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King Wrong

You Call That Racism?

So, after this week we’re all clear: it’s not acceptable to call an Aborigine an ape. As the footballer Adam Goodes said, “it hurts”. Quite rightly, Eddie McGuire and a 13-year-old girl have had to hang their heads and publicly apologise for doing just that.

But who is going to apologise for Australia’s covert racism? That’s the racism that Northern Territory Aboriginal activist Olga Havnen described in her Lowitja O’Donoghue oration on Tuesday night in Adelaide.

While Eddie McGuire should have tucked himself up in bed, getting the brain-refreshing sleep which would possibly have averted his gaffe in suggesting Goodes might promote King Kong, Havnen was showing us what covert racism looks like.

She spoke of how misguided politicians and public servants have used the Ginger Bread Men, also known as Geckos, and the NINGOs and the BINGOs to wrest control from indigenous organisations in the Northern Territory.

“Ginger Bread Men” and “Geckos” are the names Aboriginal wits gave managers sent in to communities by the government as part of the federal Intervention — a package of policing and welfare measures introduced in 2007 to deal with enduring problems of child abuse and alcoholism in indigenous communities.

Many millions of dollars have gone into resourcing the NINGOs (non-indigenous government organisations) and BINGOS (Big International NGOs), delivering services to Aborigines, Havnen said. Aboriginal control of these services has withered, as the NGOs’ involvement has grown, she said.

<p>Scott Barbour/Getty</p>

Scott Barbour/Getty

Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes, the subject of deplorable abuse this past week.

It’s been six years next month since the Intervention began and the Army rolled in, sending some people fleeing into the bush. In this time, it has “had profound psychological impacts on our people,” said Havnen. These impacts have gone almost completely unnoticed by policy-makers.

Health services, land managers and art centres have survived, but “Aboriginal community-driven service delivery has, in many parts of the Northern Territory, simply disappeared,” she said.

The link between action and psychological hurt may not seem as clear as in the case of McGuire’s suggestion that Goodes be used to publicise the musical King Kong. But Havnen, a descendant of the Western Arrernte people of Central Australia, argued that the “misguided, coercive approaches” of the Intervention are causing harm because lack of control over their own lives can virtually kill and maim her people.

It’s about who makes the decisions; who’s the boss.

“In the contest of societies with dominant and minority cultures, such as Australia, the widespread and persistent suppression of minority cultural practices causes severe disruption, making our communities susceptible to trauma, collective helplessness and endemic maladaptive coping practices,” she said.

She counted the ways in which the dominant culture’s decision-makers had taken power. First the soldiers had arrived. Then, Aboriginal-run organisations and community government councils were rapidly dismantled.

The Aboriginal “work-for-the-dole” CDEP program was “allowed to wither away”. (The CDEP was criticised as being merely a “make-work” program, leading to pointless paid activities such as painting rocks. However, it did have uses, including paying artists to paint.)

“Fourth, the introduction of mandatory, universal income control and the introduction of the Basic Card, although welcomed by some welfare recipients, has nevertheless had a major impact on the ways people use and control their money,” Havnen said.

Fifth, the “emergency response” introduced in the name of child protection “universally painted men as violent drunks, paedophiles and consumers of pornography, and women as passive, helpless victims,” she said.

While the introduction of alcohol controls across all Northern Territory “prescribed areas” was welcomed in some areas, it played havoc in others.

It’s about who makes the decisions; who’s the boss.

“Many communities had voluntary alcohol restrictions in place for years prior to the Intervention. The hundred or so locally initiated ‘dry areas’ were abolished in favour of blanket restrictions that have driven drinkers into unsafe drinking behaviours in towns and drinking camps,” she said.

And when the Intervention brought doctors and nurses from interstate to provide child health checks, the message was that Aboriginal health workers and nurses, who had been struggling in tough conditions with inadequate resources, had failed.

“In effect, they were being told that their careers had been rubbish,” she said.

Havnen, who was giving her oration for the Don Dunstan Foundation in Adelaide, knows as well as Eddie McGuire how quickly a public figure’s own words can rebound on them.

