Saturday salon 6/6

1. Vale Joan Kirner, 1938-2015

    She will be remembered for her tireless work promoting women’s rights, conservation, and education, and her love of Essendon Football Club.

    In 2012, Ms Kirner was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for her work in advancing equality for women, and for her political achievements in the 1980s and 1990s.

    Accepting the award she said she was very proud to have been the first female premier of Victoria.

    She listed her greatest achievements as creating the land restoration network, Landcare, helping people with special needs and paving the way for women to enter Parliament.

I understand she inspired Emily’s List Australia and coordinated it for the first seven years.

She will be fondly remembered as a person with integrity, zeal and humour.

Courtesy of Hoyden, a portrait of Joan Kirner as Premier of Victoria from the National Gallery of Victoria:

Kirner_joan-kirner-premier_portrait-ngv

2. GDP grows but we are not cheering

Quarterly GDP came in at a better than expected 0.9 per cent, making it 2.3 per cent for the year. However, household incomes are stagnant. According to the SMH:

    “We’re working harder, producing more but we’re earning less,” Macquarie Group chief economist James McIntyre said.

    Real gross domestic income, which adjusts for the terms of trade, rose 0.2 per cent quarter-on-quarter and was 0.2 per cent lower over the year.

    Australian workers earned an average of 0.5 per cent less over the three months.

Commodity prices have tanked giving us a record trade deficit:

    Australia has posted its worst monthly trade deficit on record, with imports exceeding exports by nearly $3.9 billion.

    The data shocked economists, who had been expecting a poor result but nowhere near as bad as the actual figure.

Nevertheless we appear to be holding our nerve, with consumer confidence steady.

3. Hotline credited with reducing Aboriginal deaths in custody loses Government funding

    A 24-hour phone line credited with reducing the number of Aboriginal deaths in custody could be cut off at the end of the month.

    The line lets Aboriginal people in police hands get in touch with a lawyer.

    It was set up as a result of the royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody a quarter of a century ago.

    The service has been running for 15 years in New South Wales and the ACT and since then there have been no aboriginal deaths in police custody in those jurisdictions.

    Funding expires at the end of June but so far the Federal Government has refused to renew it. (Emphasis added)

15,000 phone calls have been made in a year, that’s 300 per week. The cost? A mere $500,000, or I make that $33 per phone call.

This government is pathetic!

4. Sepp is still there

In case you missed it, FIFA chief Sepp Blatter is still at his desk, working on a “comprehensive programme of reform” for world football’s governing body, until his successor shows up.

Meanwhile SBS has announced that it will broadcast the entire Women’s World Cup, about to kick off in Canada.

Go the Matildas!

5. Bond bows out

You couldn’t help feeling sorry for Bondy as he was interrogated in court. The man was obviously in an advanced state of dementia. Couldn’t remember a thing!

Yet after he got out of jail he borrowed a few million (so he says) and by 2008 was back on the BRW rich list, after being the second biggest bankrupt of all time.

He was a liar, a cheat, a corporate crook, a national hero, Australian of the Year and he started a university that bears his name.

And arguably a wheeler and dealer rather than an entrepreneur.

Here’s 10 things you need to know about Alan Bond.

Here’s what Paul Barry says about him.

We need to remember, though, that he has a family, and they have just lost him, aged 77.

Introduction to Saturday salon

Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.

voltaire_230

An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

    The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

73 thoughts on “Saturday salon 6/6”

  1. If we look at trends in Construction, Manufacturing and Services with particular attention to consistent expansion in wages and input prices combined with contracting selling prices I expect accelerating increase in bankruptcies across the boards.

    It’s pretty obvious what that will do to employment numbers and living standards.

    With ” activity ” either flatlining or decreasing in all three I can’t see how GDP is increasing.

    ( Iv’e always considered GDP as a BS figure due to the vast amount of activity they don’t count as part of it )

  2. (1) Joan Kirner introduced pokies to Victoria, thus letting the genie out of the bottle and contributing directly to poverty, suicide, domestic violence, child abuse and imprisonment on a scale that has impacted tens of thousands of Victorians. With power comes great responsibility.

    (2) GDP growth is limp and unemployment is too high.

    (3) Aboriginal deaths in custody were never that high to begin with on a prisoner per capita basis. It is disgusting and racist to make honest taxpayers fork out $33 each time an Aboriginal in custody wants to call a lawyer. Thanks for ending this rort, Mr Abbott.

