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http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/end-aboriginal-cult-of-victimhood-and-focus-on-what-matters/news-story/654e77d377afe4ae3ff8ac7d6d2354b1

 

Link to an article in The Australian this morning by Anthony Dillon.

Just in case it's behind a paywall - This is the bit that I think is relevant to this debate

 

 

Certainly addressing racism against Aboriginal people where it exists is worthwhile. But this should not take the place of ­addressing those issues that have the most negative impact on Aboriginal people — like unemployment, poverty, alcohol abuse, child sexual abuse, violence and unsafe living environments.

These problems require government input — but also personal responsibility. But when people are continually told that they are victims of ­racism, personal responsibility is quickly forfeited.

My friend Dave Price, husband of Northern Territory Minister Bess Price, says: “It is enormously difficult to convince your Aboriginal loved ones bent on self-­destruction that they have the power in themselves to take ­responsibility for their lives and solve their own problems when the rest of the world tells them that they are victims with a capital ‘V’. The whole debate needs to change. Let’s start by getting rid of the pernicious victim stereotype and the stultifying viciousness of political correctness gone mad.”

Shouts of racism may help politicians and academics with popularity contests, but they come at a high price for too many Aboriginal people.

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"where it exists"

As if it exists in some sort of isolated pockets of society?

"We can't help them if they can't help themselves" stuff to abrogate all responsibility.

 

Perhaps, the inherent racism of the system over 200+ years has lead to the other things?

Perhaps, addressing the underlying cause, not just the symptoms is the way to go?

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http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/end-aboriginal-cult-of-victimhood-and-focus-on-what-matters/news-story/654e77d377afe4ae3ff8ac7d6d2354b1

 

Certainly addressing racism against Aboriginal people where it exists is worthwhile. But this should not take the place of ­addressing those issues that have the most negative impact on Aboriginal people — like unemployment, poverty, alcohol abuse, child sexual abuse, violence and unsafe living environments.

These problems require government input — but also personal responsibility. But when people are continually told that they are victims of ­racism, personal responsibility is quickly forfeited.

My friend Dave Price, husband of Northern Territory Minister Bess Price, says: “It is enormously difficult to convince your Aboriginal loved ones bent on self-­destruction that they have the power in themselves to take ­responsibility for their lives and solve their own problems when the rest of the world tells them that they are victims with a capital ‘V’. The whole debate needs to change. Let’s start by getting rid of the pernicious victim stereotype and the stultifying viciousness of political correctness gone mad.”

Shouts of racism may help politicians and academics with popularity contests, but they come at a high price for too many Aboriginal people.

 

 

Classic case of "if I were in their position I could rise above it and take personal responsibility". Right, because the author would be tougher and more capable and determined to overcome the disadvantage aboriginal people face due to generations of severe racism? No, the author is not better.

 

Many Caucasian people might have stories of their immigrant parents, grandparents and great grandparents and how they got to Australia on a boat from Europe or Britain with only 10 pounds and the families good cutlery and look at how they made something of themselves! Perhaps they were even escaping some form of persecution where they came from. What they often underestimate is the massive, innate advantage they had over the local aboriginal people... They were white.

 

A "victim mentality" is not relevant in regard to the government assistance and constitutional recognition of Australian Aboriginal people. It may be an issue on an individual psychological level but it should never be used as a generalisation(border line racial profile?) in regards to the disadvantages Aboriginal Australians face. This article seems like an attempt at justification for resenting the extra assistance or recognition one group receives over another.

 

It comes across as victim blaming, where they believe it is the recipients of the assistance's fault that they still need assistance because they have had enough already, when clearly they have not.

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What they often underestimate is the massive, innate advantage they had over the local aboriginal people... They were white.

 

 

Explain to me how this sentence is not racist?

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Explain to me how this sentence is not racist?

 

It is not claiming one race is better or worse than another because of their race. It is explaining what is an advantage or disadvantage due to racism.

