What I’m reading today:
1. The AMA call has come. Yesterday’s email brought a plea from the AMA to volunteer 2-4 weeks in a central Australian community to perform governmental health checks on children. The email opens with a big fat BLAME:
The Federal Government is currently implementing a reform package to modify behavioural patterns in Aboriginal communities that have over many years had a serious adverse impact on their health.
Given that the AMA Indigenous Health Report Cards have focussed over and over again on the role of colonialism in the indigenous health situation, why the stilted behaviourist blamefest? Is this a subtle back-handed stab at the government’s approach to black-blaming, or is the AMA swallowing this hook, line and sinker?
The email goes on:
In a matter of weeks, the Government is planning to deploy the ‘first wave’ of health teams to conduct health checks for children in the communities. The teams will comprise doctors, nurses, Aboriginal health workers, and social workers. The doctors who lead these teams will be made aware of the cultural and social sensitivities involved in this operation. If you have had previous experience with Indigenous communities, this would clearly be an asset.
I am writing to Australian doctors seeking expressions of interest from suitably skilled and committed doctors to lead these teams on this important mission.
No specific skills are requested, and the email recipients have clearly not been targeted in any way. The commitment requested is two weeks, with the possibility of extension to four weeks, so there will obviously be no opportunity for any comprehensive training or mentoring.
Lots more after the cut – reactions from the RACGP, an Aboriginal women’s group in Katherine, the ACT HREOC, Rex Wild, government hypocrisy in discontinuing funding for the CDEP employment plan in WA, and some fun with antifeminist conspiracy theory and a baby dwarf hamster.
2. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has now responded to the plan.
ABC News: GPs, communities slam Govt’s ‘lack of Indigenous consultation’
The RACGP’s Dr Jenny Reath says health checks for children is a good start but a long-term and fully funded response is needed.
“We’re very pleased the Government has realised the urgency of the situation and is looking to provide some sort of response to that,” she said. “Although we do have some concerns about the initial planning in this, or perhaps the lack of planning, and in particular it appears there hasn’t been a great deal of consultation with local communities.”
Both Reath and Northern Territory Chief Minister Clare Martin emphasis the need for a long-term plan and appropriate resourcing.
The article includes a response from an Aboriginal women’s group in Katherine:
The Jawoyn Association’s Lisa Mumbin says the Commonwealth has shown little respect for Aboriginal culture. “It’s not like a magic wand, you can wave the magic wand and everything’s going to change, it takes time to deal with issues,” she said. “Aboriginal people have been hurting for a long time and the best way, we going to have to deal with the people slowly.”
[ACT Human Rights Commissioner] Helen Watchirs says the Government can’t claim it’s providing “special measures” to the affected children, because there is no specific benefit they will gain as a result of the health checks.
“You can’t subject one race to something you’re not subjecting other races to,” she said. “Because it’s targeted at aboriginal people, rather than communities, that is where it offends discrimination law, unless it can be found to be a special measure. A ‘special measure’ has to be something that benefits people.”
QC Rex Wild, co-author of the “Little Children Are Sacred” report that triggered the government’s plan, has attacked Howard’s plan. He accuses the government of a heavy-handed, militant response.
[Mr Wild] said Canberra should have been trying to build up trust with indigenous people. “Now you’ll find the problem is that people’s backs are up,” he told the ABC’s Lateline Business.
Referring to his contact with communities before the publication of his report, Mr Wild said: “We didn’t arrive with a battleship. We came gently “¦ Now they are just having the gunships sent in.”
He also said some “pretty good ideas” among his team’s 97 recommendations appeared to have been ignored by the Government. Among them was a proposal to get all children from pre-school age into schools by January 2008. By contrast, the contentious plan for comprehensive medical checks on indigenous children was not among the report’s recommendations.
Asked who was advising the Federal Government now, Mr Wild said he didn’t know. “Nobody phoned me from Canberra.”
Read a Lateline interview with Rex Wild here.
Meanwhile, in Western Australia, the Federal government has abolished the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme employing Aboriginal people in Aboriginal community services in urban areas and regional centres. The programs, which will be de-funded come Saturday, address domestic violence, alcoholism, and youth support schemes for Aboriginal children. Premier Alan Carpenter further pointed out that the cessation of funding to this scheme will not only reduce essential community services, but it will kick more than 1800 people from work onto welfare. So much for Howard’s much-vaunted concern over “welfare dependency” and children’s wellbeing.
And, to lighten the mood:
An amusing little bit of Kooky Kristian Konspiracy Theory, by Henry Makow Ph.D. It’s all a femmobolsho plot! We are forswearing our ornamental-livestock role to become Murderous Marionettes of the Red Menace!
Man loves woman. His first instinct is to nurture (“husband”) and see her thrive. When a woman is happy, she is beautiful. Sure, some men are abusive. But the vast majority have supported and guided their families for millennium. […] .) The American woman has been hoodwinked into investing herself in a mundane career instead of the timeless love of her husband and children. Many women have become temperamentally unfit to be wives and mothers. […]
Feminism is a grotesque fraud perpetrated on society by its governing elite. It is designed to weaken the American social and cultural fabric in order to introduce a friendly fascist New World Order. Its advocates are sanctimonious charlatans who have grown rich and powerful from it. They include a whole class of liars and moral cripples who work for the elite in various capacities: government, education and the media. These imposters ought to be exposed and ridiculed.
Women’s oppression is a lie. Sex roles were never as rigid as feminists would have us believe. My mother had a successful business in the 1950’s importing watchstraps from Switzerland. When my father’s income increased, she was content to quit and concentrate on the children.
And, lastly, this, your baby dwarf hamster cute-overload for the day. Thanks for listening.
[Image credit: I Can Has Cheezeburger?]