    (4) Sepp Blatter is a disgrace and I’m not that interested in watching other people play sport, so for me putting the Matildas on SBS is annoying. I also doubt they’ll get much of an audience.

    (5) Given the amount of money scammed by Bond, he should have spent 50 years plus behind bars. Even he if was truly broke and had some distant Aboriginal input to his family tree, he has no business extorting me for phone call.

  3. (1) Joan Kirner introduced pokies to Victoria, thus letting the genie out of the bottle and contributing directly to poverty, suicide, domestic violence, child abuse and imprisonment on a scale that has impacted tens of thousands

    Is there a state in Australia that the ALP hasn’t introduced these hideous things ?

  4. Guilty as charged as far as I can see, but there is no rush from the other side to get rid of the damned things!

  5. The ALP even went to the extraordinary length to Slipper poor old Wilke up the @$$…. because……. revenue!

  6. @Karen:

    Aboriginal deaths in custody were never that high to begin with …

    Being the hard headed scientist you of course have some evidence for this statement? (I’m sorry, I can’t parse “on a prisoner per capita basis”. To me it’s a meaningless phrase.)

  7. jumpy, the reason why Wilke didn’t get his legislation up is that the Indies, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, wouldn’t vote for it. Apparently getting rid of pokies would have been political suicide for them.

    Actually Wilke shafted Gillard after giving her dinner and over dinner promising to accept the watered down version. Next morning he accused her of breaking a promise, having promised her personally the night before that he wouldn’t.

  8. Re the Aboriginal phone call facility, the notion that half a million in the context of the Federal Government is expensive is risible.

    The Government should be doing a formal evaluation of an apparently successful policy with a view to extending it to the rest of the country.

  9. Actually Wilke shafted Gillard after giving her dinner and over dinner promising to accept the watered down version. Next morning he accused her of breaking a promise, having promised her personally the night before that he wouldn’t.

    Really, according to who ?

  10. Politics in Australia is chock-a-block full of unhanged thieves, vote-sellers, renegades and scoundrels. Just imagine how bad things would have been without the shining example of Joan Kirner?

    Of course, the officials of the Ministry Of Propaganda poked fun at her dresses (what the blue blazes was wrong with her dresses, anyway?) ; the boofheads were too thick to find any substantive arguments against her.

    Let’s hope she has, since her passing, inspired even more young women to follow her example.

  11. Brian:

    “Re the Aboriginal phone call facility, the notion that half a million in the context of the Federal Government is expensive is risible.”

    It is the principle of the matter that counts. Your linking of this phone facility with deaths in custody based on a spurious correlation is risible tabloid nonsense.

    Zoot:

    Aboriginal people do not die at a higher rate than non-Aboriginal people in custody, according to the Royal Commission that investigated this issue in the late 1980s. Surely this is common knowledge among well read and reasonably intelligent folk.

    BTW, why are you asking me to provide evidence when you could have googled the answer yourself in less than one minute? Do you always treat women like servants?

    Anyway, here is the report: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/other/IndigLRes/rciadic/national/vol1/54.html

  12. Do you always treat women like servants?

    Always. That’s why I keep asking Jumpy to provide evidence for her assertions.

    /sarc

  13. For those who have followed the thread I’d urge them to go back to the Radio National piece I linked to.

    Whenever an Indigenous person is taken into custody, NSW Police are required by law to connect them over the phone with a lawyer from the Aboriginal Legal Service.

    It’s a legal procedural requirement. There is nothing racist about governments making provisions to meet special needs.

    Karen the link you provided to zoot doesn’t say what you said it does. To me it’s suggesting that a special need exists.

    The RN piece is current affairs journalism, I think of good quality. It certainly isn’t tabloid.

  14. Brian,

    are you denying that the Royal Commission found that Aboriginal prisoners were no more likely to die in prison than other ethnicities?

  15. Karen, frankly I don’t know, but the link you provided doesn’t say that. The bottom line from your link is:

    the finding that the life styles of the Aboriginal people who died in custody, along with the procedures adopted by custodians and others, are the central determinants of their deaths (rather than foul play on the part of custodial officials) highlights the importance of the Royal Commission’ s broad enquiry into the position of Aboriginal people in Australia today and the ways that Aboriginal people are handled by the police and criminal justice systems.

