What to do? The indigenous crisis

I’d like to unravel the Howard Government’s new plan with respect to indigenous welfare. There are a couple of different issues there.

First, I’m not happy with the use of the word “crisis”, because that suggests something that suddenly crops up. It’s not sudden – it’s more like a chronic problem that has now snowballed to the extent that it can’t be ignored any longer. It has been known for a long time that there are massive problems in some indigenous communities. I’ve written about these issues before.

I’ve been inspired to write this post after reading two posts, one by my lovely friend RG and another by Miss Politics. They were food for thought, because it made me realise that I had a different point of view, but each had good points to make. I was commenting on their blogs, but I then realised I’d be better off writing my own post, as the comments were turning into mini-posts.

1. Political opportunism

The indigenous welfare plan was described in The Age headline yesterday as a “black children overboard” stunt, designed to increase the Howard government’s popularity before a Federal election where they are facing some serious competition. Obviously, this headline produced some controversy.

Yes, I think there is definitely a giant dollop of political opportunism. The Howard government has been in power for 10+ years, and they finally decide to act now, just before an election? Forgive a girl for being a little cynical.

But the next question is: if it saves women and children from abuse, does it matter what the government’s motives are? I say that it does not. Anyone who reads my blog regularly will know that I am not a fan of the Howard government. But if they manage to do something good, I’m not going to gainsay them just because I dislike many of the things they do. I wonder if there’d be nearly so much outcry from the Left if Prime Minister Rudd had instituted this plan? Forgive me yet again for my nasty cynicism. I can only echo the words of Noel Pearson:

Quite frankly, I couldn’t care less whether John Howard or Kevin Rudd ruled this world. My priority is to take advantage for immediate intervention for the protection of children…

I’m not going to reject this initiative without having a closer look at it. On the other hand, I’m not just going to swallow it whole either.

2. A change is needed

Welfare payments have been poured into indigenous communities for the last 30 years in an effort to alleviate poverty, but if anything, paradoxically, conditions have become worse. Perhaps the money isn’t getting down to the grass-roots – but surely if the system was working, we’d be seeing some sort of improvement by now?

Some of the responses to Howard’s plan infer that the problems of the indigenous community will be cleared up if we address the underlying social issues. I presume that this refers in part to the need to recognise native title, the need for reconciliation and for saying “sorry”. Yes, I agree, it is important to acknowledge that some terrible things have been done to indigenous people in the past.

I am a very strong supporter of native title, although unfortunately, as presently conceived of by the Courts and the Native Title Act, it is such a weak property right so as to be non-existent.

However, I think that these issues should be part of a long term strategy, not something that can be used to fix problems here and now.

Terrible things are happening to indigenous people now. It is important to tackle them head on, decisively. I’m all for the long term plan mentioned above, but it is not the priority. Let me quote from a newspaper article in The Age from last year:

In the western desert community of Papunya the cultural notion of “secret men’s business” has taken on a particularly sinister interpretation for at least four under-age girls, the youngest being just seven.

Seven months ago the girls were found to have serious sexually transmitted infections — some of the worst in the medical books — but health workers claim child welfare authorities are yet to send anybody to the community to investigate.

In the meantime it is believed that at least one of the girls was reinfected by her abuser.

Not only is it claimed that officials from the Territory’s Family and Child Services Department (FACS) have not travelled the 280 kilometres to Papunya, health care workers at the community have told colleagues in Alice Springs that they have been reprimanded for not first consulting with parents and community elders about the spate of infections.

A health care worker who regularly visits Papunya told The Age by way of background: “The situation is astonishing. What the medical staff were being told to do was consult the potential perpetrators of abuse. Where else in Australia would this happen?”

Because the infections include resilient strains of gonorrhoea and syphilis, there are suspicions that the abusers are more likely to have been men, rather than teenage boys.

“FACS should have sent out a team of experts as soon as the infections were detected who could talk to the children and parents in their own language while the issue was immediate and before anybody could put pressure on the girls to remain silent,” the health care worker said.

We have to deal with the practicalities of this now. As the mother of a young girl, the above extract makes me feel sick to the core.

