Thursday, February 14, 2019

Australia's Aboriginal problem

Lots of people think "we" should solve it.  Fine.  Let them tell us what to do.  They cannot. It has all been tried before over many years and, as you read below, nothing works. The sitution tends to get worse rather than better.  Only the missionaries ever did any good and they have been banished long ago

It’s a bright Broome morning with a big, blue, cloudless sky, and I’ve just seen a kid defecate on the town oval. He’s about six or seven years old and, once his business is done, he wanders back to sit with a group of women who are drinking in the shade outside the Broome Visitor Centre.

It’s 11am. I’ve been in town about 15 minutes. This was not in the brochure.

The last time I was in Broome was 25 years ago. Like so many who come to this Kimberley town which welcomes the itinerant and tourist dollar, I lived and worked here for a while before moving on.

Whenever someone asks me what it was like to live in one of Australia’s most beautiful – and most marketed – tourist hotspots, I always tell them the truth: it’s impossibly gorgeous to look at, but the social problems in the town far outweigh any tourist attraction.

There was shocking domestic violence and child abuse; there were huge groups of people drinking all day on the oval before they passed out on the footpath; and there were people with nowhere to live, ‘camping’ in the dunes near Chinatown and sleeping in parks and reserves.

More than two decades on, I’d hoped these issues had been resolved, or that there’d at least been some improvement.

That there has been neither resolution nor improvement – it’s worse now than I remember it being in the 90s – is not only horrifically sad, it’s bordering on criminal neglect.

Findings by State Coroner Ros Fogliani following an inquest into the suicides – including two in Broome – of 13 Indigenous children and young people in the Kimberley released last week laid bare the "urgent need to understand the deep inequalities giving rise to the current poor state of wellbeing of Aboriginal people in the Kimberley Region".

The Coroner referred to the "tragic events" as having been shaped by the "crushing effects of intergenerational trauma and poverty upon entire communities".

It’s very easy to sit in our comfortable homes in big cities and commentate on the plight of a group of people plagued by endemic social dysfunction and think we’ve done our bit by signing a petition or changing our Facebook profile picture to an Aboriginal flag.

But how many of us have seen for ourselves the living conditions and intergenerational trauma cited by the Coroner that prompted the need for – another – inquest into Indigenous youth suicide?

How many have made the effort to not only try to understand why so many Aboriginal kids are taking their own lives, but to actually do something about it?

Even the fact that anyone has done this is still not cause for congratulations. Because here we are again. Another inquest, 10 years after the last one.

Whatever we’re doing to try to help this situation is not working. We are failing these people.

Thomas King runs the Kullari Patrol in Broome. The Kullari van picks up intoxicated people and makes sure they either get home, or to the local ‘sober-up’ shelter, or at least to somewhere safe.

Mr King does not think there will be a need for another inquest into Indigenous youth suicides in 10 years. He thinks it will be much sooner. And he is perfectly placed to make such a reckoning. He’s seen it all on the streets of the tropical town, and what he’s seen isn’t pretty.

“This is a town rife with hopelessness,” Mr King tells me.

I believe him. I can see it with my own eyes.

Liquor restrictions in surrounding towns and communities has made Broome a hub for those who want to drink.

I met some of them over the past few days; alcoholics for whom one drink is both too much and never enough.

Their stories make for heartbreaking reading. But they’re not unique to Broome.

It’s the context of this setting that is particularly jarring: crystal-clear blue water, pearls and palm trees sell one side of the town, while these people remain just far enough from our peripheral vision that we can justify averting our gaze.


Coal firm blamed for flooding beyond its control

The floods in North Queensland were greatly in excess of normal expectations

The Queensland Government is investigating whether Indian mining firm Adani has breached its environmental licence for the second time in two years with the release of coal-laden floodwaters from its coal port at Abbot Point in the state's north.

It comes as Adani revealed it did not apply for an emergency permit to dump more polluted water into the sensitive Caley Valley wetlands during the north Queensland floods last week.

The company told the ABC that Abbot Point operators were confident they could manage floodwaters with new infrastructure, but were then overwhelmed by flows from neighbouring properties.

Adani's own testing showed water released into the wetlands on February 7 had almost double the authorised concentration of "suspended solids", which included coal sediment.

But Abbot Point Operations chief executive Dwayne Freeman said their testing showed the water with 58 milligrams of sediment per litre, and that this was not "coal-laden sludge".

