Sunday, November 08, 2015
Aboriginal and Western ethics collide
Aboriginal ethics are a form of Communism. They really do practice, "From each according to his ability and to each according to his need". A windfall for one Aborigine does not stay with him alone. It must be shared with others of his tribe. And a windfall received today is used up today. There is no sense of saving for the future. And those ideas are totally contrary to mainstream Western ideas. Why?
There is mention of it below but in summary, it all goes back to tribal life. Those ethics were logical and served Aborigines well in a tribal state -- when a windfall consisted of catching a large and tasty animal. You shared your catch with the rest of the tribe in the assurance that others in the tribe would share their catch with you next time. And in the absence of refrigeration, nothing could be saved for tomorrow so it all had to be used up straight away.
Unfortunately for the do-gooders, the tribal life is quite recent in the Aboriginal experience so they still have the old ethics and attitudes. So what is described below as profligacy and corruption is in fact by Aboriginal standards right, ethical and proper.
Giving Aborigines stuff always ends up the same way. It all tends to be glossed over now but the first big example of giving stuff to Aborigines was probably the Lake Tyers experiment in Victoria. In 1970 a large rural property was handed over to the Aborigines living there in the hope that they would run it as a going concern and become largely self-supporting. They promptly ran it into the ground and put their hands out for welfare. They have been wailing ever since about how the white man doesn't treat them right. And there have been other handovers of rural properties with similar results. Will anybody ever learn anything from such episodes? Not when policy is formed by urban whites who know nothing about Aborigines
So why is readily available anthropological knowledge about Aborigines ignored? It is ignored because of the Leftist "All men are equal" gospel. That Aborigines are different cannot be allowed. Aborigines must be seen as "just like us only browner". To say otherwise is to be branded a racist. So what is on trial in Darwin at the moment is Leftism: The stupid gospel that Aborigines are the same as us. It is that gospel that has led to the great waste described
What happened to $34 million from Aboriginal fund on Groote Eylandt? It was millions of dollars in mining royalties that was meant to be spent for the benefit of the Groote Eylandt community.
Instead, tens of millions were spent on 156 cars and boats, fridges, a barge, gambling at the casino and charter flights.
The latest chapter in the extraordinary saga played out in the Darwin Supreme Court on Monday.
The former public officer of Groote Eylandt Aboriginal Trust (GEAT), Rosalie Lalara, had earlier pleaded guilty to misappropriating almost $500,000. Her bail was revoked and she is now behind bars awaiting sentencing.
A total of $34 million disappeared from the GEAT coffers between 2010 and 2012, leaving just $400,000 remaining in the account.
While Lalara has pleaded guilty to a fraction of the missing millions, exactly what happened to the rest remains a mystery.
But those involved in the case said little of it appeared to have been spent on housing, education or the needs of the community.
Jacqueline Lahne was brought in as the interim operations manager at GEAT when the trust was put into administration in 2012.
"My initial impression was that there was a group of people [on Groote Eylandt] who were literally living like rock stars," she said in an interview with the ABC.
"Chartered planes, vehicles waiting for them at airports, they owned multiple vehicles and boats themselves. They had access endlessly to cash for their lifestyles and then for their families."
Groote Eylandt, a remote island off Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, regularly appears at the top of the Northern Territory's richest postcodes. It earns millions each year in royalties from the nearby South32 manganese mine.
Since its inception in the early 1960s, the trust has earned more than $200 million in royalties.
Lalara told the ABC she is not responsible for all the money that went missing. "They accuse me of being a thief and I don't steal," Lalara said in an interview with the ABC.
Lalara was the community's go-to person on the trust and said not everyone was happy with the trust's rules on how royalty money should be spent.
"They say, 'Oh, it's our money, you should spend this money on us. Why you keeping the money, what for? It shouldn't be up there in the bank, it should be down here spent'," she said.
Court documents in a separate case allege Lalara was involved in the purchase of 156 cars and boats at a total cost of $5 million.
A barge and real estate in Cairns were also bought with trust money.
The documents alleged cash cheques to a total value of $3.5 million were written from the trust account and fraudulently recorded against funeral costs.
Millions remain unaccounted for due to poor record keeping
In court documents in civil proceedings against Darwin's Skycity casino, it is alleged Lalara gambled more than $1 million of trust money.
"If I had a million dollars would I be gambling it? No, thank you. That is all bad," she said. "We went and bought a whole heap of stuff ... maybe fridges, washing machines, even air conditioners, yeah, beddings, beds, mattresses, yep."