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I think that is just one more thing we will have to disagree on, I can't share your view on that

 

My interpretation is that one race has an inate disability to be able to handle any form of racism compared to other races which are also subjected to racism, thereby making them inferior.

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I think that is just one more thing we will have to disagree on, I can't share your view on that

 

My interpretation is that one race has an inate disability to be able to handle any form of racism compared to other races which are also subjected to racism, thereby making them inferior.

 

 

I don't understand... You disagree that caucasians experienced an advantage over black people due to racism?

 

Or you disagree that that is what I wrote? It is what I meant to write.

 

The sentence reads clear to me... "What they[Caucasian immigrants] often underestimate is the massive, innate advantage they had over the local aboriginal people... They were white." White people had an advantage by being white because the government and society treated them differently(better, with more respect) due to their race... Isn't that what happened?

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So what I was taking out of that article is that all the best attempts in the world to try and redress the past wrongs and injustices won't work while a victim mentality remains.

I don't believe the author is victim blaming at all. He's certainly not saying that there's been enough assistance for indigenous Australians. He's saying that there should be lots of help but there also needs to be 'personal responsibility'.

 

From my first hand experience I would agree completely with the author.

 

MM - If you read the whole article, the author is also "part aboriginal".

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So what I was taking out of that article is that all the best attempts in the world to try and redress the past wrongs and injustices won't work while a victim mentality remains.

I don't believe the author is victim blaming at all. He's certainly not saying that there's been enough assistance for indigenous Australians. He's saying that there should be lots of help but there also needs to be 'personal responsibility'.

 

From my first hand experience I would agree completely with the author.

 

MM - If you read the whole article, the author is also "part aboriginal".

 

I think "personal responsibility" is an individual matter and not something that should be used as a generalisation regarding recipients of support as a whole. The idea focuses on a single symptom of failed government policy and focuses attention on perceived failures of the disadvantaged recipients rather than the government.

 

No, I didn't read the entire article because it is pay-walled.

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End Aboriginal cult of victimhood and focus on what matters