I believe that just focusing on reconciliation as a solution is problematic. Yes, I have marched on reconciliation marches and the like. Of course I want indigenous and non-indigenous Australians to live together in mutual respect. However, the “sorry” campaign can carry an inference that the problem is the fault of non-indigenous Australians, and once we apologise, the problem will go away. I don’t think it will. It’s a bit like those child abusers who say, “I couldn’t help it, my family was poor, my father abused me, my mother was a drunkard.” It may be an explanation, but it is not an excuse. The perpetrator of the abuse has a choice.

One of the examples
raised by Nanette Rogers, Crown Prosecutor for the Northern Territory, when she blew the whistle on this issue last year, was that of a 6-year-old girl who drowned while being raped by an 18-year-old man, while other children watched on helplessly. I don’t think colonisation provides an excuse for that kind of behaviour. And it is not the fault of the non-indigenous community that he did this terrible deed. Yes, the young man might be poor and disadvantaged, but that doesn’t mean he is excused from raping and killing small children. It was his choice, and his responsibility.

I believe that one of the important pieces of the puzzle to true self-determination is taking responsibility for your own actions, and being aware that you can change the way in which you behave. To this end, I agree with Noel Pearson that there has to be an end to the “victim” mentality – that of blaming others for your troubles. I believe in empowerment of indigenous people; that they can control their own destinies. It should all be about teaching people to stand on their own two feet.

One of the main things which stops indigenous people from taking control of their own destiny is the endemic drinking, drug use and petrol sniffing which afflicts communities. It is very hard to control your own actions if you are totally trashed. Your brain and body are literally destroyed. Further child abuse is far more likely to happen when parents are “out of it”, and don’t notice what is going on with their kids. Even if adequate educational facilities are provided, if your parents don’t care whether you go to school or not, you are unlikely to attend.

3. The proposed plan of action

Pros of the plan

I think that indigenous communities do need drastic action at least in the short term to break the cycle of despair (including banning alcohol on reserves, and making support payments dependent upon children attending school). I would be much more worried about the banning of alcohol if it were not for the fact that many indigenous leaders are asking for it to be done. I must take this into account.

I also think that the fact that someone is actually doing something about this issue is good, whatever the motives behind it. I note that some indigenous leaders have given support to the plan. If some think it is a good idea for their communities, or are prepared to give support to a modified version of the plan, who am I to gainsay them, as a white city gal? On the other hand, I think it’s also really important to listen to those leaders who criticise the plans, as they may have good points.

Cons of the plan

The downside of Howard’s plan is the very hasty, aggressive nature of it. As much as I say that I’d like something to be done now, I would have preferred a little more thought and consultation to go into it. Personally, I like to take a deep breath and think through the implications before I do something. Paradoxically, this is because I am a very emotional person, and so I need to think in case I shoot from the hip and end up hurting someone without intending to do so.

If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. In this sense, I tend to agree with Lowitja O’Donohue:

Ms O’Donoghue, a former ATSIC chairwoman, said her opposition was based on a fear the intervention was too draconian.

“The people who are speaking out now welcome the intervention but we do not support the draconian intervention,” she said.

“Army trucks rolling in is pretty frightening for a community that’s been demonised. Governments should listen to a proper strategic plan in how they go about tackling this emergency. Of course it’s a national crisis.”

I note also that Rex Wild QC, the joint author of the report Little Children are Sacred has also criticised the plan, saying that the Federal Government should have been trying to build up a relationship of trust with indigenous people. Wild said on Lateline Business

“Well, the first problem is that people’s backs are immediately up. We didn’t have that problem when we arrived. …[W]hen we did our work, we were well-received because we spent some time preparing the people for what was coming. The troops didn’t arrive. We didn’t arrive with a battle ship. We arrived gently…”

Scaring people is not a helpful way to try to get them on board. But then, on the other hand, if it stops little kids from being raped or women from being beaten, it’s a lesser evil to prevent a greater evil. Perhaps it’s a start to a greater focus on these issues. I hope so.

4. Conclusion

One of the problems with indigenous welfare is the lack of coordination between Federal, State and Local governments. For this reason, I agree with the proposal last year by Noel Pearson, Patrick Dodson and Marcia Langton that a body such as the Productivity Commission be set up to coordinate indigenous welfare reforms.

I do hope that some positive things come out of the plan. I also hope that it will be ensured that communities have adequate services, such as fresh water, health care, educational facilities, mental health facilities, housing and the like. Proper services are vital to improving living conditions and living a healthy life.
I do not think that the plan will work without getting a majority of indigenous people on board. It is crucial that any process which is to have long-lasting beneficial effects on indigenous people be seen to have indigenous input and support. I know from my own experience that unless you have an internal desire to change yourself, there’s no hope of anyone else forcing you to change. Change must come from within. And realising that you have the capacity for positive change and growth will lead to real self-determination.



