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after the intervention « Previous | |Next »
February 17, 2009

A year on after the apology the Rudd Government has moved slowly on aboriginal reform to raise life standards for indigenous communities whilst the emergency intervention looks more and more permanent. The need for spending in the indigenous realm remains as great as ever: the need for boarding schools, dedicated regional rehabs, all-weather sealed road networks, machine shops for communities, permanent staff accommodation -- all the basic infrastructure so gravely neglected for decades by the Northern Territory and Commonwealth governments.

In The Australian Nicolas Rothwell says that:

The reasons for the breakdown in the reform agenda for Aboriginal Australia are multiple, but at their heart lie basic failures by Rudd and his ministers, failures both of sympathy and of analytic understanding. Some core measures of the first intervention program remain in force: the strengthened police presence is still in place across the remote Territory, the 50-odd exorbitantly paid government business managers too. The most controversial constraint -- income quarantining -- has not only been kept, it has been extended into other regions of Aboriginal Australia and is embraced by Rudd and Macklin as a key means of social control over the behaviour of indigenous welfare recipients.

Rothwell argues that Aboriginal societies and communities are far from solely responsible for their plight. As we see with hindsight, it is the policies put in place over the past generation that are very largely to blame: in education, in training, and, above all, in governance and welfare delivery.

He adds:

The key institutions involved in management of the Aboriginal domain have also failed, or become superannuated: the land councils, the policy research centres, the government departments. And yet policy is still in the hands of the same small networks of individuals, whether indigenous leaders or mainstream bureaucrats: those who "fail upwards". The conceptual break from past policies that Brough was trying to engender has been swiftly reversed. But without a frank intellectual critique of past policy fiascos, new approaches cannot begin. In short, Rudd and Macklin effected a restoration: not for them the ardent fervour of the Noel Pearson analysis, which Brough came to endorse. They have welcomed back the familiar old guard, both in the Aboriginal leadership and in the advisory nebulas that steer inner governmental debate.

Rudd's $42 billion including $6.6 billion for new houses but only tossed the NT a mere $200 million for its infrastructure projects.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:45 AM | | Comments (4)
Comments

Comments

Rothwells article in the Australian was spot on and against the soft Australian lefts orthodoxy and incredible conservatism. Rudd appeased the white masses with his sorry apology - but to those who know - his words were cheap platitudes to the realities facing contemporary Aboriginal Australians - sorry is totally meaningless to the social and economic realities for the Aborigines I know. It as suspected was always going to be enough for a Rudd government to mouth the easy trendy platitudes and follow it up with the continuing non action in respect to real issues of Australian governments.

Tony
I thought that Rudd + Co were doing more than appease the white masses with his sorry apology - and that he has done more than indulge in cheap platitudes to the realities facing contemporary Aboriginal Australia.

After all, he has continued Howard's big action intervention plan. Or doesn't that count?

Tony,
you talk about the Rudd Government as soft left mouthing the easy trendy platitudes and following it up with continuing no-action. Yet Rothwell, whom you agree with, says the following about Rudd:

Some core measures of the first intervention program remain in force: the strengthened police presence is still in place across the remote Territory, the 50-odd exorbitantly paid government business managers too. The most controversial constraint -- income quarantining -- has not only been kept, it has been extended into other regions of Aboriginal Australia and is embraced by Rudd and Macklin as a key means of social control over the behaviour of indigenous welfare recipients.

Seems as if you haven't read Rothwell's article closely.The criticism is that Rudd and Macklin are slow in moving beyond Howard's intervention in terms of housing and education

The dog barked.........

The focus now in the media is about white people losing their homes and jobs.

Aboriginal health, housing and interventions got boring. And as we all know only those things that are visualized on the 6 o'clock news need immediate action. Everything else can wait.