Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bring back Mal Brough or at least ditch Macklin

Probably the least competent of the entire Ruddite Ministry - if you ignore the northern NAIRU peanut - is Jenny Macklin - remember her? She was that Deputy Leader of the Opposition who was seldom either seen or heard. As Miranda Devine points out, Macklin's role in the aboriginal affairs portfolio already looks feeble. Macklin is an old-fashioned lefty with no creativity, limited intelligence and not much zest. She is advancing an old-fashioned 'victimhood' agenda for Australia's aboriginal people that won't improve their welfare.

I regret to say Macklin is also my local member. I first came across her when she was a poorly informed Canberra health bureaucrat who was unable to connect overservicing issues among GPs with the fact of universal free health care.

On aboriginal issues, according to Devine:
After 75 days in office, Macklin has not visited a single remote Aboriginal community. Her spokeswoman stressed on Friday that, as Opposition spokeswoman, she travelled to 15 communities last year and gained "a lot of corporate knowledge" to inform her decisions.

But for a Government big on symbolism, the message is that the minister is listening only to the usual suspects from the old rights-based Aboriginal power establishment, who have vested interests in the rotten status quo that has been so disastrous for so many Aboriginal children. So disastrous that researchers in the latest Medical Journal Of Australia seriously advocate a mass antibiotic program in remote communities because of the soaring rate of sexually transmitted diseases among children.

So dysfunctional that the former indigenous affairs minister Mal Brough tells of one community in which eight six-year-olds were raped by older children, aged eight to 10. In another, recent health checks identified 300 rat bites on children.

Yet when Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson began listing the unpalatable, well-documented facts of Aboriginal misery during his apology speech on Wednesday, he was attacked.

The fact that people, including, famously, two Kevin Rudd staffers, slow-clapped and turned their backs on Nelson at precisely the moment he spoke of child sexual abuse shows how the deaf ear has been turned to the suffering of the most vulnerable. Instead we have a craven revival of the Keating-era victimhood agenda.

"They do not want to hear the truth because it's so offensive and insulting," says Brough, the former army officer whose passion to actually fix problems in dysfunctional Aboriginal communities drove the Northern Territory emergency intervention. The aim was to re-establish social norms the rest of Australia takes for granted, by inserting police, preventing alcohol and drug abuse, performing medical checks and instituting income management.

Brough abolished the permit system which had long protected the potentates and predators of the communities from prying eyes. He also began dismantling the Community Development Employment Projects' work-for-the-dole schemes which had degenerated into fiefdoms with local standover men controlling all wages.


conrad said...

Lucky you, Jenny Macklin and Kevin Andrews. There's some talent where you live. Since Mal Brough offered nothing but authoritarianism, I can't see any value in him either.

hc said...

I disagree on that one. I think Mal Brough was an outstanding minister who was totally committed to his job. Comparing him with Jenny Macklin brings me close to breaking point.

No question - from the perspective of aboriginal people - Australia is worse off with her.

Anonymous said...

Come off it Harry. It's far too early pass judgment on Macklin.

Why don't wait and see what she achieves in the job, rather than relying on your prejudices and second hand accounts from Miranda Devine?


hc said...

That's true Macklin has only been in the job for a short time. But she has a track record that does not inspire confidence and is already moving to reverse some worthwhile Brough initiatives.

Really compare Brough with this clown. It isn't funny.

Anonymous said...

Why go on about Brough? He's not even in the Parliament anymore, because his constituents voted him out with a 10.3% swing, which was double the average swing to Labor.

Obviously they had a lower opinion of him that you do, and they knew him a lot better than you.


derrida derider said...

I don't share Harry's opinion of Brough - he had a military man's virtues and vices, and as a Minister those vices mattered.

Unfortunately I do share his opinion of Macklin. The ideology-based abuse aside (anonymous' crack about "second hand Miranda Devine" hit home), her track record and persona don't inspire confidence. But, yes, it's early days and she may surprise on the upside yet.

Bring Back CL's blog said...

so Harry,

you advocate sending in the troops into Aboriginal communities on a report which itself said it had no proof of child abuse.

By gingo the Brough was a minister you could look up to and waste money.

Perhaps you might attempt some research before lauding a complete and utter failure

NH said...

Crikey HC, with experts like you on the inter-web, it's a wonder we need parliament at all...

I note you criticise Macklin about not having visited an Indigenous community in the last 5 minutes - How many communities did you visit before forming your views?

Mal Brough made decision after dodgy decision based on little or no evidence that such actions would have any affect whatsoever on the problems, all under the cover of well-we'll-just-roll-our-sleeves-up-and-fix-these-niggers...

I've got no faith in K-Rudd or Macklin being the Great White Hope for Indigenous Australians, but I'm confident (and so are most of the indigenous people I've spoken to about this) that she'll do better than Brough.

Anonymous said...

In the USA Britney Spears recently lost custody of her 2 kids for snorting cocaine in front of them. If a white parent had done the same thing in Australia the same thing would have happened (more or less). Under Mal Brough (if given the chance) the same thing would have happened in the aboriginal community. Under Jenny Macklin we can look forward to nothing being done about the horrendous things many young defenceless aboriginal children are subject too. We will get the usual cheerleading PC spineless rubbish from the labor party.....we will "counsel" the perpetrators etc etc Geoff.