Rocket's Gorgeous in the City

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Aboriginal affairs in the news

I was surprised yesterday to hear in the news that a little Aboriginal community had experienced riots and vecome so out of control they had decided to impose a curfew and that there was a proposal to cut welfare payments to Aboriginal parents who don't send their children to school.

Why was I surprised?

Because these are not Aboriginal Affairs issues! It is great that they have a cultural liason to the white Anglo majority who live in the big city and make decisions that affect them, but this is a scandal that should be addressed by the ministers in charge of police, education and social security!

The fact is that if you live in the outback, you are going to be ignored by the city-dwellers who make the laws. Aboriginal villages are particularly sad, because they try so hard to make life better, but they get marginalised and treated with contempt, passed off to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs to make a sympathetic comment. There was a RIOT in their town, and they get a sympathetic comment rather than more police!

As for the matter of children not attending school, well that's a disgrace. All parents should be compelled to send their children to school, and prison sentences are a strong possibility for parents who are found to have failed to try. Education in the country is bad, in the outback it's worse, and selective statistics singling out the most remote Aboriginal villages for low attendance (but ignoring the fact that outback Anglos in the same miserable conditions are also likely to make the same decisions) smacks of protectionism, imposing strict conditions on the poor black people who can't even civilize themselves and letting the nice sensible white people become as feral as they like.

There is no doubt that we have a number of cultures with different solutions to their problem. The answer is not singling out groups for special laws to be passed down from the Commonwealth, it's a carefully planned Federalism in which the governing body at each level makes decisions appropriate to their role. The Commonwealth is supposed to create the conditions by which people are given social security payments based on their needs and goodwill. This blogger calls for more careful consideration of what those rules will be (for everyone)!


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