Monday, July 27, 2015
Does Australia lock up too many blacks?
The wail below is written by a lawyer, not a social scientist -- and shows no knowledge of the people concerned at all. All he knows is how to look up simple statistics. When he finds that they look bad what does he do? Does he ask why? There's no sign of it. He just seems to to assume that we are all somehow at fault. That makes him a good Leftist but also what Australians call a drongo -- very stupid.
So as someone who has written quite a lot in the academic journals on race-relations, sociology and criminology, let me point out what is really going on.
Before the arrival of the white man, Aborigines were well adapted to a stone-age life. They had been adapting to it for around 50,000 years so the adaptation was extreme. Their visuo-spatial abilities were (and are) simply wonderful. Such adaptations helped them to capture and eat furry animals. But adaptations favourable to stone-age life are not at all suited to modern Western society. People originally from the Eurasian continent evolved very differently. The much larger population there produced innovation -- and that gave us the modern world.
So how are Aborigines disadvantaged in Australia today? The mother and father of their handicaps is low IQ. They are the race with the world's second lowest measured IQ (South African bushmen are the lowest). They survived by sharpening their perceptual abilities, not their reasoning abilities -- and basically are therefore very bad at dealing with anything new and complex.
I have known many of them and admire good qualities in them. They are for instance very polite, unaggressive and tend to have a good sense of humour. But some of their qualities are good yet also their undoing. In particular, they have evolved as a sharing culture. When some hunter succeeded in bringing down a big animal, it was shared around in the assurance that other such fortunate kills by others would also be shared around. There was no refrigeration so no other system made sense. You COULD not keep your kill to yourself.
So, like other native peoples (e.g. the Maori) the concept of private property is just not there in them. If you want something it seems simply right and just to take it, regardless of a property claim that someone else might have on it. I have seen it happen.
An Aborigine in fact just CANNOT keep substantial assets to himself. He must share any windfall, even if that windfall is in fact the proceeds of his own hard work. So you can see how strongly our concept of theft clashes with Aboriginal instincts.
Then there is the alcohol problem. We have had perhaps 60,000 years to learn how to handle our booze. And even then we sometimes do a rather bad job of it. But Aborigines never had alcohol until the white man came. So their use of alcohol is often catastrophic and lies behind perhaps the majority of their arrests.
I could say much more but the sad truth is, I think, clear: Aborigines are just not adapted to the world in which they now find themselves -- so are constantly breaking its rules. All that we CAN do is to enforces the rules. If we exempted Aborigines we would produce huge uproar and disruption. As it is, some judges DO punish Aboriginal infractions more lightly -- but that DOES produce big criticism. Physical abuse of women and children -- sometimes extreme abuse of women and children -- is a big sub-set of Aboriginal crime. Do we WANT to condone that?
With pitifully simplistic thinking, the drongo below says that better education is needed for Aborigines. Does he have any idea how hard and how unsuccessfully many governments have tried to get Aboriginal children into school? And how is education going to change attributes built up over thousands of generations anyway?
Everything that could be tried to make Aboriginal behaviour more adaptive has been tried and has failed -- from paternalism to giving them maximum autonomy. You won't undo millennia of evolution just by wishing it. The only thing that has ever had much success is when the missionaries ran Aboriginal settlements. Aborigines are a very spiritual people so religion does influence them. But bringing the missionaries back would be impossible. So Aborigines will continue to violate our rules and will continue to be treated like other breakers of the rules -- often by imprisonment
They are locked up often because they often do wrong things. There is no other reason
The US might be the home of mass incarceration – and it is, with 5 per cent of the world's people, it has a quarter of the world's inmates – but America has nothing on Australia in its enthusiasm for disproportionately locking up black people.
Indigenous Australians are imprisoned at a rate 13 times that of other Australians, according to figures collated by the Productivity Commission. That's not 13 per cent higher, or twice as high, but 13 times the rate, 1300 per cent of the rate for the rest of the population. At any one time, over 2 per cent of the Indigenous population is locked up, which doesn't remotely compare with the figure for the rest of us.
The effect of that proportion of people out of one group over time is almost unfathomable, the disruption to the prisoners' lives, their futures, their families.
