ROYAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY... DON DALE
Royal Commission of Inquiry into Don Dale juvenile detention and concomitant (alleged) institutional abuse
This submission was the very first presented to the Royal Commission, the very minute after this was launched in the Darwin Courts. Evidently, when read by the Commissioners, it was deleted from the submission collection. I am forced to conclude that this was because it was made by the only surviving person who knew the full story of the inexorable decline of juvenile justice effectiveness since self-government began in 1978... me.
I served as a Commonwealth and NT Government welfare officer and project worker in this system from 1974 until 1983, and later monitored developments as juvenile justice was transferred from the child and family welfare authority of the day, to adult correctional services. Concomitantly, judiciary collaborated with social workers to bury successful youth management and Aboriginal community development projects, in favour of a return to institutionalisation. In my submission to the Royal Commission, I condemned this; which I believe precipitated ample motivation to reject my submission. The judiciary do not brook criticism.
This experience should serve as a warning to those naive Australians who believe there is no corruption in our judiciary.
Anyway, valued reader, judge for yourself...
This submission is presented in three parts:
- Reasons for my submission: My historical involvement in, and proximity to, the incremental events and incidents which culminated in the current shameful situation; in conjunction with the reality that few if any Territorians with prerequisite continuity of oversight are now available, left me with little choice;
- Identification of the numerous causative factors which contributed to the historical disintegration of a once-effective NT juvenile justice system;
Contemporary aspects of the operation of the Don Dale facility will not be covered as ample material in this regard will flow from other contributors. However, if anyone considers that the outrageous behavior of staff, or gross inadequacy of the facility, is anything but the visible manifestation of a collapsed juvenile justice system, that person is willingly delusional.
The dismal picture revealed to the Australian public, just gets worse.
This facility was once a suburban home-sized facility, situated in urban Rapid Creek; because that was how-few children then required custodial attention. Later expansion dramatically exceeded Territory population increases. The exponential rise in juvenile crime and social misbehavior in the NT reflected a parallel breakdown in education and family cohesion; both suffering from hostile incursions of values incompatible with key social values of: respect and family.
It would be asinine for the Royal Commission to limit itself to inappropriate staff behavior, rather than to questions about why NT child and youth behavior has been sliding so violently out of control.
This submission addresses this vast and complex aspect because, clearly, no other opportunity to do so is going to present itself any time soon.
Quite clearly, the Royal Commission of Inquiry must become the catalyst for in-depth social and governmental change.
- Reasons justifying my submission:
This submission is the cumulative outcome of my own professional experience and otherwise intra-community familiarity with Top End children and youth, since 1971; a half-century span which provides the necessary perspective.
Qualifying to some extent my contributions herein, my departmental activities have encompassed arenas as disparate and diverse as:
- Child and family welfare, and income maintenance;
- Child protection;
- Probation and parole;
- Court and pre-sentence reports; including for children accommodated in the subject facility;
- Executive member of the NT Crime Prevention Council,
- Chairman of Wulagi School Council;
- School drug education (Casuarina High),
- Refugee hosting and child fostering;
- Northern coordinator of the NT Aboriginal Community Worker Programme;
- Initiator of the Darwin Town Camps Project, and northern research officer for the subsequent NT Aboriginal Urban Drift research project;
- Design of the original Darwin High School Early School Leavers Programme; and,
- Designer and implementer of the Aboriginal juvenile justice Bamyili family power devolution project (Burunga).
Significantly, I am possibly the only surviving participant/witness to the four decades-long disintegration of what was once a relatively successful Commonwealth-run juvenile justice administration; which descended into concomitant manifestations of: judicial activism and self-interest, nepotism, cronyism, official ignorance and incompetence, overt public frustration, alternate regimes of political fundamentalism and ideological interference, ill-advised privatisation, and governmental penny-pinching… now finally confronted by long-overdue analysis.
Unfortunately, national TV Four Corners provided a heavily distorted keyhole perspective of an intensely complex situation. Although ABC journalists were offered access to the causative factors that contributed to this history, this offer was rejected in favour of random interviews with members of the public, few of whom had valid insights to offer because few had lived in the NT for any significant length of time. This subjectivity may well prove to be the harbinger of things to come.
Consequently, I have a warning for the Commissioners and their assistants: unless you accept from the outset that the Top End must be regarded; geographically, demographically and culturally, as another country, you will imagine you understand issues and scenarios which are, even to most long-term Territorians, tortuously enigmatic. I will provide examples in later text.
