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.)

View Post

I’m Not A ‘Proud Australian’

I don’t “feel” Australian. I don’t ever identify as just “Australian”. I don’t sing the anthem. I don’t wave the flag and don’t really care when I see someone burning it. I don’t feel proud on Australia Day. I don’t eat lamb chops. Frankly, I don’t particularly care for the people who do all the aforementioned. Indeed, a good portion of the time, I tend to view them with disdain and frustration.

View Post

National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples: What will a new leadership structure bring?

The idea that Indigenous people should have their own democratically elected governance structures is referred to directly and indirectly in more than one article in the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous people (UNDRIP). If Australia as a nation wants to have a mature response to the socio-economic woes affecting its Indigenous population, self-determination, self-representation and direct input into political decision making and policy development are systems that must be implemented. However, recent Australian political history hasn’t been favourable toward this model, as paternalistic and top down approaches have once again become the preferred method of engagement.