    Which seems to indicate the existence of a special need.

  16. Karen: You are right. I remember that the stats said the suicide rate was about the same. The real problem is that a far higher % of Aborigines are being locked up in jail. Jail makes more people want to commit suicide.

  17. OK, I’ve found it. It’s here.

    1.3.1 The work of the Commission has established that Aboriginal people in custody do not die at a greater rate than non-Aboriginal people in custody.

    1.3.2 However, what is overwhelmingly different is the rate at which Aboriginal people come into custody, compared with the rate of the general community. The degree of over-representation in police custody, as measured by the Commission’s study of police cell custody in August 1988, is twenty-nine times. In Chapters 5 to 9 those matters and their implications are discussed in detail. The ninety-nine who died in custody illustrate that over-representation and in a sense are the victims of it.

    The report goes on to say:

    Aboriginal people die in custody at a rate relative to their proportion of the whole population which is totally unacceptable and which would not be tolerated if it occurred in the non-Aboriginal community.

    From the RN report we hear that the Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion

    wants to extend the program nationally, starting with Western Australia, where there have been two deaths in custody in the last 12 months.

    Despite the Minister’s support, there’s still no word on funding for NSW.

    It seems to me that we are partially putting sticking plaster on a gaping wound. If we want to get back to principles, the Custody Notification Service as its called should be extended to everyone and the reasons why Aborigines are differentially taken into custody should be addressed in the community.

    Any death in custody is one too many.

  18. It is standard procedure, when ask by police ” are you AorTI ” , to claim yes.
    Police can’t refute that claim whether your Indian, African or white as the driven snow.

    Why would a criminal not lie if racist preferential treatment is on offer, there is no penalty ?

    This also throws the stats out quite a bit.

    ( If you doubt these ” assertions ” go ask your nearest, multi-arrested weed dealer )

  19. Brian,

    The proximate reason why “Aborigines are differentially taken into custody … ” is that they commit more crime than other ethnic groups. The cause of that is of course complex and subject to much debate.

  20. Brian: I have a strong preference for laws, quotas etc. that are expressed in ways that don’t specify things like race, gender etc. For example, Labors women candidates would have been better expressed as a gender quota (with provisions for transgender people). In the short term at least, a gender quota would have had exactly the same effect as a women’s quota, an increase in women candidates.
    In the case of prisoner suicide, Aborigines aren’t the only subculture that is over represented in prisons. Sure, it often makes sense to understand and take account of subculture culture when developing tactics to deal with a problem. But, even if Aboriginal prisoners had been more inclined to commit suicide what was needed was something called a suicide reduction program , not an Aboriginal suicide reduction program.
    We can’t complain about others wanting to discriminate on the basis of race, gender etc. while supporting other programs that do.

  21. PB

    Know a lot of crims, do you, Jumpy?

    Of course, I can’t imagine anyone that participates in society that would not.
    Particularly if the majority of that participation are among the young or low socioeconomic.

    You don’t ?

  22. Spot on John. The identity politics nonsense re Aboriginals is toxic. We should help those individuals in need irrespective of whether they belong to this or that identity politics flavour of the month group.

  23. We should help those individuals in need irrespective of whether they belong to this or that identity politics flavour of the month group.

    And regardless of their gender.

  24. Can I remind people:

    The degree of over-representation in police custody, as measured by the Commission’s study of police cell custody in August 1988, is twenty-nine times.

    That is, Aborigines in the community are 29 times more likely to die in police custody.

    Aboriginal people die in custody at a rate relative to their proportion of the whole population which is totally unacceptable and which would not be tolerated if it occurred in the non-Aboriginal community.

    In the context of limited resources, as a matter of priority, providing a service targeted at any group with special vulnerablilities, whether ethnic or not, does not offend my ethical sensibilities. Withdrawing a service which apparently saves lives does.

  25. Brian:

    You need to learn the difference between correlation and causation. It is absolutely barking to think that calling a lawyer saves lives, but I’ll bear it in mind if I have a heart attack.

  26. jumpy,
    Not anymore. Too old.
    And the crims I knew were all white and none of them would ever have claimed to be of Aboriginal/Islander descent. Most of them were far too racist.

  27. Karen, I don’t need to be lectured on the difference between causation ans correlation. Up thread I said:

    The Government should be doing a formal evaluation of an apparently successful policy with a view to extending it to the rest of the country.

