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Feigned Love

Tony Abbott has declared fixing Australia’s greatest “national failure”, dire Indigenous disadvantage, will be one of his personal priorities if he wins office.

Personally, I think it’s all talk. It’s just a display of feigned love.

This is just talk from the man who, when Indigenous people traveled for three days to get to Canberra to put their case to a Parliamentary committee, walked in late, didn’t apologise, sat down and then fell asleep.

This from the man who said ‘There may not be a great job for them but whatever there is, they just have to do it, and if it’s picking up rubbish around the community, it just has to be done’

This from the man who, at the Australia Day celebrations this year, said “The first lot of Australians were chosen by the finest judges in England, not always for good reasons, and from that rather inauspicious beginning we have become a rich, a free and a fair society which has contributed so much to the wider world in good times and in not so good times.”

This from the man who has previously said ‘Now, I know that there are some Aboriginal people who aren’t happy with Australia Day. For them it remains Invasion Day. I think a better view is the view of Noel Pearson, who has said that Aboriginal people have much to celebrate in this country’s British Heritage’ and ‘Western civilisation came to this country in 1788 and I’m proud of that . . . Aboriginal people have much to celebrate in this country’s British Heritage’.

This from the man who ignited the debate as to who is a ‘real’ aborigine when he said he wanted Territory Indigenous Advancement Minister Alison Anderson in federal politics because she would be an “authentic” indigenous representative in parliament. He described federal Liberal lower house MP Ken Wyatt as an “urban Aboriginal” – a “good bloke” but “not a man of culture”. “It would be terrific if, as well as having an urban Aboriginal in our parliament, we had an Aboriginal person from Central Australia, an authentic representative of the ancient cultures,” he said.

This from the leader of the Party that refused to make an apology to the Stolen Generation and, when it was later famously made by Kevin Rudd, there were several Coalition MPs conspicuously absent including Sophie Mirabella, Alby Schultz and Don Randall. The West Australian backbencher Wilson Tuckey departed immediately after the opening prayer to join those who had not bothered to show up. The Victorian Liberal MP Chris Pearce attended the event but refused to stand at the end of the speeches. Beforehand, he was outside the chamber deriding the ceremony as a “pantomime”.

And this from the man who suggested to the rally at the Tent Embassy that it’s time for them to move on that sparked a wave of support from most non-Indigenous Australians.

And from the same man who thinks the most hated policy – in the eyes of Aboriginal Australians themselves – the racist and appalling Northern Territory Intervention didn’t go far enough.

And, whilst not Abbott, who could forget Andrew Laming, the Liberal MP for Bowman, tweeting: “Mobs tearing up Logan. Did any of them do a day’s work today, or was it business as usual and welfare on tap?”

They certainly have history when it comes to their disgraceful treatment and disrespect for Aboriginal people.

Their views are extremely important in helping explain the place of Aboriginal people in the Australian political system. A series of questions that were asked of a sample of members of parliament – while Howard was prime minister – revealed the existence of varying party views that form an important framework to the development of Aboriginal policy. Some of the differences between Labor and Coalition MPs were imposing. It is worth having a look at some of these answers as they clearly identify who did and did not support Aboriginal causes. Consider them as a backdrop to discussions on issues such as Mabo, Wik, Native Title, the Stolen Generation, the Northern Territory Intervention or Abbott’s current promises.

Members of parliament – support for Aborigines
Government has responsibility to grant land rights: ALP 93.2% Lib/Nat 40.8%
Settle land claims before development: 78.2 24.2
Aborigines should have special cultural protection: 76.7 43.7
Approve of treaty recognising Aboriginal rights: 85.6 11.2
Law should allow for Aboriginal customs: 60.0 21.4
Constitution should recognise Aboriginal self-government: 29.0 4.6
Aborigines should not be assimilated: 80.3 42.2

You could excuse my cynicism. I’ve been that way since working in Aboriginal affairs under the Howard Government when one of his Ministers confided that “Aboriginal bashing is good politics.”

If Tony Abbott does become Prime Minister, this is one pledge I won’t expect him to deliver.

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55 comments

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  1. Michael Taylor

    Thanks to Kaye Lee in assisting with this article.

  2. Heather

    I agree with you. I feel really worried for our indigenous people. I think they forget who said us whities were very sorry for what was done to them as the first Australians on this land.

    Smart people just dont believe Abbott because he is full of hot air and conniving ways. It is all about power with Tony. PhonyTony is the perfect name for him. However they did a survey on people who are honest having less friends in life than people who are dishonest. Perhaps it comes down to the quality of friends. The dishonest people have dishonest friends from what I have noticed, lots of them. They are all in each other’s pockets. From what I’ve noticed honest people attract honest friends, just that there are less of them around, because it takes a lot of guts to be honest and face the reality…and then work creatively with what is given.

    I see Abbott running with Newman this morning. That is the way it will be in if Abbott gets in. Just like what Newman did. Lots of marches in the streets protesting this guy if Australians are so stupid to be swept along by him. However it is noted that they have been so affected already with the terrible rise of misogyny and hatred towards Julia Gillard. That was such a shocker. People seem to forget who drove all that. Why didn’t people move in to stop Abbott in his tracks. Show him the door. You dont allow people like that in to your family home. Why put up with the likes of him in govt? He is evil that guy. He is really evil.

