Sunday, March 22, 2020

The stories of Australia's "Stolen Generations"

I note that this hoax is now in the plural: "Generations". It was originally singular.

I have no doubt that the experiences described below are largely true.  Many Aboriginal children were relocated from their homes and the experience was no doubt traumatic in many cases.

The big unsaid thing in the matter is WHY Australian governments for a time did such relocations.  From the article below you are left to assume that it was from evil impulses, "Racism" probably.

But it was nothing of the sort.  The removals were part of the normal child welfare practices of the time.  To this day Aboriginal men are very hard on their children, with even feeding them being haphazard.  And drunkenness in particular is  rife and generates a lot of physical conflict.

In short, the children were removed to protect them from abuse and sometines death. They were adopted into white families because safe black families were hard to find.  And it was felt that reorienting them to white culture while they were in an adoptive family would be advantageous to them

But personality is heavily hereditary so that was usually a doomed effort.  The children simply reinstated in their own lives the parental behaviour that had got them removed in the first place.  As the man below describes his life: "considerable time spent drinking heavily and living on the streets - including a few short stints in prison". Like father like son.

Melbourne, Australia - When Archie Roach speaks, his eyes close, deep in thought, as if taking on the countenance of an ancient, blind seer.

Reflecting on his life takes considerable courage; removed from his family as a child as part of Australia's Stolen Generations, Roach would experience alcoholism, homelessness and even a suicide attempt before sobering up and becoming the internationally-recognised singer-songwriter most know him as today.

His life story is now recounted in a new autobiography, Tell Me Why, which - like his music and lyrics - is written with passion, beauty and a hint of sadness.

"[Many people] hear about Stolen Generations but don't realise the journey that one makes, or takes, to find their way back - if they do at all," Roach said. "I wanted to write about that, and what I've learned through the years."

Now 64, Roach's love of music came from his adoptive father, a Scottish migrant who would sing the traditional songs of his homeland around the dinner table.

After being removed as part of Australia's policy to assimilate Indigenous children into white families, Roach was adopted into what he describes as a stable home.

It was during high school that he would receive a letter from his then unbeknownst older Indigenous sister that would set Roach on a remarkable journey to find his biological family.

After considerable time spent drinking heavily and living on the streets - including a few short stints in prison - Roach would eventually reconnect with his Aboriginal family.

Deep-seated trauma

Yet the trauma of his removal, and the impact it had had on his community, was deeply felt. He would begin to write songs about his, and his family's, experiences, and in 1991, rose to prominence with the song Took the Children Away.

Tell Me Why describes in considerable detail, the effect of his removal and separation would have, including on his own children and grandchildren.

"I explain to [my grandchildren] about being taken away and it's very confusing for them at first. And they get older and they think about it and it actually upsets them when you talk about it now. Because they are hurt, because their own grandfather was taken away from their family.

"They can't understand why that would have happened in the first place. And that's the question they ask too - 'why did they do that?' [And I have to say] 'I don't know. They probably thought we'd be better off.'"

Along with the emotional trauma, Roach said the removals had severe cultural implications. "You couldn't speak [Indigenous] language - they'd lock you up. You couldn't practise cultural practices - they'd lock you up or withhold rations.

"So we grew up and we weren't able to teach our children and grandchildren language, dance and things like that."

Roach said he was fortunate to eventually find his biological family, but acknowledged that there were many Indigenous children who did not.

He said he hopes that readers understand "that this happened, in this country. Not just to me but thousands of other children. And some of them never made it back. And some of us did, and were fortunate."


Activist judges skip democracy


Last Monday on this page Professor George Williams, the dean of law at the University of NSW, discussed how High Court appointments ought to be made. His words seriously mischaracterise what his opponents are arguing, what is at stake in general terms, and what would be the effect of following his proposed prescriptions.

Williams was responding to the criticism of our High Court for its recent decision in the Love case that foreigners of Aboriginal des­cent could not be classified as aliens and were not subject to the Migratio­n Act. Voting 4-3, the High Court majority talked of “deeper truths”, “questions of other­ness” and “metaphysical constraints and connections” that purportedly amounted to some sort of higher and transcendent knowledge that flows to some humans­, not others, based on the happenstance of their genetic inheritance.

Using this sort of premise the majority held, in Williams’s words, “that Aboriginal people are not aliens under the Constitution”. More bluntly, though, what the High Court did was to remove from the elected parliament any ability to legislate to deport such people and did so in breach of the established federalist heads-of-powers jurisprudence.

For many, like me, this was judici­al activism writ large. And because three of the four judges in the majority were appointed by this Coalition government, we called for this government to start appointing constitutional conservatives to the top court.

Williams characterises our call as a desire to appoint “capital-C conservatives” to the court. The implication is that we want those with first-order conservative polit­ical inclinations. But that’s not the case. We seek the appointment of judges who will interpret the Constitutio­n in a non-activist way.

Given its myriad references to “until the parliament otherwise provides” and the clear intention of the framers to leave big decis­ions to the democratic process, what we want is the appointment of judges who do not — without clear and legitimate written authority for doing so, something patent­ly absent in Love — take things off the democratic table.

