Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Sinking Howard

Yesterday I did not include any analysis of the current invasion of the Northern Territory because I was still too angry. In April this year I attended the Year 12 Graduation for 11 Maningrida Community Education Centre students who completed their Northern Territory Certificate of Education at their Arnhem Land school. It was the third year students have graduated and more than 500 members of the community attended. In addition three aboriginal staff members were awarded Certificate III in Indigenous Education by Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education. It was a good news story that the Federal government was either unaware of or chose to ignore.

Like all Australian communities Maningrida has the kind of problems we hear about everyday yet it has been ignored by Howard and Brough and their Federal colleagues. They did not even comment on, much less visit, the community after Australia’s most severe cyclone, Cyclone Monica, hit Maningrida in April last year. Both ministers Brough and Costello were in the NT in the following week and are condemned for their silence and lack of support.

As Ben Chubby reported five weeks afterwards in the Sydney Morning Herald (Remains of the day, June 3, 2006, )

"The Herald repeatedly contacted the office of the federal Indigenous Affairs Minister, Mal Brough, to discuss help for the area and ask if he intended to visit Maningrida, but Brough had made no comment by last night. A spokesman said the minister regularly visited indigenous communities."

We were still waiting for the visit in December. The latest truth overboard was when Howard compared the current situation in Australia with Hurricane Katrina that required sending in the army. This man and his hypocritical, arrogant government must go now.

I have not felt so strongly about the direction of Australian politics since the Whitlam years. To borrow another political cliché, it is a time to speak, for us all.

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