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The Past | The Previous

1855 All Over Again

Australia's prime minister announced plans Thursday to ban pornography and alcohol for Aborigines in northern areas and tighten control over their welfare benefits to fight child sex abuse among them.

...

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.

"I'm absolutely disgusted by this patronizing government control," said Mitch, a member of a government board helping Aborigines who were taken from their parents under past assimilation laws who uses one name. "And tying drinking with welfare payments is just disgusting."

"If they're going to do that, they're going to have to do that with every single person in Australia, not just black people," she said.

Howard said the sale, possession and transportation of alcohol would be banned for six months on the Aboriginal-owned land, after which the policy would be reviewed. The child abuse report found drinking was a key factor in the collapse of Aboriginal culture, contributing to neglect of children and creating opportunities for pedophiles.

Hardcore pornography also would be banned, and publicly funded computers would be audited to ensure that they had not downloaded such images. The report said pornography was rife in Aboriginal communities and that children often were exposed to it.

Under Howard's plan, new restrictions would be placed on welfare payments for Aborigines living on the land to prevent the money from being spent on alcohol and gambling. Parents would be required to spend at least half their welfare on essentials such as food, and payments also would be linked to a child's school attendance.

Howard also called on state governments to send police to the Northern Territory to address a shortage on Aboriginal land there and offered to pay their expenses.


And this, incidentally, is the photo the ABC ran with the article--



--because Aborigines are either a tourist attraction or a 'national problem', and never real people in the eyes of the government or the media.

Link.

Comments

benpeek
Jun. 22nd, 2007 07:43 am (UTC)
what impresses me about this, you know, is how, even with aboriginal community leaders and people within these communities who do want help for the very real problems--even with these people asking for more funding and more help for years and years and years--

what impresses me is how howard can make one step away from taking aborigine kids away and putting them in a safe environment and not blinking ONCE.
ironed_orchid
Jun. 22nd, 2007 08:08 am (UTC)
Yeah. It's just mind blowing, and then, all at once, it isn't at all. For all the same reasons that this is seen as a election ploy, whereas in my mind, it's the sort of thing that would make someone lose office.

This is the bit that got to me:

Local police officers were accused of turning a blind eye to a "rampant informal sex trade" between Aboriginal girls aged 12 to 15 and non-Aboriginal local mineworkers, who paid the girls in alcohol, cash and other goods. Alcohol was used as a "bartering tool" by black and white men for sex with under-age girls, the report added.
From the Guardian.

Because I don't see anyone jumping up and down about restricting alcohol sales to those non-aboriginals, or restricting when and where they can drink, so as to avoid it being used to buy sex with minors.

Edited for fixing code.
benpeek
Jun. 22nd, 2007 08:38 am (UTC)
yeah, i saw that article. the fact that no one is limiting things to white people doesn't surprise me at all.

the whole thing is disgusting, really, but it surprises me not one bit from the politicians we have. somewhere along the line, we took a few steps back as a country, i think.
ironed_orchid
Jun. 22nd, 2007 09:46 am (UTC)
Did you see This article in The Age.

It's so close to the issue of stolen children that it's hard to even make fun of it.
benpeek
Jun. 23rd, 2007 09:47 am (UTC)
wow.
ironed_orchid
Jun. 22nd, 2007 09:53 am (UTC)
Um, that was The Oz. I'm getting my offensive articles all mixed up.