Before Love, nothing stopped parliament from legislating for the judicially imposed outcome in that case. Well, nothing but the fact that 90 per cent of voters would have been incensed. Williams, in effect, is arguing for a sort of judicia­l elite who can take things off the democratic table via the way they interpret our written Constitution — what is known as a “living constitution” interpretative approach, under which the document is interpreted in light of changing social values. (Or, to be accurate, in the light of what the top judges say are society’s social values, who decide by voting — four votes beats three, regardless of the quality of the judgments.)

I have consistently noted that Labor has recently picked better constit­utional conservative judges than the Liberals, with Patrick Keane the best of the lot.

Williams therefore turns what is an argument about the scope of democratic decision-making into one where people supposedly want appointees chosen “based on their political views”.

That’s wrong. We want people who interpret the Constitution the way it was intended — to leave these big-ticket issues to the elect­ed parliament. It’s the judges’ interpretative views that matter, not their political druthers. And those are totally legitimate views to consider when appointing them.

Williams talks as though caring specifically about this sort of inter­pretative restraint “would erode confidence in the judiciary”. Frank­ly, when top judges indulge in the decon­structionist mumbo jumbo (“otherness”, “deeper truths”, etc) to forbid elected parliaments from deporting only Aborig­inal-claiming criminals, those judges are doing a pretty good job of eroding confidence all by themselves.

Any Liberal government worth its salt, Labor ones in the mould of Bob Carr too, ought to have the interpretative views of its appointees in mind before it gives any of them the nod — or face heavy criticism. Williams’s attempt to portray such criticism as nothing more than party politics is a red herring.

He also urges us to go down the British route and enact a law that changes how judges are appointed. In Britain that means, in effect, that committees of top judges and lawyers make the calls. Yep, the lawyerly caste (which often does not share the voters’ values) picks its own successors on the courts.

That, too, removes all democratic checks and balances. It gives you the sort of judges who, in the two Gina Miller cases, decided to overturn centuries of precedents to make life harder on those in favour of Brexit.

That could be because­ all those top judges, so far as anyone could tell, were Remainers.

Merit may be in the eye of the beholder: if so, letting judges pick their own successors is an awful proposal.

It’s one Canada’s Justin Trudeau has shunned; one that has brought the British judges so low in the esteem of many that Boris Johnson is considering wide-ranging reforms.

Every time you criticise judges you are not asking for your own first-order political views to be advanced­.

The complaint here is a second-order issue: how properly to interpret our Constit­ution so its intended democratic outcomes stay put.


A level playing field for schoolchildren?

Over 100 countries have closed schools impacting 850 million students. But Scott Morrison says there’s no need.

It started with a ban on large outdoor gatherings; no more football games, concerts, food festivals or street fairs. Now the libraries, museum­s and cinemas are closing, social and junior sport seasons have halted, fun runs and gym classes are out, even Friday prayers at mosques are a no-go.

Life as we know it has stopped in the aim of achieving “social distancin­g”, a term few of us except the most committed introverts would have heard until recently.

But not schools. Those institutions of learning — where hundreds of students, in many cases more than 1000, pile in five days a week, seated shoulder-to-shoulder in close quarters, sharing equip­ment and supplies, bumping into each other in the hallways and playing tag in the playground — have been advised to remain open.

It’s been a tough sell for the health experts and politicians charged with getting the message across. Unveiling tough new crowd-control measures on Wednesday, Scott Morrison pointed out that he was happy to comply with official advice. “As a father, I’m happy for my kids to go to school,” the Prime Minister said.

“There is only one reason your kids shouldn’t be going to school and that is if they are unwell.”

Yet schools across the country are reporting significantly reduced attendance as parents, fearing their children will catch the potentially deadly coronavirus if they continue to attend school, keep them at home.

Teachers are also anxious and many are angry. On social media, where teachers have a robust presence­, they vent about being used as babysitters, accusing the government of sacrificing them and their health for the nation’s economic interests.

As teachers unions have rightly pointed out, there is a contradiction between banning large public gatherings and insisting teachers and children mingle in close quarters for up to 30 hours a week.

Mass gatherings

NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos estim­ates that 30 per cent of schools have more than 500 stud­ents, with the state’s largest public school having a population in exces­s of 2000 students.

“Schools have been told to implem­ent a range of social distancing measures, which include keeping a distance of 1.5m between persons and minimising physical contact where possible,” Mr Gavrielato­s said this week.

“However, the design of many of our schools and the size of our classrooms make this impossible.”

School administrators have been told they can help to minim­ise the risk of COVID-19 transmission by implementing strategies to restrict physical contact between staff and students. They’ve been told to cancel all non-essential activitie­s, including assemblies, excursions, camps, school sports, even parent-teacher interviews.

Playgrounds have been re­arranged, and recess and lunch times have been staggered to reduce­ large groups congregating.

It’s not been easy. As any prim­ary teacher will attest, small children love hugs. Plus, with their clumsy hands and roaming fingers­, they are still learning the basics of personal hygiene.