Filed under Australia, federalism, human rights, indigenous issues, politics, sexual offences, society, tolerance, Uncategorized

12 responses to “What to do? The indigenous crisis

  1. I do understand that people support this plan because the reality is that something does need to be done as a matter of priority. However I do not believe that Howards plan will do much good in the long term.

    As this story unfolds and we begin to hear more indigenous voices we start to see the full picture. For example leaders of the Mutitjulu tribe in the Northern Territory pointed out today that they have a health centre which over the past two years has not had a single doctor. Further programs for young people have been cut. Nothing has been done about unemployment despite the fact that the community has made recommendations to the Government on what they could do to help. The media release from the Elders outlines other areas where services are seriously lacking. Clearly it is Government inaction that is causing the crisis. If the services were there a crisis would not be unfolding because the support would have prevented it.

    Having said that I would like to say my piece on Howards plan. It appears at this stage (I have seen no evidence to the contrary) that Howards strategies will very little at best and nothing at worst in the long term.

    I have argued all along that it is not the hard stick approach that is required but the investment in services coupled with a discursive model of reconciliation. You see providing people with a liveable income by terms of welfare is only one part of the solution. The media release I received today from the Elders of the Mutitjula tribe outine how poorly supported their community is by way of services. I think it speaks for itself and really paints a clear picture of how irresponsible and uncaring the Government has been over the last ten years.

    Secondly, I do have a very big problem with the permit system being taken away. It is extremely disrespectful at best and a gross violation of human rights at worst, to take land out of the control of the traditional owners. We all know how important the land is to Aboriginal people and as such taking away their right to determine who does and who does not have access is terrible.

    Thirdly, I do not hear anything being done about the white fellas that are raping the children. Why is nothing being done about this? I have read in numerous reports that the local miners are engaging in criminal activity and this activity is subjecting children to awful sexual acts.

    In order for any plan to work trust must be built. The current way in which this is all being coordinated leaves much to be desired. For goodness sake I don’t trust the Government to do the right thing and I’m not Aboriginal. I cannot imagine how everyday Aboriginal people are feeling. They must be very frightened; after all our actions in the past speak for themselves.

    I would also like to point out that all of the problems that Aboriginal people face are a consequence of absolute poverty. Unless we take action on the poverty nothing will change. The current proposal does nothing about poverty at all. In fact it may make some people more poor.

    I do want something to be done. I don’t want nothing to happen. I am very glad that this has become an issue of national importance. I hope that the public really gets involved this time and doesn’t allow the process to be killed off by greedy and unsympathetic politicians.

  2. Miss Politics,

    Thank you for your comments. I think we agree more than we disagree. We both agree that proper services need to be provided, and that this is part of a reasonable response to the problem.

    Secondly, I agree: it’s important to remember that it’s not all blackfellas doing bad stuff. Any whitefella or blackfella who abuses or takes unfair advantage of an indigenous child, woman or man deserves the full sanction of the law. I don’t care whether the perpetrator is black or white. I just want vulnerable people not to be harmed any more. I heard about those miners too. It is now public knowledge, and at least now there will be plenty of police to prosecute anyone who abuses indigenous women. I sincerely hope this will stop any further such conduct.

    I’m also glad to hear that they’re not going to force children to have inspections by strange doctors. I thought that was an unfortunate aspect of the plan. I think it’s better that local doctors handle any examinations.

    In terms of your point about “poverty” – it depends on how you define it – do you give it a dollar value, or do you look at life expectancies, health, availability of education and services?

    If you define poverty as “not getting adequate money”, then indigenous people do get welfare payments from the government which would be sufficient for an average person to survive (not very comfortably, perhaps, but survive nonetheless). In that sense, they are not “impoverished”.

    If you define “poverty” as not having adequate drinking water, adequate health care, adequate education etc, obviously indigenous people are severely impoverished compared to the rest of Australia. The question is how to fix that second kind of poverty.

    A few years back, I heard of a community which spent a whole month of welfare payments on a giant shipment of kava, and all the children went hungry that month. Perhaps the problem is welfare without strings attached. No one has to take any responsibility for earning a living, and it doesn’t encourage a person to take responsibility in other areas either.