    Interesting article on sociopaths in SMH today.
    http://www.smh.com.au/small-business/blogs/work-in-progress/inside-the-mind-of-a-workplace-sociopath-20130808-2rkz8.html

    Notice they state “serpentine sociopath”, so there are connections with the limbic reptile brain there. The old drained frontal lobe to support the killer instinct, no less.
    And we know Tony’s got it really bad. That video of him looking so reptilian is extremely honest about his true nature, I thought. It kind of slips out with these people and you see the whole shocking truth. Tough times with those poor little boys getting killed by African Python this week and TA getting more support in polls. The nasty strangling snakes are out and about Got to get really tough
    with these sorts. I am a bit worried that Kevin is not strong enough to take on Abbott. Gillard was with the misogyny smack down. That was a beauty! Yes!

    Sounds terrible I know but Abbott needs the wooden stake to his heart big time.
    We have vampire stories for good reason…modern mythology!

  3. cowper133

    You could also add that Abbott thinks so much of the Aboriginal people that he “volunteers” by claiming travel allowance. Most volunteers are on leave, holidays etc not Abbott!

  4. Fed up

    Abbott, when one listens, and remembers his personal bill that is still in the lower house, he is more interested in watering down Keating’s Land Rights laws more.

    Howard did try hard, but was prevented from going all the way. So it seems now, Abbott is not only going to demolish what Gillard achieved but Keating as well.

    I believe that the Intervention was more about getting back controls of their lands than any abuse of children.

    Why is it a government cannot build houses, unless the land is freehold. Do not understand that one.

    What other Aborigine representatives have we heard Abbott quote. Only Pearson and one Labor discontent as far as I know.

    Another committee being set up. Yes, Abbott is going to busy setting up all his new departments and inquiries.

  5. Bill Morris

    From the bloke who would do (and say) anything to be PM

  6. Kaye Lee

    The thing that really troubles me about the intervention (our home grown version of ineptitude in dealing with asylum seekers) is that we seem to ignore the value of self determination.

    I understand there have been enormous problems with alcohol abuse, as well as domestic violence and child sex abuse. My family comes from a mid-north coast town where the locals to this day are struggling with these problems. I watched many years ago when in a misguided attempt at helping, the town employed someone who knew something about Maoris to come and build a community centre. How arrogant of us, telling them this will make it all better.

    If we want to be successful with anything really we must bring together the interested parties. If we want to improve productivity it won’t be achieved by eroding workers’ rights and imposing legislation. It will be achieved by round table conferencing with employers, unions and government.

    Likewise if we are truly serious about improving the situation of those we dispossessed, we will listen to them.

    As an aside, it is pertinent to point out that Andrew Laming of racist tweet fame is the Coalition spokesperson for Indigenous Health. Lord save us!

  7. mikisdad

    Michael, thank you for a well written, competently supported article which provides sound basis for your contention that Tony Abbott is not to be trusted in this issue and that his concern is feigned. I fully agree with you.

    Unfortunately, I also hold the opinion that probably more Australians than not share Tony Abbott’s poor regard for the pre-European invasion inhabitants of this land, the Australian Aborigines.

    A few years ago I took part in a simulation aimed at developing competence in undertaking the Systematic Review process in health. I chose to develop a model for a systematic review of literature relating to the NT “Intervention” in order to discover what the evidence actually indicated in relation to the efficacy of such an approach, what its implications might be, and how Aborigines affected by it, actually saw it. At the end of the week’s work, each participant was scheduled to give a brief (15 to 30 min) outline of their topic; its value to stakeholders; and the process and issues that might detract from a disinterested and objective approach.

    I sat through all presentations but was somewhat surprised to find that, although there were outlines to be presented, only 2 other groups did me the courtesy of listening to my outline. Now, there are those who dislike my views and writing style who may think, “yes, I can understand that – he’s a ……” but to those readers I would just add that the total group of 28 participants had not been engaged in any direct discussion or other than minimal contact during the week – so none of them had cause to be put off by previous experience of me, whether good or bad. My view is that the listing of the subject of my review on the schedule was enough – they didn’t want to know.

    I could provide many other examples that have led me to this unfortunate opinion, including the attitude of some Northern Territory Education Department Teaching Recruiters who interviewed me, years ago, in Adelaide and decried my concern for the situation of the Aborigines and my belief that education might help empower them and enable them to gain a more equitable place in Australian society, as “do gooderism” and naivety – evidently I would soon see that they were a useless lot who needed to be put in their place!

    My point is, in short, that yes, I agree with you about Tony Abbott’s rhetoric and that it is unlikely to be matched by his reality but that there are many Australians who have contributed to this because of their own prejudice. I believe that such will be hard to change as long as principle is sacrificed for pragmatism and elements of Labor seek to outdo the conservative Parties in catering to misguided populism to attract voters.

    In my view, Rudd’s greates achievement was his apology to the Aborigines and the “Stolen Generation” in particular. Anyone who has read “Blood on the Wattle” or “One more hour of daylight”, or other histories of colonial relations between the Aborigines and their colonial usurpers could not fail to recognise that, even leaving aside the theft of their country from them, they have never yet had appropriate respect and equity from members of our governments and other citizens – though there have been and are, notable and significant exceptions, of course.

    So, I value your article and thank you for it but also see a need to place it in the broader context of prejudice and xenophobia in this society, supported by the sort of scrupulous evidence that you have provided in relation to Tony Abbott. I say that because I think that – whilst fully agreeing with what you say – I believe that many less interested or concerned Australians will baulk at what they misconstrue as a personal attack on Tony Abbott, rather than the greater issue of how he is able to get away with and even sway so many to his point of view.

