Sunday, November 29, 2020

Another dubious tale of "Aboriginal" achievement


It's amazing how the people who feature in stories about Aborigines who achieve academically all turn out to look just like people of European ancestry. Why? Because they clearly are overwhelmingly of European ancestry. They look nothing like Aborigines. The lady above is even hyphenated, for goodness's sake!

She does have a slight "suntan" but to a degree well within European norms. Vanessa is quite simply good-looking. She would be a social success among any group of white Australians.

How she came to originate in an Aboriginal family, one can only speculate, but mixed ancestry is common among urban Aborigines so she may well have simply got a very fortunate roll of the genetic dice that featured all or most of the "white" genetics in her ancestry. Though we should perhaps note that there is no mention of her mother below.

Her life story does show that her childhood among Aborigines ended in producing serious distress for her but her tale below is clearly very one-sided. Why did the social workers remove her from her Aboriginal family? We are left to believe that it was because they were inhuman monsters.

The fact of the matter however is that removing a child is very rule-governed and in this case the aim was protective. It is very common for Aborigines to treat their children very negligently and even abusively so there must have been reports of that nature in this case.

But despite her difficult childhood, that evil white society recognized her talent and moved her into the upper echelons of that society.

So combined with many other similar stories, this story does reveal a very clear lesson. It is not at all the lesson intended by the narrator but it is clear nonetheless: Real Aborigines cannot achieve academically. It is only ones who are not really Aborigines who can. It reasserts the great importance of European genetics

As a child I lived on Gadigal country in Redfern in Sydney, before moving out to social housing near La Perouse. Through a white lens, people would say we were poor. But there was something really powerful in being appreciative of what we did have and that was community, family, kinship and love. We were living with poverty and struggled at times, but we never went without.

The Department of Community Services (DOCS, now the NSW Department of Family and Community Services) removed me from my family in 2008 when I was 10. It was around 10 o’clock at night, and I was in bed. My older brother, thankfully, was at my mum’s place that night. Dad was out on the balcony and he yelled, “Bub I’m so sorry, they’re coming to get you.” I looked out the window and saw all of these red and blue flashing lights.

I heard a knock at the door and it was a caseworker. She said, “Hug your dad one last time, you’ve got to come with us.” I remember hugging my dad so tight that I could feel his tears drop on my shoulder.

When I was in the DOCS car, I vomited because I’d been crying so much. I didn’t know what was going on. I was placed into an emergency foster home that night. I remember the caseworker saying to me, “You can’t go home because your parents neglected you and your parents don’t know how to look after children.” I was really confused, because I remembered my dad raising my nieces and nephews and cousins and playing a prominent role in their lives. I was like, “What do you mean that my dad doesn’t know how to raise children?”

I went to around eight or 10 foster homes in that first couple of years. That’s considered a low number. Behind the scenes, my family was battling the court system. My parents, who had no knowledge of the legal system, were put into a room to advocate why they should be allowed to parent their child. No one ever asked me what I wanted.

I was passed around as if there was no soul in my body. The foster homes that I went to were white – they weren’t my kin, even though my aunties and uncles had put their hand up to take me in. During my third year in out-of-home care, I lost my Pop. He wanted to take me in, but I was robbed of those years with him because of the state system. I went from spending every weekend at Pop’s house, hearing stories, sharing our culture, having a Sunday roast, to seeing him for sorry business after he’d passed away.

My experience in foster care was a driving force for me to make the most of my career. I thought, “I’m going to leave this state system, I’m going to go back to my family and I’m going to get that time back that was robbed from me.”

At 18, I was accepted to study social work and criminology at UNSW. I met with a senior law lecturer to talk about whether I should study law. I remember she said, “It’s been 15 minutes and I’m already wondering why you didn’t originally enrol in law as your first degree.” In that moment I was like, “Shit, someone genuinely believes I’m capable of doing this.”

I’m in the sixth year of a seven-year combined law and social work degree. As an Indigenous student studying law, you’re reminded every day of what you don’t have. In corporations law you’re reminded you don’t have tenure to your land. In criminal law you’re reminded all your people are being locked up, removed from their families and communities and subjected to punitive measures rather than support. I work part-time as a paralegal in the pro bono team with Sydney law firm Gilbert + Tobin. One of the most beautiful things about working there is it’s built on the values of giving back. The team is like family. I’m lucky to have their guidance and support on the right side of the fight for humanity and justice.

The year that Kevin Rudd gave his apology to the stolen generations was the same year I was taken. I remember everyone felt so proud as a nation, but the reality is, the same executive powers are removing our babies. This is still occurring today. [In 2018, First Nations children made up almost 40 per cent of all children in out-of-home care nationally, despite being 5½ per cent of Australia’s child population. About a third were placed with non-Indigenous carers.]

