Further to tigtog’s post Howard’s Wedge, several blog posts that you may not have stumbled across on the usual round of Ozblogistan trackbacks and read ’ems.
The fabulous brownfemipower cuts through all the bullshit in her post “abusing into goodness”:
No where in these “rules” is there any acknowledgment of the role the Australian government has had in creating the devastation in aboriginal communities. This lack of acknowledgment allows non-native people to hide behind the belief that Aboriginal peoples are alcoholic, drug using, porn watching, child abusing slime”“because that’s in their nature! Because they make bad choices, because they are unable to control themselves, because there hasn’t been enough police in the community to keep the uncontrollable little beasts controlled!
Never mind that multiple generations of aboriginal peoples in Australia (and world wide), were kidnapped by the government and then taught how to be parents by unmonitored white citizens who beat, sexually violated, and outright tortured children from the time they were small children until they were no longer “wards of the state”. […]
How does eliminating pornography teach a child to love her blood, her cells, her roots?
How does a ban on alcohol erase the desire to no longer be aboriginal?
How does controlling welfare payments teach aboriginal mothers to trust themselves and their love again?
I’m sure that the problems Howard talks about are real and horrible. But this solution seems unlikely to work, because it really is paternalistic, put in place from the outside, discriminatory and also wholly punitive. The underlying problems of poverty and unemployment are not addressed by it at all. This summarizes the main trouble with the action very well:
The plan angered some Aboriginal leaders, who said it was the kind of government behavior that has disenfranchised Aborigines and created the problems in the first place. They also complained they had not been consulted; the government had not previously indicated it was considering such action.
You can’t feel ownership in a policy if you were never consulted.
To suggest that is to suggest that the plans being put into place for the Northern Territory had no precedent, when probably the scariest thing about them is that they are merely the extension of existing logics. Normalising logics. Assimilatory logics. White logics. The logic of guilt and innocence. The extraordinary thing is that the Liberal government has managed, in the midst of all this, to claim their own innocence.
It’s worth reading the thread at metafilter to get an idea of how clearly people in the rest of the world see the real problem with this plan, while Australians are wandering around in circles in the mainstream media, dazed and confused from clumsy governmental dissembling.
And John Howard himself? He had this to say:
“I’ll be slammed for taking away people’s rights but frankly I don’t care about that.“
This guy would carve up your kidneys with a grin, then denounce you for bleeding on his boots. 3000 votes, remember, 3000 votes.
[Image credit: the National Indigenous Times]