Too many Aboriginal people in this country suffer and languish — not due to a lack of energy, effort or resources, but misplaced priorities. Take the recent stories generated by the 25th anniversary of the report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. We’ve seen stories and heard speeches all centring on the theme of “25 years later, Aboriginal people still die in custody”. The usual suspect, racism, is fingered as the underlying cause of these deaths. At this point, I want to make a disclosure: I write this piece as someone whose research interests include how best to promote the holistic wellbeing of Aboriginal people. Further, I write as a part­Aboriginal Australian. I do not believe that this ancestry makes my opinion more valid than anyone else, but in a world dominated by political correctness, it does provide me with the freedom to discuss matters that many are afraid to discuss for fear of “blaming the victim” or being labelled racist. Ultimately, I believe Aboriginal affairs is all our business, and we as a nation must work together. Drawing attention to an issue like Aboriginal deaths in custody is misplaced, for the simple reason that while Aboriginal people are over­represented in custody, they are not over­represented in deaths in custody. In fact, an Aboriginal person in custody is less likely to die than a non­Aboriginal person in custody. Stating this another way, there is an over­representation of non­Aboriginal deaths in custody. However, the narrative of elevated black deaths in custody is emotive, and that gets attention. Consider The health of Australia’s prisoners 2015, a publication by the Australian ­ Institute of Health and Welfare. It states: “With just over one­quarter (27 per cent) of prisoners in custody being indigenous, and 17 per cent of deaths in custody being ­ indigenous, indigenous prisoners were under­represented.” This is something that activists should never lose sight of. Yet Greens indigenous affairs spokeswoman Rachel Siewert is quoted on an ABC website as saying: “It has been 25 years since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and Aboriginal people are still disproportionately dying while in incarceration.” At least she got the 25 years right. At the same time as the deaths in custody furore, Melbourne Aboriginal actor Uncle Jack ANTHONY DILLON THE AUSTRALIAN APRIL 19, 2016 12:00AM At the same time as the deaths in custody furore, Melbourne Aboriginal actor Uncle Jack Charles was again refused a taxi ride. This was immediately ascribed to racism. It is possible, maybe even likely, that racism was the motivating factor for the refusal. However, such racism may not be as common as some people would like to think. I am guessing that each week thousands of Aboriginal people across the country must catch taxis without incident. As such, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’s response that racist taxi drivers are not welcome in Victoria seems like an over­reaction, or playing to the gallery. If it is the case, the other premiers and chief ministers should perhaps prepare for a huge invasion of racist taxi drivers from Victoria. No doubt Premier Andrews will be hailed by some as the man who took a courageous stand against racism. But how does this help Aboriginal people? Certainly addressing racism against Aboriginal people where it exists is worthwhile. But this should not take the place of addressing those issues that have the most negative impact on Aboriginal people — like unemployment, poverty, alcohol abuse, child sexual abuse, violence and unsafe living environments. These problems require government input — but also personal responsibility. But when people are continually told that they are victims of racism, personal responsibility is quickly forfeited. My friend Dave Price, husband of Northern Territory Minister Bess Price, says: “It is enormously difficult to convince your Aboriginal loved ones bent on self­destruction that they have the power in themselves to take responsibility for their lives and solve their own problems when the rest of the world tells them that they are victims with a capital ‘V’. The whole debate needs to change. Let’s start by getting rid of the pernicious victim stereotype and the stultifying viciousness of political correctness gone mad.” Shouts of racism may help politicians and academics with popularity contests, but they come at a high price for too many Aboriginal people. I agree with Dave: unless the debate changes, the outcomes will not change. Let’s keep applying the same effort but direct it towards addressing the real causes of Aboriginal suffering. Anthony Dillon is a post doctoral fellow at the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education at the Australian Catholic University

Edited by Gundy

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Thanks for sharing the article.

 

I was not expecting the author to use media and political beat ups as example causes of victim mentality and lack of personal responsibility among Aboriginal Australians. I don't think that is accurate or based on any kind of evidence other than a feeling the author may have. The stats on deaths in custody speak for themselves(an improvement) and their misrepresentation simply reflects the ignorance and/or dishonesty of the politicians involved.

 

I think I read somewhere that the sense of being a victim is often developed in childhood home environment rather than through mass media. Which could be addressed though better levels of education and health services to ensure the best possible environments in which to raise children. Victim mentality is more likely a generational effect of the racism Aboriginal people have faced.

 

I have not done and serious research into this topic and don't have any personal experiences with Aboriginal communities. My posts are meant to encourage people to thoroughly examine their position on topics like this because they(like refugees) are often used by shock jocks, opinion writers and dishonest politicians with their own agendas.

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I agree that he used some odd examples in the article which was why I initially quoted the bit that seemed most relevant to my thoughts this morning.

I don't know how you stop the victim mentality. It's definitely passed on from one generation to the next.
I think the most depressing thing is the repetitious cycle of hopelessness in poorly educated, longterm welfare families (no matter the colour of their skin).

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I find myself wondering out loud how the outcomes of aboriginal people who live in the circumstance of multi-generational unemployment/welfare compare to those of the non-indigenous in the same circumstance? Like the comments from the article above, is it an issue of the outcomes being worse or simply the likelihood of being in the position being greater? It doesn't make the call for help any less desperate but it certainly makes the best course of action different.

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is it an issue of the outcomes being worse or simply the likelihood of being in the position being greater?

I think it's both.

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I'm less interested in "think" and more interested in data, if it has ever been collated. I imagine that there is probably some difference but from what I have been able to observe it's probably not as great as we'd imagine.

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Ah the old "victim mentality" card - absolving rspondibility. Manditory imprisonment for summary and other minor offences isn't a 200 year old historical fact. Happening now in the territory - brilliant way to inculcate a 'victim mentality' ... no?