    (The above is purely my opinion. I aim to insult or criticise no one – simply to give my own view. If I have done other than that and am told so, this will definitely by my last submission to the Independent Media Network – so please let me know if you’d rather I go – my personal email is roger@hawcroft.net.)

  8. Fed up

    “Mundine, Abbott put land rights at heart
    3:15PM LAUREN WILSON
    WARREN Mundine, tapped to advise a Coalition government on Aboriginal policy, has put an overhaul of land rights at the centre of his approach………….”

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au

  9. Fed up

    One needs to be careful. I believe that Abbott gets a good feeling from his annual trips north and does believe he has the answers.

    Wonder if he ever asked himself why the answer is so obvious and easy, why those in the filed over the generations have not discovered the way forwarded.

    Maybe he believes that God has visited and showed him the way to take the Indigenous people to the promise land. There is NOTHING new in Abbott’s approach. Just another white, middle class man, that believes he knows best
    .

  10. Darin Sullivan

    Reblogged this on The Left Hack and commented:
    “Tony Abbott has declared fixing Australia’s greatest “national failure”, dire indigenous disadvantage, will be one of his personal priorities if he wins office.

    Personally, I think it’s all talk. It’s just a display of feigned love.”

  11. Fed up

    “Likewise if we are truly serious about improving the situation of those we dispossessed, we will listen to them.”

    Correct, we listen to THEM. Not just one person.

  12. Fed up

    How is Abbott going to implement Gina’s dream fore the north, while the indigenous people own and control the land.

  13. Darin Sullivan

    Couple of things. Great article, agree 100%. That table is fantastic, I’d like to use it / quote it if that is ok? One small thing, is the term ‘aborigines’ PC these days? For some reason ( I don’t recall why), i thought it was not. Well done though. Thanks.

  14. Fed up

    Sensible woman.

    “.He reiterated his plan to move the indigenous affairs department into the department of prime minister and cabinet and send senior bureaucrats to spend a week in an Aboriginal community.

    Labor’s senate candidate for the NT Nova Peris listened to Mr Abbott’s address at the festival and quickly disappeared at the end.

    She told AAP she wanted to give it some more thought before making a public comment.

    The coalition hopes it can unseat Indigenous Health Minister Warren Snowdon whose seat of Lingiari hangs by a a slim 3.7 per cent…….

    http://www.skynews.com.au/topstories/article.aspx?id=895367&vId=4092519&cId=Top%20Stories&play=true

  15. Kaye Lee

    mikisdad I hope you read my apology to you on another thread. My father was a very wise man as is my husband. I lost Dad many years ago but his words ring on. I don’t see my husband as often as I’d like because he works very long hours but when he came home today he read some of my posts. He is a Liberal voter and the man I love. He listens to me and then I listen to him.

    When he got home from work this afternoon I was fired up. He sat down, even though he was tired and there was probably sport to be watched, and read my posts and those of others. He supported much of what I had said and understood my need to do what I can to make a difference. He then said…..you don’t need to be mean to make a point. As I have said before, Dad told me as a teenager that it was not necessarily my job to point out when others are wrong.

    You have much knowledge and experience and I appreciate learning from you, but I think you need to look at how you impart your knowledge with the view to engaging rather than alienating your readers.

    When you say stuff like ” If I have done other than that and am told so, this will definitely by my last submission to the Independent Media Network – so please let me know if you’d rather I go” it makes me scared to comment. I want you to stay. I want you to share your thoughts and experiences without feeling personally attacked. But I also want to be able to comment without feeling worried about how I am saying things or how it is being received.

    You have implied I am willing to forego my principles for pragmatism before. I wrote a lot of the above article. You must understand how it makes me feel when you say those things.

    I ask you to be less sensitive, more forgiving, more open in communication (don’t take offence, talk to me), so I can enjoy your contributions and learn from them and hopefully contribute something to the discussion. In return I will listen to my Catholic boarding school educated businessman husband who has never quite been able to set aside that black dot of sin that the nuns drew on the blackboard and made him put his nose on. He may be a Telegraph reader and a Foxtel watcher but sometimes he gives really sage insight into …well me…if not politics.

  16. Dagney J. Taggart

    I remember as a young soldier being on exercise just outside Wyndham WA back in 1989. The locals would be drinking all day and then late afternoon the kids and women would start crying, and it would go on through the night. By now those kids would be adults, and most likely repeating the cycle on a new generation.

    How does that cycle get broken? What will it take? What did the apology do, other than give some a nice warm feeling? What, in practical terms, has improved?

    Your table shows lots of feel good things – which of those will stop the violence? Which will decrease the incarceration rate of Aboriginals? Which one will reduce the child abuse and child rape rates? Which one will improve education rates? Are more practical and pragmatic steps required?

  17. Heather

    Some where, some time I read about a group of indigenous artists. Dont know what tribe they were so cant use their proper name in due respect. They lived in the outback under tarps, with open fires to cook on. They had their canvas paintings spread out on the dirt and were sitting there painting. They reckon there were no psychological problems with this tribe nor booze problems like with many others, like the ones who lived in settlements with govt supplied dwellings.

    Same with us whities really. If we dont have much to do in life with which we are impassioned, we go in to ailing mode. Drink too much, take drugs, become painful humans.