Late last year, the conservative Northern Territory Government sacked her as its Coordinator General for Remote Services following the tabling of her comprehensive report in which she criticised its indigenous affairs expenditure.

McGuire, in defence of the comments he made on Melbourne radio, said he was tired and that his King Kong comment was “a slip of the tongue”.

He knew you were not allowed to say that sort of stuff any more. He probably doesn’t know that the idea of indigenous people being close to the apes is a hangover from 19th century “scientific racism”, which devised a hierarchy of races by skin colour and put those of paler hue (including to the “scientists” who devised the system) up the top, near the angels.

Some ideas hang about for an awfully long time.

The Intervention is likely to stay. Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has said he would consider extending it – after he has consulted with Aboriginal leaders.

But perhaps he should first read the scores of reports compiled over the past three or so decades which say that the answer to addressing indigenous disadvantage is to hand over increased indigenous control of decision-making and service delivery.

Havnen is asking for a fundamental change. She wants leaders to show more daring, to give up what she calls “risk intolerance” in indigenous affairs.

It’s worth considering. But, hey, everyone has been mesmerised by Eddie’s bungle, while out in the desert, the emergency continues.

47 comments on this story
by Robert Lonnee

This so called racial banter is not intended to cause hatred among the populace of aboriginals, and other races. It is Australian humour. People are becoming more padantic ever day relying too much on academic learning. What of "The Chief" Mr Dunstall being vilified on the footy show in days gone by......Gary Lyons's hairy body. The list is endless, but those of a dark color can do and say what they please....after all they call us white magots. Get on with life. But to humiliate a 13 year old kid is ridiculous of Adam Goodes by having her removed.

May 30, 2013 @ 12:06am
by J.Fraser

Not difficult to see why Mal Brough is so popular with the Eddie McGuire "Slick" Abbott so called conservatives.

May 30, 2013 @ 6:55am
by Karen Cummings

It is very easy for those who are never subject to racist or other kinds of abuse in a systematic way EVERY DAY of their lives to say-`get over it, it's just a joke'. It is NOT the same as your mate calling you shorty or ginger nut (or whatever). Aboriginal People in Australia have been through eras where they were considered the same worth as native flora and fauna and denied citizenship, they have been segregated, denied the right to their own culture and language, had their children taken away, made into slaves and told- yes-that they are closer to apes . It would have taken a lot for Adam Goodes to stand up and say-no more. What about the people sitting around the 13 year old girl? Did no one around her have a word? Silence in the face of someone abusing another is acquiescence. Walk a mile in the shoes of an Aboriginal man in Australia, Robert Lonnee, then see how funny you find being likened to an ape.

May 30, 2013 @ 7:19am
by Bill Fenton

Sorry Robert Lonnee, you are the problem. You read this and fail to see how "ape"hurts? Gee.

May 30, 2013 @ 10:06am
by eilish

"Racial banter" is abuse. It is intended to show indigenous Australians and people from non-white cultures that they are despised and unvalued. It is a reminder of their powerlessness.
It is unacceptable. The young girl has learned that.
Time for you to, Robert.

May 30, 2013 @ 10:28am
by KR

I don't think the intervention - military occupation & land grab are really 'covert'. Covert racism is probably getting white people to write about Indigenous issues instead of Indigenous people. But good article.

May 30, 2013 @ 11:25am
by Time Traveller

Racial jokes are NOT funny and are an out dated source of humour. However, we should use this as a chance to review the position of the indigenous man and woman in Australian society. I immigrated here from NZ in 2004 and my first thought is "Where are the aboriginal people?" In NZ Maori are everywhere in public life, TV, their culture and traditions and language are held up high for all society to see, and used in a meaningful and respectful way, most of the time! I am sure this has been a struggle, and still is but at least the whole society seems to be trying and gains are noticeable as I lived in NZ 1990 and left NZ in 1994 to travel. In Australia if you ask most Australian kids about Aboriginal culture or history and who they are they just have no idea, it's very shameful the way the first people are treated in this land. Things need to change. Eddie should resign and hang his head in shame, he should know better than a 13 yo girl, and she will hopefully not forget her very public lesson about showing respect to other people whatever their origin.

