Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Why don't we just send them up the chimneys and down the mines?

From Anna Lamboys in today's issue of crikey.com.au:

'There’s a document circulating around Yuendumu, Central Australia’s largest Aboriginal community, that suggests federally appointed Government Business Managers on Aboriginal communities in the Territory will have the power to direct police activities on those communities.

Northern Territory coppers are to be ordered to round up kids wagging school and conscript them into work gangs so they are "worked until visibly tired" ... The document "Yuendumu – School Attendance Proposal" has been drawn up by Noel Mason, the newly appointed Government Business Manager at Yuendumu.

Explaining that the kids from Yuendumu "enjoy staying away from school in Yuendumu far too much", Mason states that "the names of children staying up late at night will be collected and those children will used to assist with the clean up the town site the next day ... The aim is to make children who want to avoid school, have a busy, tiring day."

He goes on:

"Children listed will be ... questioned about why they are not at school, then moved to an area of rubbish in the town site and will be required to collect rubbish as punishment. Family elders, Police, Night Patrol staff and CDEP staff, will manage the rubbish collection. Students will be worked until they are visibly tired. Water and fruit will be available for them whilst working."'

Great. How about rubber gloves, face masks, free antibiotics and emergency responses to needlestick injuries?

I don't even recognise this country any more.

One ray of light is that the Northern Territory police are already publicly very unhappy as it is about the Feds' latest foray backwards in time; many of them have extensive experience in the Aboriginal communities and already know what works and what doesn't. I hope for, and expect, harsh words from the boys in beige in charge.

UPDATE: Or, if you are obliged to use grown-ups to do your dirty work, here's another cool new bit of government enabling: now you can ensure that they are expendable icky foreign grown-ups that nobody cares about.


elsewhere said...

This is kind of interesting because it suggests going back to a mission manager style of operation where an individual boss gets to say what happens in individual communities. (Not that this didn't happen already to some extent through having a store manager or community clerk.) i.e. are there any checks and balances or is the emergency plan open to interpretation?

The NT and local govts have procrastinated over these issues for a long time -- like twenty years or so. In some ways, they've only got themselves to blame.

Mindy said...

I think needlestick injuries are unlikely to be an issue, but certainly dirty working conditions, broken glass, metal and plastic shards will be a problem. The kids shouldn't be cleaning up, the adults in the community get paid to do it, the Council needs a kick up the proverbial, not the kids. If they try this the kids will go bush and you won't see them for dust. It won't get them back to school and it won't achieve anything.

Bernice said...

I remember Veronica Brady in her Wisdom interview on RN talking of an encounter with her fellow Australians which left her feeling no commonality with them at all. I am beginning to experience this more & more frequently as well.
Or is Burke's adage of "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." more apt?

genevieve said...

That report on 457 visas is also incredibly disturbing. Only 20 people dead in 5 years, the claim being that three are 'work-related' - how do they know for sure that some/all of the others aren't in some way or other?

Link said...

They clearly need to be far more miserable, tired, and humiliated. They've got way too much energy, have far too much fun and smile too often and too easily. Geez they even snmiled at the Prime Minister.

These days, its positively . . . un Australian to be so carefree. Who on earth do these little picaninnies think they are?

They need to join the mainstream, chase little bits of green paper around, end up in debt and live miserably ever after LIKE US, NORMAL, AVERAGE, WORKING AUSTRALIANS.