    There are plausible explanations as to how it works in the original link. It is barking to assert that there is no causation without explanation and merely by assertion. You’ve brought forward no alternative explanations.

    I’m asking for an evaluation of the scheme with a view to expending it, to the whole community eventually if it scrubs up, not cancelling it on ideological grounds against the apparent evidence.

    [links corrected to link]

  28. False, Brian. I’ve re-read the original link (not links, btw) and there is no plausible mechanism mentioned in the article.

    Since Aboriginals were no more likely to die in custody than other groups in the first place, this is a solution that doesn’t work aimed at solving a problem that doesn’t exist.

    The ABC link you provide is also a completely biased piece of advocacy journalism and you’ve rather thoughtlessly swallowed the bait.

  29. Karen @7.34

    The reality here is more likely aboriginals disproportionately infringe the arbitrary rules of a different culture. That is vastly different to “commit more crime”. Crime requires intent (motive). People who are brought up in a different culture with a wildly different perspective on property and use of time are certain to conflict in a variety of ways. In order to achieve a balanced evaluation on aboriginal deaths in custody you would need an equally weighty report on the subject written by the victims.

  30. Aboriginal people in the Australian community die in custody at 29 times the rate of others. Yet you say a problem doesn’t exist.

    What we are lacking is before and after figures in NSW and the ACT. One sensible thing to do would be to extend the service the WA, Qld and/or the NT and see what happens before and after. As a once government administrator who worked in the real world, that’s what I’d suggest. Formal evaluations in this kind of area should be done, but they are difficult and take time.

  31. I’ve re-read the original link (not links, btw) and there is no plausible mechanism mentioned in the article.

    If you can’t see it, I can’t help.

  32. John @ 11.10

    I disagree with you profoundly. Aboriginal culture is fundamentally different to every other “culture” in this country. There’s is one of common ownership amoung people and with the land, this land very specifically. All other “cultures” in this country are religious cultures and are recent imports. If what you are proposing is a genocide of aboriginals then yes you can demand that they bend to the demands of their overlords or perish, otherwise aboriginal inter relationships are different and special.

  33. Brian:

    If you can’t see it, I can’t help.

    Rather than being snooty, how about quoting the text that contains the “plausible mechanism”.

    Aboriginal people in the Australian community die in custody at 29 times the rate of others.

    As I’ve already explained, this statement is truthless. It is intellectually dishonest to simply keep repeating the same false claim.

  34. Aboriginal women 80 times more likely to be hospitalised for assault

    Apparently the men here are more concerned that the male perpetrators of these crimes don’t spend a extra night in jail than the consequences of putting these thugs back in the home.

  35. Karen you are getting into another area now where Aboriginal men taken into custody are to be presumed to be guilty, according to your take on things.

    The equation about deaths in custody is very simple. Aboriginal people taken into custody are no more likely to die than others. Nevertheless they are 29 times more likely to be there.

    Therefore Aboriginal people in the community are 29 times likely to end up dead in custody.

    Rather that criticise the RN piece as advocacy journalism, it seeks to let aboriginal voices tell their own story. It gives a feeling of what the service means to them.

    Dallas Close, who’s now 19, was just 13 years old when he first used the service.

    DALLAS CLOSE: Talked to them, they told me not to cooperate, not to go to interviews or do nothing, just to be quiet.

    So I did and it helped me out heaps.

    And so on.

    Rather than being snooty, I’m getting a bit tired of having to re-state the obvious. I think other readers now have the opportunity of making up their own minds, so my basic purpose here has been achieved, I think.

  36. Karen you are getting into another area now where Aboriginal men taken into custody are to be presumed to be guilty, according to your take on things.

    I didn’t say that. But yes, I think I’ve now said all that needs saying.

  37. The reality here is more likely aboriginals disproportionately infringe the arbitrary rules of a different culture. That is vastly different to “commit more crime”.

    Go check the murder, child abuse, domestic violence stats and ask yourself if the victims of so called ” infringe the arbitrary rules of a different culture. ” consider it a crime.
    Then ask yourself what race is dominant among the victims.
    Then ponder the proportion of perpetrator to victim suicide.

    Next thing I’ll hear is ” suicide is an important part of Aboriginal culture and we should respect that ” rot.

  38. Domestic violence is another issue, and how it intersects with the deaths in custody issue, or even the increased incidence of Aboriginal people being taken into custody, would require investigation and knowledge of a very special kind. Essentially, using the issue here is a red herring and what you said about “the men here”, Karen, is offensive.

