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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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