    I recall whilst living in Queensland on a yacht around the Whitsundays, we would sometimes camp on the beach with a tarp strung between the whistling cassaurina trees growing on the sand edge. A fire burned during the night, a fire we had cooked our fish and huge oysters over the night before. It was the most peaceful and comfortable place to be, that I’ve had the privilege to experience in all my life.

    Many of the blackies who are not disenfranchised, love this sort of life. It certainly has it’s qualities. And living off the land and hunting for food really takes a good lot of the daily hours, so it is no mean feat.

    I believe we could be all moving into subsisting more on the land, and looking after it better. Yes the way our first Australians did it for sure. We have a lot to learn.
    It was Labor who got them their land back. It was Labor who apologized. It is just Abbott trying to steal the fire at the moment which is alarming, but I think most sensible people will realize this. He is just trying to snatch the election.in his own painful way.
    Not that I’m letting him off the hook by any means. LOL

  18. Kaye Lee

    Dagney, there is no easy answer but sharing stories and experiences helps. When I was a child I had a very strong aboriginal woman in my life. She had been nanny/housekeeper/friend/confidante to three generations of my family. My mother is now 91 and she always wanted to write a book about this woman. Mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 10 years ago. While she could still remember she wrote this. (preamble by me).

    Clarice
    No story of Ruth would be complete without mention of this very special person who had a profound impact on generations of our family. These are a few of the memories Ruth wrote about her.
    “Clarice Waddy came to us as a teenager, and became a loved and respected member of the family. One memory is the year we all had whooping cough – mum, dad, and four kids. Dad rented a house at Nambucca Heads and Clarice, as usual, came along to look after us – to cook, clean, wash etc – but also to hold my head when I coughed until I vomited.
    When we moved into the hotel in 1934 she came with us. Mum was concerned for her safety so she gave Clarice the room next to her own. There were no locks on the bedroom doors in those days and one night Clarice’s raised voice woke dad. He raced into her room and gave the intruder two minutes to leave the premises and never come back, or be dealt with by the police.
    She came on holidays with us always – mostly to Tweed Heads to stay with mum’s family. When we were at boarding school and college she would always have our favourite meal cooked when we arrived home – mine was gramma pie.
    When Clarice decided to marry Aden Allen some outsider asked her how she was getting to the church. Her reply was “In our car of course!” Along with her, we considered it a stupid question. She and Aden had too much pride to live in a house provided by the government and built their own – not very pretentious but all theirs.
    In 1948 Peter was diagnosed with nephritis and given two years to live. Clarice came to see mum as she had done many times over the years and, after talking for a while, said “You need help, you need me.” The very next day she arrived at 8am and immediately took over the housekeeping – washing, cooking, cleaning, the lot. She phoned Judy with a shopping list and, from then on, looked after mum until she died.
    She was supposed to leave at 2pm but many times dad would get home about 5pm to find her still there. Her explanation – “Mum wasn’t well so I stayed until you got here.” When dad died it was Clarice who sat by mum in the church and at the cemetery and fanned her.
    Clarice was also a big part of the grandchildren’s lives. Judith loved her as a second mother and when Jenny took Peter to Bowraville to meet the extended family a visit to Clarice was of course included.
    The relationship between mum and Clarice was never employer-employee but one of mutual love, trust, respect and friendship.”

    Could I add that TDT did a story about the alcohol problem with aborigines in our town. When they asked Clarice to appear on tv representing “the good aborigine” she refused as the program was showing her people in a bad light.

    This post is dedicated to two wonderful women who helped shape my attitudes to life….Clarice and my mother. I don’t know how many people will read it but for mum’s sake I am glad I can share what she so wanted to.

  19. Möbius Ecko

    Dagney J. Taggart who will reduce the child abuse and child rape rates in general society?

    And just what are those rates as compared to the general society?

    Brough went on about organised pedophile rings in aboriginal communities even after they were proven to be unfounded. All part of the demonisation of a disenfranchised and disadvantaged group for political gain that is the hallmark of the Liberal party. Downer gave away the fact the NTER was an exercise in improving waning polls.

    There is no easy answer, as much as the Liberal Party before elections attempt to paint things in black and white with neat pigeon holed solutions that sound so easy to implement but fail miserably or are shoved into the background, out of sight thing, when they do get into power.

  20. Fed up

    Well there is one thing know, taking the army in does not solve child abuse. If anything, it would drive it underground. Not too sure how taking one control of how they manage their money, leads one to feel they have control over their lives.

    Yes, self determination it the only solution. Each community to be given their support to bring about their own changes.

  21. mikisdad

    Hi Kaye. You owe me no apologies. I noticed (after I’d responded to this article) that you had collaborated on it and my immediate thought was that I needed to write another post to acknowledge that. Yet again, I messed up. I decided against it because I thought you might read it and then think that I had purposely acknowledged you separately as some sort of reaction to past comments. It seems, in retrospect, that I should have gone ahead.

    For what it’s worth, I have never purposely set out to put you or anyone else down though I admit to becoming extremely angry with a certain posters abuse and puerile comments – but then, I’m not allowed to say that because that’s me being one-sided and abusive.

    So, I made the comment that I did because I really don’t intend to disturb, hurt, or demean anyone – the sorts of posts that deliberately do so, leave me cold and despairing. Yes, I am sensitive because I am and always have been passionate and I bleed for the disadvantaged and downtrodden in this World and am riddled with guilt because whilst I have little compared to most in our country – I still have more than many and many times more than many in other countries – and I don’t feel that I do enough about it.