Controversially named racehorse makes its debut

A Queensland thoroughbred owner has been allowed to name a rookie racehorse "Black Suspect", despite concerns it could offend Indigenous people.

The three-year-old colt with the potentially provocative name is set to raise eyebrows when it makes its racing debut, with even its trainer admitting there could be questions.

Black Suspect was meant to have its first race in a maiden event at Toowoomba last weekend but was a late scratching.

Ipswich trainer Beau Gorman said the scratching had nothing to do with the name of the horse, owned by local racing enthusiast Colin Clark, but was because it simply wasn’t ready to go.

Mr Gorman said the horse was named because it was a big black colt and its sire was a US stallion called Unusual Suspect.

He said the name was chosen after other names, including Black American and Black Gold, were rejected by Racing Australia.

Coronavirus Australia: Wake up and smell the sickly stench of government control

Lucky we seldom use cash any more; it would be impossible to physically swirl the dollars fast enough between taxpayers and governments. For instance, if I spend $10 at a local Sydney cafe, one dollar heads to Canberra as GST, while perhaps another one will cover company tax on any profit; some of the federal tax is funnelled back to the cafe for JobKeeper payments and most of the GST dollar is returned to the NSW government which, after an initiative in its post-COVID budget this month, then sends some of it back to me in vouchers to be spent at a local hospitality businesses — such as my local cafe.

It might have been simpler to just let my barista keep the $10 — or are we worried that leaves too many work-from-home state and federal public servants with too little to do. Imagine the money wasted and the efficiencies forgone in this endless churn; it is a wonder cash is not turned into butter.

Yes, this is a simplistic and stylised example, but it illustrates the never-ending expansion and reach of government. While the mortality rate from COVID-19 is trending downwards worldwide, the virus has proven lethal against pre-pandemic notions of small government.

On the macro scale, the impact is frightening; where once we were traumatised by Wayne Swan’s $50bn deficits we have flipped this year from a projected $7bn surplus to an $85bn deficit — a record shortfall that will be almost tripled next year with a $213bn dollar deficit. Swan can finally have a Christmas where he fancies himself as Scrooge.

Government spending as a percentage of GDP snuck above 25 per cent in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, after which even Labor agreed it should be kept below that mark. But it surged to 27.7 per cent last year, and will hit almost 35 per cent next year. So, while we once considered it prudent to keep federal spending to less than a quarter of the economy, Canberra’s splurge is about to account for more than a third of GDP.

When John Howard lost government, 13 years ago this week, the nation had cash in the bank — negative net government debt. We started to worry when debt rose above $150bn after the GFC, ballooning to more than 10 per cent of GDP. Now it has hit $500bn — half a trillion dollars, or 25 per cent of GDP — and within five years it will top $1 trillion, or equivalent to 44 per cent of the ­national economy.

Never before has the federal government sent more money to more people and more businesses. We are reacting to the corona­virus pandemic like it is a once-in-a-lifetime challenge that we can bet the bank on — best hope there is not another pandemic, natural disaster, global depression or war around the corner.

While interest rates are at record lows, we have been prepared to burden future generations with enormous risks. The big privatisations are behind us and all hopes hinge on the tumultuous cycle of economic growth. Most of us under 80 years of age can thank previous generations for the prosperity we have enjoyed — yet we seem happy to do the opposite, make ourselves comfortable in the here and now, while forwarding the bill to future generations.

The same people who argue it is immoral to leave behind a carbon footprint for future generations have no qualms about leaving them more debt than has ever been imagined. There must be an argument that we could have been more prudent and avoided any sense of intergenerational theft — but this discussion seems absent from the political debate.

Perhaps even more debilitating than the lifetime of debt is the rapid and unbridled escalation of the Nanny state. What has long been an alarming trend has run rampant since Wuhan first shared its virus with the world.

We have long observed the politicians’ predilection for increasing spending, launching new initiatives, imposing new rules and inveigling themselves into every aspect of our lives in order to win our gratitude and boost their prospects. Yet it is even more disturbing to see how great swathes of the population have lapped this up and played along — “gimme more free stuff”.

Nonsensical interventions

Worse still is the way we see people enthusiastically yield to the feverish and often nonsensical interventions imposed upon them. Melburnians heeded a drastic, inconvenient and muddle-headed curfew slapped on the city with no medical imprimatur. They also were forced to wear face masks outdoors, even many ­metres away from fellow citizens.

Daniel Andrews and his barrackers claim the absence of infections as vindication, when the whole point was supposed to be about controlling the pandemic without crushing communities, businesses and livelihoods. Around all the states except NSW, signs are that these lessons are yet to be learned.