But what exactly has happened to the remaining $33 million is unclear.
Ms Lahne said that many millions remain unaccounted for because GEAT kept poor records. She believes non-Indigenous businesses who preyed on the trust received a large percentage of the missing millions.
"I guess we'd call them carpetbaggers wouldn't we?" she said. "They're people, or sharks, that prey on vulnerable populations.
"They find that organisations are limited in their governance structures and capacity, they work their way in there."
Court documents alleged one operator who did business with the trust regularly charged 30 per cent commission to the trust.
"Vehicles that had been purchased by the trust weeks before for perhaps $35,000, were sold on for $5,000 or $10,000 in cash," Ms Lahne said.
"So the trust automatically lost a portion of cash and the vehicle disappeared, plates were destroyed, it's gone."
Purchase of cars for teens triggered 'distrust'
Not all of the community were benefiting from the largesse. It was the purchase of cars for kids barely in their teens that caused the community outrage and made them act.
"Thirteen-year-old girls getting bought a car and 15-year-old boys getting a boat," said Keith Hansen, who has lived on the island for 25 years. "That's when the distrust really came into place, when they were buying for a birthday for a 13-year-old girl a flash Ford Falcon sedan."
Groote Eylandters told the ABC that 300 locals confronted Lalara about the trust's finances on the oval in the town of Anuragu in early 2012. Punches were thrown, the police were called and there were multiple arrests.
On March 12, 2012 more than 500 locals signed a petition which was sent to the Northern Territory Attorney-General, saying "many millions of dollars have been wasted and corruption is rife ... no-one is game to do anything for fear of retribution".
The Government stepped in and a statutory manager was appointed. Ms Lahne worked alongside the statutory manager and said she was "shocked" when she arrived on Groote Eylandt.
"I would have expected with all the years of royalties going into that island to see more supporting infrastructure, better local health services, better support agencies that the trust might be investing in but there was no evidence of that," she said.
But Lalara said she was put under great cultural pressure by beneficiaries to keep buying things for them with money from the trust. "I reckon I was stuck with the two worlds. White-man world, white-man way and blackfella way. And what I was trying to do was to do it our way, and it's not written in the book," she said.
"We try to balance the both sides so it doesn't how you say ... ruin things. But it obviously ruined [things]."
Lalara is angry that the community has not defended her since charges were laid against her in 2013. "The community is the fault and I say they are gutless and they are coward and it's their fault all this happened," she said.
"Now everybody's ... happy sitting behind their cars and steering wheels and that they don't even want to help [me]."
Ex-Labor minister Martin Ferguson calls for more foreign workers in tourism jobs. Leftist unions aghast
Former Labor minister and union heavyweight Martin Ferguson is pushing for visa changes to allow more foreign workers as a report predicts a "skills drought" across Australia's booming tourism industry.
A Deloitte labour force report, released Wednesday, reveals an extra 123,000 jobs would be required within five years to meet the demands of the rapidly growing sector.
Inbound travel would grow by 6 per cent a year from 2015 until the end of the decade, with the number of international visitors growing from 7.2 million to more than 10 million by 2024, according to the report.
Tourism Accommodation Australia's chairman Mr Ferguson said the findings identified an urgent need for a major lift in local recruitment, and a relaxation of temporary skilled migration rules in the nation's 417 and 457 visa schemes.
"With such an unprecedented pipeline of new hotel development and with record international demand, it will be important for governments to be flexible to allow temporary skilled workers when and where they are most needed," he said.
Australia is undergoing its most rapid period of hotel development, according to the industry group, with more than 70 hotels and 10,000 rooms presently under construction or in advanced stages of planning.
Mr Ferguson, a former Australian Council of Trade Unions president and politician-turned-lobbyist, has recently fallen out with his former union colleagues after making a number of controversial public comments.
In July, the long-time Labor figure was publicly condemned by the party after he campaigned in support of NSW Liberals' plan to privatise power assets, and called for the reinstatement of the hardline construction watchdog, the Australian Building and Construction Commission.
Ill-judged prosecution costs the NSW police over $100,000
NSW Police ordered to pay legal costs to Rickey Caton and Adam Antram over toy dinosaur incident
The police case against Rickey Caton started with a "roaaaar!" when he was forcibly arrested by two officers after jokingly producing a toy dinosaur during a roadside car stop.