    Although I’m called it, I am not stupid. However, I’m not conventional nor fashionable. I still believe that principle counts and that it can’t be switched on and off to suit the day. I still believe that journalists should be able to construct grammatical sentences and spell correctly – as well as have something worthwhile to say and say it well. I don’t believe in concepts of black and white such as are “good” and “evil”, therefore I reject it when others are labelled that way. I also reject it when I am labelled as “inflexible”, “arrogant”, “abusive” or “condescending”. I reject it because I have never had other than a giant inferiority complex. I have always acted within the law and played by the rules and followed those with authority to give me legal orders – but, at the same time – I have always spoken out when I have not agreed with those boundaries.

    I don’t believe that I “know everything” or “have everything right” and I do read and listen to what people say and write – but that is all I can do. I can only take in the best interpretation I can make of the message they send. Communication is imperfect and when the language is misused or poorly used, a correct understanding of what someone wants me to understand can be very difficult. Equally, because many people with strong opinions have weak vocabularies and analytical skills, it can be very hard to express thoughts and ideas in ways that they can comprehend, even if they are willing to try to do so. In some cases, as I feel sure that you would be aware, there is no hope at all and one might well write to the post-box.

    Of course, what I’ve said above will condemn me to further vilification and accusations of arrogance, I’m sure. All I can say is that it is true for me. Those who see it in a different way are welcome to comment on it and tell me where they see it as wrong. However, if you examined some of the exchanges in these pages between myself and others (and I wouldn’t expect you to waste your time but that is where the evidence is), you would find that, at best, in regard to most of my critics it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. It appears that it is alright for others to make blanket generalisations and offer ideas and views as “facts” when this is not the case, but should I be as assertive, I am howled down for it – even abused in turgid, gutter language – which was, of course, my point in imitating such behaviour when I withdrew from the other thread.

    I assure you, Kaye, that I am open to persuasion and change. At my first school, I and the other children used a slate encased in wood. One of my proudest moments was buying my first slide-rule. I was selling audio visual and photographic materials when the first pocket calendars came onto the market from Japan and I attended one of the first Polaroid company Instant Camera demonstrations put on to train photographic salespeople. I taught myself to use a TRS-80, a Commodore 64, an Amstrad 1215 and an Apple II+ and went on from there to learn how to build professional level databases and web sites. I used the first version of an MS GUI which was dropped almost immediately because it worked very poorly and the DOS brigade all said that the command line interface wouldn’t die and the mouse would never take on. I installed the first GUI based automated library catalogue software in an Australian library and I argued with a tertiary college council for the Internet to be introduced when it was still run by the AVCC and in only a few university libraries. I was told there was no need and it wouldn’t be of any use in education.

    I won’t go on – this is not a self-praise exercise. My point is that I have both had imposed, experienced, envisaged, predicted and led many changes in my life. When people call me inflexible it is clear that they have neither met me nor have any idea of who or what I am. That is my point. Before they do that, it would be good for them to read back over their own material and compare it with my responses. They may, if they do so with an open mind, see that in the main, I don’t deserve the criticisms that have been levelled at me.

    However, given what you’ve said before, perhaps you will see this as just another self-centred rave that illustrates an unwillingness on my part to accept the point of view of another and a belief that I “know better” than everyone else. – It isn’t. It is an attempt to explain something to you and I’ve taken the trouble because I have *no doubt* that you are an equally passionate, caring and considerate person who is as frustrated with much affecting our politics and society as am I. I believe that I owe you that explanation and can only hope that you accept it as such.

    I would not normally write to one person on a public list in this way but I don’t know – and this may be my failing – how to contact you other than through this blog. I have already made my own email known so that those who wish can contact me off thread and I am more than willing to discuss anything with anyone, including my own failings, opinions, beliefs and viewpoints. The fact is that no one could have a lesser opinion of myself than I have so, why not?

    I doubt that anyone else has bothered to read this long (and my detractors would say, “verbose”, post but should anyone have done so – I apologise for posting here what is essentially a personal response to Kaye rather than a public comment on the article that she and MIchael wrote. I will avoid doing the same again but thought that I needed to make this response, for better or worse.

  22. mikisdad

    FedUp – How right you are.

  23. Kaye Lee

    mikisdad I truly appreciate the way you have tried to help me understand your feelings in that response. I hope you also have tried to understand mine.

    It is hugely presumptuous of me to give advice but I have spent a life time doing it so why stop now. Everyone, including myself, calls me the “oldest school captain on the planet”.

    STOP having a low opinion of yourself. Obviously things have happened in your life that make you feel this way. STOP IT NOW!

    You are intelligent. You have interesting things to say. I have spoken to my husband about our exchange and he understood my frustration that I wanted to talk but didn’t want to offend…of for that matter, be offended. He read some of what we had posted to each other and his advice to me was to stop being mean…his advice to you was to toughen up.

    Have the courage to say what you believe, have the strength to endure criticism, have the tolerance to listen to others without judging, have the compassion to understand life deals its blows to all, and take the time to read, listen and think maybe that comment wasn’t a criticism of me but an invitation for further discussion.

  24. Dagney J. Taggart

    The rate of child abuse in Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander communities is 8 times greater than that in non-indigenous communities. Reported sexual abuse of indigenous children is lower, but there is a high probability of under-reporting. (see http://www.aifs.gov.au/cfca/pubs/factsheets/a142117/#a3 ).

