Lazy Luddite Log

8.8.07

NT Intervention

Yesterday I was angry so I sent a letter to the paper. Today I am happy because that letter was published. If anyone wants to comment on the letter they can do so here and they can also do so (if they are quick) on The Australian website itself. I am happy with the content of my letter as published.

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.

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5 Comments:

  • Dear Daniel,

    congratulations! A good letter!

    (Also a flippant thought--- would it be possible for an issue to make you ANGRY enough to write a letter, but yet to be trivial enough that your joy at getting your letter published outweighed your initial anger?)

    Julie.

    By Blogger julie, At 08 August, 2007  

  • Dear Daniel,

    congratulations! A good letter!

    (Also a flippant thought--- would it be possible for an issue to make you ANGRY enough to write a letter, but yet to be trivial enough that your joy at getting your letter published outweighed your initial anger?)

    Julie.

    By Blogger julie, At 08 August, 2007  

  • sorry for the double comment there. can you delete it? it looks silly. I look silly.

    julie.

    By Blogger julie, At 09 August, 2007  

  • Thank you for keeping this issue on the table. It's so disturbing how little it has been receiving in the last few weeks. Obviously it is back on the table because of the new legislation, but I am glad that consciencious bloggers like yourself are providing another platform for discussion.

    Btw, are you aware that the new legislation asks for provision of the suspension fo the Racial Discrimination Act and the of the Anti-Discrimination Act NT? I don't understand how such a thing can be passed, right under the nose of everybody, and fully in the public eye.

    By Blogger Hooch, At 13 August, 2007  

  • To Julie

    So sorry Julie - it is my mistake. I moderate comments and accidentally let both your duplicates pass. I cannot seem to remove them. Possibly Blogger thinks that if something is passed by a moderator then nobody will ever need to delete it (short of deleting and reposting the entry).

    So I am silly.

    Did you see my letter via the blog or do you still peruse the pages of that esteemed tome The Australian?

    To Eug

    There are other cases in which exemptions are allowed for anti-descrimination laws, such as for religious organisations to discriminate in employment, and I must admit I can kinda see why that makes sense.

    I cannot see how it makes sense for the NT Intervention, but then how much of the whole package makes any sense anyway. It seems riddled with contradictions. The NT Police Association oppose removing the permit system which is hardly surprising. If you are in law enforcement then something like that will help you police dodgy behaviour in concert with community leaders.

    I have an analogy: Imagine if a government promised to construct a new police station (complete with cops) in your neglected outer suburb within the next 12 months but also insisted on abolishing your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme within the next week!

    By Blogger Daniel, At 14 August, 2007  

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