Thursday, 28 June 2007

Weakening the twenty second catch

Many will be, if not pleased then, interested to hear that the dreaded health checks of aboriginal children will not be compulsory. (see Minister Abbot's comments here)
Threats of these checks have allegedly sent mothers scurrying with their children into the bush, fearful that those who 'fail' their tests will be removed from their parents. This, after all, is a strategy used throughout Australia, not just in aboriginal communities...children 'at risk' are placed in care. It is difficult to know what else to do, since child abuse situations clearly demand prompt action.
What, too, if checks actually uncover child abuse and promises have been made that children will be left with their families...whilst the spectre of removing children from their parents looms large in aboriginal communities, nevertheless what to do?
All this stresses the need to have a properly resourced (and highly resourced) totally independent body that oversees this. That is totally free of political interference.
Maybe this is just vain hope and naivete on my part. As each decade goes on this problem get worse, and more expensive. At what point will we bite the bullet and say this is actually more important than being in Iraq. Or maybe I just have unrealistic expectations of what governments and politics can achieve.

4 comments:

JahTeh said...

Perhaps Mr Abbott could hand over his children to show how non-damaging the tests are or anyone else in the government with children. I still don't believe him.

stephen clark said...

My point though, of this post Jah Teh, is just what do you do?

I am not totally against compulsory things for children. I think, for example, some people put their kids at risk through non-vaccination.
There is, however, something more of an "aboriginal people should do what they are told" attitude in our socity which makes them pretty vulnerable.
They have too few powerful advocates.
Why did Charlie Perkins have to die?
Lowitja O'D lives near here, and I talk to her sometimes. She is a very good thing, and she speaks wisdom into this crap...but blacks (even the powerful ones) have difficulty making their voices heard

JahTeh said...

Unfortunately we can do as little about this as we did about going into a war that the majority didn't want. As I read on one of the blogs, it doesn't matter who you vote for, a politician gets in.
My own relatives have said about this that they're only 'boongs' so who cares and that is an attitude which quite a lot of white Australians still have. No empathy, compassion, nothing.

stephen clark said...

I said to my sister (who works in child protection) what dop you think about these aboriginal communities...she just said "Well they have to stop abusing kids!"
I suppose you can't argue with that.
I didn't ask our older sister (who works in public housing and health) as the mere suggestion of aboriginality bring a torrent of irrationality.
Just worries me that professionals in these areas have more than a taint of prejudice against aboriginal people.