Sunday, July 29, 2012

Australia's non-black black activists

Andrew Bolt was convicted of hate speech for blowing the whistle on this fraud so I suppose I run some risk in reproducing the article below.  The fact that it appears to be written by a real Aborigine may be protective, however.  And the racket involved is so gross that no government would want to draw  attention to it.

In a way, though, the fault lies not with the exploiters of Aboriginality but rather with a government that makes absurd rules about who is an Aborigine.  In their desperation not to mention such a naughty word as "race",  they say you are an Aborigine if you think you are.  I have a relative whose skin is as white as snow but who would be accepted as an Aborigine if she applied for any of the special benefits available to Aborigines.  She does genuinely have some very remote Aboriginal ancestry but even that seems not to be needed if you tell a good story

Meet Mick. 

The person on the right is what a real Aborigine looks like.

If you've read any of my previous posts, you'll know he's the pale fellow on the left.

A man of many talents, Mick is an Aboriginal Elder, Traditional Owner, Business Owner and also holds several important positions the Indigenous Industry.  He is on the Board at Mt Buller, the Board of Native Title Services Victoria (NTSV), and a Council Member of the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council (VAHC).

Not bad for a man who didn't find out he had Aboriginal heritage until he was 25.
Since 2006, groups all over the state of Victoria have been scrambling to achieve what is known as 'RAP' status  (which stands for Registered Aboriginal Party).  Having RAP status is a pretty big deal.  It allows the group granted RAP status the right to be involved in Cultural Heritage Management of a particular area.

So what is this Cultural Heritage Management?

Well, let's pretend for a moment that we're a Property Developer.  We purchase a large parcel of land on which to build a housing estate, and begin the necessary steps to get approval.  Part of this approvals process involves getting a CHMP (Cultural Heritage Management Plan), and for this, we need to approach the local group who have RAP status.  They will in turn, send out someone to come and assess the land, and prepare a report.  If any Aboriginal 'artefacts' are found on the land, a CHMP sets out how these 'artefacts' are to be managed.  This can involve anything from having to pay site supervisors (from the RAP) to come and oversee the work while it takes place, to moving them to a local museum, to just ignoring them - and everything in between.  It can be a long, often expensive process or alternatively, it can be a joke.  Sometimes, it's both.

The original promise of the Aboriginal Heritage Act of 2006 was to allow Aboriginal people to be involved in preserving their heritage and culture, to provide protection to our most sacred sites.  The reality is, in most cases, it has done completely the opposite. 

To apply for RAP status, you will need to engage the assistance of two specific groups.  Native Title Services (for help getting the claim off the ground) and second, the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council (who make the decision on who does, and does not, get RAP status).   You may be surprised to know that many of the successful RAP applications that have gone through to date have come from 'Traditional Owners' who serve on the boards of one or both of these organisations.  Conflict of interest?  Ah, thems just whitefella words.

Is it any wonder so many of our pale-skinned, so called 'Elders' or 'Traditional Owners' also classify themselves as experts in Cultural Heritage, and often have side businesses that are dedicated to managing it for a hefty fee?

Mick, as we discovered earlier, is part of the NTSV and VAHC cheer squad.  His 'Taungurung' people received RAP status for a large area, originally applying for land from just outside Healesville, all the way across to Euroa and taking in places like Mansfield, Broadford, Lancefield, Kilmore and Heathcote. Mick has claimed often and with great passion about his strong connection to country and has spoken emotionally about the dispossession of his ancestors from their 'cultural home'.  Surprisingly, it is a place he today, chooses not to live.  Instead, you will find him living in Gippsland,  far away from his 'stolen land'. 

If you have a spare few minutes, I highly recommend this video interview by Mick:-

Don't be fooled by the Message Stick in his hand.  Like most Fauxborigines, he's using it wrong and paying it no respect.  It is in his hand not for some deeper spiritual or cultural reason, but, as a prop to fool unwitting watchers into believing this guy knows his stuff.  Cultural credibility that he manufactured in his own workshop, no doubt.