    How has the stolen generations apology improved things since 2008? Has it done anything at all? I never understood why Howard was so reluctant to make it.

    Maybe we just step back and let them sort it out themselves. It just may take another couple of wasted generations. And it may not work, But that is what self determination is about I suppose.

  25. Fed up

    I believe all the examples of the children abused that Bough used,came from the records of those convicted for the crimes. Yes, convicted. Therefore they were not hidden, covered up or ignored, as Bough alleged.

  26. Fed up

    The same with the medical examinations that occurred,. The doctors took in, were examining kids, that the local services were dealing with.

    Thank goodness that the doctors refused to examine kid for sexual abuse, as directed. That would have caused great harm.

    Yes, it was a well thought out exercise indeed.

  27. Kaye Lee

    Dagney the Apology was symbolic and representative, I hope, of our willingness to move forward together towards reconciliation. Howard was reluctant to make it because, like all Liberals, he was worried about the possibility of being sued if some form of admission of wrongdoing was made.

    It is hard to say sorry, we were wrong. It is even harder if your whole mentality is built around liablility issues. mikisdad and I are going through our own attempts at reconciliation and we didn’t take each other’s children away.

    These are people we are discussing…not ‘problems’. I once heard a wonderful quote from a black man in a movie. He said “If you forgive us for the present we will forgive you for the past.” Can we please get to that point where we work together towards solutions rather than look backwards for who blame.

  28. Dagney J. Taggart

    Symbolism doesn’t stop children being abused or improve health and lifespan. How do we fix that? I ask this in all seriousness because I just don’t know. Is integration (not assimilation) the answer? How can your life improve when you live in the middle of nowhere with little education, no job and no real prospects of having one?

  29. Kaye Lee

    I don’t have the answers Dagney. I have idealistic hopes that I want to develop with people who have experience with the problem and those who have the capacity to help fund a way forward. I have become disillusioned relying on governments to find the answer. People like you need to help find it. The fact that we are having the conversation is a good start. As with the asylum seeker problem, what the government comes up with is not necessarily the best way. Let’s work towards helping them find the best way by all of us sharing experience and knowledge and working out how to proceed in the future.

  30. Fed up

    If one was serious of caring for these children at risk, one starts with the overcrowded and substandard accommodation. You will find kids at serious risk, no matter skin colour or culture, where there is poverty, lack of employment and alcohol. As a aside. hard to control nit and scabies as well.Being Indigenous has little to do with it.

    One does not need much imagination tp know if there are up to twenty living and coming and going in the family home, kids are expose to more chance of being abused.

    Second big need, is employment for the parents. The rest will follow naturally, I believe, because people have pride and confidence in themselves.

  31. mikisdad

    I hesitate to make any comment regarding the plight or otherwise of Australian Aborigines, particularly as I have to share some of the guilt of my ancestors for their actions in dispossessing the people and worse, the savage way that they were treated by the colonists and the careless way that has continued to be their general treatment up to the present day.

    I, too, don’t profess to know if there is an “answer’, let alone what it “is”. As a result of my research into the Intervention, my association with health practitioners and educators working in the field and my own experience with indigneous people at the bottom end of the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia, that there are significant ways that things can alter.

    Fed up has mentioned some of these methods. Attending to house needs, health needs, education and employment are all important, too. However, if someone told me that these are common catch-cries for solutions but rarely are put into effective practice; that houses are built and destroyed; and that the children won’t go to school even if it is there – I couldn’t argue. All of these issues exist.

    I would comment, though, that all of these things are symptoms. My view is that the major problem is that just as we seem to view refugees or asylum seekers as the problem, we also view Aboriginal people as the problem. In neither case is it true.

    The problem in both cases lies with more fundamental issues in our society. Issues such as the distribution of wealth; the re-writing of history; the location of some 90% or so of our population in the capital cities; our consumerist and capitalist economic system and a culture which has lost its sense of values, ethical behaviour, and compassion. At least, that is my opinion.

    I heard recently of a cattle property that had been handed over to indigenous ownership after purchase by the government and which was equipped with great facilities and a well-experienced and capable group of Aborignal workers to run it. The person who visited it to see how it was going was surprised to talk to the people there and find out that, despite the good feed yards, shedding, facilities and all, the people were despondent. It turned out that there was just one thing wrong: there were no cattle! The wise planners and administrators who had created and developed this initiative had failed to take account of that small matter and the funding had not been provided. A good facility had sat for, I believe, some 4 years – despite deputations and letters and so on, simply wasted.

    Providing schools which don’t attract pupils or housing that doesn’t suit indigenous cultural traits leads to similar problems. Money and facilities go wasted. Please don’t get me wrong – I don’t blame the Aborigines for this as many do and I don’t really blame the bureaucrats who, in the main, I think do their best. However the result is that the Aborigines – the people are blamed – and, though it is cynical in the extreme, one sometimes has to wonder whether, at least in some cases, the lack of funding or mis-design of a critical component hasn’t been intentionally forgotten in order to create or build on that inner-racism and intolerance that seems still to exist across our society.