"This is a very minor elevation in total suspended solids ... we are confident there will be no environmental impacts to the wetlands area, despite this unprecedented weather event," he said in a statement.

A spokesman for the Department of Environment and Science (DES) said it was awaiting test results on water samples taken by its own officers on February 8.

The spokesman confirmed Adani's environmental authority for the port "imposes a maximum limit of 30 mg/L".

"DES will consider the results from the laboratory analysis along with other information in relation to the release event before making any determination as to whether or not the company has complied with the environmental authority conditions for the site," he said.

"Concurrent with the specific investigation into the release during the recent weather event, DES also continues to implement a long-term monitoring program in the adjacent Caley Valley wetland to determine whether any adverse impacts on environmental values is occurring."


Christmas Island detention centre to be RE-OPENED with fears Australia will be flooded with illegal refugee boats - after Labor's medical treatment deal passes parliament

Scott Morrison is significantly ramping up border security patrols and reopening Christmas Island to guard against a feared influx of asylum-seeker boats.

The prime minister warned changes to fast-track medical evacuations for asylum seekers held offshore, which passed against the government's wishes on Wednesday, could restart the people-smuggling trade.

'My job now is to ensure that the boats don't come,' he said. 'My job now is to do everything within my power, and in the power of the government, to ensure that what the parliament has done to weaken our borders does not result in boats coming to Australia.'

The prime minister denied his ramped up rhetoric played into the hands of people smugglers. 'I'm standing between people smugglers and bringing a boat to Australia,' he said.

Mr Morrison announced the re-opening of Christmas Island as the Senate narrowly passed new laws fast-tracking medical evacuations for asylum seekers, 36 votes to 34.  

The transfers only apply to the existing cohort of refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru but the Government has warned the move sends a dangerous signal to people smugglers.

It also sets the stage for an election, due in a few months, fought on border security. Mr Morrison pledged to reverse the laws if the coalition was re-elected at the poll expected in mid-May.

He argued people smugglers did not deal with the nuance of the 'Canberra bubble' but rather the psychology of messaging about 'stronger' and 'weaker' borders.

The government lost a historic vote in parliament on Tuesday night - the first time a sitting government has lost a vote on its own bill for the first time in 78 years.

The refugee transfer laws were passed in the House of Representatives by 75 votes to 74 after Labor was joined by the Greens and all independents except Bob Katter.

It then passed through the Senate on Wednesday.


France maintains it will deliver Australia's $50 billion 'Barracuda' submarines on time

Famous last words?

France's visiting Defence Minister has assured Australia the future submarine program will run on time, despite a similar build project running three years late in her country.

On Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was joined by French Defence Minister Florence Parly to sign a long awaited "strategic partnering agreement" to underpin the $50 billion Future Submarine project.

The signing came after months of tense negotiations between Australian defence officials and representatives of French state-owned company Naval Group.

Last year the ABC revealed the Federal Government had grown so frustrated with Naval Group that Defence Minister Christopher Pyne refused to meet top officials who were visiting Australia.

In her only interview before flying home to Paris, Ms Parly acknowledged "cultural differences" with Australia over the defence project but also talked up the strengthened friendship between both nations.

"Of course there are cultural differences. You are an Anglo-Saxon country, with an Anglo-Saxon legal tradition — we are a more Latin country, but I think that the teams worked very well together," Ms Parly said.

"It will have a great impact on Australian economy and Australian jobs but it also tightens the links in our two countries. "It is important that democracies that share values can go farther and build the future together."

In France, Naval Group has faced serious delays with another submarine project, the construction of new 'Barracuda' nuclear-powered submarines.

Despite Naval Group's three-year delay with its project in France, Ms Parly says there will be no flow on effects for Australia's program. "It's very much related to the nuclear part of our submarines and related to new norms and controls that did not exist before," she said.

"There is no risk in my view, that the Attack Class submarines be delayed. "The negotiators spent a lot of time, making sure that all the provisions are there, that there are no risks, and I don't see any risk of failure."


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here


Paul said...

Cairns is suffering a bit of an explosion of itinerants just now. I think a lot have floated down from the cape with the floods and storms, but I've noticed a growing number of really White people among them.

Tony48219 said...

Why is Al Qaeda more compassionate than pro-lifers?

The 9/11 hijackers got to die instantly!