Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Culture of violence in remote communities drives attacks on Aboriginal women

The article below is very instructive. It shows how gross the problem with Aborigines is and how insoluble it is. Governments have tried all sort of approaches to improve the Aborigine lifestyle but nothing works. The article below shows why. You would have to transform an entire culture. And how do you do that?

And I haven't even mentioned the different range of cognitive skills among Aborigines

A high-profile crown prosecutor says a major factor in the domestic violence epidemic afflicting Northern Territory Indigenous women is an “enculturation of violence” on remote communities.

In a rare and candid interview, Victorian Senior Crown Prosecutor Nanette Rogers, one of the nation’s most experienced criminal barristers, said resolving the Territory’s family violence crisis required “profound change’’ to address such violence, which was “predominantly male-on-female”.

“It’s really trying to change that enculturation of violence; that culture of entitlement to assault or using violence on any person.’’

Ms Rogers also said some “remote communities tend to be very punitive towards a victim or someone who has helped a victim or sought help from the police’’.

On such communities, victims of domestic abuse had sometimes “been punished by their family members as well as the perpetrator’s family members” for reporting such crimes.

Ms Rogers is the former Central Australian prosecutor who stunned the nation in 2006 when she spoke out about horrific cases of physical and sexual abuse of Aboriginal children and women. She also spoke about how a male-dominated Indigenous culture and kinship connections had helped to create a conspiracy of silence.

READ MORE:‘Epidemic of violence’ plagues women: judge
Her revelations led to the 2007 report Little Children Are Sacred, which was followed by the Howard government’s contentious NT Intervention.

Ms Rogers, who left the NT almost nine years ago, said she was shocked by how little things had changed for Indigenous women from remote Territory communities in recent decades.

“What is disappointing for me is that nothing’s changed,’’ she said. “That is the takeaway point for me. I find it shocking that nothing has changed.

“… My understanding is that the violence towards Aboriginal women and children by Aboriginal men continues unabated.’’

Remote communities, Ms Rogers said, could be “extremely unsafe” for Indigenous women.

She was responding to comments by NT Supreme Court judge Judith Kelly, who said last week that Aboriginal women in remote communities remain trapped in an epidemic of violence caused by disadvantage and intergenerational abuse, and a culture that privileges the rights of perpetrators over those of victims.

Justice Kelly wept as she described cases in which women who had tried to flee violence were effectively kidnapped and endured beatings and rape on outstations.

“I just want people to know what’s happening to Aboriginal women,’’ she said, as she argued they were bearing the “absolutely dreadful” brunt of society’s failure to address high levels of welfare dependency, substance abuse and other problems on far-flung Indigenous communities.

Ms Rogers agreed that better education and more jobs for men and women on remote communities were needed to help build individuals’ self-esteem. She added: “On top of that you’ve got this enculturation of violence that is predominantly male-on-female.’’

Ms Rogers has conducted successful prosecutions against Victorian murderer Adrian Basham, who killed his estranged wife in 2018, and sexual sadist Jaymes Todd, who raped and murdered aspiring comedian Eurydice Dix-on in Melbourne in the same year.

Ms Rogers said that since she left the Territory, she had noticed a change in “the judicial language” used there, with some judges and magistrates more likely to call out “toxic” relationships between perpetrators and victims, especially if a perpetrator had abused his partner for years before severely injuring her. “Judicial officers are much more prepared to say it doesn’t matter whether you are an Aboriginal person or not; this is unacceptable,’’ she said.

“It must be really soul-destroying as a judge from the bench to see time and time again these horrific acts of violence that never stop.’’ She said that for such judicial officers “there must be a point at which you go ‘This is outrageous, no matter how liberal my attitude is towards Indigenous people and the Indigenous cause’.’’

According to a 2017 NT government report, Indigenous women in the Territory are 40 times more likely than non-Indigenous women to be hospitalised following family violence assaults. The same report quotes an NPY Women’s Council estimate that Aboriginal women from the NT, South Australia and Western Australia border region are about 60 times more likely to be murdered than non-Aboriginal women.

In a three-part series, The Australian recently revealed how a young Aboriginal woman, Ruby, was raped and bashed by her father in Yuendumu in Central Australia, and then forced to leave the desert town after he was jailed.

Last year, another NT Supreme Court judge, Justice Jenny Blokland, called on the NT government to address a potential, emerging pattern of sexual assault victims “being incidentally punished in their home communities through a form of banishment’’.

