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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Saturday's Australian Cartoon « Previous | |Next »
August 9, 2003


Such a simple message.

How to interpret it? That's the trick.

Here's one attempt. It places the emphasis on civic entrepreneurship – using the resources of government to make a difference. It is hard to disagree with a bush camp program that enables indigenous urban youth the opportunity:

"...the young participants sell their products to locals and tourists from their market stalls in Cairns and Kuranda. All the profits are shared according to individual productivity. Boys are taught about marketing, labelling, price formation, operational efficiency and selling methods. Young men learn that true Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men do not take drugs and commit crimes – they are strong, resilient and earn money the proper way."

It is along the lines of social entrepreneurs who argue that solutions to unemployment or a lack of services can come from communities themselves in partnership with business. Empowering communities can come from communities themselves in partnership with business.

And this is how the criminologists see it:

"The approach utilises re-integration shaming and elements of narrative therapy. Re-offending, laziness, drug and alcohol abuse are proclaimed by the group to be the behaviours of weak-minded children who have no respect for themselves and others. Relapses of these behaviours are openly challenged however the individual is subsequently forgiven and accepted back into the group. The alternative story is where all young participants are strong, hard-working young men with pride and self-respect who earn their money the proper way."

Sounds as if its a viable alternative to the topdown ASTIC approach advocated by Ray Robinson on this recent Four Corners Program.

Is Noel Person's understanding of self-help the underlying philosophy for a new kind of policy direction by Aboriginal Australians away from the comprehensive dependence upon passive welfare for their livelihood.

Self-help for Noel Pearson is making the break from a welfare income provisioning for people dispossessed from the real economy. That is the “Aboriginal industry” that is preoccupied with servicing dysfunctional communities. Making a break involves taking a step into economic employment in the regional economy a viable one. Is it also a viable way for indigenous Australians to deal with their social disintegration and instability of Aboriginal communities?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:28 AM | | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (1)

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