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The Forum > Article Comments > Resetting our relationship with Aboriginal people > Comments

Resetting our relationship with Aboriginal people : Comments

By Michelle Fahy, published 29/8/2011

Given the amount of debate on Indigenous issues, the absence of the voices of the people concerned is telling. Walk With Us redresses this.

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Remote communities rarely viable to economic standard as enjoyed in most major communities and cities.

Reasonable living standard are possible.

To raise living standards where do the monies come from ?

Building a house, or a business needs loans, funds very hard to get without leases !

Corporate Land Trust managers refuse to issue leases on reasonable and rational terms, to those seeking them.

Refusal is to maintain dominance by leaderships to apply extortionate pressures on those within communities who try.

Communities fail - or is it refuse, to look to themselves to raise their own funds towards these improvements...

To help communities need apply efforts to investigate then publish why numerous attempts to develop or maintain enterprises in these communities fail.

Or have you noticed so many similar problems ?

People desiring to improve things get to work, try to improve things.

As progress commences, extortion starts, demands to share benefits achieved from others efforts, ignoring payments distributed for costs like wages, rents, and others.

Most 'concerned Australians' remain ignorant concerning realities of "community life".

Much ignorance a product of the "permit" approach.

Same "permit" approach denies "Traditional Owners" their right to have their own family, friends, or tradespersons visit them in their homes.

For these rights must obtain leases from corporate Land Trusts... corporate Land Trusts which refuse to issue them.

"But if we give them leases we give them enforceable rights and responsibilities..."

Residents within what purported "their homes" still denied otherwise basic rights to obtain protection through AVO/DVO's these denied as lacking leases with right refuse others to access "their home" so protect selves and acquired property.

This blatant racist travesty is maintained by Canberra.

Legal aid is refused where it challenges this travesty.

Indigenour is a term favored by those supporting, promoting and practicing, racism, apartheid, actions which deny equality of opportunity.

Equality of opportunity, does not require identical results.

Equality of opportunity does demand effort.
Posted by polpak, Monday, 29 August 2011 12:04:40 PM
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polpak .. is there anything stopping you from physically leaving and going somewhere else?

Lot's of people have to leave where they prefer to reside, and live somewhere, where it is not optimum, to earn an income.

Many people sacrifice a lot of relocate, leaving friends and family, all manner of connections and may even have to start again with very little.

Why is it someone else's fault? (Canberra) That some people can't seem to take responsibility for their own happiness and survival.

If you leave the system you find isn't working for you, then when enough people leave, it collapses - it seems the reason it works, is dependence on it in the first place. That dependence seems to be based on entitlement, many feel entitled to share of whatever, or a part of whatever.

If you had nothing to be entitled to, could you move on?

The author's solution, as many before it, is another forum, how novel .. except, it's all been done before, usually somewhere else, staying in nice hotels or a resort. Then having follow up meetings and conferences before a complaint or two to the government or the UN, pick whichever suits the agenda best.

"The Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM and other Elders from the Northern Territory have called for a Prescribed-Communities Representative Forum to be established to work with the government in all future planning.

What a good idea." yum, yum, yum .. for the participants, yes of course.

All this does is keep the old system going, nothing changes, and it keeps privilege and power in the hands of a few who don't want any change as that undermines their positions.

So all future planning will basically just recycle what works for the planners, never for the community. Yes, make sure the "right people" are involved, and it will always be Canberra's fault, and nothing changes.
Posted by Amicus, Monday, 29 August 2011 1:28:37 PM
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Yes, the voices of Aboriginal people should be heard. But again in this piece the author, to support her position, resorts to quotes from the same few more powerful persons who are already privileged with access to media space. Others, not heard remain annonymous. Too often it's forgotten that those Aboriginal people with most to tell are likely to be least visible and not sought out for their views and experiences. Uncomfortable truths are unwelcome. Perhaps non-Aboriginal people who enjoy generous benefits from working in Aboriginal organisations, or as academics, might hold a mirror to themselves and face responsibility for their own part in perpetuating second-rate services and squandering money intended for Aboriginal benefit.
Posted by jenni, Monday, 29 August 2011 2:28:22 PM
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It is very worrying that Indigenous affairs 'flashes into the headlines' all too briefly, and is gone again, undiscussed. Given the two Indigenous populations, one working and the other bogged in lifelong welfare, one would have thought that Indigenous affairs desperately requires protracted debate of complex issues, rather than being swept under the carpet yet again.

