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The Forum > Article Comments > Skinny latté ideology > Comments

Skinny latté ideology : Comments

By Stephen Hagan, published 24/6/2008

Should Indigenous Australians blame their parlous living conditions on the government or should they accept some of the responsibility?

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I totally agree but some people are just ignorant, they do not want to acknowledge or respect indigenous people in these minority groups, they don’t trust them or believe in them and its the leaders within those groups who others will follow that can actually make a difference. I don’t even think we have any real leader to actually make a change-as we just seem to have report after report, talk after talk, money thrown left, right and centre. I think until we are on the same level (our people and government)there will be change but that’s a long shot
Posted by Billya, Tuesday, 24 June 2008 4:57:13 PM
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Well, I would have to say that the degree of networking amongst those on Aboriginal communities is higher than many would suspect - everybody knows everyone, there are precious few secrets and the grapevine is extremely effective (actually I've found a higher degree of connectiveness(?) on Aboriginal communities than in even rural towns).

Insofar as allocation of jobs and resources on the strength of interpersonal networks, are you suggesting that Aboriginal people would benefit from higher rates of nepotism and favouritism? A further entrenchment of the 'Uptown-Downtown' situation (Uptown = jobs, opportunity, favourable accomadation, etc. & Downtown = no jobs, no opportunity and cramped, substandard accomadation)?

No. Corruption is corruption is corruption. Until everyone on communities knows that they have an equal chance of improving their lot, the chronic lack of engagement in education, in employment and in community development will continue.

The neo-colonial approach of turning a blind-eye to corruption and white-collar crime committed by those members of a community who are easiest to work with, while crucifying others for relatively minor property or violent offences, must end.

Put it this way, if you were a child growing up in such an environment, where due to the fact that your parents were outside the select clique who doled out and were the recipients of most of the jobs & opportunities within that community, if you knew there was no hope for you to improve your situation and if you knew that the corruption described was so entrenched as to be accepted as part of doing business by both the Police Service and the Government, why in hell would you bother to engage in schooling and/or employment, why would you refrain from indulging in whatever drugs or alcohol were avaialable?

Yes, maybe it is time for Aboriginal people to take responsibility for there own future, the endemic entrenched corruption within the majority of communities has yet to receive the attention it deserves, maybe one day some journalist will have the courage to expose it and it's effects on those who grow up in the shadow of it.
Posted by Haganah Bet, Tuesday, 24 June 2008 6:25:37 PM
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Good call Haganah Bet, well spotted.
The real cause is a matter of deprivation, lack of opportunities resulting in diminishing hope, drugs (escape from reality) and violence. The same cycle can be recognized in most countries around the world in cities’ wrong ends.
One only needs to watch the TV show about gangs and/or indigenous groups around the world to see the similarities. The almost tribal loyalties/conflicts in an attempt to establish relevant identities as part of survival at its most basic.
The issue is further complicated by the dominant culture’s arrogance a lack of REAL sensitivity/understanding at government levels and indifference, ignorance, intolerance at the citizen level.
That of course doesn’t totally absolve the indigenous for their share of the problem but the above is where the foundations lie.
I’ve seen it all before in PNG where I largely grew up.
The question is not a solely a matter of ‘charity’ $’s it is way more complicated than that.
One could speculate that all this deprivation is a consequence of our increasingly exploitive capitalist society i.e. outside businesses won’t invest in minority areas not enough profit.
Neither is closing unviable communities for aboriginals the cultural connection to specific and the land in general renders such a plan as pointless. Simply cultural genocide to the God (capitalism). What is needed is a different approach based on lateral thinking and local needs. Surely if we can spend millions on intensive neonatal care or on recreational activities Aus sports including on going RESEARCH why not do the same for those who NEED help to survive? Knee jerk reactions and expensive interventions will only give benefits last as long as the intervention lasts as they don’t address the causes of the problems that plague these people. The government must become hands on to rectify the increasing alienation and hopelessness of it’s under class. To continue with status quo attitudes merely bottles the problems not solve them. History show that myopic perspective simply focuses the anger to the detriment of the whole nation
Posted by examinator, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 8:57:55 AM
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Haganah Bet: you appear to be in touch with some important realities on this issue. To my mind, nepotism, as you mention, would be the issue causing the most destruction to progress in aboriginal communities. Years ago I lived in Kempsey on the North coast of NSW. Green Valley was the mission there. Living conditions at Green Valley were horrendous. The most up to date building was a red public phone box. I notice now though, the mission has transformed into a reasonable suburb of Kempsey; not the best in town, but certainly one that has acquired a dignity.

Kempsey mission is now a great step forward, but only one of the advances on the days when Aboriginals were only permitted into town on Thursday (pension day), a surrogate rule imposed by the local Police. I was also in attendance at the Kempsey swimming pool on Charlie Perkins arrival with the “Freedom ride” bus convoy of the ‘60’s.

I am married (very happily) to an Aboriginal girl . We live in the Moree area close to the Boggabilla camp mentioned in this article, so I can vouch for the truth of it. Child abuse is a huge problem: and will explain my hatred of pornography (a stand I often take in this column). Aboriginal children are in need of SPECIAL care in our communities.
There is no quick fix to these problems and a “stoic” chipping from the edges to the core is the only solution: Mix that with a caring attitude from the broader community, are most essential to progress.
Posted by diver dan, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 9:25:38 AM
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Having just come back from a trip to the Kimberleys and spending some time in a fairly well run Community it was amazing to se what a difference no alcohol makes - just fantastic .

There were a lot of happy faces and this seemed the norm .

Get rid of the grog for starters IF WE REALLY WANT TO HELP distressed Aboriginal Communities ! .

For the alcoholics from the communities there must be HUGE support to get them over their addictions.

If the Federal and State governments don't give this support they are guilty of a criminal act of neglect in my book .

I recently heard that they have accomodation for about 15 drunks [to get them off the street for the night ] in Alice Springs ,yet the mayor said they needed accomodation for 60 .

Australians should demand a lot better of THEIR PAID PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS .
Posted by kartiya jim, Sunday, 6 July 2008 9:04:29 PM
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