The Howard government recently sent in the troops to stamp out
sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities. Mal Brough, an ex
military man, was almost slavering at the opportunity to send in
some of his old mates to sort out the moral panic his government
had created. After ignoring a pile of reports and inquiries into
the woeful state of many remote Indigenous communities, it seems
the sleeping beast that is our government awoke and began
devouring the latest victim group.
Isn’t it funny how, during an election year, race and class are
dragged out to demonstrate how bad things are, could become or
will become unless the Howard government intervenes.
The first question I have, in relation to this latest bit of
racialisation, is, when is the Howard government going to send
in the troops to rid the church’s of their quite well publicised
and proven paedophile community? My next question is, when will
the government mandate that all parents who are unemployed must
give up smoking, drinking alcohol and be required to send their
kids to school?
I guess the simple answer to the above is … never! Why? Because
there are no sympathy votes in attacking the white people you
want to vote for you.
In the case of the churches, can you imagine the outcry that
would ensue from the pulpits across the land. “They’re
interfering with our way of life.” “This is something we can
sort out if we have the resources.” “Why are they picking on
The conservative Christian community who Howard and his
government (and by the way increasingly the Labor party) want to
capture as their own, would never be attacked for the despicable
record they have when it comes to looking after children, the
disabled and the poor, many of whom were exploited for the
gratification of a few.
The reason Howard’s mob have attacked our Indigenous brothers
and sisters this time, is simply because they stand out. Like
the poor souls who populated the Tampa, our Indigenous community
stands out because they are manifestly ‘different’ and the most
obvious difference is skin colour.
In forming the spin that accompanied the announcement to send in
the troops rather than offering practical help (something Howard
has been banging on about since 1996), he throws money into the
military coffers so some of Brough’s mates can keep their jobs.
The whole idea of sending in the military should be repugnant to
any fair minded Australian. It would seem we are the only
country in history to have invaded itself to rid itself of an
imaginary enemy. Obviously our military has too much time on its
Turning back to my comments regarding banning cigarettes and
alcohol from unemployed white people, it’s obvious why this
would never be on the agenda. To be seen to attack his own race
would spell the death knell for any politician. Hitler had the
Jews, white America has Indians and Negro’s, South Africa has
‘the blacks’ and so do we.
By turning our attention towards those with the most obvious
differences the government hopes to unite the rest of us against
an ‘obvious’ threat. Our Indigenous population has been the
target of many political diversionary tactics in the past. This
latest attack on their ability to self govern is just another
example of scapegoating and racialisation. The whole stated
rationale for the Howard government’s current interventions fall
to pieces if we were to apply them to all Australians.
Howard has proved over and over again that he and his government
are racist to the core. They have proved time and time again
that they govern for their own class interests and not for all.
They have proven time and time again that they are nothing more
than power hungry hypocrites whose hearts are as cold as a
winter morning in Canberra.
The media also play a vital role in this latest outrage to
assault the First Australian’s. As pointed out on Media Watch
recently, it seems it is OK to show the faces of allegedly
abused Indigenous children but you never show the faces of white
kids unless you have their parents express consent.
This use of race as the most critical marker in determining what
is ‘newsworthy’ and what is not, demonstrates that those who
control what we see and hear align their ideals with their
masters and it is their masters who call the shots. Therefore,
if their masters are prepared to use race, as is the Howard
government, we can only conclude that their interests align and
that those interests are not those of fair minded Australians.
Our Indigenous community does not need the army to be sent in.
They do not need more hand outs. They certainly do not need
their children to be further traumatised by strangers who
exercise all power over them. What our Indigenous community
needs is self determination.
Like all communities, races and societies, the Indigenous
community has members who will exploit those around them for
their own ends. We don’t need to look far to see examples of
these types of people within the white and ethnic communities.
However, thankfully, they are in a minority and all fair minded
people are appalled by their actions and take all reasonable
steps to make sure these types of people are weeded out, exposed
and dealt with. The Indigenous community has had mechanisms to
deal with these people for thousands of years. Why is it many
non-indigenous Australians cannot accept that they are the best
equipped to deal with it now?
Many Indigenous leaders have been crying out not for a hand out
but a hand up. The abolition of ATSIC – even though it was
exploited but then again how many Liberal politicians have
rorted their parliamentary allowances – was a major blow to
those who were working to towards Indigenous empowerment. And it
is at this juncture, we find the real reason the Howard
government is so keen to raise the racial issue when it comes to
While our Indigenous community is relatively small, it can be
mobilised and if mobilised it poses a threat to the power bases
that have attempted (more often successfully than not) to
suppress it’s voice. By playing on the fallacy that “those
people” are unable to manage their own affairs, successive
governments have attempted to discredit Indigenous leaders and
delegitimise their attempts to organise themselves into a self
governing collective. The current exercise in delegitimisation
is just another page in the disgusting history we advance.
The whitewash that is the so called ‘crisis of abuse’ in
Indigenous communities is a smoke screen designed to avert us
from the main game – the ability of this community to set its
own direction and purpose. To allow the “black” man to determine
his own destiny would, to conservative right wingers like
Howard, be an “abomination of the divine order”.
I guess what this attitude reveals is that while it is an
“abomination” for Indigenous Australians to determine their own
future, it is quite divine to allow the non-Indigenous abusers
who populate many of our most respected institutions to continue
to wreak havoc on those they are supposed to care for. When the
army is sent in to sort out the paedophiles and abusers in the
church, the judiciary, the houses of parliament, schools,
nursing homes, hospitals and the military, I will acknowledge a
good job well done. Until then, Howard, Brough and their cronies
stand condemned for their racism and coldness of heart.