Monday, December 10, 2012
Redfern Aborigines mark Keating speech, 20 years on
Leftists and Aboriginal activists love this speech because it blames everything on Whitey. And they attach great significance to the fact that old Slimebucket said so. But Keating very rarely had a good word for anyone so it is no wonder that it was he who made these egregious accusations. The full speech transcript is here.
As for the idea that Keating's bloviation kicked off constructive change among Aborigines, see the article immediately following -- which shows that Aboriginal conditions are WORSENING
The fact is that Aborigines have evolved abilities and attitudes which are superbly adapted to a hunter/gatherer life. With their superb perceptual abilities, they are probably the pinnacle of human adaptation to that life. But their specialized abilities and attitudes are very poorly adapted to modern Western civilization. And evolution doesn't change overnight.
Take the Calabrians. For many years they came to Australia barely literate and with no command of English yet have made a clear success of their lives -- both economically and otherwise. And they too faced prejudice. My mother was told by her father that he would disown her if she married an Italian. But the ancestors of the Calabrians were legionaries in the armies of the mighty civilization of Ancient Rome, so their evolutionary background is very different
Aboriginal elders gathered in Sydney to mark the 20th anniversary of Paul Keating's Redfern speech, considered one of the most important addresses in Australia's history.
Speaking to a crowd at Redfern Park on December 10, 1992, the then-prime minister acknowledged the impact of European settlement on Indigenous Australians.
The speech put reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians firmly on the political agenda, and some say it paved the way for the formal apology to Indigenous Australians.
"It was we who did the dispossessing; we took the traditional lands and smashed the traditional way of life," Mr Keating said in the speech.
"We brought the diseases and the alcohol. We committed the murders. We took the children from their mothers. We practiced discrimination and exclusion.
"It was our ignorance and our prejudice, and our failure to imagine that these things could be done to us."
Gail Mabo, the daughter of the late land rights activist Eddie Mabo, read extracts from the speech at a Sydney gallery on Saturday to mark the anniversary.
Speaking before the event, she told Saturday AM the speech kicked off change in Australia. "It's one that people should actually look at and reflect on, because the words he was saying in that, it reflects that issue of change, but it's a thing of through small things, big things will happen," she said.
"But change will happen. It mightn't be right here, right now, but it's just changing people's attitudes, and that's what he was doing with this speech. "He was trying to get into people's heads that it is time for change."
She says 20 years on, many things have changed for Indigenous Australians, but more can be done.
"I think baby steps have happened, but we still need to gain a bit more momentum and still recognise and appreciate the first peoples," she said.
"It's the understanding that Indigenous people were the first people here and you have to acknowledge that, and it's only through those little things."
Abuse of Aboriginal children
The Northern Territory Children's Commissioner says rates of abuse among Aboriginal children have risen above the national average for the first time.
The commissioner's annual report also shows that while sexual exploitation rates have fallen, neglect and emotional abuse rates have increased.
It says there has been a major increase in child abuse notifications, but only half of these were investigated.
Commissioner Howard Bath says it also shows the number of Aboriginal children placed in out-of-home care is considerably lower in the Territory than other states.
"We have by far the lowest rates of placements in out of home care of any jurisdiction in the country, so we are identifying a lot of kids at risk but far fewer of those kids are placed into alternative secure placements," he said.
Mr Bath says this would be acceptable if there were adequate intervention measures available to vulnerable families.
"To assist parents with mental health problems, with substance abuse problems and to help them with parenting skills," he said.
"If we knew that were those services it doesn't matter if there aren't so many out of home care placements - the problem is that we know there are very few available preventative services."
The report also identified gaps in data and record keeping within the child protection system.
But Mr Bath says there have been some notable improvements within the child protection system.
"There had been a great improvement in the percentage of care plans that had been completed on the children in care, there was an improvement on the quality of those plans and there was improvement in the visiting of staff workers to kids in care and the frequency of those visits," he said.
"There was an improvement in the number of foster carers."
Coalition labels voter law changes an attempted rort
THE Coalition has accused Labor of trying to "rort" the electoral roll to boost its standing at the next election on the back of law changes allowing automatic voter enrolment.
Manager of opposition business Christopher Pyne said it was “routine” for Labor to attempt to “tip the scales in their own favour if they can” when it came to elections and said eligible voters should be required to present identification to enrol and vote in elections.
“It's no surprise at all that Labor would try and find every trick in the book to increase their electoral clout,” Mr Pyne told Sky News.