There have been reports of kids playing coronavirus-themed tag in the playground, while one ­Victorian secondary school had to sternly remind its students this week of acceptable behavioural standards after learning some old­er children had been deliberately coughing and spitting on others.

Rising anxiety

According to NSW Primary Principals Association president Phil Seymour, anxiety within schools is rising. Principals are being bombarded with questions and complaints from teachers and parents concerned that the virus could spread through the school; and that staff and children would ­become sick and infect those at home, including elderly and vulnera­ble family members.

“They feel like they’re being thrust on to the frontline of this thing,” Mr Seymour said

As the head of Sydney’s 150 Catholic schools pointed out on Tuesday — before apparently being pulled into line by the national­ Catholic schools body — many parents are ignoring the government’s advice and keeping their children at home.

More broadly, parents appear split. The Australian conducted a Facebook poll on Wednesday asking people if they felt comfortable with schools remaining open.

Although the poll continues, more than 3600 people have voted — 55 per cent say they are comfortable with schools remaining open and 45 per cent say they are not.

According to UNESCO, 102 countries have closed schools and educational institutions nationwide in response to this pandemic, impacting more than 849.4 million young people. Closures in Aust­ralia have been limited to a handful of schools that have reported COVID-19 cases, or close contact with cases, as well as a growing list of mainly metropolitan independ­ent schools that have the resources and capability to send students home to continue their learning online.

Digital classrooms

One of the latest to close its doors, Kambala girls school in Sydney’s affluent eastern suburbs, ­assured parents it was in the fortunate position of having “an effective learning management system” that would enable remote learning.

“This is not the first time the school has faced such issues,” it said, in a statement to parents, noting­ that the school closed for a period in 1919 to counter the influenza epidemic of the time.

“Necessity is the mother of invention­ and through the school’s remote learning systems we remain true to, and confident in, our vision of inspired learning, and empowering young women of integrity.”

While reports of COVID-19 transmission in schools remains low, there are social, educational and economic benefits to keeping schools open. The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, whose membership ­includes chief health officers from the states and territories, met recently­ to consider school closures in relation to the community transmission of COVID-19. The committee’s most recent advice to government was that “pre-emptive school closures are not likely to be proportionate or effective as a public health intervention to prevent community transmission of COVID-19 at this time”.

As Victorian Chief Health Officer­ Brett Sutton says, for pre-emptive school closures to be effectiv­e, prolonged closure is required­ and “it would be unclear when they could be reopened”. “If there were still a large pool of susceptible students when schools are reopened, there would be likely to be re-emergence of transmission in the community,” he says.

Mr Morrison spelled this out on Wednesday. “Whatever we do, we have to do for at least six months. That means the disruption that would occur from the closure of schools around this country, make no mistake, would be severe,” he said.

High economic cost

A report on social distancing on the federal Health Department website makes clear that while school closure was “moderately effectiv­e” in reducing flu and delayin­g the peak of an epidemic, “this measure is associated with a very high economic cost and social impacts”. “School closures should therefore be considered only in a severe pandemic and for the shortest ­duration possible,” it says.


State poised for power revolution

This is all theory with no consideration of cost or practicality

QUEENSLAND has the chance to shore up the 32,000 jobs that rely on mining and energy generation by digging up the ingredients for renewables, a report produced for the state's biggest construction and infrastructure companies says.

The 2020 Major Projects Pipeline Report released yesterday by the Queensland Major Contractors Association and the Infrastructure Association of Queensland warns changing global attitudes and climate change represents a risk to the state's biggest industries. But it also says Queensland is "extremely well-placed to benefit from movements towards environmental sustainability and a zero-carbon economy".

"Queensland can leverage from its own natural and comparative advantages in the green economy including its world leading solar resources, access to 'next generation' commodities including copper, lead, zinc, silver, phosphate and rare earths to build new industries that will help drive down carbon emissions, and the development of new 'green' energy from renewable sources including hydrogen.

"Supporting the global effort to reduce emissions will benefit very important industry sectors in Queensland tourism and agriculture —- which are highly susceptible to climate change impacts.

"Increasing climate activism, both in Australia and globally, presents structural risks to traditional Queensland industries such as coal mining and fossil fuel power generation which directly provide employment to up to 32,000 Queenslanders, particularly in regional towns."

Coal tips $4.2 billion a year into the Queensland Government coffers in royalties, the report says. "Environmental sustainability provides Queensland with a massive economic opportunity which is potentially far greater than the fossil fuel industry," the report says.

The Queensland Mayor Projects Pipeline 2020 report shows significant projects such as Inland Rail, Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 3, Cross River Rail, Brisbane Metro and upgrades to the MI, Bruce Highway and essential water infrastructure developments are all underway or close to starting, but private investment is badly lagging and with it the 6600 extra construction jobs riding on megaprojects.

The report says there are 222 projects worth at least $50 million each across the state, totalling $50.6 billion in the pipeline from 2019-20 to 2023-24.

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail" of 19.3.20

 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

1 comment:

Paul said...

There are many in any civilisation that are happy to tell you all about what happened to them, but will never talk about why it happened.