Friday, August 17, 2007

Indigenous Betrayal

We spent four years (2003-6) teaching at Maningrida Community Education Centre in Arnhem Land. We were lucky enough to be part of the extension of mainstream education to year 12 at the school. It was an exciting and challenging time.

Twenty-three students completed their Northern Territory Certificates of Education during the past three years in their community. The eleven students who finished last year did so in the context of Monica, the extreme Category 5 cyclone that battered the town and tore the roof off three of the Senior School classrooms. Maningrida recovered from the disaster without even words of support from the Federal government.

Although he was in the NT the following week, Mal Brough did not visit or make any public statement at the time. Nor did Peter Costello who took time to burn Indonesian fishing boats in Darwin. As Ben Cubby reported 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.

Last year the community also uncovered and dealt with a case of child sexual abuse in a responsible and effective way.

That’s the point from which I view today’s passing of the Federal indigenous laws.

Pat Anderson, co-author of the ‘Little Children are Sacred’ report spoke of betrayal today:
What the Prime Minister (John Howard) and federal Indigenous Affairs Minister (Mal) Brough have done is just a further form of abuse," Ms Anderson told a gathering of peak physicians convened in Sydney to address Aboriginal health…What we have is a prime minister and his ministers who don't have a heart…Their approach isn't going to nurture any kind of development ... nothing.

We can only hope that Labor wins the election and stands up on this issue.

According to the same story in The Age, 850 children have had medicals so far and no cases of sexual abuse have been reported. Meanwhile the government are implementing most of their indigenous policies in the name of the emergency, whether they are relevant or not, without the usual scrutiny they might have received.

Labor View is intended as a place for labor supporters to share ideas and opinions. When you visit please leave a COMMENT below.

Sphere: Related Content


Anonymous said...

Correct me if I am mistake, but don't the labour party support these laws?

Anonymous said...

Apologies for the delayed reply. If you are still looking for an answer on this one - when the legislation is proclaimed Katherine will be able to invite anyone to come to her house without a permit, just like any other place in Australia.

So, when the legislation is proclaimed Katherine’s husband will not require a permit to live with her in her house in Kintore, at her invitation.

When the main permit system changes become law (on a date to be proclaimed but no later than 18 February 2008) there will be public access to common areas of community land and related access roads / airstrips / barge landings. It is important to emphasise that the changes are not yet law.

Community land is generally communities of over 100 people and includes Kintore.

The public will be able to enter or remain on premises on community land with the permission of the occupier. This will apply, for example, when people have been invited into residences by the occupiers, or when there is indication that shops or art centres are open for sales.

Joe Lane said...

Kevin, the 2006 Census recorded a decline in the Indigenous population of the Broome region. But some 'experts' are using 'estimated' population figures whic hthey claim show a healthy growth in the Indigenous population. From your observations, whic his more accurate, please ? I would be extremely grateful for your informed advice here.


Back to Top