    I have been lucky enough to get a good education. I know that I have many opportunities in life, and that there are many things that I can do if I want to. Further, I have to be sober and responsible because I have to work to feed, clothe and house my family. I went back to work earlier than I wanted after having my little girl because we couldn’t afford to live on one wage any longer.

    But if you’re out in the bush and (a) there are few jobs or opportunities, and (b) there’s no point in working anyway, because you’ll do almost as well sitting at home getting welfare payments, then you don’t feel that same need to be responsible. If you want to drink yourself silly, you can. And once you’re out of your brain, you don’t care about anything any more.

    The reason for inequalities in services are complex too. It’s not just whitefella politics. One of my students belonged to a mob who were traditional enemies of the local indigenous representative. So they got nothing, whereas that guy’s mob got brand spanking-new houses and facilities.

    There is corruption amongst both white and black politicians. I was really surprised to hear that my indigenous students regarded indigenous politicians and activists with the same amount of cynicism and distrust with which we regard ours! It was a bit of an eye-opener for me.

    Anyway, it is good to discuss these issues in a frank way. Hopefully, if we keep talking about them, and telling our politicians that we want change, we can make a difference.


  3. kg

    A good post, LE and more balanced and thoughtful than most.
    Over the past week or so I’ve read thousands and thousands of words about the problems in Aboriginal communities and none of the articles has managed to convey the reality of these places.
    Not the squalor and the danger and the near-impossibility of improving things, but also not the sense of community and the kindness and essential decency of so many people who live there.
    One day I’d be tearing my hair out because someone has tried to get rid of old clothes by stuffing them down the toilet, ripped doors from their hinges to make a fire–and the next I’d be moved by the sight of a teenage boy carrying a mountain of groceries across a flooded (and very dangerous) creek for an old lady…
    It’s a complex, and enormously difficult thing to do, bringing improvements to these places and of course there are no easy answers or quick fixes. If nothing else the Howard “rescue mission” has focused attention on the communities and I wish the partisan bickering could be put on hold long enough for us to see what works and what doesn’t.
    Resources alone won’t fix things–I’ve worked in communities with excellent medical facilities and schools and they didn’t function very differently to those places with less. Above all, having hordes of social workers and the like descending on a small town will be utterly pointless. The locals will nod and smile and go bush and when all the fuss has died away they’ll come back and carry on as usual. Some things are just the Aboriginal way and we need to take that into account as well, or fail.
    Your story about the situation at Papunya is interesting. I have a friend who worked out that way and he eventually gave up in despair. The local health clinic is under the control of the local Aboriginal council, which meant that he was forbidden by them to report STD’s to Alice Springs on pain of losing his job. He agonised over the problem and finally decided that–given the difficulty they would have recruiting another RN–he’d be better to stay and do what he could for the people there. But the strain and the frustration eventually became too much and he left.
    That situation was a direct result of “empowering” Aborigines and giving them control of the clinics.
    All the resources in the world aren’t going to resolve such problems.

  4. pete m

    People should review the commentary from African politicians about aid. They say they don’t want money – they want trade. Sure keep people from starving, but just throwing money at them will just make them lazy. I don’t mean this in a mean spirited way. I mean this in the natural human instinct way. If I can get $100.00 by sleeping in bed, watching tv, drinking at the pub, or $100.00 by going out to work, which one will 99.9% of humans do?

    Countless examples can be shown of the weaning off of aid leading to empowerment.

    I am not talking about just stopping all aid. But it has to be supportive aid, not replacement aid. IE aid to support them like training, loans to set up businesses, etc – not aid to sit on their arse. If the young ones don’t have anything to do, then what do you expect them to do?

    1. make sure they have proper health service.
    2. make sure they have REAL security of life (this is part 1 of the /Howard plan – secure the children / women / families, then move ot part 2 – there is NO use trying to set up support programs when women and children are being raped, bashed and murdered. Make it clear this stops as best you can, then quickly move forward to the programs to get these people active for their own betterment.)
    3. make sure they have opportunities – to train / work / educate / enjoy (no playground equipment for example in most pictures shown of their communities).
    4. stop with the hand wringing crap – we have had 30 years of consultations – ENOUGH! Time for action – and I mean WITH aboriginal people at the forefront of these projects – leading them, being involved but ensuring our community standards of law and order, of child protection, of reporting, are followed.