May 30, 2013 @ 11:46am
by Ross Bennett

Wow @KR, now 'white' people even writing about Indigenous issues is racism? Really?

May 30, 2013 @ 12:53pm
by Riley

@Ross Yes!, Lol.

May 30, 2013 @ 2:57pm
by Ron B

Two really strong Aboriginal organisations have just lost the right to deliver employment programs in the Midwest of WA because of the way that DEEWR set up its decision making. After about 20 years of doing it better than anyone else could, they get chopped because DEEWR has difficulties understanding the nature of the game in remote and mostly Aboriginal areas of Australia. That's covert racism.

May 30, 2013 @ 3:45pm
by Steve Smith

I think the best way to handle this is just write racism off as a left wing construct. If some one acusses you of being a racist just reply that you don't believe in it and if they want to its their choice. I live in a free nation and am entilted to whatver opinion I want on human diversity.

May 30, 2013 @ 5:08pm
by Rocksteady

When the "boss" rapes little girls all your arguments float out the window.

I don't like Howard but you have to admit he was just responding to the disgusting acts perpetrated under the guise of culture.

Stop the hidden bush paedophiles and the circumstances will change.

May 30, 2013 @ 5:47pm
by Riley

Lol must be looking for a debate on why Australia isn't racist @Ross Bennett
(@GLOBAL MAIL, pls post)

May 30, 2013 @ 11:43pm
by Jason

Don't call us "white" people that is being racist is it not?

May 31, 2013 @ 6:07am
by Mark Jackson

I never knew that "ape", as an epithet, had its roots in 19th century scientific racism. In fact I only realised that the whole "monkey/ape" thing was a specific racist jibe after Andrew Symonds was subjected to those types of taunts by cricket fans from [I think] somewhere on the sub-continent. I grew up thinking that to call someone a "big ape" was to make fun of their size or lumbering presence or the like. But now knowing that, I'd never use the term towards an Indigenous person. And neither should McGuire have used the term. That was just stupid.

But does it demonstrate racism? Certainly it's a racist remark, but if I call my friend an idiot because he or she makes a mildly amusing mistake, does that mean I am castigating a class of people, in this case those with learning difficulties. If, in a fit of anger, I call a red headed colleague a "Ranga", poke fun at a friend who is overweight, call an Italian a "wog" or tell my male friend that his outfit is a bit "gay", none of that means I think less of a particular class of people. The point is we look for adjectives when we try to be expressive. If we're trying to express our anger, be funny or to express some other emotion, we might use these terms without it actually demonstrating any underlying "ism."

No doubt racism is inherent in Australian society. That seems self evident to me and I would never seek to argue otherwise. That McGuire would even think of making such a remark and would then garner some support from the community seems proof of this.

But goodness me, has our chest thumping puritanism reduced us to turfing 13 year old girls out of football stadiums in the most public and humiliating way because she says something that hurts the feelings of the big tough footballer. Sure, go and tell her that Indigenous people are insulted by such terms. I suspect she had no more knowledge of scientific racism than I did.

May 31, 2013 @ 6:22am
by pennie scott

Immersion and experiential learning are profound ways to truly understand situations and circumstances.
"Sticks and stones can break your bones and names can never hurt you' is untrue.
Name-calling has affected people from childhood, and still does.
The Dalia Lama has the perfect practice....'be kind, to everyone'.
That's a pretty simple way to live.

May 31, 2013 @ 10:26am
by R.Riley

There is so much casual racism in Australia it's not funny, not anymore. But there are bigger issues than name calling in regards to racism, hopefully they get more attention.
Also it's confusing why people with absolutely no compassion for aboriginal people have the strongest opinions on these matters. Why read? Why comment? If you don't even care.

May 31, 2013 @ 6:09pm
by Chris

Most Irish "jokes" are about how stupid or silly Irish people are. Once someone knows you are Irish, they feel compelled to tell you their Irish joke, often using fake Irish accents. Hard to take sometimes I can tell you. Is the "joke" racist? Usually. Did the joke teller mean to be insulting, usually not. In any case no one can insult you unless you take the comment as an insult. If you do, then you deck him! (PS, THAT was a joke!!)