She made this remark while sentencing 32-year-old Simeon Riley, who pleaded guilty to raping an adolescent girl he had kidnapped and kept as a sex slave for several weeks in 2005. During that time, the girl, then aged 13 or 14, was kept in one room, sexually assaulted and forced to urinate and defecate through a hole in the floorboards.

The judge added that the victim of this “chilling” crime, who came forward to police in 2018, had been further punished as she felt she could not return home. The judge urged leaders from the girl’s otherwise “well-functioning” community to “seriously” reflect on that.

Justice Kelly also described a culture within some remote Indigenous communities that protected perpetrators of violence rather than their victims, and Ms Rogers said this was a longstanding problem. She said courts had traditionally assumed that when a victim of violence left the NT “that it’s a choice’’. But she said often, “their lives have been made so unlivable’’ and so “horrible and difficult” they have no choice “but to leave”.

In the wake of Justice Kelly’s remarks, Indigenous academic Marcia Langton called for a permanent group of experts to advise the federal government on how to improve safety for Indigenous women and children. Professor Langton argued that “lives are being lost while people in the women’s safety sector dither about irrelevant issues’’.

Ms Rogers said that like abuse victims in the wider community, some Indigenous women were torn between love and hate for an abuser. They could also have mixed feelings about their own relatives, whom they loved but who might have banished them for reporting abuse.

“It’s a double burden for those who have to leave,’’ she said, as they dealt with their violence-related trauma and being exiled from close relatives – sometimes including a mother or grandmother. “It’s an enduring situation – the woman has to leave, never the man … in that way, it’s not unlike any other culture.’’

Ms Rogers said domestic violence on remote NT communities was often intergenerational, with a father being sentenced for acts of violence and his son coming before the same judge for similar crimes 15 years later.

She said the unacceptably high levels of abuse endured by Indigenous women on such communities was not adequately acknowledged by the wider community.

Most people who live in Sydney or Melbourne “have never been to the Northern Territory. Most people have never been to a remote community. Most people have never met an Aboriginal person.’’


My all-girls education failed to give me the skills I now value most

This article by Anita Punton is a good antidote to the deeply biased article by Loren Bridge that I rubbished recently

I went to a private, all-girls school from the age of five. Whenever I had my violin lesson, the portraits of the two Miss Singletons, tightly stitched into their Victorian gowns, looked down on me with admirable patience.

The Singleton sisters were the joint principals of my alma mater in the late 19th century, and they were determined to provide girls with a proper education.

I found them hugely inspiring. Still do. But my all-girls education failed to give me the skills that I now value most. I had to learn those skills in the real world.

I support anyone who believes an all-girls school is the best choice for their daughter, but I don’t subscribe to the theory that this educational model is how our future female leaders have the greatest chance of succeeding.

When my two sons reached high school age, I was determined that they would go to a co-ed school, because I believed it was the best way for them to grow up treating women as equals.

Paradoxically, I wanted my daughter to go an all-girls school like me, to give her “opportunities” to “fulfil her potential” and be a “leader”. These are the same words and phrases that all-girls schools use so liberally in their marketing.

However, I started to notice that most of my highly educated, successful female friends were choosing to send their girls to co-ed schools. One of them told me bluntly: “The world is not single sex. They will have to work with men all their lives.”

I began to question the logic that girls must be sequestered away from males in order to learn the very skills that are needed to work with them in the future.

One of the underlying assumptions about all-girls schooling is that boys are an impediment to a girl achieving her potential. They are “other”. It’s as if their presence will take something away from a girl, that she will not feel confident enough to thrive in their presence.

This was certainly the messaging I took on board throughout my time at an all-girls school, and I still hear the same messaging from parents today.

Now I feel those assumptions not only further entrench outdated gender roles, but demonstrate an offensive distrust in both the strength and capacity of our girls and the humanity of our boys.

On a daily basis, boys in a co-ed school get to see that girls are confident, capable, courageous and profoundly human. They get to experience a female perspective when discussing issues. They work together on projects. They see girls succeeding and leading and it is completely normal.

The idea that girls must be isolated from the rest of society and overtly taught strategies of how they are going to cope when they finally are catapulted back into it seems a back-to-front way of going about preparing girls for leadership. The cultivation of women’s leadership potential should not be the sole responsibility of women; all of society must contribute.