Identification of the numerous causative factors that contributed to the historical disintegration of a once-effective NT juvenile justice system
What was observed globally on TV: the institutional abuse applied in the Northern Territory’s Don Dale juvenile detention centre; has been known to many Territorians since 2014 and is merely the visible culmination of 40 years incremental disintegration of the justice system; a situation contributed to by at least a dozen disparate and cascading failures of government.
All of these failures must be addressed by the Commissioners, if the Royal Commission of Inquiry is to launch a structured and comprehensive resolution which satisfies the needs of the community; of juvenile offenders; and of all those children increasingly destined to drift into the ambit of Police, Courts and Corrections. It is hoped that the specific endemic failures are adequately illuminated in the following chapters:
- There was a time when NT juvenile detention and rehabilitation was reasonably successful;
- How and when did the disintegration of the juvenile justice system commence, and why?
- There was active departmental and judicial opposition to Indigenous initiatives for youth behavior modification, and this was amply demonstrated by the demise of the Aboriginal Community Worker Programme, and the Bamyili (Burunga) family empowerment experience;
- There was media-promoted urban youth crime; unemployment and poverty; de-education, supporting the global promotion of elitism and accompanying culture of bullying. The media proselytised the UN’s campaign of diminishment of parental control and responsibility, and most especially the concomitant direction to trainee school teachers to "sever the inter-generational transfer of values".
- Impact of academia, versus university-of-life practitioners;
- Political alienation and disenfranchisement of The Electorate: abandonment of electoral selection of political candidates and subsequent termination of community influence on policy formulation; leading to government by lobby;
- Impact of The Intervention, and withdrawal of funding for the Homelands movement on the breakdown of Aboriginal family authority;
- Impact of the continuing colonial refusal to communicate with traditional Aborigines in languages understood by the people.
- How the current politicised definition of Aboriginality prevents NT Indigenous engagement with child and family intervention issues.
A time when NT juvenile justice was relatively successful.
There was indeed a time when management of NT wayward youth was quite successful. As a then welfare officer, of all the youths placed on my caseload, only three would I consider to be failures: one which I referred to a child psychologist (a huge mistake), another released into recidivism by an activist magistrate (David McCann), and a another who both police and I had concluded was utterly beyond reach. Sadly, it happens... when children are dehumanised in their infancy and there is no remedial intervention.
Readers may believe that our child protection system is surely poised to intervene when signs of dehumanisation of infants are evident. The reality is that ‘the system’ will permit no such timely intervention. An example... in the mid-1970s, as a member of the NT Crime Prevention Council, I attempted to table a survey which showed that our NT home-grown violent criminals all exhibited behavioural precursors to future violence and even sociopathy, as young as age two; behavior which was observable by community health nurses and later by pre-school teachers. I argued that these profiles, once recognised, should facilitate family intervention to enable parents to modify their damaging child-raising behavior. At that time, we welfare workers were successfully doing this anyway with little resistance, also referring families to the Parent Education and Training programme. In most instances, harmful parenting was the result of ignorance and family tradition, or an outcome of financial and other pressures; both of which were easily managed with counselling. However, this almost cosmetic intervention was applied randomly and many families needing this missed out.
The other committee members, which included then MLA Dawn Laurie, and a member of the Australian Institute of Criminology, refused to table the report but gave no reason why. This resistance was led by the committee Chairperson, Justice Jim Muirhead.
What other conclusion can one draw but that violent crime supports many lucrative careers. Chapter three of this submission also supports this line of observation.
Even with such lack of inter-agency support, our pre-NT Govt work with families of offenders was invariably successful. Rarely did our charges reoffend. Where they did, this was due to the recalcitrant attitude of their parents; families renowned for their criminality. It is my belief that even these families would have changed direction if appropriate counselling had been applied when the first children were still in infancy. A constant obstacle has been the tendency of social science bureaucrats to obsessively maintain control, by applying their own pet university-acquired theories about behavior modification, which take no account of regional social and cultural idiosyncrasies.
Another obstacle has always been the signature limitation of emotional social development of individual social scientists, of all career persuasions. Whereas this was a recognised as failing up until the 1960s, it has since been denied.
For these and other reasons, the administration and application of juvenile justice has deteriorated badly.
It should first be noted that the term juvenile justice, as currently applied, is an oxymoron.
In terms of the screwed-up kid who is picked up by the police, justice has already failed if his inadequate parents have been permitted to fail in their duty of care to provide love, affection, nurturing, nutrition, socialisation, shelter, and values-inculcation for their children.
