Thursday, October 30, 2008


Tonight at 9:30 the ABC is showing a documentary that looks into the Emergency Federal Intervention into NT Indigenous Communities. The documentary discusses the impact of the Intervention with members of communities over a 12 month period.

The intervention was the Howard Government's response to a Board of Inquiry into the Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse, known as the Ampe Akelyernemane Meke Mekarle “Little Children are Sacred” Report. The report identified child sexual abuse as a very serious problem in Indigenous communities, but made a point of identifying the apparent increase in sexual abuse in the broader non indigenous society also.
As the inquiry was focussed on Indigenous communities it's recommendations focussed on what needs to happen in Indigenous communities in order to eradicate the root causes of child sexual abuse. The Government's response appeared to take rather a different form to the approach recommended by the Board of Inquiry.
Having read some of the report and compared it to statements by the previous and current ministers responsible for Indigenous affairs my feeling is that the intervention directly contradicts the forms of assistance recommended by the report. In fact some of the underlying causes of dysfunction identified by the report would very likely be intensified by the previous Government's approach to this very sensitive issue. Since then there has been a change of Government and an opportunity to alter the course of this discriminatory process... Unfortunately it seems the current Labor Government is also committed to imposing their "Intervention" onto people living in Indigenous communities without engaging in the consultative and cooperative approach recommended in the Report.

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