The Intervention

A report has been released into the NT intervention that has found that the relationship between the aboriginal communities and the government is “fractured”.

Some of the findings of the report are:

  • no arrests have been made for child sexual abuse (even though this was the main reason put forward by the Howard government)
  • no increase in school attendance
  • some benefit from the quarantining of benefits

The most glaring comment in the report is that the Racial Discrimination Act should be re-instated, as well as the permit system for entry to lands.

Here is the SMH article on the report.

The question is: where do we go from here to repair the damage?


17 Responses

  1. Sorry guys but I am with the previous government on this one. I was born and bred in western NSW and experienced first hand what happens.

    The absolute alcohol control of these communities. The bashing of women to get hold of their pensions as soon as they are available.

    There is always an abusive rabble that will call the government racist if they take any action which denies people to cash for alcohol drugs and gambling, however they are usually the ones who also control a lot of the aboriginal businesses and communities.

    I witnessed the abuse of funds, the destruction of businesses, the destruction of societies and the breakdown of law and order.

    Unless you live in these towns permanently and experience the day to day battle you cannot speak about human rights and the situation within the communities.

  2. Shane,

    Dazza of the NT at blogocracy held much the same view.

    I guess it’s very easy for us that live outside these affected areas to be “armchair critics” without the benefit of “on the ground experience”.

  3. Shane

    I agree – but that is why there needs to be consultation with the communities. The way that (from what I see and read) is that the intervention is viewed as just that – an intervention. It is not viewed as a program to work with the community to solve the problems?

  4. Shane

    I’d imagine that it would be extremely difficult to reform what appears to be a deeply dysfunctional culture in these communities. I’m not at all sure whether a softly, softly approach is needed in various circumstances- especially where aboriginal leaders involved in corrupt and those involved in immorally and offensive activities is concerned.

  5. The issues surrounding the problems of indigenous dislocation/dispossession are a generational. They are unlikely to be solved within this generation; nonetheless the violence and reported sexual abuse required a government response.

    In the longer term the only solution is the building of self respect and appreciation of indigenous cultural heritage, the dispossessed do not have a sense of their own culture and heritage. I’ve been on this hobby horse in the past, and I’ll not miss any opportunity to spruik my opinion.

    Australian governments seem to fund artistic endeavours of various forms – the funding seems to respond to pressure groups and politics. The focus should largely (entirely?) be on funding for indigenous art. It has the advantage of promoting self respect and cultural heritage, with the great advantage that it is the only art form that is uniquely Australian.

    The various other artistic endeavours generally reflect a European heritage, and I really see little reason to cough up taxpayer funding for this. If we are after some effective policy development, get out of the welfare systems and promote artistic endeavour. Our indigenous art is rich artistically and culturally. As well, potentially, it will provide a great sense of self esteem for many disengaged communities.

    Thanks for your attention!

  6. My God Tom!

    We really have to stop agreeing like this….!!

  7. Joni

    To be honest the time for consultation ended around 15 years ago. I challenge you to live in Brewarrina or Bourke or many other country towns for that matter. Problem is Politicians and Discussion Groups fly in get told a lot of bullshit and fly out again and formulate a policy in Sydney.

    When policiticans, judges or discussion groups arrive in a town what do you think happens. A front is put on thats what happens.

    Also remember many people are in fear and as a result will not tell the truth. They are threatened.

    The ones screaming the loudest are more than likely the ones who intimidate to get cash for their addictions, or the ones who are the drug runners making money of the misery of their community.

    I witnessed women with horrific burn marks over their bodies from cigarettes, broken limbs that had not healed properly and left them disabled after alcohol fights, riots in the main streets if anyone so much as went near an indigenous person. Racial slurs and abuse at anyone who disapproved of their drinking and violence. The consumption and spending of all money in half a day from alcohol, gambling and drugs.

    The destruction of town because there is no money to pay council rates to keep the town viable becuase its all gone on grog, drugs and gambling.

    It is not solely and indigenous problem and I believe in vouchers for rent and food and only the difference in cash for anyone on a benefit. At leats this way I know my taxes are going to their welfare first. it is afterall a WELFARE payment not a drug and alcohol payment. TGhey do not have a right to spend it as they see fit if they do not pay for the necessities first.

    Sorry but I am extremely passionate about this. I have wonderful aboriginal friends who cannot even go to an aboriginal medical centre in their own town because they are not of the right clan or group.

  8. Tom – totally agree. The investment in art is effectively an investment in education. Which i what I think will be the eventual solution.

    And Shane – I completely understand. And that is why we want this blog to continue. So that we can get real information and opinions so that we all learn and grow.

  9. …the relationship between the aboriginal communities and the government is “fractured”…

    So what’s new my relationship with the government has always been fractured!

    The only people who can fix Aboriginal problems are Aboriginals…serious, practical, unselfish Aboriginals…

    Lke Shane I have worked with Aboriginals …in a number of roles – we developed an Advanced Diploma of Performing Arts here in Brisbane for the Aboriginal Peforming Arts Centre…and I did a lot of work in Weipa for Rio Tinto (their policy is to employ and train local Aboriginals)…

    …the smart ones at the “top of the pile” always seem to be arrogant and protected and pandered to by whitefella goody two shoes…

    ‘Tother end of the scale are the martyrs from the invasion who haven’t recovered for over 200 years GMAB!

    In between are the folks just like you and me – the working stockmen and miners, the tour giudes and the wildlife officers – that you rarely hear about who are getting on with it…this is the image that needs to used as the role model! Not the Noel Pearsons and the Kathy Freemans or the down and outs – but those people who actually work for a living!

    Aboriginal media reports always show the extremes – not how some have actually got out of the rut by working hard themselves …wheres the Australian Story on these poor buggars?

  10. Joni

    I want the blog to continue as well. This is just an issue of which I am passionate. I invite all to offer their opinions, thats what makes a great blog site. Debate and differences of opinion. I think when you are on the ground living the issue for many years you become more passionate with it.

  11. Shane – we love passion here at the blogocrats! Just look how reb and I get passionate about ‘our’ community issues.

  12. Joni

    Your community issues ?

  13. Well, I have participated on many blogs on this subject and have yet to see a definative solution to the suffering presented.

    I put on another aboriginal the other month and he showed promise…there was no problems at all until his relations came down to see him.

    The next week his attitude changed and he went downhill…the last I heard from him was a text to say that his father died so I gave him some space but after a week I went to the place he was living and he had gone and the place was trashed!

    I suppose dinging one of my trucks, damaging a jackhammer and a mobile stolen is the price you pay for trying to help someone and I’m afraid that I will not be trying to assist in the future…I’ve had enough!

    Sure, I know some great aboriginals and what I have noticed to an extent, they have turned their backs on the tribal culture in preference to being a functioning part of Australian society.

    I’m starting to believe that the problem will never be solved…is it the shame that we should wear?

  14. 12. Shane | October 14, 2008 at 1:47 pm
    Joni – Your community issues ?

    Oh! Dear…:-)

  15. TB

    what do you mean oh! Dear ?. I am in the dark, enlighten me

  16. Just when reb and myself get on our “it’s the end of civilisation” rants… that’s all.

  17. end of civilastion as we know it maybe, but not the end.

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