    Don’t judge the Howard plan just on step 1. You don’t get to plan / consult on a future for these kids if they are being raped and killed. And they are!

  5. fairlane

    These plans keep people exactly where they are wanted. Give them enough to sustain their lives, but never enough to move forward. Welfare programs perpetuate poverty, they don’t end it. I don’t think it’s an accident.

    Of course, people are lazy. Working is unnatural, which is why most people have to “force” themselves to do it.

  6. kg

    “Give them enough to sustain their lives, but never enough to move forward. ”
    Fairlane, there have been countless millions of dollars made available for them to “move forward”. There’s no evil conspiracy to give them just enough and no more. I’ve seen grants for cattle farming, buffalo farming, market gardening and tourism ventures given to remote communities. Along with the grants, free expertise and advice.
    These programs always founder on the simple fact that Aborigines are a nomadic people who have no real idea of the long, hard grind necessary to build a better life. That and the family/clan/tribe system which encourages nepotism and corruption.
    Sure, individuals who go to cities can do very well, but they’re free of the enormous peer pressures of small communities. And being an intelligent people they adapt and prosper.

  7. A very good post LE and I concur with most of what you are saying here. I have pursued this topic because I get very emotional about kids being mistreated, no matter where they come from. And I hope that it will work.
    What Pete M says about aid certainly fits with what has happened in far too many indigenous communities. After all much human behaviour is based on following the line of least resistance…

  8. LE, I think it is fair to assert that virtually everyone in Australia thinks something should be done. Everybody (but the Government) probably felt this way a year ago, when the Lateline reports first broke. I think there are two issues worth debating here:

    1. What specifically must be done?
    2. Why has public discourse degenerated to the point whereby disagreements about tactics are interpreted as ‘blind hatred’ of Howard, or an endorsement of child abuse?

    As far as the first question goes, there will be many people with many responses. Ultimately, I think some previous commenters are correct – these problems cannot be solved with an army of social workers, still less with police. Child protection is a community responsibility, and the difficult and tricky part of it is to get the community onside with educators, police, drug and alcohol services, and health services.
    It is extremely difficult to force individuals into drug and alcohol rehab – I think any D&A counsellor would say much the same thing. Likewise, it is virtually impossible to actually force a wayward adolescent to go to school, even in non-Aboriginal communities. Perpetrators of violence must be ‘outed’ by the community, but this is complicated when we look at the fear and power that these people often have. I mean, sexually abused children in Melbourne will often, for a variety of reasons, refuse to name perpetrators. In terrorised and insular communities, the problem is probably worsened, the more so since police often have an antagonistic relationship with the said communities. Simply adding more police (which I agree is necessary) cannot solve the problem.

    As to the second point – I think we all have good reason to be suspicious of the manner in which debate on this issue has been shut down by Howard, the News Ltd Press, and Pearson himself. If the proposal is so good, why is it beyond scrutiny? Why are alternative suggestions, or quite legitimate questions about land rights, shouted down as ‘willing failure’? Surely this is not a helpful reaction, when every bit of support from the broader community is necessary to make any intervention work.
    The impetus, funding, energy and emotional resources required to bring about change have apparently arrived at last – it is vital that we use these things to the best possible advantage, as it may be some time before a similar opportunity presents itself. Unfortunately, the proposal seems big on rhetoric and showmanship, but light on substance. The Government’s interpretation of the report’s recommendations is ham-fisted at best, as well as being simplistic, and antagonistic. Add to this the shutting down of debate, and the dubious presence of native title issues, and I think we have every right to question this intervention, and propose viable alternatives. Not that these will be listened to…

  9. Hi Happy,

    Of course I worry that this plan is just a load of hot air – lots of noise, and no real action. Brough seems like a guy who actually cares (having seen him on Lateline last year when this whole thing broke). But I don’t have confidence in some of the other Federal pollies. I hope that whoever is in government next follows through properly.

    As regards to Pearson, I think he is just desperate for something to be done, and hopes against hope that this will work. I read his recent description of Hope Vale, and it was heartbreaking. I suspect he may be reacting to responses which he perceived as non-constructive: people criticising the plan without offering anything better (or at least, anything different to the status quo). I doubt he’d have a problem with Lowitja O’Donohue’s constructive criticisms of the Howard plan, for example.

