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The Forum > Article Comments > Mind the gap on indigenous health > Comments

Mind the gap on indigenous health : Comments

By Billi McCarthy-Price, published 30/5/2013

There remains a 10-year gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Australia.

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The fundamental attribution error in Billi McCarthy-Price's article, is that the concept of regarding aboriginal people as equal in intelligence with whites and asians, giving them equal rights, giving them "self determination", and the especially, the right to drink alcohol, has been a spectacular and extremely expensive failure. As recent experiences have shown, no matter how much money you pour into "aboriginal" programs designed to create equal outcomes, it makes little difference.

60% of the NT social welfare budget is now spent on 30% of the population who's circumstances never change. Recently, the SA Premier toured a remote aboriginal community, commented upon the squalor, and remarked that for the amount of money the SA government had deluged upon that community, "the streets should be paved with gold."

The fact that people barely out of the stone age are emotionally and intellectually unfit to manage their own affairs, was tacitly recognised by the Howard government, when it instituted the policy of "Intervention" in aboriginal welfare payments. This program ensured that welfare money was being spent on food and aboriginal children, instead of being flushed away on grog, ciggies, and drugs.

Naturally, this resulted in screams of outrage from the egalitarian left, who reject any program which takes for granted that everyone is not absolutely equal.

There is no doubt that the aboriginal programs instituted by socialist egailtarians have not only been spectacular failures, they have been nice little earners for the Public Service socialists and the "bearded aboriginal men in black hats" who are employed by the government to continue to propagate failure. Not surprisingly, Billi McCarthy-Smith suggests that the solution to aboriginal disadvantage is to pour even more billions down a black hole. Her article is dotted everywhere with the expected premises of governments "increasing investment", "funding needs to be increased", and "inadequate allocation of resources."

One program which would bring immediate results would be to once again, ban or licence aboriginal people to drink alcohol. But no evangelical social crusader will support programs heretical of the current apparently infallible orthodoxy that all races are equal in every way.
Posted by LEGO, Thursday, 30 May 2013 7:51:09 AM
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Come on Bill, how could we not be aware of the billions of our dollars wasted by all the professionals in the Aboriginal industry. There the ones, like those in the "harm minimization" lot in the drug industry, careful not to cure anything, & run out of a nice job.

From your article I can only assume the Psychologists & Psychiatrists feel they have been missing out on a good quid, & want to get in to the aboriginal industry for their chop.

Nothing like a greedy professional to look for the main chance.
Posted by Hasbeen, Thursday, 30 May 2013 1:16:09 PM
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It would have been refreshing to read something about prevention, but I guess there wouldn't be many jobs left if that was tried, and ifit worked.

I'm very disappointed that observers keep lumping all the figures together, work-ethic with welfare-ethic Aboriginal people, because the stats for one are very different from those of the other. For working Aboriginal people, health is not all that different from that of non-Aboriginal people, - but the health of welfare-oriented people, people who will never work in their lives, people whose day revolves around grog or drugs or how to get more out of Centrelink - is far worse that Billi seems to be aware of, to put it nicely forher.

For example, the gap in life expectancy - as Christopher Squelch in Townsville has pointed out recently - is far greater than a mere ten or twelve years, much more like thirty or forty years. Very few people live past forty five, menor women.

Go into any 'community' and ask around. Go back every ten years and check out how young those people were who have passed away in the meantime. Dying at thirty is not at all uncommon in 'communities', women from far too much Coke, men from grog and drugs and fighting. A news item today talked about people in remote settlements spending three-quarters of their money on grog alone. Pity the poor kids.

So how to PREVENT poor health, how to get people on the right path in terms of diet and exercise before they destroy themselves ?

Oops, I said it: diet and exercise. Or decent food and work. Employment. Keeping active during the day, too busy to hit the grog, or beat up one's beloved.

Sorry, I don't have an obfuscation gene, nor a secure job in Aboriginal Health, so I can't bloviate for hours at endless conferences on the dilemmas of Aboriginal Health', like it's a big mystery.

So Billi wants us to sit back and wait for mental health problems to develop, hopefully to reach crisis levels, THEN send in ever more experts ?


Posted by Loudmouth, Thursday, 30 May 2013 5:12:37 PM
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In agreeance with Joe regarding health and life span divides between "Aboriginals" living and working in whitefella world and those in communities where the 'culture' is one of bludging and multiple forms of abuse, self and towards others: Apart from slightly higher genetic propensity (shared with asians)for diabetes type 2 and maybe some lesser resistance to certain bacterial/viral infections, 99% of the difference is LIFESTYLE.

Besides which an "Aboriginal" may be someone who is genetically up to 15/16ths Caucasian or other racial mix. Go figure!

You want to prevent youth suicide? Remove babies from disfunctional families/communities where neglect and abuse is rife and adopt them into families who will nourish and care for them, ensuring they recieve what is needed for healthy physical, intellectual and emotional health. Not to mention at least an opportunity for good basic education, employment, meaningful social engagement and so on. In other words - Give them a LIFE.

Sort of like the stolen generation ... Because when you take a hard look at that 'social experiment' and compare the failures with what is happening today with kids in much of so-called Aboriginal culture it makes the maligned practices of yesteryear look like world best practice. Most of us are sick of the waste and lack of results - not to mention the continued misery heaped on the most helpless and vulnerable, resulting from the ridiculous political correctness that results in people calling the situation as it is howled down by screams of racism.
Posted by divine_msn, Thursday, 30 May 2013 6:35:27 PM
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This problem needs a simple solution based on individual responsibility.

First, develop a statement, running into as many pages as it takes, by the best medical and general health experts we can muster - of what needs to be included and what needs to be avoided in a person's actions to maximize the chance of a long and healthy life.

Second, make sure that every citizen has easy access to the statement.

Third, develop a statement of what might be preventing people from following the advice.

Fourth, take measures to remove all such impediments that are not voluntary decisions of the individuals.

Fifth, protect all children, and all others vulnerable to compulsion, from being forced by anyone whatsoever to take or neglect actions that lower their health.

Sixth, ensure that all adults and children are funded to do what is necessary and consult who is necessary to protect their health should they decide to do so.

Seventh, if any group suffers poor health or lowered lifespan through deciding to live in a way known to harm health, abandon all agonising about demographic consequences.

The same general approach could be applied to poor education, or enhanced gaol time. This could be monitored to identify and confront factors genuinely preventing people from taking care of their health, their education and their freedom from gaol.
Posted by EmperorJulian, Thursday, 30 May 2013 6:56:31 PM
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Some personal decisions likely to lower length of life may be

*Abusing harmful substances such as petrol, glue, alcohol, narcotic drugs.
*Violent brawling.
*Committing suicide.
*Dangerous driving.
*Diverting household income from the essentials of adequate health (e.g. booze or gambling replacing necessary food and health care).
Posted by EmperorJulian, Thursday, 30 May 2013 7:23:17 PM
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