Wednesday, June 27, 2007

More information on that last post... Government response...

Is where the actual report is posted about the Enquiry into Child protection.

Has the federal government made an appropriate response?

What do you think!? below is the Federal goverments response to the report linked above...

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
Media Release
National emergency response to protect Aboriginal children in
the NT
In response to the national emergency confronting the welfare of Aboriginal children in the
Northern Territory, the Australian Government today announced immediate, broad ranging
measures to stabilise and protect communities in the crisis area.
The immediate nature of the Australian Government's response reflects the very first
recommendation of the Little Children are Sacred report into the protection of Aboriginal children
from child abuse in the Northern Territory which said: "That Aboriginal child sexual abuse in the
Northern territory be designated as an issue of urgent national significance by both the Australian
and Northern Territory Governments…."
All action at the national level is designed to ensure the protection of Aboriginal children from
The emergency measures to protect children being announced today are a first step that will provide
immediate mitigation and stabilising impacts in communities that will be prescribed by the Minister
for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.
The measures include:
Introducing widespread alcohol restrictions on Northern Territory Aboriginal land.
Introducing welfare reforms to stem the flow of cash going toward substance abuse and to
ensure funds meant to be for children's welfare are used for that purpose
Enforcing school attendance by linking income support and family assistance payments to
school attendance for all people living on Aboriginal land and providing meals for children
at school at parents' cost
Introducing compulsory health checks for all Aboriginal children to identify and treat health
problems and any effects of abuse
Acquiring townships prescribed by the Australian Government through five year leases
including payment of just terms compensation
As part of the immediate emergency response, increasing policing levels in prescribed
communities, including requesting secondments from other jurisdictions to supplement NT
resources, funded by the Australian Government.
Requiring intensified on ground clean up and repair of communities to make them safer and
healthier by marshalling local workforces through work-for-the-dole
Improving housing and reforming community living arrangements in prescribed
communities including the introduction of market based rents and normal tenancy
Banning the possession of X-rated pornography and introducing audits of all publicly
funded computers to identify illegal material
Scrapping the permit system for common areas, road corridors and airstrips for prescribed
communities on Aboriginal land, and;
Improving governance by appointing managers of all government business in prescribed
The national emergency response will be overseen by a Taskforce of eminent Australians,
including logistics and other specialists as well as child protection experts. Magistrate Sue
Gordon, chair of the National Indigenous Council and author of the 2002 Gordon Report
into Aboriginal child abuse in Western Australia has agreed to take a leadership role on the
The issue will be placed on the agenda for next week's meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee
on the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) to formally refer the issue to the ACC to allow it to
identify and locate perpetrators of sexual abuse of Indigenous children in other areas of Australia.
If required, a special sitting of Parliament in July will consider legislation to implement the
Australian Government measures.
The Northern Territory Government will be expected to:
Increase its efforts and resources to ensure the servicing and protection of its citizen in the
range of areas of State and Territory responsibility and support, within the scope of its
resources, the national emergency response
Develop a comprehensive strategy to tackle the 'rivers of grog' across the Territory
Resume all special leases over town camps in the major urban areas where lease conditions
have been breached. The Australian Government will act in this area if the NTG fails to do
Remove customary law as a mitigating factor for sentencing and bail conditions
The situation facing children in Indigenous communities is a national emergency and the
immediate action of the Australian Government is an appropriate response to the crisis
highlighted by the Little Children are Sacred report.
Additional information
Tackling alcohol abuse:
The Australian Government will introduce legislation to:
Ban the sale, possession, transportation and consumption of alcohol (initially for six months) in
prescribed areas, excepting wet canteens operating with the approval of the Taskforce that have
strict alcohol management practices and that do not allow take away sales; and
Require licensees to view photographic identification and record purchaser addresses and proposed
destination of alcohol purchases where the quantity exceeds five cartons for low strength and three
cartons for full strength beer, or equivalent across the remainder of the Northern Territory.
The NT Government will be required to develop a comprehensive plan to tackle the 'rivers of grog'
Welfare reform:
The Australian Government will introduce legislation to:
Reduce discretionary disposable income by quarantining 50 percent of all Australian Government
income support and family assistance payments, and CDEP wages, for an initial period of twelve
months, for people who have been, or become, in receipt of payment for two years or longer for
residents in prescribed communities, with those outside of these communities decided on a case by
case basis by Centrelink.
Improving school attendance:
The Australian Government will:
Link the receipt of Australian Government income support and family assistance payments to
school attendance for principal carers of children of compulsory school age in prescribed
communities, with quarantining of 50 percent of income support payments and one hundred percent
of family assistance payments, for an initial period of twelve months, in cases of poor school
attendance (more than three unexplained absences per school term) which would include mandatory
deductions to provide for school breakfast and lunch for the school age children.
Acquisition of townships:
The Australian Government will:
Introduce legislation to acquire a five year lease over prescribed Indigenous communities, with just
terms compensation with this to include, but not be limited to, communities of 100 people or more
located on:
Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (ALRA) land;
located on a form of freehold title issued by the NT Government to Aboriginal corporations and
known as Community Living Areas.
Other communities may also be prescribed by the Minister on the basis of advice from the
The Australian Government's acquisition of five year leases not affect the Australian Government's
negotiations to achieve ninety nine year township leases.
Town camps:
The NT Government will be expected to:
Immediately resume all special leases issued by the Northern Territory Government to Aboriginal
associations for the town camps in the vicinity of major urban centres where these leases are in
breach of their lease conditions, (this would not require compensation) and if such action is not
undertaken urgently, that the Australian Government introduce legislation to allow it to exercise the
powers of the Northern Territory Government to resume the leases.
Reform of community living arrangements
The Australian Government will, in prescribed communities:
Establish market based rents for public housing, with normalised tenancy requirements;
Improve housing stock
Community members on income support will be required to participate in community cleanups and
basic cleanups of public housing on a Work for the Dole basis
National Intelligence Taskforce
Additional resources will be provided to enhance the scope of the Australian Government led
National Intelligence Taskforce operations in the Northern Territory to include a sexual abuse
reporting desk.
A separate Fact Sheet regarding changes to the permit system is attached.
© Commonwealth of Australia
This page was last modified on 21/06/2007.
This page was accessed on 22/06/2007.

