Rowdy politician should do their job, or piss off back to Canberra

The sweeping election victory of the Country Liberal Party (CLP) in 2012, was due in no small part to the massive swing against Labor in the typically safe Labor “bush seats”, electorates made up of largely Indigenous people and Indigenous owned land. A neglectful and fatigued Labor party failed on numerous fronts to respond to the requests of their bush electorates and machinations of federal level politics also didn’t bode well for electoral victory. The subsequent CLP victory was a shock to many, but a long time coming.

Strangely, during the first weeks of the CLP’s governance, it very vocally and crudely tried to distance itself from the Labor party’s alcohol management policies. The most notable of which, was the “Banned Drinker’s Register” (BDR), dismantled within the first two weeks of winning government. The reasons for getting rid of this policy have varied and changed over a period of time, but a steady chorus of “look at the stats, it didn’t work” has been the fundamental basis of all their arguments (at least post-election) . A middle-schooler studying statistics and logic could quite quickly and easily highlight the fallaciousness of this argument, as trying to measure the success or failure rate of a public-health intervention only one year into operation is, frankly speaking, laughable. Laughable still, or perhaps perplexing to those who haven’t kept up with NT politics, is the somewhat recent CLP attempts at alcohol management policies, such as the placing of police officers at takeaway alcohol premises around the electorates in proximity to the bush seats, fulfilling a function almost identical to the BDR and at twice the cost. Health stats indicate there has actually been an increase in alcohol related injuries post-BDR. However, I won’t be making that argument here, just a remark intended as a friendly elbow jab and a wink.


Can a Treaty shift the racist ideology that plagues Indigenous Affairs? I hope so.

Underpinning all discussions and arguments about the best approach to policies and programs affecting indigenous people is the fundamental question of ‘Why?’.

Why are Aboriginal peoples around the country plagued by the well known and often flouted statistics: more likely to die from suicide, to go to jail, to have children removed, to die younger… the list goes on and on.


Senate Inquiry calls for major overhaul of failed Indigenous Advancement Strategy

The desire to rollout the seemingly ideologically based Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) within a short timeframe appears to have been more important than genuine consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Organisations, a comprehensive regional needs analysis and transparency in the design and implementation.

The Senate Inquiry Report into the Advancement Strategy tendering processes by the Finance and Public Administration References Committee was released on 17th March 2016. Before this Report came out those of us who have been working in the Aboriginal Community Controlled sector knew that the IAS was chaos so the recommendations came as no surprise. I guess that’s one of the frustrations, had Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people been consulted all the way through the design and implementation the issues raised by the Report would have been less likely to occur.


The Closing the Gap Trap

Close the Gap.

Closing the Gap.

The former is the campaign to get the government to change the way it structures the Indigenous Affairs; the latter is the government’s efforts to do so. The fact that the government hijacked the branding of the Close the Gap campaign to make its own response look better was probably not a great way to build trust and send a message of respect, partnership and collaboration… but I digress.


Keeping politics out of Australia Day

I’m the first to admit that I think a lot about seemingly random stuff… I like to unpack things that are said to see what deeper meaning they might represent, or what patterns of thought or inconsistencies they might reveal.


Free Speech

Free speech isn’t something I thought about much before Andrew Bolt gave me a reason to. If I did, it was usually in reference to America, as we don’t really have Free Speech in Australia.

It is a pretty fascinating concept. It’s nothing that I can say I really care much about, but that’s only because the reality of what we have is a very long way from the virtuous concept of what it is meant to be. I could say the same of my general disinterest in the democratic process. On paper it looks great, but in practice it’s just a mockery of what it is meant to be.


Here we go again: Bill Leak isn’t racist, according to Bill Leak.

With the possible exception of members of overt White Supremacist groups it is rare to find anyone who proudly, or even reluctantly, admits they are racist or have committed an act of racism.

Andrew Bolt, according to himself, was actually defending ‘real Aborigines’ when he racially vilified a group of Indigenous people.


Government not on track to meet Closing the Gap targets because of course they aren’t.

A Productivity Commission has found that the government will probably not meet 5 of the 6 Closing the Gap targets, leaving many astounded to hear that they might actually achieve one of them.

(It should be noted at the outset that the government’s ‘Closing the Gap’ is not the same as ‘Close the Gap’, which is a coalition of Indigenous and non-Indigenous health and community organisations.)