June 1, 2013 @ 8:28am
by Lee Campbell

An excellent article. The forced demise of ATSIC (2005) where a diverse group of people were empowered to be the voice of their region, lost a repository of corporate governance that has never been seen since. The NINGOs and BINGOs is a true description of many urban-centred 'experts' who visited communities to proffer their advice. How can I forget a regional cross-cultural training session in Perth, way back in 2005, where a high-level manager wanted to know how to deal with barking, intimidating dogs when she visited remote communities - that was her only concern in the training, and she was a key decision maker around finance, programs and 'everything else' done by Government. The AFL incident shows we still have people operating at all levels in this mindset - from the 13-year old to the 40+ year old. There are hardly any questions left to pose ... Havnen's proposal for fundamental, structured and innovative change needs serious consideration and action.

June 1, 2013 @ 8:30am
by Betty Birskys

I am very old and weary, and therefore will try to keep this offering short, but write I must of my dismay at the low level of discussion on so many important aspects in Australian life.
The latest is racism: but at least that debate is continuing, and tending deeper, even delving into our history. I dare to hope some good may come of it, in the end.
What really frightens me is the silencing of so many nascent dialogues.
For example: When our gutsy Prime Minister delivered what has been dubbed her 'misogyny speech', women all around the nation knew exactly what she was saying. We have all been subjected to male chauvinism, in one form, to one degree, or another.
For three years Julia Gillard had been the victim of vile sexist abuse, that denigrated not only her person, but the very office of Prime Minister. It degraded our very democracy, so I believe.
But that discussion, so important to gender relations in Australia, was silenced by the cacophony of male voices, and descended in the end into a debate on semantics: misogyny v sexism...
No apology was forthcoming; no improvement promised.
That is why I have now revised the older term: 'male chauvinist', which used to end with the noun 'pig'. And I would recommend that Australian women delve into the history of women in our country. For that I would recommend the book, 'Damned Whores and God's Police', by Anne Summers, who wrote a brilliant article on the PM's 'misogyny speech'...
A by-note: (The title of the book is historical; based on terms used by officers in the new colony for convict women, and free settlers. As a teacher-librarian, I was asked by my principal to remove the book - requested by the History Subject Mistress - from the outside shelves, and store it in my office, available to teachers only. A parent, inspired by a 'morals campaigner' of the time, Rona Joyner, had complained of the book's TITLE be-spoiling the library's shelves.. Neither she, nor the Principal, nor I dare say Joyner, had read the book nor, obviously, knew anything much of Australian history. So is ignorance and prejudice fostered and fed in the poor fellow, my country..

June 1, 2013 @ 9:36am
by Joe blogs

This story is a poorly written, one sided argument, full of obvious assertions and predictable conclusions. Snore. I think the complexity of the intervention and the associated issues require more than one persons opinion dominating the text. Nothing like having your headline pointing out that the public debate is missing the point only to spend and entire article specaculalrly missing it yourself. Well done.

June 1, 2013 @ 11:03am
by Tony Hall

The question should be, are children and women safer now than they were in 2006 ?

June 1, 2013 @ 11:38am
by Sue Goss

From my (limited) but well-meaning attempts to understand the situation in remote indigenous communities, I believe that many, perhaps most communities are doing well in progressing their own people towards work and health and a good way of living whilst maintaining their culture. We rarely hear from these in the media. Why not? They are not 'news'. What we hear about is the few communities who are not doing well, often because they are too near towns that are in a bad state, whatever race the people come from. We should not make blanket statements or try to impose blanket rules where only a few, not the majority of communities need this sort of help. For the rest it is definitely unnecessary and retrograde interference

June 1, 2013 @ 11:38am
by Eric B

Get over it, a fuss over nothing at all, just a kid mouthing off at a footy player. Australia is not racist and people from all over have been accepted here. Eddie is just having a joke, if the football player is so precious and self important he can't laugh along he should learn something of life.

