Monday, June 25, 2007

Parading their own defects

In relation to emergency measures taken in the Northern Territory, in relation to indigenous affairs, Glenn Milne in The Australian today - says it better than I ever could.

The irresponsible leftwing blogs, the claims by David Marr and Peter Harcher in the SMH that the proposed Federal takeover of indigenous affairs policy is militaristic authoritarianism, the bleating cries of Lyn Allison that we should be ‘collaborating’ with dysfunctional communities and the evil claims by Jon Stanhope that the policies are simply 'racist' mainly parade the character defects of the people making these claims.

These include blame- and motive-based nastiness, a troubling view of human nature, a complete lack of any idealism and a thoroughly inaccurate prioritization of what is important in politics. It is interesting that Kevin Rudd has stated that he disagrees with the criticisms of these irresponsible people and with the notion that Howard is playing wedge politics. Rudd accepts that past policies – including those of the Hawke-Keating era - have failed and wants to move on. Good on him.

Quotes from Milne:

‘Anybody who knows Howard and his Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Mal Brough, particularly anybody with knowledge of what Brough has seen and experienced first-hand, also knows this is a heartfelt initiative. Yet it is Howard's burden that at this stage of the political cycle his critics can immediately question his motives, even on an issue as clear-cut and emotional as this one’.

‘the notion that Howard would use the sexual abuse of children as a vehicle for his own political advancement is simply vile. If that truly is the case, as a political class we may as well simply pack up and go home. We are barbarians without souls or hope of salvation’
It is worth reading the whole Milne article. Excellent.


Paul Watson said...

The report the Government is using in belatedly making a stand on Indigenous Affairs has 97 recommendations. Mr Howard has taken two of these and thus far made up the rest.
The very first recommendation talks of 'the critical importance of governments committing to genuine consultation with Aboriginal people in designing initiatives for Aboriginal communities'. Clearly this has not happened.
The recommendations also begin with a blurb from Fred Chaney, a former Federal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs who has continued working with Indigenous communities ever since. In it he is at pains to point out 'you can't solve these things by centralised bureaucratic direction but need locally based action, local resourcing, local control to really make changes'.
No one doubts that we are long overdue for action, but why not apply the recommendations from countless inquiries into Indigenous communities and their failings, let alone the Gordon report, instead of this policy on the run.
Howard has been in a priveledged position to improve the impoverishment of Aboriginal communities for 11 years. That does not make him a man of action and his policies and just because the need is acute does not mean his policies should not be open to scrutiny.
In fact quite the opposite. The Gordon report is unequivocal when it talks of the problems associated with Aboriginal communities is a 'reflection of past, current and continuing social problems'. It goes on to talk about the combined effects of poor health, unemployment, education, housing and a general loss of identity as being major contributors to the dysfunction. When Howard addresses these underlying causes his critics must stand and applaud but until he does it is incumbent on all of us to make him accountable.
I take my hat off to Brough who if nothing else has put the issue of Indigenous affairs back in the spotlight, I just hope he is true to his word and provides long-term policy to go with the short-term grandstanding

hc said...

Paul, You main claim is that a central plan won't work. Maybe not but I cannot see that pre-existing plans have done much at all.

Moreover, whether or not Howard is late in acting has nothing to do with the efficacy of this proposal.

Howard has left himself exposed - he has put an agenda on the table and now needs to deliver. I agree with you that this, at least, has been useful.

Anonymous said...

Fuzzflash sez...

"In relation to emergency measures taken in the Northern Territory, in relation to indigenous affairs, Glenn Milne in The Australian today - says it better than I ever could."

Yes, but you too, are a great little commentator, Harry. Prodigious as well. And you don't go the biff when you've had a few sherbets at Awards functions. If Holt Street wises up, they'll offer you a "special guest appearance" column when Glenny goes on hols. You've played hard, done good for your hero Mr.Howard, H. It's the least Citizen Rupert's people could do for you.

Time to set aside your deep and over-riding sense of humility, Harry, and let your quill shine true, as you chronicle The Rodent's last stand.

Btw, enjoyed your thoughts on setting up your den sonically. Shock Australia have just released "Endless Highway" a 30th anniversary of Marty's "Last Waltz" with interpretations of The Band's best by contemporary artists. Generally, I've not had much joy from this style of CD, but "Endless Highway" has many brilliant renditions. Liked Widespread Panic's "The Weight" best. Well worth auricular assessment next time you are in a sound shop.

hc said...

Fuzzlash, I am not little - I am big and overweight. Given the polls the Liberals should lose the forthcoming elections. The gambling markets are ambivalent. The actual poll outcome will be a useful test of relative predictive accuracy.

I'll try 'Endless Highway'.