It's not as if this is a new problem, but it's a rapidly deteriorating one. In 2000, the Indigenous imprisonment rate was merely 8 times as high. Those where the golden days.
So not only do we jail Indigenous people at a far higher rate than even the US imprisons black men, we're speeding things up, putting a greater proportion away. We're increasing this most self-defeating of gaps.
A particular point of Australian difference is our ability to do it harsher for children. For young people, who are meant to be locked up only as an absolute last resort, Indigenous children are jailed at a rate 24 times that of other children.
When Obama turns his attention to a justice system that seems anything but colour blind, the world listens. When Mick Gooda, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commissioner, late last year proved Aboriginal incarceration to be every bit the catastrophe he labelled it, Australia scarcely rolled its eyes. Most didn't even notice.
His figures put the difference in rates at 15 times, and found the reoffending rate for children in detention – 58 per cent within 10 years – was higher than the proportion of children who stayed at school until year 12. "We do better at keeping Aboriginal people in prison than in school," Mr Gooda told the ABC.
If most of us continue to ignore this catastrophe, as the country seems determined to do, we will deepen this social disaster. Every year it gets worse, or merely stays the same, or only marginally improves, is another year squandering the potential of an enormous fraction of the Indigenous population and wasting hundreds of millions across the country on unnecessary incarceration.
The Productivity Commission called out four major factors contributing to this shameful reality – education, drugs, child neglect and employment. We need to fix all of them, but surely education is the low-hanging fruit.
Cutting education reforms, like the short-lived Gonski package, is one way to perpetuate the catastrophe. The absence of opportunity leads, for far too many, to the absence of anything but a life hurt by crime – as both victim and perpetrator.
Students in public schools twice as likely to be bullied as private school pupils
Parents are choosing private schooling for many reasons.
Sending your child to a public high school doubles their risk of being bullied, compared to private school students, and girls are more likely to be victims, one of Australia's most comprehensive surveys has revealed.
The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics Australia (HILDA) survey commissioned by the Federal Department of Social Services interviewed more than 13,000 people each year from 2001 to 2012.
On Wednesday, the researchers from the University of Melbourne revealed growing disparity between the prospects of male and female students, those with university qualifications and those without, as well the reasons why up to 14 per cent of Australian parents continue to choose private education over public schools across the country.
The report's authors found that 22 per cent of parents of high school students at public schools believed their children were bullied while at school, compared to 11 per cent at independent schools and 15 per cent at Catholic schools.
Girls were more often affected by bullying across the nation's public schools, according to the report's authors, bucking the trend for girls' generally higher educational outcomes.
"Parents and guardians on average report worse educational outcomes and prospects for boys, the notable exception being the experience of bullying [girls] in high school," wrote University of Melbourne professor Roger Wilkins.
Parents of children at independent schools reported higher satisfaction with education at primary and high school levels, with 68 per cent believing their child would go on to study at university compared to 49 per cent at public schools.
The CEO of Independent Schools Victoria, Michelle Green, said the survey didn't only address academic results.
"They appreciate independent schools' emphasis on pastoral care, personal development, teaching quality, and discipline and safety which helps lift results, it also helps reduce bullying and other behavioural issues," she said.
A spokesman for the NSW Department of Education said it had zero tolerance for bullying and had developed an Anti-Bullying Plan developed in consultation with the school community.
The report also revealed that while many high school students aspire to attend sandstone universities such as the University of Sydney or the University of Melbourne, graduates of those universities stand to earn up to 10 per cent less than the graduates of technical universities such as RMIT or UTS.
CFMEU official charged with blackmail
CONSTRUCTION union organiser and former NRL player John Lomax is the second person to face blackmail charges in connection with the Canberra hearings of the royal commission into union corruption.
ACT police said the 49-year-old was arrested on Friday morning "in relation to the Canberra hearings" of the royal commission.
The CFMEU organiser was charged with one count of blackmail and granted watch-house bail.
He had been expected to give evidence before the royal commission next week, but it's unclear whether that will go ahead.
Lomax is a former Canberra Raiders prop who also played short stints with North Queensland and Melbourne. He represented New Zealand in 15 Tests, including a Rugby League World Cup in the mid-1990s.
He is the third person to have been arrested by the police task force attached to the royal commission, and the second to be arrested in relation to the hearings in Canberra.