    How can this situation be altered? Well as I said at the outset, I no more have *the* solution than anyone else but there are some components that I suggest need to be considered in creating a solution:

    * Yes, the people within the communities need to have control over what happens to them and how it happens
    * Traditional practices, cultural traits and mores need to be recognised and their practice facilitated
    * It is perhaps necessary to question whether creating “jobs” is what is needed or whether providing the opportunity for indigenous people to choose how they wish to live and help them to do so. – And no, I am not suggesting that Aborigines should not be lawyers or doctors or business owners or factory workers or whatever, such as are other Australians. What I am saying is that prior to the European invasion the indigenous people cared for the country and lived relatively well. At least that is how it seems to me from the history books and accounts. Indeed, the Aborigines tried to help the settlers – they befriended them; taught them bushcraft; often saved their lives. Their recompense was to be forcibly moved from their homes, exploited, treated as slaves, raped, and murdered. Yet many of them still attempted to help the invaders. So:
    * Australia needs to recognise that it can learn from Aboriginal culture and one of the lessons may be that living as we do is not necessarily the best way. Why should a simpler and more basic life-style less based on possessions and materialism and more on understanding ones natural surroundings and how they can provide be seen as “less”. Why should employment only be judged in a modern consumerist model? I know that I would welcome the preservation of Aboriginal culture and that those who wish to live it should be provided with the means to do so and, in the main, that simply means ensuring that they have appropriate territory in which to live and live without large companies or governments coming along and chopping trees, clearing land or polluting waterways.

    There are good people out there who are working hard in health, in education, in employment assistance and training and very often they achieve much with little. And, I suppose, that is my core point – that our society seems to see the solution to every issue as being to throw some money at it – the more money provided is equated with a greater effort and caring. Well, my view is that such is an illusion – perhaps even a delusion. Money fixes nothing and the avarice that it and our consumerist society create is one of the fundamental causes of this situation – the situation in which the people find themselves is a symptom of that fundamental flaw.

    So, instead of politicians trying to outdo each other with flashier, glossy brochure programs or “tough medicine”, both measured in terms of the amount of money thrown at them – how about the sort of solution which Kaye has mentioned earlier? How about those that can *seriously* sit down alongside the Aborigines who share this land with us and actually listen and discuss ways to determine what are the causes of this awful situation and what has caused it to go on for so long with little change?

    That dialogue and attention to causes rather than symptoms, together with minds open to reviewing and challenging the current “modern” and entrenched preoccupation with the economy and economic solutions, rather than well-being in social, mental and cultural terms, is what I think would go a long way towards finally resolving this issue. It may not be other people’s but, given that our usual approach has been shown not to work, isn’t it worthy of consideraton?

  32. mindmadeup

    Reblogged this on you said it….

  33. cornlegend

    CMMC
    And I assume by your tone, that the “White Trash” you refer to would be Tony Abbott and the LNP ?

  34. Terry2

    Jenny Macklin has made a significant contribution to aboriginal affairs in education, housing and access to health services: she just doesn’t shout about it.

  35. Möbius Ecko

    Dagney J. Taggart I knew of the 8 times figure but have a look at the breakdown.

    Howard more than any other area went on about sexual abuse with Mal Brough deliberately and falsely playing up widespread paedophilia and organised child sexual exploitation, which was a lie.

    The single area where indigenous children are more abused than non-indigenous children is in neglect. Emotional, physical and sexual abuse is more prevalent in non-indigenous children.

    This statement from the fact sheet is important.

    The high rates of neglect are consistent with the disadvantaged socio-economic conditions prevalent in many Indigenous communities, such as overcrowding, unemployment and lack of services (Steering Committee for Review of Government Service Provision, 2011).

    When Howard instigated the NTER he used the Little Children are Sacred report and claimed it was to address allegations of rampant child sexual abuse and neglect in Northern Territory Aboriginal communities.

    If Howard was genuine and the intervention was not about gaining points in a waning poll he would have taken up the recommendations in the report he used as the reason to urgently send in the military and takeover the running of whole communities, yet he only took up two of the lessor of the 97 recommendations in the report that was his excuse for the intervention.

    But to the point of “rampant child sexual abuse” that didn’t exist. It was pointed out to Howard that if he is taking this measure in Aboriginal communities to stop rampant child sexual abuse to protect children, why isn’t he doing the same in the general community where in lower socio economic communities there are measured areas of increased child sexual abuse. He fobbed it off.

    Then the cases of sexual abuse of mostly aboriginal girls by white truck drivers, miners and agents who serviced, worked in or transited through the aboriginal communities or in centres near those communities. They would groom the girls with pornography. This was also pointed out to Howard at the time and he stated it would be investigated as part of the intervention and those found would be punished. Pure lip service, as was typical of Howard, he did no such thing and concentrated the entire effort on finding and dramatising any abuse by Aboriginals only.

    There is no simple answer but the generalisations you put up are part of the problem, as is politicians like Abbott following on from Howard using this problem purely for political point scoring, even that means demonising and denigrating an entire race to score those points.

  36. Bob Evans

    Maybe Abbott could employ Andrew Bolt as their indigenous media liaison officer. He has quite a bond with them I believe.

    It’s funny how it’s only indigenous people sitting on resources that seem to be the target of the coalitions new found fondness and empathy.

    Lets see photos of you embracing the inner city indigenous folk Abbott.

  37. Kaye Lee

    Great posts mikisdad and Mobius Ecko. You make some very good points.

  38. Kaye Lee

  39. Kaye Lee

    Alan Austin adds a few more

    a) the Coalition destroyed the Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander Commission through its challenging and ultimately ill-fated life. This is one of the most dastardly acts of the entire Howard government.

