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

two peoples « Previous | |Next »
May 28, 2006

A good article on the crisis in East Timor. The finger is pointed at Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, an increasingly unpopular leader lost the support of the people, the military, the police, the Church and potentially the country's most important foreign allies.

Bill Leak

From an article in the National Indigenous Times about Mal Brough, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, who had travelled the countryside saying what he was going to do to save Aboriginal Australia:

If Brough truly wants to save Aboriginal kids in Wadeye and beyond from aimless lives dominated by violence he doesn’t need to don a cape and use blue language. What Brough needs to do is invest the necessary money into Indigenous education, housing, health and regional infrastructure as the nation’s experts - and the Wadeye community - keep telling him. A level playing field is always a good start. But of course, come last week’s budget, no such thing happened. Despite touring the nation and handing out promises like candy, Brough and the federal government merely announced less than the barest minimum in funding, just like it has done at every budget for the past decade.

Why spend the money? It won't win the Government votes.

Update 29 May
The conservative response can be seen here in this op. ed. by John Pasquarelli in The Australian. Directing his attack on "the architects of separatism" he says:

For the past 40 years a policy of separatism has been promoted by a pious and self-satisfied crew of misguided missionaries, pompous judges, academics, politicians and the usual camp followers drawn from the ranks of the arts and media. The result? Stranded in remote areas and the worst parts of our cities and country towns, Aborigines are the victims of a cultural apartheid. Relentlessly pursued by all sides of politics, separatism spawned the scandalous shambles that was ATSIC and led so-called Aboriginal leaders to denounce assimilation as genocide. Separatism has not only divided black and white, it has set black against black in a terrible orgy of brutality and degradation.

Funny, I though that many aborigines wanted to return to living in their country. His solution is assimilation:
Aborigines who are not seriously damaged must be encouraged to live in the same places, go to the same schools, the same hospitals and the same government agencies as the rest of us. The sick and the hopelessly wounded will have to be protected and nursed the rest of their days.

No mention of refugee shelters for women and children to proect them from domestic and communal violence.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 2:37 PM | | Comments (7)


From the responses we've received about East Timor, and the Australian response, is just more imperialist activity! see

Few would give much credence to the account by the World Wide Socialist Web. Their conclusion, namely:

Under the pretext of preventing civil war and helping the Timorese people, Australian imperialism has moved to reassert its dominance in East Timor, to install a compliant regime and to protect its economic and strategic interests.

Is not warranted from their argument.

"Why spend the money? It won't win the Government votes."

The implication being of course that little or no money has been spent on the Aborigines up to the present.

When we both know that it's not the case.

not necessarily.The Federal Government spends around $3.3billion on aboriginal services.

The point is that there was not much of an increase in funding --around $137 million.This seems low, given the need, the huge budget surplus and a resource boom.

That means the necessary money into Indigenous education, housing, health and regional infrastructure is stil required.

Having lived in the country most of my life & still owning property there, I can testify that the standard of services & opportunities , available to everyone, are well below those in the urban areas- and the further out you go, the fewer the services.etc.
Not only are the services fewer -but on the fringes - you often have to pay for services such as water, sewerage & garbage collection which the local council has neither the will nor the way to deliver.
Let me ask you this- do the Aborigines’ receive fewer benefits/services than other Australian’s– in similar circumstances

as I understand it the Howard Government is more concerned about "practical reconciliation" (by which they meant addressing disadvantage) than the gestures or reconciliation, apologies and land rights

Even Mal Brough is saying that there are not enough police on the ground in indigenous communities compared to white communities.

And he points the finger at the Northern Territory's Martin Government for this lack of protection for women and children from communal and domestic violence.

Isn't that an indication of disadvantage and fewer services in indigenous communities?

No Martin I tend to disagree with you.
I think its about outcomes rather than inputs.

The Aboriginals get as much or more than anyone else (ie benefits/assistance), its just the outcome (what they acheive with it) is substandard.