June 1, 2013 @ 12:29pm
by Rotha Jago

Where do we start then? Why not start with a jibe that was not thought to be racist? That is the whole point, we the non blacks, the ones who have never been the victims of racial discrimination, have no idea of the hell endured by so many of our fellow Australians, in their own country. Our ignorance, our total lack of awareness is central truth here.

June 1, 2013 @ 3:54pm
by Michelle Dunne Breen

@Rocksteady, your comment is an example of one way in which covert racism works. Every community, in every part of Australia, has its child abuse, including yours. Yet research shows that for all kinds of societal problems, when it comes to Indigenous communities the media and the politicians portray it as the fault of the community as a whole, not just the individual offenders.What you are asserting is untrue on so many levels - what you have done is soaked up someone else's uninformed opinion and regurgitated it as fact, as have so many other people. When it gets repeated enough times, it becomes perceived as an unassailable truth, and even commonsense. The Little Children Are Sacred report that sparked the Intervention did not assert there were paedophiles operating in the NT (apart from white miners buying sex from local girls - now where was the intervention into the mining industry?). Most of the 'evidence' produced to the inquiry was that of consensual sexual activity between teenagers. (Go on, read it, it's readily downloadable. Also, one of the most repeated pieces of testimony in the media from the report is of a 3 year old girl showing off her vagina to a little boy - seen as 'evidence' of her abuse. My 3-year-old daughter tries to do that all the time. When's the intervention going to come knocking on my white, middle-class urban door?) The subsequent intervention found NO evidence of paedophile rings in the NT (go on, research it, easily done on google) as was asserted in the initial ABC TV reports that sparked the inquiry that led to the Little Children Are Sacred report. What we MUST DO in this country is listen to the Aboriginal people themselves, including Olga Havnen quoted here. My Phd research is looking into the issue of media reporting on the Intervention and the representation of the Indigenous point of view in it - and it gets worse the more I look. There is endemic racism in this country. Aboriginal voices are marginalised, riciculed and silenced - often by exactly the kind of foul, baseless generalisations that you have put forward.

June 1, 2013 @ 4:13pm
by Stan Rosenthal

Interesting how many of the comments continue to be about the "ape" comments when the point is about the legislated racism of the intervention. A telling article about those issues and the fundamental attack on aboriginal autonomy that the intervention represents.

June 1, 2013 @ 5:23pm
by Chris Graham

Great piece Debra :) depressing that more mainstream media don't get it, or put it as eloquently as you have.

June 1, 2013 @ 5:57pm
by Demon Lily

Brilliant article and has been shared around my peers. If Australians do not care about the Intervention then maybe someone else will.

June 1, 2013 @ 6:20pm
by vj

Mark, if you, in a fit of anger, abuse someone because of their race, their hair colour or their race, if you use the term 'gay' to be insulting to someone, then, yes that is a problem, and yes, you do have underlying 'isms'.

The very fact that you feel you have to say that the terms you referred to are 'expressive' means you are expressing something. And what you are expressing is unpleasant for the people involved, and can be very hurtful. I'm sure someone with red hair can deal with being called a 'ranga'. Someone who experienced racism from the moment they set foot in primary school may not be so sanguine about being called a wog. Words have the power to hurt. If you can't see anything wrong with your attitude, perhaps you might want to have a think how you would feel if someone called your child a useless, ugly retard.

June 1, 2013 @ 7:09pm
by Marlene Hodder

Rocksteady, you still continue the myths that brought the NT Intervention. There had been issues for years in the NT in relation to poverty, appalling living conditions, under-resourcing, child neglect etc. Howard and Brough used political opportunism to invade Aboriginal communities. Brough has never apologised for the damage he has done to Aboriginal people with his statement of paedophile rings (never found). The situation for Aboriginal people in the NT is now far worse than it ever was prior to 2007 and is getting worse. Increased racism in the NT is only one of the many impacts of this racist policy.

