The full text of my letter follows:
YOUR editorial ('Indigenous support' 7/8) advocates bipartisan support for the Government’s Northern Territory National Emergency Response Bill, despite its "catch-all nature".
But this catch-all nature, along with the speed with which the Government wishes to have the bill passed, will sound warning bells for the many Australians already suspicious of the effectiveness of the plan.
The Government’s proposals are a mixed bag. Improvements in law-enforcement, health and education services for remote communities are worth supporting, even if costly, but we are yet to be told how scrapping the permit system, an act of relinquishing public control of private movements, will make combating child abuse and alcoholism any less difficult for those stretched community services.
The introduction of laws as far-reaching as the Northern Territory intervention legislation warrants scrutiny and debate, not so that its objective of saving indigenous children from abuse can be frustrated but so that those objectives can have some chance of working, both in the short and long term.
I also got a letter on a related topic published a few weeks back but was far from happy with it compared with the latest one. It left itself open to all sorts of criticism. Here is its text:
YOUR editorial ('Beyond handouts' 4/7) criticises the federal Government for wanting to apply its welfare reform proposals for remote Aboriginal communities to all parents rather than just those shown to be neglecting their children, saying it is "insulting to good Aboriginal parents to suggest they cannot manage their funds ... (and) denies them the opportunity to be positive role models for others". I agree with this sentiment and would add that, in relation to this debate and all discussion of welfare reform, the ability to make decisions for one’s self, even at the risk of making some mistakes, is preferable to intrusive policies such as food stamps.
The Left says "paternalistic" while the Right says "nanny state" but these concepts amount to pretty much the same thing and both need to be regarded with suspicion.
That last line is a bit too much me pushing my barrow of challenging political classifications and a bit off topic.
For now I feel I got something off my chest with the letter published today. I am still angry however at our arrogant and power-crazed Federal government desperately seeking to show us who is boss.