Friday, June 22, 2007

How not to fix a problem!

Well i guess for a start this comes from the Bob the Builder ethic of "Can we fix it? Yes we can!".

Which may not necessarily be the best dogma to use on this particular issue anyway...

I am talking about the recent coup d'etat by the Australian Federal Government over the Northern Territory's indigenous communities.

This is a very dark time for this country and I am deeply concerned as to the implications for the parents doing their best in communities and indeed the councils run by committed and honest community members.

It seems to me that hundreds of communities are being tarred by the brush from just a handful of communities.

Let's make a comparison of what is happening here. What is being suggested here is like if the Federal Government went into Brisbane and abolished the Brisbane City Council, Gold Coast City Council, Caloundra Shire Council and put in a police state of their own. Then they took all the children out of their homes and had doctors they did not know examine them for evidence of sexual abuse (which in my opinion for a child that had not been abused before- be essentially akin to abuse itself).

I don't think a State government would stand for it!

Is there a problem? YES!

Has nothing been done to "fix it"? Maybe.

Has the federal government utterly failed to properly fund people who understand and can effectively help fix the situation? YES!

Are more teachers required per student for Remote schools to work? YES!

Is this a knee-jerk reaction by a hot-headed federal minister ? Highly likely.

Is this as good a stunt as Tampa for currying political favour? yes!

Is this appearing to do something, but quite possibly making a problem worse? likely.

Is abolishing the permit system a good thing? Hail no!

Does anyone read this blog? Not sure!

Post a comment and let me know...

Secondary team photo...

from left" Denise, Naomi and Rhonda (now at Katherine High). I am at the front.

The Rain in Kalkaringi

So here i am in NT's dry season and it's been raining now for a week!

Admittedly it has not been monsoonal downpour, but more like one would expect to see in maybe Melbourne or Bris-Vegas.  little spitty drops that just don;t seem to stop...

Bit of worry.  The principal, the ground staff and I will be the only school workers here as of tomorrow when Chris and Deb leave.  With all the rain i am a little nervous about the conditions of the road shoulders...  Not too keen on driving the Corolla through mud!

Farewell to Rhonda; pictured below on the right.  Who has left Kalkaringi for sunny Katherine.  (That is if the picture uploaded properly).

Also pictured (from left) is Denise, Naomi and myself.  Peter was absent that day as were Leah and Tim.  Next term we have two interns and a whole new teacher.  With that photo we were trying to get one of those old fashioned pictures where everyone looks sort of serious.  As I was a Maths teacher at the time I borrowed Naomi's glasses (which she had nicked off Deb) in order to look more intelligent.  Not sure if i succeeded...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Amazing Child prodigy drummer!

This kid is quite simply incredible!
This is one of the amazing things one of my students found on the web.