Former CFMEU organiser Halafihi "Fihi" Kivalu was arrested last week and has pleaded not guilty to two charges of blackmail.
The royal commission on Friday heard construction company director John Domitrovic was allegedly pressured into writing $30,000 worth of cheques addressed to Kivalu's wife. Mr Domitrovic said Kivalu visited his Queanbeyan work site in 2011 demanding $60,000 in cash but he instead offered him $30,000 in cheques. He said Kivalu asked that the cheques be made out to his wife with the full amount to be paid by Christmas. Copies of the cheques by All Kiwi Constructions made out to Halaevalu Maureen Kivalu were received into evidence.
The hearing was also presented with Mrs Kivalu's bank statements, which showed $30,000 worth of deposits, corresponding with the dates on the cheques.
Mr Domitrovic said he wasn't surprised by the demand, having heard of similar cases in the industry. But he was surprised Kivalu accepted cheques, given they could be traced. "(I was) somewhat surprised that Fihi agreed to take a cheque to his wife, that surprised me the most."
He said he paid the money to avoid getting on the wrong side of the union. "It's a purely business decision for economic reasons," Mr Domitrovic said. "They could have put a lot of pressure on me on the job."
The commission has heard allegations the union pressured businesses in Canberra to sign its EBA, threatening they wouldn't get work if they didn't and using safety checks as an excuse to disrupt their work sites.
The union's lawyer John Agius on Friday rejected the claims, saying safety on construction sites in the ACT was "appalling" and the CFMEU had been a driving force to improve it.
The hearing continues on Monday.
Police seeing Muslim extremism in kids ‘as young as 14’
POLICE have revealed that teenage extremists are becoming common, after allegations surfaced that a 17-year-old has been preaching extremists views at a Sydney high school.
Counter-terrorism police are investigating allegations that the boy has been preaching extremist Islam in the playground of Epping Boys High School, in Sydney’s northwest.
“We are conducting an investigation into an allegation that a young man is attempting to influence students in his school to adopt his extremist views,” NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch told The Australian.
It’s understood the investigation was prompted after police received information the boy of Afghan heritage was delivering religious sermons to other pupils.
Sources told The Australian that the boy is an “acolyte” of Milad bin Ahmad-Shah al-Ahmadzai, an alleged Sydney jihadist in jail awaiting trial on a string of charges, including the near-fatal shooting of a man outside a gay club and a ram-raid in shopping centre.
Police believe the student in question has twice tried to travel to Syria, but he was stopped at the airport each time.
Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Assistant Commissioner Murdoch said police were receiving more and more reports of teenage extremism, both in boys and girls.
“We are seeing this in children as young as 14 years old,” he said.
He said parents should be on the lookout for changes in their children’s behaviour.
“I think if parents know their children and they’ve invested enough in their upbringing, they know when they need to be concerned,” he said.
“The bottom line is if they become concerned about the changing behaviour of their young children and teenagers, they need to put their hand up and flag that there’s been a changed in behaviour.”
Assistant Commissioner Murdoch said police were taking the allegations very seriously and that officers were in constant communication with schools to ensure students and staff were safe.
Epping Boys High principal Tim O’Brien posted to the school’s website that student safety was “our absolute highest priority at all times”.
“I would like to reassure the whole Epping Boys High School community that the school continues to be in close liaison with the Department of Education and a range of law enforcement agencies to uphold our exemplary levels of student safety and student wellbeing.
“School counsellors are available for all boys, if required, today or in the future.
“All normal lessons and activities are proceeding today according to timetable.”
Meanwhile, NSW Premier Mike Baird has expressed his concern about “increasing radicalisation of young people”.
“The issue reported this morning is highly disturbing and I have asked for an urgent briefing from both the Department of Education and NSW Police,” he told The Australian.
Labor supports gay adoption rights
LABOR has promised to give gay, transgender and intersex parents the same rights as heterosexual couples to access IVF, adopt children and enter surrogacy arrangements.
FORMER federal senator Louise Pratt, whose partner is a transgender man, moved two successful motions to commit a federal Labor government to seeking national agreement on these matters.
The party will also seek to make sure gay, transgender and intersex couples get equal recognition in any inter-country adoption agreements Australia is part of.