June 1, 2013 @ 7:12pm
by udi

The "Intervention" remains a gaping, festering, wound in the body of our nation . While the justification for it six years ago, was questionable at best, It must now be seen as nothing but government sponsored racism. I'm surprised by your description of the intervention as covert. I think that the patronising bigotry and disrespect shown by our response to a particular community's needs was as overtly racist as anything we have done. If this particular blight isn't as noticed as it should be, that may have more to do with our uncaring attitude than to it's hidden nature.

June 1, 2013 @ 8:09pm
by Leslie Baird

There is one rule for the 13 year old girl and another one for Eddie McGuire she gets kicked out of the stadium an Eddie get support and backed up by the club. shouldnt he be sacked The Lord see the injustice because the bible say the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

June 1, 2013 @ 8:50pm
by Nicholas Gruen

What a disappointing article.

Self-satisfied, confident that the answers are basically straightforward, ostentatious about to whom its sympathies go, no sense of the difficulty of the task, or the disasters of the past which have been wrought with similar sympathies.

None of this is to defend the intervention or to disagree with the presumption that the answers must ultimately be the product of the communities themselves. But that's been an elusive quest for decades now while people parade around their confidence in ideology - first of the left and now of the right - to solve the tragedy.

June 2, 2013 @ 2:13am
by Hend

Spectator interaction is an endemic part of any sport, a true professional would surely realize that if he or she was a target of unwanted 'disgrace' by followers, wouldn't then the thought be 'I must be proving quite a concern to my opposition. After all don't we as a population look for the Achilles heel when nothing else will suffice. I don't think King Kong ? would have objected to the comments made.

June 2, 2013 @ 8:07am
by D R Frenkel

Totally true. Racism that lies under the skin and behind the facade is insidious and unaccountable. Racism is a mental illness.

June 2, 2013 @ 8:48am
by Helen Neville

Perhaps rather than saying "I'm not racist...but", go the bolder step and say "I am racist" and work back from there. In my view it is a personal journey dependent on family attitudes, your environment and being part of a particular community. Take responsibility to understand your racism - how it has developed and be truly honest with yourself. Then try really hard to imagine yourself as an indigenous person, remembering that anyone could be born black or white. Those with strong religious beliefs will no doubt discredit that statement.
I had an occasion to chat with a young white girl and an indigenous boy in the street one day. Together they had had a baby. I was amazed at the horrible stares they got from the passing crowd, and saw for the first time how indigenous people are subjected to the look on peoples faces. Taunts and racial abuse are horrific to most people, but try imagining how you would feel, if you could see such hate and disgust in the eyes of many respectable white people in your community where you are trying to make a life.

June 2, 2013 @ 11:32am
by Graeme Channells

A "slip of the tongue" is like when you mean to say "Australian bustard" but you actually say "Australian bastard". Eddie's slip was in speaking the way he usually does when he's not on air. This kind of racism is a part of his daily life but he hides it in public. The issue of racist communication will not be solved until he really takes it on board and cleans up his private communication.

June 2, 2013 @ 1:00pm
by Craig Minns

I was appalled by the Goodes story. A 13 year old girl is a child and Goodes is an adult man providing an entertainment that she had chosen to attend, presumably because she enjoys it. She is a supporter of the business that provides Goodes with an income considerably better than the average, whether she barracks for his team or not, so presumably admires the athleticism and skill on display. No doubt she would have been vocal in heckling any player from Goodes's team. Would the media have been interested if she had applied the same epithet to a white player?

Goodes heard the child make a comment which he CHOSE to take offence about and reacted to aggressively. Offence is always taken, never given. Because he chose to claim to be offended, that 13 year old girl was subjected to a sustained public attack, firstly by Goodes himself in his aggressive response, then being physically escorted from the premises, then having front page headlines denouncing her as exemplifying all that is bad about Australian culture for a week.

She was bullied and in an attempt to placate the bullies she wrote a letter of apology, in which she took responsibility for the bullies' behaviour. This is a response not uncommon in victims of sustained abuse, especially when the abuser enjoys a higher social standing than the victim.

In all the coverage I have seen no expression of regret for the distress caused to that little girl or any kind of attempt to weigh up the ethical imperatives, such as whether our society has a greater obligation to protect a high-status black man from a minor insult, or to protect a child from public abuse and bullying.