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So this will probably get me shot, lots of other countries got invaded in fact most of them, most of them moved on and got over it. Maybe time for chips to move of shoulders

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200 years this week since the Appin massacre. Google it and feel ashamed.

 

I agree that shit that happened in the past was terrible. But why should I personally feel ashamed for something that happened generations ago?

 

I would be ashamed if I did anything like that now. As I would also be ashamed if I did a fair amount of the things that indigenous Australians did around here with no repercussions. Things that hurt other people - of many descents.

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So this will probably get me shot, lots of other countries got invaded in fact most of them, most of them moved on and got over it. Maybe time for chips to move of shoulders

 

Well, it is kind of pointless suggestion don't you think?

 

The facts are the facts, Aboriginal Australians are well behind other Australians in income, education and health/life expectancy. They are over represented in our prison and justice system and their children are disturbingly over represented in child protection cases.

 

They can't just "get over it" and we are not meant to "feel ashamed" about how they were treated. But maybe we could respect their need for extra assistance and recognition as a way of repairing the terrible damage that has been wrought upon them by the racist actions of Australian governments.

 

If the Aboriginal people are not responding fast enough to the governments efforts for you're liking... Tough shite.

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Well, it is kind of pointless suggestion don't you think?

 

The facts are the facts, Aboriginal Australians are well behind other Australians in income, education and health/life expectancy. They are over represented in our prison and justice system and their children are disturbingly over represented in child protection cases.

 

They can't just "get over it" and we are not meant to "feel ashamed" about how they were treated. But maybe we could respect their need for extra assistance and recognition as a way of repairing the terrible damage that has been wrought upon them by the racist actions of Australian governments.

 

If the Aboriginal people are not responding fast enough to the governments efforts for you're liking... Tough shite.

don't committ crimes, look after their kids better, this is their choice just as it is for anglos who do the same thing and it is not the direct result of any invasion.

 

Make better choices

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Well, it is kind of pointless suggestion don't you think?

 

But then so was the statement that the Turtle was responding too. Why should she, or I feel ashamed of what was done 200 years ago?

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Why should she, or I feel ashamed of what was done 200 years ago?

Do you think the bad stuff stopped 200 years ago?

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So this will probably get me shot, lots of other countries got invaded in fact most of them, most of them moved on and got over it. Maybe time for chips to move of shoulders

Racist...

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don't committ crimes, look after their kids better, this is their choice just as it is for anglos who do the same thing and it is not the direct result of any invasion.

 

Make better choices

 

Sorry, but that's a very white middle class way of thinking. Choices can only be made if they exist.

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Fair call Tortoise. Abusing alcohol and other drugs is in no way a personal choice. Neglecting and abusing your children and those of your family is not a choice. Committing crimes that destroy other people's lives is not a choice.

 

So those who may be of a minority that is discriminated against but have managed to avoid these activities and become highly valuable members of society deserve absolutely no credit for what they have become. They're just lucky. It was their fate. Choice had nothing to do with it.

 

We all have choices. Some circumstances make the right choice easy, some make it difficult and some make the right option uncertain. No matter what one thing is certain, until someone makes their own decision to take a course of action nothing will happen. You can lead a horse to water and all that...

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Sorry, but that's a very white middle class way of thinking. Choices can only be made if they exist.

 

So you are saying that there is no choice for groups of society? I accept that for groups such as slaves in civil war era US, apartheid SA, refugees in the middle east. Choices are limited for for those in certain circumstances compared to those with more wealth. In Australia that minimum set of choices is there, no one is denied choices. It is a personal choice to pump money in pokies, drink to excees, take ice etc

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don't committ crimes, look after their kids better, this is their choice just as it is for anglos who do the same thing and it is not the direct result of any invasion.

 

Make better choices

 

Individuals make life choices, entire communities of indigenous people do not.