Worryingly, police officers in Victoria and elsewhere enforced curfews and other nonsense with ruthless disregard for civil rights — officers on horseback and in ­patrol cars moved people on in Sydney parks, pregnant women were arrested over Facebook posts in Melbourne, drones spied on Western Australians in the streets, and there were Checkpoint Charlies set up along a string of interstate borders.

Most of us accepted these intrusions. People compliantly kept their children home from school, for months on end, when there was no medical basis for doing so. We stayed apart from family because of closed borders, we cancelled overseas holidays, worked from home, and kissed goodbye to a wide range of social activities.

Curfews weren’t enough

But it was not enough; governments wanted more control. They banned people in Adelaide and Melbourne from leaving their homes; restricted how many people could visit our houses; set stringent attendance limits for funerals, weddings and church services; demanded we did not sing; or dance; made us commemorate Anzac Day on our own but let the protesters do as they pleased; and they shut beaches

All this in a blessed Land Down Under where the people were once renowned for their self-­reliance and anti-authoritarian streak. Has the Nanny state eaten away our resilience and national character?

Sure, most of us have understood the aims and surrendered to authority, in part because we believe in the project of “flattening the curve”. But much of what has been imposed has been irrational, over the top and not based on ­science — yet we went along with it anyway. Were we too compliant, too ignorant, or too frightened to object?

There are Australians right now, kept apart or sweating it out in home isolation in Western Australia because Mark McGowan still insists on hard borders with Victoria and NSW, even though there has been no community transmission for weeks in the two most populous states. Some will be proud of this — “we are all in this together” — but it speaks more to fearmongering and ignorance.

Politicians have spoken of a “dangerous” situation and how they need to “keep people safe” which is a ridiculous way to frame attempts to control a virus that is mild to asymptomatic in more than 95 per cent of cases, makes a small percentage of people seriously ill and, in the main, is only life-threatening to people who are very old or already very ill.

This is not to dismiss the vulnerable — it is a call to focus on protecting them instead of trying to scare children and paralyse communities.

No such thing as a free lunch

Have we become so molly­coddled that we look to governments to prevent us from getting sick? Are politicians so conceited they believe they can manage all risk out of our lives? Do they fret about paying a political price because a virus hops from one ­person to another?

Ideas for government intervention have proliferated like a contagion. We have governments siphoning taxes from us only to regurgitate some of it back as vouchers to cover kids’ sport fees or, now, for us to spend in restaurants. There is no such thing as a free lunch — we are paying for these gimmicks ourselves.

Governments now proffer paid sick leave for casual workers, subsidies for wages, bonuses for employing people, refunds on car registration, funding for solar panels, bonuses for first-home buyers, freebies in childcare, schooling, healthcare, social housing, public broadcasting, and whatever else. We are dining out on the taxpayers of 2050.

No matter how successful or futile the vaccines turn out to be, no matter how far this pandemic has to run, we can say one thing about its duration. It will never outlive the propensity for governments and bureaucracies to constantly mutate and expand, infecting every aspect of our lives.

Beware, Parents, Your Kids Are Being ‘Scootled’

When I noticed that a top-tier federal-state education body is providing lesson materials for teachers, I decided to take a look. The body is Education Services Australia (ESA), a company set up by federal-state education ministers. ESA provides free supplementary online materials for teachers via 20,000-plus pages on its Scootle portal. No mickey-mouse operation, it’s all keyed precisely to the curricula and used in 2019 by some 60,000 teachers, who chalked up 2.8 million sessions involving 18.8 million page views. From 2000-09 this on-line exercise chewed up about $130 million of taxpayer money.[1] Today ESA self-supports on revenue of $40 million a year from projects and subscriptions.

Scootle is just one of many third-party inputs to schooling. More than 90 per cent of teachers and 8400 schools, for example, use online lessons supplied by the anti-capitalist green-left Cool Australia outfit (See here, here, here, here). I fully expected that Scootle materials would be part of the Leftist miasma pervading education, which is so all-encompassing that even the 50 per cent conservative-voting parents long ago ceased to notice what their kids are being taught.

In the immortal words of Victoria’s one-time education minister and premier Joan Kirner, education must be reshaped to be “part of the socialist struggle for equality, participation and social change, rather than an instrument of the capitalist system”. This was consummated in 2008 when PM Julia Gillard and her Labor premiers brought in their “Melbourne declaration”.[2] Conservative governments don’t seem to mind that schools have been converted to breeding grounds for green-minded woke warriors.

ESA is supposed to promote “improved students outcomes” and classier teachers and schools. As we know, our kids’ performance is sliding down the international league tables, despite ESA’s best efforts. So, as an amateur auditor, having logged on as a “guest user”, I had a look around.