    I wonder if this helps.

    The deaths in custody investigated by the Commission, according to Wikipedia, took place between 1980 and 1989. The Commission’s report was brought down in 1991 and the document you referred to was last updated in 1998. All that was done and dusted before the phone service was established.

  39. Brian:

    Domestic violence is another issue, and how it intersects with the deaths in custody issue, or even the increased incidence of Aboriginal people being taken into custody, would require investigation and knowledge of a very special kind.

    You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

    You just go on being offended by Johnny not getting his silver deluxe midnight lawyer phone call and I’ll just go on being offended by Johnny’s wife having a black eye, a fractured skull two broken arms and a physically mentally and sexually abused child.

  40. Brian: The fact that the rate of suicides is about the same for Aboriginal and non-aboriginal prisoners suggests to me that the key contributing factors for prisoner suicides are likely to be the same. For example, an obvious key strategy for reducing suicides is removing the means. It is a bit hard to hang yourself if there is nothing to attach whatever you are using to try and hang your self to.
    The incarceration rate is a more complex thing. For example, the discrepancy between Aborigines and others would be lower if we only compared people of similar socioeconomic and education levels. Then there is culture.
    On Groote Eylandt the 1500 aborigines that lived there accounted for about 1/3 of the NT prison population despite the Groote Eylandt communities maintaining most of their culture and systematically working through their problems. So what was going on?
    Firstly, the culture was very different to ours so there was a high level of mutual incomprehension. At time the incomprehension of some of the police was a cause of crimes or prevented the police using strategies that may have reduced the number of incarcerations.
    Cultural differences also affected Aboriginal perceptions of what was good and bad. Meeting obligations was seen as good even if performing the obligation for something like payback involved doing something we would consider a crime.
    Groote Eylandt culture was also very violent. To make matters worse fights between men would usually be fought with weapons and often resulted in deaths. I had one bloke who worked for me who had killed a Wurramurra and later died by payback.
    Increased availability of booze didn’t help. Booze increased the risk of violent arguments and the beating up or murder of women. It also increased the death rate during fights because the traditional defence in spear fights was dodging – harder to judge the dodge when drunk.
    Interestingly, there were no Groote Eylandter deaths in custody during the 8 years we were there despite the very high incarceration rate. Some people said that going to jail was a right of passage for the young men rather than a cause for shame.
    The highly dysfunctional, sodden fringe dweller camp at Newman was different. The incarceration rate was high but i would have said that the problem was more about not paying fines for minor offences and being out in public when drunk instead of being hidden away in their accommodation.

  41. John D thanks for the field notes. Reality is always complex.

    Karen, just two comments.

    In your story you assume I don’t care about Johnny’s wife. I do.

    Second, no good purpose is served by treating Johnny like rubbish. With services like the phone calls everyone gains in the long run.

  42. Good on you Jumpy what a thinker, the Israeli defence. Dominate usurper brutally traumatises minority, using sebsequent trauma consequences as a basis for ongoing denegration and property theft. “We had to do it because they are all bad, it was for their own good”.

    It is the wife beater syndrome, at a cultural and racial level.

  43. Good on you Jumpy what a thinker

    Apparently not, it would appear.
    First, I don’t know what the Jews have to do with it or your distain for them.
    Second, I’m unaware of the ” Wife Beater Syndrome “, who came up with that ?
    Third, Do you hate yourself for what you are doing to Aboriginals ?

  44. we should not treat Johnny like rubbish but we need not treat him like his shit doesn’t stink either. He should have to wait until business hours to make a phone call to a lawyer just like everyone else.

  45. Karen, the software put your comment in moderation. If you want to express yourself like that I’m not going to stop you, but I’ve done responding.

  46. He should have to wait until business hours to make a phone call to a lawyer just like everyone else.

    I too am for equality.
    We could let everybody have immediate access to a lawyer just like the US and have zero suicides in custody ….. oh wait……..

  47. well thankfully Mr Rabbit has done away with this misguided program so just for once sanity and reason have won out over the politics of the black armband. Hopefully we will eventually amend the constitution to make race selective laws and policy unconstitutional.

    As to Johnny, I have always thought that jail should be a humane place of rehabilitation and redemption. This should be the case irrespective of the gravity of the crime.

