or unintended consequences invariably occur; in this case, those additional consequences can only be for the better.

    Is Howard really only doing this because it’s an election year? If so, it’s a peculiar issue to use, as it’s not going to change or influence a single vote. There appears to be a lot of community support for Howard’s action – no big surprise – but the state of the Aboriginal community doesn’t influence anyone’s vote – that’s a fact, plain and simple; no one will cast their vote based on Aboriginal issues. People will support these actions, but it’s not a vote catcher or an election winner.

  6. Howard has got the left so spooked that every time he announces something like this, they run around screaming 'Wedge politics! Wedge politics!' Never mind that the election is several months away, and the fact that sexual abuse of children is an urgent problem that does require a drastic response, and that Labor, if they any brains, will support this - the real story is that 'Ratty' is 'playing politics' again.

    That said, it may be true that, like plenty of Aboriginal policy initiatives in the past, this one may not work. Still, I think there's enough in there to have some positive effects.

  7. In terms of wedge politics, I suspect this one will fail dismally Tim.

    For the public, there is no wedge, just passing relief that something suitably drastic will be done.

    The pollies and left commentators can beat it up and beat it down until they’re blue in the face, but the punters – the voters – aren’t going to buy it.

    The public want to know that “something” is being done, something big, and this answers that call. Now they can put it out of their minds, for the time being.

    The public aren’t divided on this, notwithstanding a few letters to the editor.

  8. Anonymous1:59 PM

    Good stuff Caz!
    And I agree, this issue is not a vote catcher or an election winner!

    Something had to be done.

    It's certainly been a long time coming though.

  9. Read in the paper only a few moments ago that some in the ALP, inter alia, are arguing that manadatory medical checks will traumatise the Aboriginal children.

    What can you say to arguments like that Kath?


    Forced medical help versus the repeated rape of toddlers and children? Gee, tough choice.

    It's not in my personal frame of reference to comprehend those who are (trying to) oppose these measures.

    Despite the initial commentary, and I can see Father Park has disagreements with it all, I don't even consider this to be a political issue.

    To my mind, this is non-political. It's too late for politics.

  10. Anonymous2:53 PM

    Hey Caz! That's a lovely pic of you and little Rusty.(saw your pic over at Harry's)

    You have gorgeous long hair.

    I am jealous mate.

    How is your Mum btw?

  11. Anonymous3:32 PM

    No, I don't have problems with it all. I have questions about the fact that it took no more than ten nanoseconds for JWH to rope in his latest ideological cold war: education and - a fortiori - schools. That and the fact we're to have some department decide how bloody good a parent I am - whether the way in which I discharge my duty of care to my children meets with the approval of some faceless bunch of hacks in Centrelink or some such.

    It's like the "Water Policy": dreamt up whilst reading the cricket results in the water closet.

    Yes something urgent needs doing. Something fucking urgent needed doing last year when the Territory actually asked for federal intervention; it needed doing the bloody year before that too...

    Met with stony silence for the most part and I’ve already indicated Brough’s sanctimonious lecturing of last year. Yes the report makes it graphically clear. It was just as bloody clear last year and, more to the point, intractable. Brough – and the feds – were largely interested, then, in pointing fingers, tut-tutting and lecturing on responsibility.

    Pardon my cynical arse all to fucking hell.

    My concern is that the emphasis, no, not emphasis - the whole bloody thing - is punitive. It is all about sticks, taking and withholding. It is all about police, army et al. That is the all of it.

    The recidivist and near to useless left can opine at length about enforced medical checks on children, they - as they soooo often do (unlike the Territorians) - miss the six packs for the slabs: who in hell is going to perform these medical examinations? The police? The AFP? There are no doctors. For god's sake, Temora is bloodywell offering half million dollar bribes to attract one to replace those retiring. Just how many does anyone think are lolling about the Territory outback setting up to perform these checks?

    I'm concerned that this will inevitably – no matter the good intentions and hopes of those that will try their arses off to make it work – be seen as just another failed re-colonising attempt at paternal and authoritarian management.

    I hope it achieves something and I hope to hell that Howard is in this only for the stated reason. His track record generally and in Aboriginal affairs specifically does not inspire confidence.

    I wish the fuck it wasn’t an election year.

  12. Anonymous3:37 PM

    Which pic at Harry's????

  13. Over on the podcast - the first one - not the second one where you left comment saying "oh shit".

  14. I know, I know - they've thrown $300 million on "the problem" in the last few years, and yet things have got worse.

    How will this be any different?

    Where oh where will they find medical staff?

    How are they going to handle a squillion alcoholics in withdrawal?

    Even with police donated by the states, they still won't have enough enforcement.

    Well, for a start, even the PM says he doesn't know - yet - and they'll make it up as they go along, basically.

    As I've already said, I'd much prefer a half arsed plan vigorously implemented today, than no plan, or a perfect plan in a few years time. I mean that, I really, really do.

    I just want them to get on with doing something drastic. Anything at all that might serve to be the circuit-breaker that is desperately needed.

    You're probably right to be cynical about the timing, because nothing in the report was new.

    However, the same can be said about each of the state and territory governments - all Labor - they have done nothing. All of our levels of government have failed.

    Howard is an opportunist Mike, as are all pollies, but Howard takes opportunism to new heights. Perhaps he is, as you feel, playing politics in an election year. So be it. Better that he play politics on something this important rather than routine crap that doesn't much matter and doesn't really hurt anyone.

  15. Anonymous5:48 PM

    I don't imagine you'd believe that I once had hair like that?

    No, didn't think so. I found it a little hard to believe myself.

  16. Tee, hee - well, you probably did better than I did Father. Oh, and I do believe you!

    We always had short hair as young 'uns, and I was too fickle in my youth for long hair; like many women, my hair was cut, colored or permed, on a whim. It's only in my old age, when I'm supposed to have a sensible bob, that I have the patience and commitment to just let it grow in a more or less natural manner.

    Mum's doing okay Kath. Having hydrotheraphy a couple of times a week, which seems to help a bit. She's much better than she was last year, with chronic and debilitating pain - not as bad as it was, and can now do most normal things again. But she still needs to learn to do less!

  17. Anonymous6:57 PM

    I was sent home from school to get it cut. the scholl didn't accept my reasoning that I should be able to look like Robert Plant.

    Or Noddy Holder for that matter.

    No such worries today.

  18. Can't comment specifically on your subject, Caz, but it's amazing how the problems among Aborigines parallel those among Native Americans.

  19. I wasn't aware of that Drunka, that is, not aware the problems were the same or quite as bad.

    I still have difficulty in fathoming any causal link between "invasion" and unemployment, child sex abuse, and chronic drink / drug use hundreds of years after the “invasion”. Perhaps I’m wrong, maybe that is “the cause”?

    I know, I'm being a bit dumb and simple, but I'm not getting it.

    I would have thought that living in isolation (away from "white man's" social and cultural conformance and control mechanisms) and far away from housing, education, hospitals and jobs would have some small thing to do with it.

    It's not lack of gov't funding, I know that, as our gov't spends tens of billions of dollars on just 2.3% of the population, with nothing much to show for it. There is always a call for ever more money, but the fact remains that the gov’t spends way more per-head on the Aboriginal community than it does on the rest of the community - of any and all ancestry / ethnicity.