    (b) Mr Abbott opposed Prime Minister Rudd’s formal apology to the Stolen Generations in 2008.

    (c) the Coalition Government appeared in court to oppose the Yorta Yorta people in their just land claim for a parcel of traditional hunting and fishing lands in northern Victoria and southern New South Wales.

    (d) the Howard Government discontinued funding for classes in traditional languages in schools in Arnhem Land introduced by the previous Labor Government.

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  41. Fed up

    What is a amazing that many, very many at that time, felt free to talk this way. There was no great outcry at what was said.

    This man also made another statement that has never left my mind. When talking about his blue bestows mines, that he had no sympathy for the workers, as blue asbestos was essential for industry, and someone had to dig it out. Not his irresponsibility for the deaths. Or words to that effect, as it was a long while ago, on I believe one of the Current Affair programme of the time.

  42. Fed up

    I hope that Rudd continues, as he did today, talking seriously about policy, for the future, and what is in place now. He did this in PC at Queanbeyan, when talking about getting those between 15-24 into work. By the way, they should still be at school until 17 or 18.

    There is much assistance available, much more that that scheme to assist 2000 in Tasmania during the week. In fact Abbott is already offering much less than what is now on offer.

    Abbott never takes the trouble to find out what is in place, especially if it is to be found in many of the achievements of the former PM, Julia Gillard.

    I hope that Rudd now sticks to what he intends to do, and defend what has been achieved, leave the stunts to Abbott. They are not needed.

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  44. Bob Evans

    Pretty sobering video that Kaye Lee. I doubt whether much has changed in nearly 30 years among many right wingers and mining magnates. Instead, now though, they have learned to voice it among friends, instead of via the media.

  45. Michael Taylor

    One small thing, is the term ‘aborigines’ PC these days?

    Darin, that’s hard to answer. Some do or don’t like Aborigine, Aborigines, Aboriginal or Indigenous. It’s impossible to get right.

  46. Kaye Lee

    In my home town we grew up calling them Kooris.

    While the term ‘indigenous’ is being more commonly used by Australian Government and non-Government organizations to describe Aboriginal Australians, Lowitja O’Donoghue AC, CBE, commenting on the prospect of possible amendments to Australia’s constitution, was reported as saying:

    I really can’t tell you of a time when ‘indigenous’ became current, but I personally have an objection to it, and so do many other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. […] This has just really crept up on us … like thieves in the night. […] We are very happy with our involvement with indigenous people around the world, on the international forum […] because they’re our brothers and sisters. But we do object to it being used here in Australia.

    O’Donoghue went on to say that the term indigenous robbed the traditional owners of Australia of an identity because some non-Aboriginal people now wanted to refer to themselves as indigenous because they were born there.

  47. Kaye Lee

    Correction….Some of us called them Kooris…others called them coons 🙁 They weren’t allowed to drink in the hotel and they had a special roped off section in the tiny town cinema. They lived on the Mission settlement outside of town.

  48. turnleft2013

    Didnt one of the conservatives say that Nova Peris would be “just a maid”, because she was standing for the Left, unlike Right wing Aboriginal politicians who are somehow different. Saying she would be “just a maid” is triple offensive – it’s offensive based on gender and political party, as well.

  49. Kaye Lee

    Yes, the Northern Territory’s Indigenous Affairs Minister Alison Anderson said Ms Peris would be treated like a “maid to do the sheets and serve the cups of tea” and that Aboriginal people were “welcome on the verandas of the Labor Party”.

    I will point out that Alison Anderson is an Aboriginal woman who was previously a Labor Minister but left the party in 2009 to run as an independent, and then joined the Country Liberal Party in 2011.

  50. Heather

    Have always been wondering about why Abbott is like he is, so punchy and kind of brainless, no scope etc. Sociopathic and perhaps psychopathic personality traits. Some one out of the blue has tuned me in to him being punch drunk, ie suffering from Demential Pugilistica. Symptoms from Wikipedia are

    ” The condition, which occurs in boxers having suffered repeated blows to the head, manifests as dementia, or declining mental ability, problems with memory, and Parkinsonism, or tremors and lack of coordination.[2] It can also cause speech problems[2] and an unsteady gait. Patients with DP may be prone to inappropriate or explosive behavior and may display pathological jealousy or paranoia.[2] Individuals displaying these symptoms also can be characterized as “punchy”, another term for a person suffering from DP Sufferers may be treated with drugs used for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinsonism.[6] .”

    Kind of fits doesn’t it? Although he is dealing it out and projecting it quite well. It could explain that weird interview where he rocked unable to say anything, as if stunned. Also why he was so out of control forever with Julia Gillard. Jealous that she had won the minority govt over her.

    Also now teaming up with Mundine. Are most of these older boxers on medication for the problem?

    Some people say the recent “suppository of wisdom” gaffe was a set up to get more attention. He was not at all aware of what he had said, was he. Haven’t heart. I guess boxers do anything it takes at their game. Dont know much about it because I hate the sport. Mohamed Ali just phased out didn’t he?

    Have been worried about Kevin Rudd getting sick having had his gall bladder out after his first term and being ousted. Then he had the redo of his heart valve. But maybe it is Abbott who has the health problems.

  51. Beaver

    My rants from Kalinda (Kaye Lee). Kaye Lee loves conspiracy theories. She thrives on it. Everyone who is white is evil in her opinion.

  52. kayelee1

    What a very odd thing to say.

  53. Fed up

    kayelee, I must agree with you.

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