  48. Karen: Being able to ring up a lawyer when you are arrested is an important right that should not depend on ability to pay or membership of a special group. A lawyer talking sense to the police and the arrested person can often save a lot of time wasting later on, miscarriages of justice or an attempt to commit suicide.
    I have seen a lot of industrial disputes avoided because the worker is supported by a competent shop steward who talks the boss out of doing something stupid.
    The basic assumption in this country is supposed to be that someone is innocent until found guilty. It is also desirable not to assume someone is a wife beater on the basis of skin colour.

  49. Being able to ring up a lawyer when you are arrested is an important right that should not depend on ability to pay or membership of a special group.

    Amen to that. The state has extraordinary powers in relation to the individual as expressed in policing. The deprivation of liberty is not a trivial matter. Ready access to a lawyer could help even up the scales a bit at the outset.

  50. A report released today by Amnesty International shows that Aboriginal children in WA are 53 times more likely to be jailed than their non-Indigenous peers.

    Chief Justice Wayne Martin:

    The justice system applies rules that work very well for conventional or mainstream Australians. They don’t work terribly well for people who are marginalised and disadvantaged.

    At almost every step in the system there are structural disadvantages for Aboriginal people which mean that they tend to fare the worst in the system than non-Aboriginal people.

    Amnesty’s Claire Mallinson:

    The justice system seems to be stacked against Indigenous children. There’s a real lack of appropriate bail options which means many children are being locked up but there’s also a lack of appropriate accessible legal services.

    The report has made 23 practical recommendations.

  51. Looks like it, thanks, jumpy.

    Comments about legal support are on p23:

    it recommended that an additional $200 million be invested across the legal sector to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous legal aid providers to address unmet need

  52. The real issue that needs to be dealt with is the apalling home environments that see so many indigenous youth turn to anti-social and self destructive behaviour, which takes on various forms other than criminality, including a youth suicide rate six times the national average.

    According to the Creative Spirits website, indigenous communities in the Kimberley in WA have the world’s highest suicide rate at about 70 per 100,000. Thankfully the WA Government plans to defund those communities, which means they will be shut down because they have absolutely no economy other than welfare dependency. Yet seemingly oblivious to this, the black armband bunnies are crying foul.

    The Amnesty International report contains all the predictable platitudes and recommends measures that amount to aspirin when major corrective surgery is urgently needed. The government should consign it to the round file.

    The sum of human misery that accounts for so much of the indigenous experience will only be remedied through major corrective surgery. This will involve shock and awe, it will be very painful and it most certainly will not be politically correct. In fact, no remedy is possible until the black armband mob are swept out the door with a stiff broom.

    Anyway, that is my take on things, which is in part informed by conversations with the two social workers I have in my family who have seen the blood spattered trauma up close and personal.

  53. Karen: One of the constants in Aboriginal affairs is the waves of people who come along, declare the last lot “failed” because they didn’t do what this amazing new vision that the new crew is going to feed to the eagerly waiting natives and then go on to fail in their own sweet way.
    Part of the problem is that what is going on is all about white man’s dreaming. The newcomers see the Aborigines as a blank page on which to paint their dreaming. Christians who insisted that Aborigines stated to wear clothes even though their religion says that wearing clothes was the sign of original sin. Socialists who don’t understand the real nature of Aboriginal sharing and see Aborigines as budding socialists who will do wonders with imposed collective land ownership even though traditional land ownership wasn’t the same as what was happening in Kibbutz.
    The other thing a whole raft of outsiders want to do is convince Aborigines that the Aborigines don’t have the power to solve their problems.
    Perhaps we need a bit more of “you can do it.” But it isn’t going to work unless Aborigines with their very foreign culture actually want to do something.

  54. Thankfully the WA Government plans to defund those communities, which means they will be shut down because they have absolutely no economy other than welfare dependency.

    Hate to break it to you Karen, but that will solve nothing.
    It just moves the “welfare dependency” problem to the fringes of towns which are ill equipped to deal with it.
    And, according to Fred Chaney (yeah, I know, arguing from authority – deal with it), experience shows the solution will be more expensive than the current problem.
    (He was speaking on Late Night Live if you want to Google it).

  55. Zoot:

    And, according to Fred Chaney … experience shows the solution will be more expensive than the current problem.

    I have long thought that the type of programs needed to fix this disaster will cost many tens of billions of dollars. I have no problem with this.