 

If there is a clearly defined section of Australia's population that are showing a much higher likelihood of making poor choices, that is a problem that needs to be addressed for that entire section of the population. It is obviously caused by factors that disproportionately effect those people.

 

To say they should "make better choices" does nothing to address the real problem, which is an entire population group making poor choices more often. Increased support services need to be provided until Aboriginal people are no more likely to make poor life choices than any other Australian. This, to me is a rational and fair conclusion.

 

We can leave the whole question of why the situation for indigenous people may be different in other countries to the anthropologists and academics. It has no relevancy in addressing the facts or fixing the problem.

Edited by MountainMan

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No matter what one thing is certain, until someone makes their own decision to take a course of action nothing will happen. You can lead a horse to water and all that...

 

Yet "we" as mainly white upper class governments, feel like we can force people to make better decisions by imposing prohibition type laws on communities. For their own good though. So that's OK.

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How can you hold the attitude that it is up to the individual when there is a blindingly obvious correlation between these poor life outcomes and Aboriginal heritage? This correlation exists, at least in part, because of long term racism.

 

If it were just up to the individual there would be no difference in the frequency of "poor choices" for Aboriginal Australians and that of Non-Aboriginal Australians.

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Wondering how many in this discussion have semi-regular contact with, or see aboriginal people - say at least 2-3 times per week?

every day

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Wondering how many in this discussion have semi-regular contact with, or see aboriginal people - say at least 2-3 times per week?

I hesitate to post this ............

 

I live 5km from a town called Boggabilla. It's a disaster zone only topped by the nearby community of Toomelah.

I drove through Boggabilla today thinking about this thread.

I know what Mountain Man is saying and it's an admirable stance/ambition that is impossible to follow because, just like Bob Geldof and Bandaid haven't stopped famine in African nations, the reality of the situation gets in the way of ideals of how we'd like the world to be.

There's lots of people that try and help (and lots of money thrown at helping) but I can tell you from firsthand experience that not much changes. I believe this is because the majority of indigenous will not take responsibility for their lives because it's too easy to play the victim card and say that it's all too hard and I'm too disadvantaged.

The young kids are really great young kids. The environment that they grow up in is truly awful and it doesn't take long for them to turn feral. And then it's too late. We surely can't steal another generation to try and break the cycle??

 

But what do you do?

You can increase the support services all you like. It doesn't help if they don't even bother to turn up to use them.

By way of comparison I know of white parents of an autistic kid in Goondiwindi that pulled him from the Goondi school and sent him to Boggabilla because it is so well staffed and resourced. The kid thrived.

I don't know the answer, but I know what MM is saying and I can't agree because it is just more of the same. That's why I think the change now has to come from indigenous people themselves. The support, tools and money are available if they want to use them.

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There will always be some bleeding hearts trying to rewrite history. It all depends on your perspective.

 

My great great grandfather was taken away from his parents at the age of 16 (for 'borrowing' a leg of mutton) and sent to Australia, never to see his parents again. Should I be waiting for an apology before I can move on.

 

What happened in the past should be left in the past, Nothing you can do to change it now. It is the present and the future we should be working towards to improve our lot not bleating about what happened over 200 years ago.

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Individuals make life choices, entire communities of indigenous people do not.

 

If there is a clearly defined section of Australia's population that are showing a much higher likelihood of making poor choices, that is a problem that needs to be addressed for that entire section of the population. It is obviously caused by factors that disproportionately effect those people.

 

To say they should "make better choices" does nothing to address the real problem, which is an entire population group making poor choices more often. Increased support services need to be provided until Aboriginal people are no more likely to make poor life choices than any other Australian. This, to me is a rational and fair conclusion.

 

We can leave the whole question of why the situation for indigenous people may be different in other countries to the anthropologists and academics. It has no relevancy in addressing the facts or fixing the problem.