    As you can see above, I certainly don’t think that Howard’s plan is above criticism, but nor do I think it is without merit. Hence the pros and cons approach. In fact, it is important to criticise the plan, as long as it is constructive. For example, I suspect that the outcry from indigenous groups about the proposal to compulsorily test all children for disease has led to an amendment of the plan.

    It’s not a simple problem, and the answer isn’t going to be simple either. I think you are right – we all agree that something should be done, and it should be done now. And we agree that radical measures should be taken. None of us want children to be abused or women to be bashed.

    The devil is, as always, in the detail.


  10. We should learn from successes, but we haven’t.
    What is really disappointing is what comes out of p129 of the full report, (and the background to recommendations 36-39), detailing the dramatic successes of our Kiwi cousins from a program started in 1989, with early results reported in 1994.  I’m not surprised they figured it out in NZ, and disappointed but unsurprised that Australia hasn’t learned from NZ successes nearly 2 decades ago.
    The rest is taken from the report, parts of p129 (and the first bits of p130).  In this forum, with a humane legal background that probably understands rehabilitation as a key aim of incarceration, I think it’s worth quoting all the statistics, and the explicit endorsement of the inquiry.
    In the late 1990s, the Gurma Bilni &qyChange Your Life Program was developed specifically for Aboriginal sex offenders in prison

    The Inquiry was unable to find any formal evaluation of this program and it would appear that, for whatever reason, it has not been maintained.
    While participation in offender programs should be voluntary the Inquiry believes that there should be incentives to participate.  In taking this view the Inquiry notes the success of the culturally appropriate Kia Marama sex offender treatment program run at Rolleston Prison in New Zealand.
    New Zealand programs
    The sex offender treatment program at Rolleston Prison in New Zealand has the Maori name, Kia Marama, which means "Let there be Light and Insight".  The program is run for male inmates who have been sentenced for sexual offences against children.  When Kia Marama was opened in 1989, it was the first treatment facility of its type in the world.
    More than 700 men have completed the program to date and an evaluation conducted in 1998 for men who had been treated over the first five years, showed that the program reduced their risk of re-offending by more than 50%.  More recent outcome figures shows that treatment effectiveness has improved when those treated after 1994 were compared to those treated prior to 1994.  Reconviction rates for those treated after 1994 are less than 5%.
    A 1998 evaluation found that the differences in the re-offending and re-imprisonment rates suggest the Department of Corrections reaped a net saving of more than $3 million.  Less quantifiable are the societal savings that result from fewer offenders and fewer victims.
    The goal of the Kia Marama program is to reduce re-offending among men who have offended sexually against children.  In the first phase of the program, participants work on developing a thorough understanding of their offending pattern.  In the second phase, participants are helped to gain knowledge and skills to deal with the problems linked to their offending.  The program lasts about nine months (37 weeks).  Groups of 10 men meet for almost three hours a day three days a week.  At the start of the program men identify their problem areas and needs.
    The group works through modules dealing with issues such as understanding their offending; understanding the effects on victims, changing sexual arousal patterns, social skills, relationship skills and sexuality education, managing moods and coping with risk factors.  The department provides follow-up support after release and former residents take part in post-release parole program with local probation officers: NZ Department of Corrections (2004), Kia Marama Special Treatment Unit
    Te Piriti, an Auckland Prison-based program and innovative extension of the Kia Marama program, is designed specifically for Maori offenders who are treated in a Kia Marama-type program, but in a way that blends Maori cultural values and beliefs.  NZ Department of Corrections, NZ Department of Corrections (2004):Te Piriti Special Treatment Unit

  11. Dave,

    The whole thing is run in such an ad hoc way. Firstly there’s the Federal/State/Local divide, and then there’s the divides within indigenous communities, so it’s really pot luck what sort of response you get, and whether anyone keeps a successful measure going. Very frustrating.


  12. Jazza

    The main problems I see being identified after reading comments here are the negatice features of Aboriginal culture itself,and that’s also diverse amongst various communities–and the need for state governments to work with the federal government on any forward planning and actions.

    Throwing money at welfare and land rights and self determination hasnt worked to change the old tribal ways coupled with selective picking of the rights and opportunities in the “other” life style which end up leading to degradation in the main.

    So how on earth do we change if the Aborigines themselves wont or their leaders wont drive such change?

    Any blueprint will be need to be a generational plan wont it?

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