I like how Mick waffles.  Most Fauxborigines, when talking about their heritage or culture, will often resort to this very same trick.   They talk in circles, often spending an inordinate amount of time describing small, inconsequential things.  Like a shield they once saw, or an Elder they spoke to.  Often, they'll use a small smattering of an Aboriginal language they've revived in a windowless room in a University to punctuate their speech with more credibility.  It is quite an art form, but ultimately, they do horrendous damage to a culture they have no right to speak of. 

How much are you truly honouring a culture when you step on tradition to make a buck?

For all those Elders out there, who stay on their country, devote their lives to making their communities a better place, who worry endlessly about their people who are suffering, I take my hat off to you and offer nothing but my respect and support.  For too long you have sat unnoticed, uncared for, and unrecognised while self-appointed opportunists claim you don't exist and step in to take your place.  It is time to say, no more.

More HERE  (See the original for links)

Racist child welfare  bureaucrats forcing little girl back to neglectful family

Living with foster parents since she was 36 hours old, two-year-old could soon be forced to leave only family she knows

A LITTLE girl cherished by her "mum and dad" has been ordered to leave the only family she knows and live with strangers.

In a few short weeks, bureaucrats will force this loving family to separate, and will break the heart of a girl they are meant to protect.

Since she was 36 hours old, the "little one" has lived with her foster parents, but now, almost three years later, Child Safety Services has ordered she live with her Pacific Island relatives, who were found late last year.

The foster parents, who cannot be named under Queensland law, are fighting to keep their "big brown-eyed girl".

The carers have doted upon the girl since she was abandoned by her birth mother, and when she was 18 months old, Child Safety asked them if they would become permanent guardians.

"(That's when) your whole mindset changes, (you think) she's going to be part of the family for the next 18 years and beyond," the central Queensland foster mum said.

But when the girl was 22 months old, a university student on work experience with Child Safety Services tracked down an aunt in north Queensland - a task that seasoned staff could not achieve.   The family did not know the girl existed.

Child Safety arranged for the girl to meet with her aunt 14 times over several months and then ordered she move in with her on June 1.

The foster parents, who won a stay to keep the girl until a decision is made in September, told The Sunday Mail the girl would be emotionally scarred if she had to leave them, and her life would dramatically change.  "She's so heavily attached (to us). To pull the rug from under her . . . she will feel abandoned," they said.  "We pour all our love into her (and) the only identity is the one we created for her. It's almost like we gave birth to her."

They said they were concerned that the aunt may not be a permanent Australian citizen.

The foster parents, who have two other foster children and their own adult children, said they tried to encourage a relationship with the girl and the aunt's family, but the culture shock and forced overnight visits had proved traumatic.

They said the girl screamed, "No aunty" and had been diagnosed with a separation anxiety disorder. Their GP believes the girl may have been so stressed by the forced contact that she broke out in hives.

They've been told they are in for a tough fight because they are white and the girl's relatives can teach her about her heritage.

The girl's mother, who originally told Child Safety she did not want her family to know about her baby, still does not want a relationship with her daughter. She is not the primary carer for any of her four children.

The foster parent said the aunt told them the girl "belongs to us, to our family".

The Child Protection Act requires a child's security and emotional wellbeing be taken into account, and if possible, that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children be with their own. There is no mention of people of Pacific Island heritage.  [But she's black and that's good enough for them]


Slicing up a bigger national pie

How often do we hear that the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer, or that the Howard government’s tax and benefits policies were too generous to the rich? These assertions are often made with little reference to the facts. So let’s look at the facts.

Every five years or so, the Australian Bureau of Statistics gives us an illuminating snapshot of average incomes, taxes paid, and social benefits received by households in five income groups, from the bottom 20% to the top 20%. The figures for 2009–10 were released recently and shed light on changes in average household incomes, their distribution, and the redistributive impact of tax and benefit policies.

The first point is that while the rich got richer, so did everyone else. After adjusting for inflation and household size, the smallest increase in average private income (that is, before taxes and benefits) compared with 2003–04 was 17%, and that was for the middle of the five income groups. For the top 20%, the increase was 27% and for the bottom 20% it was 39%. After taxes and benefits, the smallest increase for any quintile was 20%. As befits an era of national prosperity, improvements in living standards were widespread.