The community is an aggregate of the individual choices, so they sort of do. Are there factors driving this, yes, is it related to the events of 200 years ago, to some extent yes. Outcomes across the board are poorer than for other australians, though you might find similar outcomes for bogans, challenging the hypothesis that it was the events of 200 years ago.

 

Not you but another response suggest that aboriginals cannot make choices as they don't exist. This is a bit racist and insulting to aboriginal people, many who assert that they have choices and make good ones

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Wondering how many in this discussion have semi-regular contact with, or see aboriginal people - say at least 2-3 times per week?

Every day

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I'm forming the opinion those who have some semi-regular first-hand contact with aboriginal people have a stronger grip on the reality of the situation than those who perhaps formed their opinions through the media or some other source.

 

In our area (5%+ aboriginal), they run courses to understand the way aboriginal people think. Until attending one of these, I had a very dim view of aboriginals (does that make me racist? Probably, but when almost every crime committed against you/your family - theft, break and enter, assault - has been perpetrated by aboriginals, I'd challenge anyone not to form a dim view). Even my tree-hugging left wing conspiracy theorist BIL who did his best to be-friend a local group became incredibly disillusioned and eventually decided they were as racist as we invading whiteys, and gave up.

 

But none of that means we should not work to see their lot improved, because as Gundy says, many sure need it and we have pissed away far too much taxpayer money on useless initiatives.

 

As my understanding improved, my attitude mellowed. One of the most telling pieces of info from the course was that most aboriginal people do not plan for the future like us, but live more for the moment (which is probably a good way to live your life, if it doesn't send you down self-destructive or criminal alleyways). But how you get people who think that way to make good choices? And when agencies do try to help them plot out a future, their aboriginal peers will accuse them of becoming 'coconuts' - black on the outside, white on the inside. Some rise above that, some don't.

 

The good news is, over the 20+ years living here, I've perceived a large reduction in aboriginal crime and racial tension (back in the 80's, you'd walk out of the pub and be attacked by a gang of aboriginal kids telling you where you could stick your bi-centennial celebrations). And much improved integration and mutual acceptance. Not sure why - perhaps it is because there are decent job opportunities for aboriginal people here, integration through sport (esp. rugby league, touch footy) has probably helped. I also think the younger generations are more accepting of racial differences, and the kids integrate better at school.

 

The other day I was heartened by the sight of a white girl and an aboriginal girl walking to the local high school, chatting away like best buddies. You would not have seen that 20yrs ago.

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But what do you do?

You can increase the support services all you like. It doesn't help if they don't even bother to turn up to use them.

By way of comparison I know of white parents of an autistic kid in Goondiwindi that pulled him from the Goondi school and sent him to Boggabilla because it is so well staffed and resourced. The kid thrived.

I don't know the answer, but I know what MM is saying and I can't agree because it is just more of the same. That's why I think the change now has to come from indigenous people themselves. The support, tools and money are available if they want to use them.

 

Let's use a hypothetical situation based on your example. From my understanding Aboriginal Australians have a significant cultural connection to the land which may make them reluctant to move. They also have strong extended family structures that may also make it difficult for them to decide to move towns. You and I and may not understand how these connections could ever come before our child's welfare, but it is possible that others consider closeness to family and ancestral land very important to their child's welfare, even more important than a special school far away(I know in your example the school was not far away).

 

This is an example of cultural differences of Aboriginal Australians and possible negative health outcomes. So, the person that explains to the Aboriginal parents that their child needs to attend a different school further away needs to understand the significance of what they are asking the family to do.

 

Solutions? Here is just a few, they will cost huge amounts of money but will save much more than they cost in 20 and 30 years time

  • Comprehensive parenting courses and ongoing support and consultation by trained parenting experts for every at risk parent/family
  • Traveling schools and teachers/tutors to help increase school attendance for all children
  • Revamp the foster care system, tightening the requirements. Add professionally trained parent/carers and build government run homes for children in care providing the very best level of care possible for children at risk.
  • Large and long term funding increase for front line services to tackle domestic violence and substance abuse.