But it ended with a whimper on Friday when a magistrate ordered the police force to pay more than $100,000 in legal costs after finding the matter should never have gone to court.
The police are facing even more financial pain over the ill-judged prosecution, with Mr Caton and his mate set to launch a claim for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages for assault, wrongful arrest and malicious prosecution.
"The [police] proceedings should not have been brought," Magistrate Mark Douglass told Kiama Local Court on Friday, as an inspector from the police force's Professional Standards Command looked on.
"The prosecutor failed to reasonably investigate relevant matters ... which might have suggested that the accused was not guilty."
The magistrate was referring to the evidence of the third officer present on the night of the arrests - Lucie Litchfield - who said that far from assaulting police as her colleagues had claimed, it was Mr Caton and his mates who had been the victims of aggression.
Ms Lichfield said that when police stopped Mr Caton and his mates in Queanbeyan in late December 2013 and asked if they had any weapons, the local father had cheekily pulled out the toy and declared "I've got a dinosaur – roaaaar!".
She said one of the officers, Senior Constable Todd Finnegan, had subsequently forced Mr Caton from the car, pushed him to the ground and handcuffed him. Her other police colleague, Senior Constable Patrick Hicks, had then crash-tackled Mr Caton's friend, Adam Antram into a retaining wall.
The police prosecutors in the case were aware that Ms Litchfield had contradicted her colleagues' version of events, but they failed to question her about it and continued with the prosecution.
On Friday Magistrate Douglass described her evidence as "cogent and compelling".
Ms Lichfield told Fairfax Media that the magistrate's comments had been "extremely satisfying".
"If the police had done their job properly they would have questioned me about my evidence before it went to court," she said.
Ms Lichfield says she was subjected to bullying and isolation at work after blowing the whistle and has since resigned from the force.
Magistrate Douglass upheld the application for legal costs by Mr Caton's barrister, Steven Boland, ordering the police to pay more than $100,000 after finding that the prosecution had been conducted in an "unreasonable manner".
The police had strenuously opposed the costs application.
Mr Caton and Mr Antram are expected to file civil claims next week against NSW Police in the District Court.
Fairfax Media understands the men will claim that the police committed the civil tort of "trespass to a person" during the arrest and then concocted the assault claims in a bid to cover up their behaviour.
The men are expected to allege that police then pursued a malicious prosecution, deliberately ignoring the evidence of Ms Lichfield that contradicted her fellow officers' claims.
Fairfax Media understands that the matter is now the subject of an internal police investigation involving the Professional Standards Command.
National leadership on adoption reform needed
It is promising that both Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Social Services Christian Porter have endorsed the growing calls for greater use of adoption to provide permanent families for the tens-of-thousands of Australian children living in 'out-of-home' care.
While national leadership on adoption reform is welcome and overdue, the difficulty is that child protection is a state government responsibility. The federal government has pledged to raise the issue in future talks with state community services ministers.
The problem here is that state ministers (and their opposition shadows) are creatures of their departments. They defend the virulently anti-adoption attitudes prevalent in child protection authorities, and resist policies that would facilitate more adoptions.
Before entering any talks, the federal government should be aware of the myths and distortions likely to be advanced to justify the status quo.
For example, the states are sure to claim that they are trying to reduce the number of children in care by investing in support services for parents. This is despite that fact that identical 'family preservation' policies have been standard practice for 40 years and have ultimately lead to rising numbers of children entering care after being damaged by parental abuse and neglect.
The states are also likely to claim that adoption is not the solution because there are many older children in care with 'high needs' - abuse and neglect-related developmental, psychological, and behavioral problems - which make them 'unadoptable'. This ignores the fact that most of these children have been damaged by the failures of the system - by prolonged parental maltreatment and by prolonged instability endured when they are churned in and out of care in the name of family preservation.
This is why a crucial feature of adoption reform involves a shift away from the current ideology of removal only as a last resort, and towards ensuring that timely decisions are made about removal and adoption for children who are unlikely to be ever able to live safely with their highly dysfunctional parents.
The best contribution the federal government can make is to force the states to be publicly accountable for their non-performance on adoption. Despite more than 43,000 children living in care nationally last year, there were only 89 children adopted from care - 84 in NSW and just 5 in the rest of the states and territories.
This is why my new book proposes that National Adoption Targets be established to highlight the chronic under-use of adoption in Australia compared to similar countries such as the US and the UK.