Aboriginal "national emergency" Plan

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Aboriginal "national emergency" Plan

Child abuse plan 'will fail'

JOHN Howard's plan to combat child sex abuse in Aboriginal communities through alcohol and porn bans, compulsory medical checks and extra police has been dismissed as a knee-jerk response doomed to fail.

The Prime Minister announced the radical plan yesterday, in which the commonwealth will assume control of Aboriginal towns on a five-year lease to eradicate the "national emergency" of sexual abuse he said was threatening a generation of indigenous youth.

The response to the measures in the overhaul has been lukewarm, however. Medical experts have said the plan for all Aboriginal children aged under 16 to have check-ups will plunge the Northern Territory's health system into crisis.

The liquor industry has said the alcohol ban would be a "nightmare" to implement - and that die-hard drinkers would find ways around it anyway. The porn industry has said a ban on X-rated material would not stop criminals from producing illegal videos or pictures.

The plan to recruit extra police for a crackdown on law and order - in part through the Australian Crime Commission being given wider scope - could stretch already full territory jails past breaking point, it was reported.

The plan to quarantine welfare payments to force parents to ensure children went to school and that money was not spent on alcohol was much more strict than an alternative developed by indigenous leaders.

But the Prime Minister has said extra funding would be provided to implement the measures announced. And Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough said: "We are not actually conducting any budgeting here. This is an emergency operation."


Australian Medical Association NT president Peter Beaumont said there were "nowhere near enough doctors in the territory" to conduct the checks. Bureau of statistics figures estimate there are more than 23,000 children eligible for the checks.

"And you can't just bring people in and train them in a few days and expect them to know how to communicate and deal with Aboriginal people."

Health workers in the territory have said the six-month ban on the sale, transport and consumption of take-away alcohol would be "an administrative nightmare" that would not stop problem drinkers from getting alcohol.

The liquor industry has said sellers should not have to bear the burden of enforcing the ban, while health workers fear it could produce a spike in drinkers suffering alcohol withdrawal.

The Eros Foundation has said the "worst of the worst" explicit material in the territory was bought from criminal gangs who sold direct to the public. The group also said it was already illegal to expose children to such material.

The organisation said it had told authorities what was happening but nothing had been done.

Doubts were also raised over the ability of the Northern Territory's prisons to cope with a possible influx of inmates, after a promised crackdown on policing in certain communities.

There was no response from the Federal Goverment on how a judicial system already struggling to house a disproportionate number of Aboriginal prisoners in usually full jails would cope with more inmates. Premiers were also lukewarm in response to the call to send police officers to the territory to boost numbers.

'Kneejerk nonsense'

The plan to quarantine 50 per cent of welfare payments to ensure the money was spent on the benefits of children was also more hardline than a plan put forward by indigenous leader Noel Pearson earlier this week.

Under that plan, a family assistance commission would have been established to take control of payments to parents or guardians who abused or neglected their children. Under Mr Howard's plan, anyone who has received welfare for two years will have their money quarantined.

The author of the report that sparked the shake-up, Boni Robertson, rejected the measures as "knee-jerk nonsense" that would "segregate and quarantine a section of the Australian community". Researchers have also described it as paternalistic.

But Mr Howard defended his radical measures yesterday: "We are dealing with children of the tenderest age who have been exposed to the most terrible abuse from the time of their birth, virtually.

"It is interventionist ... I accept that. But what matters more: the constitutional niceties or the care and protection of young children?"

- with The Australian
Aboriginal "national emergency" Plan

It's a knee-jerk reaction to a complex problem that has been around for years.

Howard needs to appear to be a decisive leader but like much of the current Govt's social policies they get mentioned at Budget time and then drop into a big 'black' hole (no pun intended). Years of neglect of a serious problem (by successive govt's) cannot be fixed in a simplistic reaction.

unfortunately the shock-jocks may support this one but serious problems need more than simplistic statements!!

Byso - is that good enough for you to have ammunition to fire at those who are not John Howard lovers (the three of them that are left!)
Aboriginal "national emergency" Plan

Good idea imo, I would go even further and make a portion of the dole or pension for everybody (Australia wide) only valid at supermarkets for the purchase of food items.
Aboriginal "national emergency" Plan

I would off assumed that those that actually cared about their plight are glad a solution is being looked at. You see CW just because its Howards/Libs idea doesn't make it bad.

It seems like it will be hard to implement. But hopefully it works.
Aboriginal "national emergency" Plan

My Mother-In-Law just finished visiting 4 aborigine communities. They went from one of the worst with garbage absolutely everywhere to one community that had such pride she rated it the highlight of her trip.

The fact if proven that children are being abused must be rectified.
Aboriginal "national emergency" Plan

Would anyone here have a problem if someone came to them forcibly took away their young daughter for a medical examination to see if she had been abused?

It all sounds a bit "Rabbit Proof Fence" to me.

I'm sure there are lots of good things in this, but I just find it hard to take seriously when there has been complete disdain for 11 years, only for something to be done when an election is coming and they are in trouble. It's hard to believe they are being genuine.
Aboriginal "national emergency" Plan

I'll agree with that Gronk. The Libs are turning into more social engineers than the left ever dreamed of.
Aboriginal "national emergency" Plan

It always worries me when Howard comes up with a policy one week after reading a report and having a cry about it.

the devil will be in the detail.

This will only work if every social worker they send up there is altruistic and intends to get their hands dirty. Don't bet on that being a likely possibility.
Aboriginal "national emergency" Plan

The thing that amazes me is that Howard and his gang have not even spoken to the Aboriginal community about this problem. There are many intelligent and insightful members of the NT communities that could offer sensible advice to what is a complex problem.
Aboriginal "national emergency" Plan

This is a plan with no real plan - now they have a hot-line calling for volunteers.I don't want to cast aspersions on any professions but you have to wonder how many extra pedophiles are lining up to volunteer examining these children. Their is a complete lack of detail that is scary.
Aboriginal "national emergency" Plan

exactly. It's an election-driven \"policy\"

Never heard of those before...

Infact I haven't heard a sensible thing come out of Labour until the election.
Aboriginal "national emergency" Plan

Yeah, there better off doing nothing. **** 'em they're only less than 1% of the population anyhow.
Aboriginal "national emergency" Plan

Yeah, there better off doing nothing. **** 'em they're only less than 1% of the population anyhow.
Actually, it would be better for us to do something considered rather than poll-driven.
Aboriginal "national emergency" Plan

Aboriginal "national emergency" Plan

I suppose Howard would dismiss that as a "black armband view of history".

It would be great to have Keating back. He had more balls than the entirety of Howard's Cabinet.
Aboriginal "national emergency" Plan

Great speech by Keating. But you know successive governments have let them down. Our history is riddled with poor decisions. This last one from John just smacks of jackboots, but the bottom line is something drastic has to be done. Alcoholism and petrol abuse is rife and needs prompt action. Children are in danger. If this wasn't an election year I might be more understanding of the current stance - and at the very least the entire process would be covered with negotiation, consultation and a detailed plan. I'm sorry, not for the history of European abuse, but for the poor process that this current action is taking.
Aboriginal "national emergency" Plan

[quote author=byso]
Yeah, there better off doing nothing. **** 'em they're only less than 1% of the population anyhow.
Actually, it would be better for us to do something considered rather than poll-driven.

So I guess you think they simply whipped this plan up in a few days without any research?

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