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Wondering how many in this discussion have semi-regular contact with, or see aboriginal people - say at least 2-3 times per week?

None, whatsoever.

 

I just see a problem that needs to be fixed and I fear many people are basing their own position on emotional responses to individual cases and media and political beat-ups. Coupled with cultural differences they are coming to conclusions which I think are not correct.

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Let's use a hypothetical situation based on your example. From my understanding Aboriginal Australians have a significant cultural connection to the land which may make them reluctant to move. They also have strong extended family structures that may also make it difficult for them to decide to move towns. You and I and may not understand how these connections could ever come before our child's welfare, but it is possible that others consider closeness to family and ancestral land very important to their child's welfare, even more important than a special school far away(I know in your example the school was not far away).

 

I can tell you from personal observation that many have little attachment to "their country" when moving 1200km further north will give them substantially increased welfare payments.

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I had a thought walking to work this morning.

I watched the IMP doco on ABC a couple of weeks ago.

 

It took one kid the best part of 6 months to be able to get a passport due to lack of official documents.

And that was with a copper helping him at every step.

 

What ever the solution is, it's a complex situation.

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Solutions? Here is just a few, they will cost huge amounts of money but will save much more than they cost in 20 and 30 years time

  • Comprehensive parenting courses and ongoing support and consultation by trained parenting experts for every at risk parent/family
  • Traveling schools and teachers/tutors to help increase school attendance for all children
  • Revamp the foster care system, tightening the requirements. Add professionally trained parent/carers and build government run homes for children in care providing the very best level of care possible for children at risk.
  • Large and long term funding increase for front line services to tackle domestic violence and substance abuse.

 

 

I'm happy to have any solution that actually works no matter the cost because all we've got at the moment are many various attempts at solutions that keep throwing good money after bad.

Using your list

  • There is considerable family support available if they wish to use it. However not sure of specifics so yes sure lets do this.
  • I'm closely associated with some people who work/worked at Toomelah and Boggabilla schools. The level of support for schooling is beyond amazing. There are no excuses here.
  • "Govt run homes for children in care" - Hello stolen generation. Regarding foster care - more good people would look to become foster parents if the biological parents weren't allowed to be an ongoing disruption to the child's well being.
  • Your last point is getting to the crux of the problem according to me. Happy to spend money in these areas.

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http://www.aes.org.au/about-us/

 

Gundy has seen the problem just like I did in my time in the area, and the link is one program that is actively tackling this problem around the Moree area.

 

Being involved in the local cotton grower organisation in the mid 90s, I got to see first hand this program at work. A great guy named Len was instrumental in starting this program up. Being a local boy that had pulled himself up out of the problems Gundy identified, he would openly tell you:

one third are capable of getting out on their own

one third will do nothing to help themselves.

The other third will do things themselves with a bit of help and some good role models. They in turn will then be role models for the others, and soon the third incapable of doing anything themselves will shrink to a quarter in a generation, then a fifth in the next and so on. (interestingly I now wonder if this is any different for children growing up in multigeneration welfare and domestic abuse in any society - nature vs nurture?)

 

We hired one young guy who was an amazing worker, unfortunately the success lead us to hire another one who really was a bad seed and lead the first guy astray with unexplained absences and drinking on the job, we then had to let the second guy go and reset the expectations with the first guy. We did manage to hire other workers through the scheme and it was great to see it expand to not only being for farm workers, but extended within the 3 years I was involved to include the first person getting the start to go on and become a pilot for a crop dusting firm in the local area, as well as others taking on apprenticeships in various trades, through to others taking on professional training. It was said at the start that to be great role models the careers had to be real, not just jobs.

 

The program is labelled a success now almost 20 years since it was commenced in Moree. I can tell you it was not smooth sailing in the early years and without Len being the right person to get it going with the buy in from the targetted audience, I doubt it would have made it through the first year

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