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    Trevor Kerr

    croakeyblog tweeted “Which begs the question – where is fed health on income mgt, and what about whole-of-govt approaches to health?”

    Wasn’t there some talk about “one-stop-shops” for centralising all aspects of children’s health care? Maybe I’m fantasising, but you’d think a WoG approach would have Income Management and Superclinics on the same page of policy, in relation to seeking the best outcomes for our children.

    There was a newspaper article this week about an infant who died while in a vehicle being driven by its parents over a long distance. There’s the usual hue and cry, but the fact is that once a child-at-risk is in a moving vehicle, that’s it. No chance of intervention to protect. And the reason for the journey? Maybe to run away from something?

    I’d like an authority on child protection, like Chris Goddard, and experts on behaviour and the psychology of crisis, to discuss the likelihood that marginalised parents will present their urgent problems to any service centre built by the WoG initiative.

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    Jon Hunt

    Well, goodness me. You don’t have to be a professor or an AO to know that there is no aspect of the intervention which is going to improve the situation. This has been the problem with government policy all along; the indigenous doctor’s association has stated that you can’t cure disposession, disempowerment, marginalisation and so on with the same (funnily enough). This is quite a simple concept yet for reasons one would need to surmise no-one seems to realise that the only solution to these problems is to address these. It is actually quite simple. Frustrating.

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    sixonesixfour

    I’m a middle class. middle aged woman, born in the UK. My family emigrated when I was 12 and since then I have had little to do with any Aboriginal people. Mostly I’ve lived in affluent areas with a similar, English speaking population. My family’s moderate affluence and my own lack of education about Australian history and the challenge that history imposed upon the existing Indigenius population led me to be unaware and unaffected by the challenges they face.

    But no longer!

    A friend forwarded a link to an article about the intervention, she said to me “Do you realise what our government has been doing since it said “sorry?”. I started reading and as the articles unfolded so too did my anger. Like many Australians I applauded the Rudd Government apology and thought it meant a new period of justice for the Aboriginal people of this country. Like many Australians I was shocked by the report of widespread child abuse in the Northern Territory and trusted our governemnt to take what it described as essential measures such as health checks for every child and education programs. I even agreed with news reports that said income quarantining would help solve the problems because it would mean money was spent on food and education rather than alcohol.

    After only 1 day of reading article after article exposing the reverse side of the coin I am disgusted with our government and ashamed of myself for placidly accepting the lies that allowed this action of intervention to take place.

    I ask myself: How would I feel if I had to pass a “prescribed area” sign each time I entered my suburb? A sign that branded myself and my community as alcoholic porn addicts? How would I feel if the person or authority that controlled my source of income took most of it and decided what was best for me, without consultation? What would I do if that system failed and I and my children went hungry until it was fixed? I think I would feel insulted, completely disempowered and extremely vulnerable.

    I think If I already felt disempowered and vulnerable surely these actions made by those with power over me would only increase these feelings. Surely the effect of this would be anger, despair or apathy leading to an exacerbation of the manifestation of all these problems. If I drink to forget then maybe I would just drink more. If I suffer depression and lack of motivation caused by that depression then removal of any hope must lead to deeper feelings of worthlessness. So, I ask myself, how is reducing self-determination and making a group of people MORE reliant of government handouts (and goodwill) going to improve their situation? Nowhere in the literature I read today do I see positive stories about increased services, increased quality of life and increased self esteem.

    I have battled my own demons of alcoholism and depression but I was fortunate not to have to suffer the stigma that some Aboriginal people do. I and many of my friends can cover our addictions because we have resources to draw upon and so we often go unnoticed. If we did not have such material resources I can not confidently say we would not be treated in the same way except somehow the colour of our skin would probably make us less likely to suffer discrimination and judgmentalism from our suburban neighbours and those in power.

    I am ashamed of our government but even more so ashamed of myself for being so ignorant. I have now resolved to be more aware and do what I can to fight this injustice.

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