C'est nous qui brisons les barreaux des prisons, pour nos frères, La haine à nos trousses, et la faim qui nous pousse, la misère. Il y a des pays où les gens aux creux des lits font des rêves, Ici, nous, vois-tu, nous on marche et nous on tue nous on crève.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Mal Brough is a Joke

And not just to me, either. According to Chris Graham in today's Crikey, Brough has turned 'developer'. Remember those Aboriginal land rights that Brough assured us needed to be abolished to somehow 'save the children'? The rationale for these had little to do with child protection. Rather, according to Brough -

The idea is to make a profit in joint-venture partnerships.
This from a man who, when in charge of Indigenous Affairs at a Federal level, underspent the budget by about one-fifth, that is, $600 million.

In spite of all of this, Graham is correct to point out that our toothless media refused to criticise Brough's 'intervention', despite the fact it rested on little more than tough-talking rhetoric, and a shrill appeal to 'think of the children'. As Graham points out:

It all makes for a great spectacle. But the problem is Aboriginal Australia doesn't need another showman, it needs solutions. Brough doesn't have any now, and he didn't have any in office.
I said much the same thing about the media at the time:

A long-standing, genuinely tragic, but opportunely 'urgent' situation has to entail that all disagreement to the Government's proposal must be shouted down. One of the most authoritarian and hastily-conceived interventions in Australian history is to be imposed upon our most vulnerable people, without a whimper.

Noel Pearson was the most prominent 'bipartisan' (snigger) supporter of the NT intervention. He too has revealed himself completely politically inept, if not equally useless as a 'community leader'. In the May edition of The Monthly, Pearson attributes Obama's popularity in the US to little more than 'white guilt', a familiar trope with which he tried to chastise the left in Australia. Not only is this offensively patronising, it ignores that fact that the majority of whites in Australia undoubtedly feel no such 'guilt'. Australia's arid centre is far from the urban sprawl of the coasts, and on the basis of all available evidence, few citizens in the latter region know of care of the plight of desert-dwelling Aboriginals. Some know, however, that it is not Aboriginals who are the main source of child protection concerns (though they are over-represented), or the much-vilified Muslims or Sudanese. Rather, most child abuse in Australia, at least as far as official statistics report, relates to dirt-poor children of Anglo-Australian origins.

And what did Aboriginals think of the intervention? If the 2007 Federal election is any guide, they didn't think much. Several remote areas recorded 2PP results in favour of the ALP that were well into the 90% range.

Hopefully we can finally put to rest the destructive myth that these clowns, architects of an intervention in which genuinely informed opinion was eschewed in favour of media sensationalism, ever had anything other than their own wheelbarrows at heart.