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The Forum > Article Comments > A hand up, not handouts > Comments

A hand up, not handouts : Comments

By Kirsten Storry, published 19/12/2006

Indigenous Australians still have low education and health outcomes: we need to do better with indigenous policy.

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Well...

you are absolutely righ.

But what is the conclusion?

We need solutions, not speeches.

Statements at such a general level, thugh asolutely right are of little use. Those who agree, will say 'well, that's right, we all know it".

Those who do not will brush it aside.

What we realy need is a focus on practical, resuts-delivering programs.

We need to put some effort into:
a) identification of programs that do work for disadvanteged communities.
An example of such can be found
http://communitybuilders.nsw.gov.au/forums/read.php?3,55113

b) we need to look for new, creative ideas that can put into practice the noble notion that we need "A hand up, not handouts"
An example of such an idea can be found here:
http://winwin.mishku.com/?page_id=25

We need more 'action-research' projects delivering real benefits for aboriginal communities, on which we could learn how to do it better.

Paul
Posted by Paul_of_Melb, Tuesday, 19 December 2006 11:35:04 AM
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Handouts?
What hand outs?

Aborigines have only been eligible for the dole since the sixties.

Before that they either starved in the streets, or went beggng for food at mission stations. Where priests gave them food and raped thier children.
Posted by sparticusss, Tuesday, 19 December 2006 2:13:35 PM
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"To open up possibilities for Indigenous Australians in remote communities to share in Australia's prosperity, we need to stop taking what Henry would call the "soft options" on education.

We need to reform the school system to stop education funding being wasted.

Greater autonomy for principals, evidence-based English literacy instruction, high expectations and better rewards for good teachers are an urgently needed first step."

Excuse me for repeating so much. Each and every phrase in this conclusion needs teasing out. For many years the Australian people have accepted that the "educational infrastructure" could be neglected by all governments. This has been marketed politically as "preventing funds being wasted" or the like. Australians are not really committed to a socially just provision of education.

Indigenous Australians will not share in Australia's prosperity until it is accepted as appropriate that that they in a meaningful way. It needs to become a fundamental right in the provision of education.

The educational "infrastructure" will need to be refurbished before those ill-defined prescriptions in the conclusion can be met.
Posted by Charlie Bradley, Tuesday, 19 December 2006 2:17:41 PM
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In cynical circles it's called the Aboriginal Industry.

The Aborigines dont actually want to be helped they want to keep the big chip on their shoulder that says the white man
is the cause of all their problems and owes them everything.

Its a very lucrative industry moneywise. It allows them to swim and fish all day and sit around and drink grog in the parks at least up here in Queensland and on Palm Island thats what they do.
Posted by sharkfin, Tuesday, 19 December 2006 2:20:36 PM
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Why do we continually skirt around the real issues.

One of the reasons for poor literacy and numeracy skills in Aboriginal communities is that the kids will not attend school.

When you witness an Aboriginal child who is sufficiently motivated by their family members to attend school regularly where they have done well and subsequently become a member of mainstream society, you realise the biggest problem for Aboriginal kids is a lack of discipline by parents.

I am friendly with an Aboriginal woman who has been a widow for many years and no doubt surviving on a pension to support her 8 children. Every child has performed well at school, though it was a 70km round journey to attend high school. These kids now have satisfying careers, despite the disadvantages of being raised within such a large family.

Elders passing down an ancestral bitterness towards the white community simply contribute to breeding another generation of kids who have little desire to become part of mainstream society.

This is evident when we in regional Australia witness that kids truanting and hanging around shopping centres etc. are mainly of Aboriginal descent. Why? Do the parents know? Yes!

To continue with the "poor us" diatribe by dragging up historical facts on how Aborigines were treated is self-destructive. Every strong nation wrongly took a weak one in past centuries and each country has attempted to make amends despite the bureacratic blunders.

They must now help themselves instead of continually blaming "Whitey" for all their ailments. It is 40 years since this community was given equal rights and that is long enough to change an attitude of resentment towards the "invaders" and the stolen generation years.

For different reasons, white children were also stolen from their parents in those days though you don't hear much about that!
Posted by dickie, Tuesday, 19 December 2006 7:42:57 PM
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sharkfin, had you gone to the CIS website you might have noticed that Kirsten Storry has a "Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts (with Honours in History) from the University of New South Wales and ,,,, comes from an Australian Public Service background, including time at the Attorney Generalís Department, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Australian Law Reform Commission." As a cynic, I'd suggest that Ms Storry is a paid-up member of the Aboriginal Industry. I'd be interested to know what practical experience (if any) she has in indigenous education. And I'd certainly like to know what Ken Henry is qualified to speak on (outside of microeconomic reform).

I had a look at Ms. Storry's original paper, which may be found here http://www.cis.org.au/IssueAnalysis/ia73/ia73.pdf My own humble view is that it is a not terribly good literature review. Much better to go to the original sources, mostly from the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research http://www.anu.edu.au/caepr

No question that indigenous health and education are a disgrace. But I have a nagging feeling that this is all about shutting down "remote communities". Having seen some of the town camps in Alice Springs, I'd say the problem is not (just) remote communities.

Spartacuss you do a grave injustice to the work of missions by describing Aborigines "beggng for food at mission stations. Where priests gave them food and raped thier children." Many, many Aboriginal people owed their lives to the work of missionaries. Some of them were abusers, but the vast majority were decent people who worked in abominable conditions to help others.
Posted by Johnj, Tuesday, 19 December 2006 8:14:47 PM
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