The second point is that Australia’s tax and benefit system is highly redistributive. The 20% of households at the bottom of the private income scale received just 2.4% of total private income, but took home 10.3% after taxes and benefits were factored in. Conversely, for the top 20%, their 46.5% of total private income was reduced by tax and benefit policies to a 35.1% share of final income.

While the inequality of final incomes is much less than that of private incomes, some say it is still too unequal. Ultimately, this comes down to a value judgment, but in making that judgment everyone needs to acknowledge two matters: a) the extent to which tax and benefit policies already redistribute income, and b) the economic costs of working the redistribution machine even harder.

The third and final point concerns the change in distribution from 2003–04 to 2009–10. For all that is said about changes in tax and benefit policies during that period being too generous to the better-off, the truth is that very little had changed.

The share of final income going to the top 20% did go up slightly, but this was mainly because of an increase in their share of private income rather than the impact of favourable tax and benefit policies. The shares of the bottom three quintiles fell slightly, while the share of the fourth quintile was unchanged. The equalising impact of tax and benefit policies was slightly less in 2009–10 than six years earlier, but hardly enough to enrage those who want more redistribution or hearten those who want less.

Now it’s up to the public to decide whether they want to make informed comments about incomes and their distribution or twist these facts to suit their arguments.


Doctors call for hormone replacement therapy rethink

It has been 10 years since an alarming US study found HRT increased a woman's risk of breast cancer, strokes and heart attack.  But a decade later, medical professionals agree that those findings were flawed.

Doctors say the pharmaceutical industry has withdrawn from sale half of all the available therapies, while extreme product warnings are unnecessarily frightening and outdated.

But there is still confusion amongst women and GPs about the best treatment.

Gynaecologist Dr John Eden, head of the Sydney Menopause Centre at the Royal Hospital for Women, says the 2002 Women's Health Initiative Study in the US changed the lives of millions of women.

"It terrified women, there's no doubt about that, it was laced with fear," he said.  "Probably the most dramatic example is that before Women's Health Initiative (WHI) I would hardly ever prescribe an anti-depressant, since WHI I've become an expert in anti-depressants, and that's because I see there's a small group of women, probably around one-in-eight, who have severe, intractable sweats and flushes day and night for the rest of their lives."

Margaret Miller is one of those with severe symptoms.  "It was pretty uncomfortable. You're sitting in a meeting room, you might have 20 other people in that meeting and all of sudden you start - it looked like your head started to leak with water and it drips down your face; it is so embarrassing," she said.

The 56-year-old endured more than two years of this before turning to Hormone Replacement Therapy.

She was aware of the WHI study linking HRT with a higher risk of breast cancer but nothing else worked.  "I was the stage where I would have taken a cyanide tablet. I didn't care as long as it stopped the sweats and this itching and this terrible feeling all the time that you weren't human," she said.

The US study saw women abandon HRT in droves but a decade on doctors say many did so unnecessarily, because the findings were flawed.

Dr Eden says the majority of participants were aged over 60, were not newly menopausal and would not normally be treated.  In fact, for many women under 60, doctors say the benefits outweigh the risks.

Australasian Menopausal Society president Dr Jane Elliott says women should have had easier access to HRT.  "I think a whole decade of women have missed out on the option of that treatment," she said.  "It's not for everyone, it's not a panacea, but it certainly should be something where women at least feel they can consider it."

Dr Elliott says the options are now limited and the warnings on products are extreme.

"The problem is the actual number of TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) options has decreased in Australia," she said.   "The number of PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) options has decreased in Australia and there are what's called black box warnings on HRT preparations that women read. They're really out date."

Dr Eden agrees.  "We've lost almost half of our hormone therapies over the last decade and the pharmaceutical industry is quite open about it, they've withdrawn them because of business reasons, sales have gone down and that means we've got fewer choices now," he said.

And the bureaucrats don't care

A spokeswoman for the Therapeutic Goods Administration says the extreme warnings on HRT products are considered current.

She says the safety information would not change without a comprehensive review, which is normally initiated by an application from the sponsor of the product.


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