Not a proud day for Goodes or the media. A lot of soul-searching should be happening, but I suspect the self-justifying rationalisations in this piece are typical.

June 2, 2013 @ 1:49pm
by Umit

Good work,the best
Writing over this matter.

June 2, 2013 @ 6:24pm
by John O'Hare

Thank you Craig Minns for your balanced perspective . Your comment should be published as an article on the main page of this news blog. Yours are the first words I've read in this debate which argue in favour of the scategoped child.
Thank you for your eye opening point of view.

June 3, 2013 @ 4:23am
by Jagger

The epitome of incompetence. Latest contribution from the party who gives us Socialism against our wishes. All grown men are, moving forward, allowed to take a day off when a 13 year old girl is mean to you. Proudly brought to you by our friends, the Aborigines and lets not forget, the refugees. Amen.

June 3, 2013 @ 4:50am
by Steve

Unlike many commenting here and always commenting on indigenous issues, I lived in a community for 8 years.
There are massive child abuse issues, promised child brides, sex is acceptable as soon as menstruation starts, I could go on.
I am not supporting Anglo treatment of Australia's indigenous people, it has been appalling.
But for people to state there is no sexual abuse, malnutrition, violence and alcohol abuse far excess of the percentages of mainstream society is absolute garbage.
I don't need to study a Phd in a capital city to understand the problems, in fact most of these people contribute to the abuse by perpetuating the lie of no problem except those caused by the evil white man

Something had to be done, intervention is not perfect, but it is welcomed in many community's.


June 23, 2013 @ 7:12pm
by d van patten

I fail to reconcile the different measure of input and output inherent in Aboriginal policy. We continue to hear how the communnities must be treated differently from the rest of society with parallel funding, resourcing and support systems but then use mainstream measures (income, wealth health) to point out that whats being done isn't working.
If any other community said the government has to keep funding them because there is no economic activity in their area adn they refuse to move they'd be told to be quiet.

July 17, 2013 @ 2:23pm
Show previous 44 comments
by Mbantua Cod

To the likes of Steve & Rocksteady who make serious allegations against particular sections of the Australian community, I ask that you stop being so vague and give some specifics, such as which community and incidents you refer to & why the authorities weren't notified (possibly because no services were allocated by govt's to them?)?!
Without denying the documented horrific incidents, these claims of systemic sexual abuse & child sex rings (as mentioned by Mal Brough himself) don't have any weight and probably reflect Australian culture generally (mysoginy & alcohol/drug abuse) more than a collective damnation of authentic Indigenous cultural practices (something all of you probably know nothing about).
You sound lazy Steve when you say you spent so long in a community and yet are happy that 'something was done' rather than the most appropriate strategies & programs were adopted. The paternalistic shrug of '2nd best & most efficient' is appropriate or 'something better than nothing' for the bush blacks again huh?! :P

September 13, 2013 @ 5:22pm
by damper

Intervention in the north was triggered by reports of systemic child abuse, over 11,000 children were examined for sexual abuse with levels that put suburbs in sydneys north shores to shame, the government released the stats covertly as they know/shows their inability to govern with honesty and integrity, whats really sad are the sick, evil twisted weasels who CONtinues the lies, I encourage everyone to find the stats for the NT intervention (where ever they are? because all the honest people know we would never hear the of murdoch and his lackeys if any of it was true

September 26, 2013 @ 12:11am
by Marlene Hodder

No the Intervention was triggered by the need for John Howard to have a political wedge. Child abuse and neglect comes from poverty, and over 60,000 children are abused every year around Australia. Paedophile rings did not exist in the NT. Aboriginal men are not demons, neither are their families. Look on the FAHCSIA website for stats (might be gone now), also Close the Gap info and the AIHW. Macklin distorted the truth and the rest of the country didn't want to know about the real situation. Power to the people, they have the answers to dealing with issues affecting them, not this paternalistic control of Aboriginal people's lives.

October 18, 2013 @ 3:08pm
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