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The Forum > Article Comments > Mad Macklin follows Mal Brough > Comments

Mad Macklin follows Mal Brough : Comments

By John Tomlinson, published 28/10/2008

If a government really wanted to improve the health and safety of Aboriginal women and children then it canít ignore Aboriginal men.

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Have you lived in a remote indigenous community? I have. Iíve lived in seven different ones over a period of around six years. Most of them I have lived in for a period not less than ten months.

Mal Brough first and now Jenny Maklin are purely acting in emergency response to a most violent, unequally powered society that habitually kills its women and children by outright violence, sex abuse and negligence. I have seen all these things in my six years working out there as a nurse, and even my own family found it impossible to believe, when I told them the conditions I worked under.

I understand that a person (maybe like yourself), raised in an urban area of Australia or anywhere outside of Alice Springs, Kathryn and other towns where the remote problem has relocated, could not possibly understand what is going on in these areas. And it really isnít your fault, because it is hushed up. Mal Brough and Noel Pearson know what is going on out there and it seems that Jenny Maklin does too and I applaud them all for it.

Aboriginal women have a huge respect for Mal Brough. I know because they talked to me about him. They saw him as being the reason they no longer could be physically abused for money, they liked to be able to spend their money on food instead of gambling and grog. They saw him as a protector that missions, health departments and state governments had never been. So donít bag Mal Brough! He was the right man in the right place at the right time responding to a crisis. And now thank God, Jenny Maklin has insight into the catastrophe of the situation and is continuing these urgent measures.
Posted by Helen54, Tuesday, 28 October 2008 10:39:45 AM
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John,

I don't know if you have visted many or any of the communities spread around Australia. If you haven't then commenting is pointless as you wouldn't understand the problem.

I'll asume you have done so and have seen the disgusting conditions that exist at most, if not all, of these communities.

These communities did not start as they are. They were driven down to that level by a combination of pointlessness from the residents, greed by the few whites willing to go and run a business or practice there or a combination of both.

Basically there is nothing for people to do there so they drink. There are no facilities so they fight and worse.

Adding in a few Police foir a time and rebuilding is a waste of both time and money as they will be degraded very quickly for the same reasons. Nothing else to do.

These communities are very remote and no amount of taxpayer funding is going to change that into a thriving community. They are in places most would refuse to live, except as a hermit.

Building houses, schools and hospitals is money down the drain. They couldn't staff them anyway.

The people on these communities must be given a choice of integrating or making their own lives in those places. We can't afford to keep subsidising the vandalism, through poverty and depression, that exists there.

The same thing would result if any group of people lived in these places, regardless of skin colour or any other factor.

There is just no commercial future in these places. Some of them are unbearable. Heat, oil stained red dirt, flies, mosquitoes, drunks. What a pleasure.

Close the places down and move them or let them decide where they will go. But stop trying to create Heaven out of Hell. As that's what they have now, hell.
Posted by RobbyH, Tuesday, 28 October 2008 10:46:06 AM
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Right on the money John, which is not surprising considering your decades of experience battling against the failed policies of Governments both State & Federal of all parties in their refusal to accept informed advice.

The intervention dealt with an alcohol problem in some remote communities by unintentionally moving the problem into the back yards of Alice Springs, Katherine, Tennant Creek and Darwin citizens who are now complaining about drunkenness and anti-social behaviour now that quarantining of benefits meant people had to move to centres where they could use their 'cards'

You correctly noted that the intervention has failed in it's most important function of involvement and community participation of the very people they are supposed to be helping.

I was optimistic that the Rudd Government would correct the grave errors of the Howard / Brough politicization of the matter of Indigenous community development. But not so, Jenny Macklin has apparently failed to understand the complexities of the problem as decades of politicians have before her.
The task is enormous and completely beyond her if she thinks she can connect with 'some' women to the exclusion of whole communities.

She should resign if she cannot work with the wealth of experienced people who continue to work successfully with Indigenous communities but have been thwarted in their efforts because of lack of adequate Governmental Budgetary support.

Maracas 1 (previously maracas)
Posted by maracas1, Tuesday, 28 October 2008 11:14:25 AM
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'Yes, grog can be a problem in some areas of the Northern Territory. '

The understating of this problem serves no one. Personally I have witnessed aboriginal woman getting their flogging. In fact it is so much common place that even the police accept it as somewhat the norm. To say these people can determine their own destiny might give civil libertarians the 'warm fuzzies' but if you visit a Regional Hospital casualty area those fuzzies turn to sickness.

Many cheer and feel smug about aboriginals getting a vote and having sorry said to them. The problem is that many of them are worse off now than ever before. At least Mr Brough and Ms Macklin are attempting to deal with some issues as politically incorrect as they are.
Posted by runner, Tuesday, 28 October 2008 11:46:39 AM
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Good post Helen54.

The MAJOR problem is aboriginal men abusing and assaulting aboriginal women and children. The immediate intervention focus is on the women and children, and that's precisely where it needs to be.

To re-educate and reform the 'guilty' aboriginal men, and change that type of non-traditional, modern, violent culture, will take decades. It is NOT traditional culture for aboriginal men to be violent and abusive towards aboriginal women and children. Many are not, but they are almost powerless to act.

The immediate focus MUST be on the immediate protection for the children and women. After that's secured, and there's a heck of a long way to go there, then we can address the modern non-aboriginal/non-traditional male culture of violence and abuse practiced within communities by 'some' aboriginal men. This is the long term solution. Many of these men can't speak English or have English only as a second language. Many are brain damaged through years of alcohol and substance abuse. Many have almost no education whatsoever, including traditional education. People on communities are not, and never will be, part of mainstream society. Trying to turn remote aboriginal people into honorary white people is doomed to failure. Solutions need to be worked out within the context of their own culture.
Posted by rw523252, Tuesday, 28 October 2008 2:47:41 PM
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Surely not emasculate offending males? Although castrated offenders couldnt offend again.Children and women would be safer.

It may sound racist but I recommend it for EVERYONE. There is an undeniable logic to the proposition here,surely.

socratease
Posted by socratease, Tuesday, 28 October 2008 4:11:06 PM
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