My daughter has grown up with a second language that wasn’t available to me as a teenager – a language to express female solidarity, strength, possibility and self-worth. The culture she has experienced is totally different to the one I knew as a teenager.

And while some might dismiss the empowering effect of a Taylor Swift lyric, or watching The Simpsons episode “Lisa vs Malibu Stacey”, those cultural experiences have done as much to provide fluency in that language for her as any overt teaching by her parents or school.

I ended up sending my three children to the local high school. My daughter is now 15. What has she missed out on going to a co-ed school? Her government school, like many, had some poor facilities, inconsistency in teaching due to a staff room under immense pressure, funding shortages.

What has she gained? All those skills it took me so long to learn. Enviable confidence that she can talk to anyone and handle herself in any situation. An ability to try new things, make a fool of herself and find it funny, rather than humiliating. A complete indifference to the “otherness” of boys. She lives her life with them every day. They are her friends and collaborators.

This morning, I asked her if she had ever felt any sense of discrimination at school because she was a girl. Did the boys dominate? Has she ever been tempted to “play small” because she’s worried what the boys will think of her? Did she feel that the boys were stopping her from achieving her potential?

She gave me the same withering look as the time I asked her to explain TikTok. “Never,” she said. She’s too polite to say “OK, Boomer”, but I’m pretty sure she thought it.


Energy crisis Qld: ‘Sun tax’ hit looms for solar customers

Solar panel users will now be PENALIZED. Quite a turnup

Solar customers are being urged to install battery systems ahead of an impending “sun tax” that will see users charged for exporting power when there is low demand, as the state grapples with the ongoing energy crisis.

LNP energy spokesman Pat Weir said Queenslanders would “continue to operate in the dark while the Palaszczuk government fails to detail its plan for future energy supply”.

“Solar users are rightly concerned that feed-in tariffs are dropping at a time when there should be incentives for the uptake of renewable energy,” he said. “The events of the last 24 hours have again proved the importance of a reliable energy network that prioritises network security and affordability.”

Clean Energy Council director of distributed energy Darren Gladman said “most solar customers still purchase some electricity from the grid so if electricity prices rise, they will be affected by that”.

He said the increase in wholesale electricity prices will (eventually) lead to an increase in the feed-in tariff (FiT).

“This will make solar an even more financially attractive option in future, once the electricity prices increases have flowed through to consumers,” Mr Gladman said.

The AEMC Retail Price Trends report for 2021 estimates annual consumption in Queensland to be 5650kWh per annum, which is equivalent to about 15.5kWh per day.

A 5kW system in Brisbane is expected to generate about 21.0kWh per day on average.

But Mr Gladman said to avoid buying from the grid, “the electricity would either need to be consumed when it is generated or stored in a battery”.

“Sales of solar PV in Queensland in May were about 10 per cent above April figures – anecdotal reports from industry suggest sales are rebounding even more strongly in June,” he said.

It comes as the Australian Energy Regulator has confirmed a controversial shake-up to the solar industry that will see households charged for exporting solar electricity at certain times from 2025.

But experts say the impost can be navigated by avoiding peak times and making better use of energy storage systems.

Compare the Market’s general manager energy and utilities Brett Mifsud said when two-way pricing was introduced, families would likely be charged a fee to export during low-demand times, such as the middle of the day when solar electricity was generated.

Changes are set to come into effect from July 1, 2025, in Queensland to ensure the electricity grid isn’t overwhelmed by an upswing in solar use.

Storing excess solar electricity in batteries will allow it to be used when needed most or be exported back to the grid when the payback is higher.

Batteries can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars for a smaller system to almost $20,000 for systems with more storage and inverter chargers.

Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen says there is enough energy supply in the system to avoid load shedding. “There is enough supply in the system to avoid load shedding, asking the big industrial users to reduce their energy use or…
Lauren Daley, who runs Al’s Plumbing and Gas from her home in Clayfield, said her family had been reaping the rewards of solar energy since 2017.

“99 per cent of the time it’s sunny Queensland but the solar panels definitely make a difference in summer when the aircon is running non-stop.”

Mrs Daley said they are also considering installing a battery system amid the current energy crisis and following weeks of unpredictable weather.

“It’s just one of those things we haven’t quite got to but you try to do everything in your power to reduce costs,” she said.

Ms Daley said her house is running 24 hours a day with “the business, three young kids, two washing machines and two dryers”.