Here it is well after 5.30 pm and only three other people have contributed to this thread all day. People - all too few - shout at each other across the Gap without coming to grips with some of the most crucial issues. For example, after forty years of 'self-determination', and 'community' consultation, who asks: are these part of the solution, or are they part - or all - of the problem ?

The author implicitly criticises the view that remote settlements, and out-stations, are economically unviable. Well, are any viable ? Anywhere in Australia ? After forty bl00dy years ? She implies that remote 'communities' are healthy places for Aboriginal women and children. Then why is the hospitalisation rate for women, and the suicide rates for children, so much higher - twenty, thirty, forty times higher - than they are for working Aboriginal people, and for other Australians ?

She also claims that '... the policy of concentrating Aboriginal Peoples in large settlements [is] a failure.' And has the policy of dispersing Aboriginal people (or encouraging their dispersal) to utterly unviable out-stations been successful ? I would suggest that neither policy has worked.

What might work ? Given the appallingly low educational and work-ready skills of most adults, skills which appear to be actually declining, maybe nothing will work, except the slow bleeding of desperate and more enterprising people to towns where they can get menial jobs, which can at least give them a toe-hold on the economy, a base from which to send their kids to decent schools, and a distant promise that - if not in this generation than in the next, or the next - they can drag themselves out of welfare dependence.

Good luck with that.

Posted by Loudmouth, Monday, 29 August 2011 6:00:56 PM
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That might be the best than anyone can expect, if people have minimal skills, if their children are 'learning' to follow in their footsteps, and if policy (and bureaucrats, Black and white) seem determined to make people ever more dependent. That's the legacy of Dr Coombs, championned by Dr Altman: short, miserable, unhealthy lives of violence, degradation and desperation.

Meanwhile, predominantly in the south, and in urban areas where most Aboriginal people live, more than 26,000 Indigenous people have graduated from universities and moved into professional careers. By 2020, there could be fifty thousand such graduates. Every year since 2005, university commencement numbers have risen - by an average of 6-7 % p.a. - and every year now, roughly 35-40 % of the median age-group commences university study. That's called mass tertiary education. And even with a third of the entire Indigenous population locked in welfare-dependence, it's the other two-thirds who have achieved that.

Few Indigenous graduates will go to communities, or stay there for long. They have mostly been born in cities, and they will stay in the cities. They did not cause the problems in remote settlements, and should feel absolutely no obligation to devote their lives to fixing them up: really, that is ultimately up to the people there themselves. Otherwise, what on earth does self-determination mean ?

But will that happen in remote settlements ? Clearly, no. In my view, after half a lifetime dedicated to the ideals of self-determination (like a fool), I suspect now that 'communities' will wither away. Good or bad, like it or not, the future will belong to individual working Indigenous people, individually making their own way in Australia's open society, coming together as they wish with other Indigenous people, marrying people who they associate with, fashioning what it means to be Indigenous/Aboriginal as they go.

Let's be clear: on the whole, working Aboriginal people, mostly 'southern' or urban, usually with professional or trades skills, have similar health and other indices as other Australians. So aggregating data for all Aboriginal people confounds any sensible description of the 'Gap'.

Posted by Loudmouth, Monday, 29 August 2011 6:16:48 PM
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loudmouth, the "apology" was probably the worst thing that could have happened, for years the belief was built up that it would somehow help, that it was the epitome of acts necessary to repair a raft of imagined wrongs.

In reality though, it was just a political tool of the ALP and the left to beat up on the Howard government and conservatives, so obsessed by idealism they were, and after it was delivered by PM Rudd, with the appropriate theater and humiliation of Brendon Nelson, do you think conservatives should pursue it?

The apology and the way it was done, with maximum effect to win the daily news cycle, the holy grail and enduring obsession of the ALP, disconnected more than half the population in a single moment, but the media LOVED IT!

The left believe it's over, nothing more needs doing, the conservatives were humiliated, the left and aboriginal activists turned their backs on them, nothing symbolizes their rejection of the conservatives like that did.

The required set piece was delivered, so now what .. what do you mean that didn't fix it, but the act, the idealism, the humiliation .. you mean there's more? Why? What?

So, there you have it, the left took over, accused the conservatives of failure, and delivered the much lauded apology .. and it was good. For everyone but the actual people who live in poverty and squalor at the mercy of all the do-gooders and finger waggers, who will discuss this .. at the next forum, meeting, conference, community gathering, hotel resort .. trough.

If the aborigines cling to populism and idealists, they will get what they have now .. nothing, and nothing changes as Amicus says.
Posted by rpg, Monday, 29 August 2011 7:26:56 PM
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