“Paul Keating” gets 17 hits, virtually all laudatory; Gough Whitlam gets 56 hits, none hostile and most laudatory. Whitlam’s dismissal (1975) gets a dozen tracts. “John Howard” gets more than 20 cites, but sadly none are laudatory and most hostile.[3]

I got a surprise when I searched on “WWF” to check that green lobby’s input. Instead of cute pandas, I got a dozen propaganda film clips from the Communist-led Waterside Workers Federation of the 1950s, such as “Banners Held High, 1956: May Day”. Scootle tells kids this film is “honouring the achievements of workers across the world”. Actually, a few months after its May Day love-in, the WWF backed the Soviets as their tanks crushed the Hungarian revolt.[4]

Scootle’s asylum-seeker treatment is straight from The Greens’ playbook.[5] Search for “asylum seeker” and the request generates exactly 100 hits and ‘refugee’ alone 169 hits. Scootle’s intense interest in the topic includes: Discussion paper – ‘Towards a fairer immigration system for Australia’, 1992.

This is the cover of a 55-page paper titled ‘Towards a fairer immigration system for Australia‘. It states that the current immigration system is unfair to some groups and discusses how to guarantee fair access to Australia’s immigration system. The paper was prepared by Andrew Theophanous and published in 1992… The dimensions of the discussion paper are 29.60 cm x 21.00 cm.

I’m sure it’s a lovely paper from 28 years ago for kids to study, being 29.60cm x 21.00cm and all, about fairness and victim support. Author Andrew Theophanous was MHR (Labor) for the seats of Burke and Calwell from 1980-2000. But as Wikipedia puts it, “He was later jailed for bribery and fraud offences relating to visa applications and other immigration matters.” Specifically, “he was charged with defrauding the Commonwealth by making false representations in relation to an immigration matter, taking an unlawful inducement and soliciting an unlawful inducement.” He got six years, and served two of them. Maybe Scootle should footnote that?

Another example is:

Anthem – An Act of Sedition, 2004: MV Tampa and September 11

This clip presents an interpretation of the Howard government’s response to the arrival of refugees in Australian waters on the MV Tampa in August 2001. The narration states that John Howard had often used scare tactics for his political advantage and that the refugees were now to be used in a ‘race election’. Views defending the refugees are juxtaposed with images of troops. Scenes of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in New York dramatise the narration, which states that the government used fear of terrorism to override international law and civil rights.

The tone here seems similar to what East German kids used to get. Scootle’s explanatory notes say the film argues passionately that PM John Howard cynically exploited Tampa and 9/11 “to create fear, undermine the rule of law and secure a win in the November 2001 election.” The notes say, “the desperation of the passengers led the captain to attempt to land under conditions of emergency”. In fact the Afghans effectively took over the ship by threats, which led to SAS troops storming the vessel.

Scootle cites Julian Burnside QC, most recently a failed Greens candidate, who “condemns the ‘Pacific Solution’ legislation as being a clear-cut infringement of international law, and another lawyer sees it as being undemocratic.”

In a mealy-mouthed way, Scootle says,

In this case no attempt is made to present the case for the Howard government, the narration puts its views strongly and the use of dramatic footage heightens the sense of crisis, reinforcing the filmmakers’ view that these events marked a serious attack on civil liberties and democratic processes.

Impressionable kids are treated to a tear-jerking film (aka “powerful account”) about an Australian family with four kids visiting an Afghan teen in detention in Port Hedland in 2004. The visiting mother describes ‘a heavy gate being locked behind’ them, the children ‘huddled together wide-eyed and silent’ and the guard ‘unlocking the third door’, with an echoing, sombre and “slightly fearful” sound track. The film, asserts Scootle, “raises questions about the government policy that imprisoned children in the name of border protection.”

Kids also get a poem, ‘When I think of Australia’ by Amelia Walker. Extract: “I switch on the TV and see wire with children behind it. If this isn’t their country it isn’t mine.” Images include chicken wire and “refugees’ children in detention camps”. There’s also a color cartoon provided from leftist New Matilda[6] showing

a dilapidated ship crowded with asylum seekers approaching a pier where an elderly woman stands with outstretched arms, saying: ‘I know it’s extremely unAustralian of me, but I’d like to welcome you to our shores …’

So where does Scootle offer kids the conservative government’s case? A search on “people smuggler” finds one hit from a 1990 incident, and none contemporaneous. Another search fails to turn up reference to the 1,200 asylum seekers drowned after Labor’s PM Rudd overturned Howard’s policy and encouraged people smugglers to ship 50,000 people south in those infamously leaky boats.

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1 comment:

Paul said...

Turnbull-Roberts has a lot to say about the whats but not a lot about the whys.