“They are not supported in the electorate so they are trying to do things that they can to improve their chances with the electoral roll. The Greens are the same.
“Suddenly Labor thinks they are behind in the polls, why don't we do something to trick the voter, let's rort the roll, let's get an advantage over the Coalition, they've been doing it for decades and this is just their latest iteration.”
The Australian revealed today that several exclusive Newspoll surveys showed the Coalition's primary vote would drop by 1.5 percentage points as a result of changes to electoral laws that would automatically enrol eligible voters not yet on the electoral roll, many of whom are young people.
The Australian Electoral Commission estimates there are 1.5 million voters “missing” from the roll, which represents 9.5 per cent of eligible voters.
As many as a dozen Liberal and Nationals seats around the country could come into play if Labor and the Greens could mobilise the “youth vote” and overcome the political disengagement of those who have resisted enrolment in the past.
Mr Pyne said automatic enrolment would “undermine democracy hideously” and that eligible voters should be required to present identification at all points in the voting cycle.
“If there is to be confidence in the democracy, there has to be confidence in the result,” he said.
“If you know the people have used identification to enrol, used ID to vote, you can have every confidence that the result is a fair one. It undermines democracy hideously if we can't have confidence that the result actually reflects true voter opinion.”
He was backed by Liberal colleague Mitch Fifield, who said the changes to the electoral laws “undermine the integrity of our electoral rolls”.
Treasurer Wayne Swan dismissed Mr Pyne's suggestion that automatic enrolment would help Labor.
“Isn't it a good thing that all Australians who are eligible to vote are actually on the roll? I think the answer to that is yes,” he told reporters in Brisbane.
Mr Swan dismissed Mr Pyne's call for voters to be required to show ID.
“He's just interested in trying to sort of exclude people from the electoral roll and you'd have to ask him why that's his objective,” he said.
Labor MP Nick Champion also rejected the Coalition's stance and said there was no sign of electoral fraud.
“I don't think there is any electoral fraud of any significance in this country and I don't think anybody is trying to rort the roll as Christopher Pyne excitedly said,” Mr Champion told Sky News.
“All we are trying to do is make sure that people who are eligible to vote get the opportunity to vote and if one was going to be partisan then we might say it's been a feature of conservative politics, not just here but around the world, that what they want to do is cleanse the roll of people who don't vote for them.”
The new laws allow the AEC to directly enrol eligible voters or update the details of existing voters based on information from third parties, including motor registries, utilities and the tax office.
It is compulsory for Australians aged 18 and over to enrol and vote in federal elections.
The enrolment changes came after reviews of the 2007 and 2010 polls by a federal parliamentary joint standing committee.
Fat is a working class problem
This is not exactly news but the fact that the obesity "war" is a class war is rarely acknowledged
OBESE Australians most in need of stomach-reduction surgery are missing out, new research shows.
A survey of almost 50,000 obese Australians found those living in socially disadvantaged areas on low incomes were less likely to have bariatric surgery than their higher earning, better-educated counterparts.
This was despite evidence that people from lower socioeconomic groups were more likely to be obese.
The research, published in the Medical Journal of Australia today, found obese people earning more than $70,000 a year were five times more likely to have bariatric surgery than those earning less than $20,000 per year.
Those living in the least disadvantaged areas were four times more likely to have surgery than those living in the most disadvantaged areas, the study by researchers from the Australian National University (ANU), University of NSW and the Sax Institute found.
Clinical guidelines recommend bariatric surgery only be carried out for those with a body mass index (BMI) over 40kg after other non-surgical options have failed.
ANU researcher Dr Rosemary Korda said it was the first study examining bariatric surgery in Australia according to socioeconomic status.
"We know that obesity is concentrated in socioeconomically disadvantaged groups but our research shows that those who need bariatric surgery the most are the least likely to receive it," Dr Korda said.
There was limited availability of bariatric surgery, which includes gastric banding and bypass procedures, in public hospitals, she said.
Meanwhile, Medicare subsidised the surgery for private patients, effectively restricting lapband surgery to patients who can afford private health insurance and large out-of-pocket costs.
Of the 49,364 participants in the study, 312 had bariatric surgery but only one of those was treated publicly.
Co-author Professor Emily Banks of the Sax Institute said the decision to have surgery should be between a patient and their doctor, based on medical need.
"If surgery was distributed among a wider range of patients, inequalities in obesity and health-related problems could decline," she said.
In 2009, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Ageing recommended bariatric surgery be made more available in public hospitals because people who needed it most were missing out.