“If we are not living in it (the house), I’m working in it.”


The reality of owning an electric car in Australia: Driver struggles with useless ghost chargers, other motorists stealing his spot and taking a whole day to finish a trip between Canberra and Sydney

An electric vehicle owner has shared the brutal reality of going on a roadtrip in his $72,000 car - taking a full day to drive from Sydney to Canberra and back again after repeatedly struggling to find spots to charge it.

A video posted to TikTok by user Suthocam on June 10 showed the issues EV drivers who do not have access to the Tesla supercharging network face.

Suthocam detailed his charging port debacle after a Sydney to Canberra round trip in a Hyundai IONIQ 5 using only third party chargers.

'The car itself is a great road trip vehicle - it's super spacious, great seats, great speakers and has a cool big sunroof,' Suthocam said.

Suthocam said the $71,900 vehicle, with an estimated range of 450km, was able to make the trip to Canberra in one charge but he decided to give it a top-up which would allow him to drive the car around the city once there.

His first stop was a charging station in Goulburn, 196km from Sydney, where the only available port was out-of-order.

The NRMA ChargeFox charger screen notified the driver that the 'station had faulted' and had not been fixed since the beginning of the year despite an 'estimated' repair date of January 14.

Suthocam waited until a working charger became available and then had to park halfway in a disabled parking spot for the cord to reach his car's battery - a scene he described as 'just a bit sketchy'.

'Once we got going again we made it... so worth it,' Suthocam said. 'It was pretty in Canberra but we had to get back on the road so we had to go find some chargers.'

The first charger the EV driver found was located in a carpark and did not work.

The Tesla wall chargers did not work with his Hyundai and the other chargers that did work were often taken up by other cars.

'Finally we found a free charger (in an Ikea carpark) in what felt like a really long time but it was super slow,' Suthocam said. 'I didn't want to wait four hours to get 100 per cent so I had to find a fast charger.'

Suthocam drove to a third charging station but to his frustration it was blocked by a petrol ute.

He then drove to a fourth charging port but was unable to locate it despite it appearing on the car's map. He found a fifth, but it was being used by a Tesla.

A sixth station was found but to Suthocam's dismay it had a similar speed to the Ikea carpark charger. 'We ended up having to jump back into Goulburn, charge there, and then finally made it home,' Suthocam said.

The charging port ordeal added two-and-a-half hours to Suthocam's round trip - a drive which typically takes six to seven hours.

The video, which he captioned 'we need more chargers tbh', has received more than 190,000 views and almost 700 comments.

'I love the idea of EVs but good lord I’d go insane if I had to spend 50 per cent of my day worrying about charging just to get to Canberra and back,' one user commented. 'You’ve convinced me to give it another two to three years before considering getting EV,' a second user wrote.

'Same issues in the UK. Until they sort out charging infrastructure I'm going to stick with dinosaur juice,' a third chimed.

The Electric Vehicle Council (the national body representing Australia's EV industry), reported an 85 per cent increase in the number of ultra-fast charging stations across the country and a 29.6 per cent increase in standard stations since August 2020.

However, drivers are reluctant to make the switch to plug-in cars as the nation's infrastructure for fast-charging ports has not caught up to the demand.

In Australia, just 1.5 per cent of cars sold are electric and plug-in hybrid, compared to 17 per cent in the United Kingdom and 85 per cent in Norway.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is set to introduce policies to boost the take-up of electric vehicles but will stop short of imposing a ban on petrol or diesel cars as part of his plan to tackle climate change.

The Labor Party will introduce tax benefits to reduce the price of electric cars and plug-in hybrids, forecasting that 89 per cent of new car sales will be electric by 2030.

By making electric cars cheaper and more convenient, Mr Albanese hopes there will be 3.8 million on the road by 2030, with 15 per cent of all cars on the road by then being zero-emission.

Electric cars will be exempt from a five per cent import tariff that would reduce the cost of a $40,000 vehicle by $2000. The move would result in savings of up to $8700 for a $50,000 vehicle. The tax cuts will be introduced on July 1 this year and will be reviewed in three years.

Labor will also invest $39.3 million, matched by the NRMA, to deliver 117 fast charging stations on highways across Australia.

This will provide charging stations at an average interval of 150km on major roads, allowing Aussies to drive from Adelaide to Perth or Darwin to Broome with an electric car.




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