    Under current arrangements, most of the problem will indeed be moved to the edges of towns. I do not support those arrangements but even so I think hell on the edge of town is still probably better than hell five hundred miles from law enforcement (other than one or two overstretched cops with jurisdictions the size of a small country in Europe) and social services.

    John Davidson:

    … unless Aborigines with their very foreign culture actually want to do something.

    The old ways are breaking down rapidly everywhere. Other than in a few isolated pockets, it is no longer true that Aboriginals are from Mars, everyone else is from Venus.

  56. I’ll just have to go on being certain about one thing – I don’t know the answers.

    Mal Brough thought he did.

  57. I think you will find the answers, not in looking at the worst, but looking at the best, and then making more of it. Stop researching how it went wrong and looking at where it went right and analyse why it worked.

    One of my pet peeves is the amount of money spent building inappropriate aboriginal housing, followed by the endless wingeing about why we should be “that generous” when these useless buildings are not valued as we (think we) might value them. Has anyone ever actually asked aboriginal people how they would like to live? What sort of buildings suit their culture? How they would arrange them? That would on the evidence be a big fat no. Indigenous affairs are littered with this sort of wasteful stupidity.

    Living in Papua we had a little boat that the natives saw as never being used so periodically would take. We never thought of it as “stolen”, it was just relocated. My dad painted it pink so it was easier to spit tied up behind a lakatoi in one of the villages. Our European culture has the possesive need to blame and punish. That is the principle area of conflict, and that is particularly offensive considering the amount of theft that has been applied to the indigenous peoples of this country. We are incredibly forgiving about our own murderous and larcenic undertakings, we think nothing of taking people’s land (they’re savages it does not matter) but if they (children) take a snikers bar from the shop without paying they have to go to jail.

    Time has moved on. We need to turn bad into good. Look for it. There is plenty out there.

  58. BilB I like the idea of building on the best practice. From time to time we here about success stories of Aboriginal communities, but generally speaking that’s not the way the media works.

  59. Karen; We lived in a town for 10 years with a dramatically dysfunctional fringe community. Not a pretty sight. And not a place I would want to see people forced to move to “for their own good”.
    Also lived in a place for 8 yrs where there was a more functional community that was achieving things because the Aborigines had control of their town. Worked much much better than the fringe town.
    Any hard evidence to support:

    The old ways are breaking down rapidly everywhere. Other than in a few isolated pockets, it is no longer true that Aboriginals are from Mars, everyone else is from Venus.

    ?

    .

  60. John Davidson:

    Also lived in a place for 8 yrs where there was a more functional community that was achieving things because the Aborigines had control of their town.

    Unfortunately “Aboriginal control” isn’t always the answer. Most remote communities are Aboriginal controlled but the controllers can be malign patriarchs who terrorise and pacify the powerless, especially the women and children. The ABC or SBS ran a story about such a community in the Kimberley a few weeks back. The levels of sexual abuse, suicide, violence, alcoholism, FASD and low life expectancies in remote self-administered communities is proof that self-governing isn’t a magic bullet.

  61. ( My math is, as has been pointed out, a little weak so help me out if I make an error )

    According to the ABS %2 of Non-indigenous Australians live in remote Australia. I make that around 400,000.

    There are about 600,000 Indigenous people with 1/4 living in remote Australia, so that’s 150,000.

    So why the constant Indigenous focus when discussing remote communities when they are predominately not ?

  62. That is simple, Jumpy. That small number of indigenous people live on a huge amount of land, their land. Land which other people would like to command for profit one way or another, so denigrating these people intensively in every possible way, despite their small number gives license for the continued and relentless confiscation of their property in inventive ways such as the 99 year land lease, turning land owners into land renters.

    http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/99year-lease-plan-for-aboriginal-land/2005/10/05/1128191786068.html

    We continue to judge aboriginal people by our triple fronted brick veneer (now 3 car garaged McMansion) 2 car and 2 incomed 9 to 5 living model in the most ignorant and arrogant way.

  63. Karen: You ar right. Control is not a magic answer and the concept can be abused. However, living in a community run by outsiders who have a very different world view that they want to impose is not my idea of the good life.

  64. John

    However, living in a community run by outsiders who have a very different world view that they want to impose is not my idea of the good life.

    Pretty much the reason I want Fed Government power dramatically reduced.
    For all of us.

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