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The Forum > Article Comments > Some ideas for closing the gap > Comments

Some ideas for closing the gap : Comments

By Anthony Dillon, published 15/2/2018

We should celebrate those areas where we have seen some gains, but learn from the failures and come up with new strategies.

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Good thinking from Anthony Dillon - as always. Governments don't do anything properly, and aboriginal 'leaders' and self-serving whites and sundry do-gooders are most of the problem. Billions of dollars spent, and we still have people living miserable, meaningless lives. We haven't progressed from the 'living museum' days of those two a... holes Gough Whitlam and Nugget Coombes.
Posted by ttbn, Thursday, 15 February 2018 8:13:45 AM
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So what's 'working' ?

Participation in higher education, for one: more than fifty thousand graduates (maybe around 57,000 by the end of last year), one in every seven or eight Indigenous adults, isn't a bad effort.

But you have to differentiate between urban/remote-rural, and working/welfare-based, populations. Amongst urban, working people and their children, most of the 'Closing the Gap' measures are closing rapidly - no particular thanks to any programs, the improvements are far more likely to be 'bootstrap' initiatives by the people themselves. There is such a thing as social forces, social change, which the people themselves are bringing about and, if anything, special 'programs' are hindrances to those social changes. Working people are more likely to push their kids, and in turn their kids have positive role-models AND more information about their options, which inevitably include hard work, regular school attendance and performance, and expectations of future careers, as logical outcomes for all that effort.

Currently, even on the federal Education Department figures, on: https://www.education.gov.au/higher-education-statistics - which (I suspect) are about 30-40 % out, in 2016, nearly seven thousand Indigenous people commenced university study. A relevant age-group numbers around fourteen thousand, so the equivalent of at least HALF of, say, the 21- or 24- year-old age-group is commencing university study each year. That number is going up by about 8 % p.a.

So currently, the equivalent of about four age-groups are university graduates. Five, by around 2020; six, by around 2025; and so on. Proportionately much more in the cities, and even more amongst urban working families.

That's one reality, one 'pole' of the 'Gap'. All the work now needs to be done on the other 'pole'. How to get kids to go to school - using the Eternal Carrot doesn't seem to be working, so why not a bit of stick? Penalise parents who don't send their kids to school by cutting Family Benefits, which implicitly assume that parents ARE getting their kids into school ? And is it impossible to devise training programs for all those able-bodied unemployed people in remote and rural areas ?

Joe
Posted by Loudmouth, Thursday, 15 February 2018 8:25:03 AM
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It makes little sense impoverishing one group in society, to furnish the whims of another group, deemed to be more important (politically).

And if closing the gap is actually necessary, then keep the word egalitarian firmly at the centre of the push.

The author very briefly hit on the problem of inequality, IE Who's inequality?

All Australian communities have an issue currently totally ignored by politicians, its called “poverty”.
It's stark, and has no cultural boundaries.

Closing the gap BS, simply breeds more resentment on one side, and total arrogance on the other.

I know more whites in dire need of reasonable and affordable housing, (with or without A/C, they wouldn't care), than privileged Aboriginals (with “private property, do not enter” signs erected at their entrances).

“Closing the gap” is total BS, and we out here in normal land, are fully aware of it!
Posted by diver dan, Thursday, 15 February 2018 8:42:27 AM
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Forgive me for suggesting, very tentatively (out of fear of being burnt at the stake, perhaps after being drawn and quartered), that to an extent, perhaps, in some cases, maybe, [how's all that for ambivalence ?] that 'Closing the Gap' and maintaining 'Culture' are antithetical ? You can't do both ?

Is it possible that the root causes of some aspects of the 'Gap' are cultural, or at least traditional-oriented society ? Patriarchy, the frequent recourse in traditional times to extreme violence, documented everywhere, the necessity in foraging societies to focus on today and not tomorrow, to gorge if it's there and starve when it's not, to act on the spur of the moment, to take that's offered by the World/Nature/Outside Authorities, without asking too many questions because it may not come again ? To perceive all effort as unpleasant, negative and unnecessary (but natural for Whitefellas, like a servant class for Blackfellas), and permanent leisure as the ideal ?

Jesus, now I'll have to migrate to some unnamed country :(

Joe
Posted by Loudmouth, Thursday, 15 February 2018 11:18:03 AM
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Closing the gap is dependant on folks willing to relocate to better served areas and put an emphasis on learning english language and Stem subjects ahead of the native tongue.

As long as folk can hide in remote locations, the children abuse problem/domestic and alcoholism will continue along with its aftermath on the unborn.

This refusal by some to move out of the stone age and into the 21st century, by a community of welfare dependant folk, is a significant part of the problem as is the usual nepotism/cronyism etc/etc.

Yes by all means, let them keep their languages and culture but none of the problems it allows. Public drunkenness, domestic violence, massive child abuse and seriously neglected kids.

Folks can complain and blame whitey? But nothing much about accepting grown up responsibility and owning your own behavior.

And entrenched/reinforced by recalcitrant intransigence!

Simply put, if some folks can start from the same place and go on to succeed, it has to say something about the real problems and the humbug that tries to excuse the part of principle players, who've seen billions literally flushed down the toilet trying to tackle problems not recognized as emanating inside the culture!?

Time to call a spade a spade and call out the Humbug!
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Thursday, 15 February 2018 12:14:27 PM
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Hi Alan,

When my kids were in primary school, and we were living in an area with a large Greek population, they used to go along to the Saturday morning Greek-languge programs which were offered for free by Greek community members. What's to stop Aboriginal people in communities from intensively teaching their kids any local languages like that ? In addition to speaking their languages at home as well ? And, if possible, integrating new words, the words that they all use every day, into local languages ?

Yes, English is, as the common language across Australia, on TV and radio, in schools and universities, the common language, vital to Aboriginal people who want to participate more in the national economy. Without a command of the national language, people can't access the national range of opportunities. Clearly, there is no necessary contradiction between local and national language use, they each have their domains. The parents have their roles, and the schools have theirs.

Joe
Posted by Loudmouth, Thursday, 15 February 2018 12:21:56 PM
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