Currently, parents who at one time would have faced a serious court sentence for their willing parental inadequacy, the media-generated stolen generation saga has resulted in social workers refusing to intervene for fear of creating a second stolen generation; Aboriginal or otherwise.
This requires elaboration. There is widespread ignorance and confusion about what constitutes “children stolen”.
There was a confirmed 65,000 English children who were actually stolen from their parents, respite care, or other temporary care resources, and shipped to Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, many into situations of slavery and abuse.
There were an estimated 2000 Aboriginal children who were half-European who also were taken from their parents.
There were many thousands of single mothers in Australia who were effectively forced or coerced into giving up their babies, often while drugged.
What all children had in common is the deep scars and stunted emotional and psychological development that came with maternal deprivation. They all suffered, but an even 1 in 5 were also sexually abused… almost all of these in Christian orphanages and foster homes. Throughout, the Christian lobby was the prime generator of intervention policy; not government; nor the national electorate. (Rudd had it wrong when he apologisd on behalf of all Australians. It was the Christian organisations which should have apologisd, and provided compensation).
The key concern is the suffering of these children, and most of these later self-medicated with alcohol or other form of substance abuse. There can be no misunderstanding here. The ongoing and unremitting pain of victims is very real, but the blame is invariably misdirected.
It is claimed that welfare simply stole children on the simple premise that they were half-Aboriginal. While this may have been true in other states of Australia, where local Christian lobbies have a powerful influence, this was not the case in the NT. Because the NT was governed by the Commonwealth Government, oversight of all intervention in recent decades was quite excessively recorded, often by up to a dozen agencies: church organisations, pastoralists, the Department of Native Affairs (later Welfare Branch), Commonwealth Police, the Department of Health, the Department of Education, local councils, the Housing Commission, and random members of the public.
All agencies had their own case filing systems and the government agencies cross-referenced folios on each case they were involved in. It would simply not be possible to alter these files. And, having been seconded to many of these departments at one time or another, I got to read all of these; including the 70 or so “secret” files held by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. Contrary to breathless expectation, I found these to be mundane.
My only comment is that I simply do not agree with the reasons given for some of these interventions. In all cases, children were regarded to be “at risk”, which was a legal term. In my opinion they were not, and I regarded some of the intervention personnel as cross-culturally ignorant to an appalling degree, themselves emotionally stunted, and inculcated with hopelessly pseudo-middle class values. Racial paternalism was, of course, the order of the day in every country in the world.
Nevertheless, nowhere was evident the sinister race-destroying motivation claimed by the mercenary cadre who call for financial compensation. Cultural genocide? That implies intent, and there is a world of difference between intent and intergenerational ignorance and stupidity. Flip this card and I see an updated version of the same stupidity and ignorance on behalf of those who call for purely tokenistic reforms: reconciliation, treaties, and amendments to a Constitution that has been defunct since 1984, and which (according to MHR and constitutional expert, Arthur Chresby: "Thy Will be Done") only ever empowered the people of Australia to whinge to the Queen of England… for crissakes!
Aborigines have yet to breathe a whiff of self-determination, let alone receive a fair share of Australia’s developmental investment. Now that is what I call cultural genocide, because it is clearly deliberate and it is the highly visible and funded ‘Aboriginal leaders’ created by white governments and media who are most complicit. As the thousands of Arnhem Land men, women, and children who, up until 1936, were murdered by Queensland mercenary Aboriginal militias would sadly attest… "it was ever thus".
Meanwhile, the Aboriginal stolen generation publicity has come between government child rescue agencies and those children who currently need rescue. Social workers are terrified of being labeled stealers of little children. How is this good?
Legislation should be enacted which enables the NT files of these pre-1975 intervention cases to face public scrutiny. Exposure of the truth can only be healthy and will enable us all to do what is needed to move on. However, there needs to be some justice for the children, stolen or otherwise, who suffered from institutional sexual abuse. The criminals were not the people of Australia, who had no knowledge of what was going on. Nor was the state itself the guilty party. In almost all cases it was rich and powerful Christian church organisations who, to this day, behave arrogantly and exhibit no genuine remorse for their crimes. Victims of institutional sexual abuse? here is your rightful target for compensation.
Finally, let me add that many of the NT children were given up voluntarily by tribal mothers whose promised tribal husbands gave them no viable option. This was recognised by the Lutheran Church which, alone among Christians, created a home-refuge especially for such women and their children… Hermansberg Mission.
It should also be recognised that the tribal husbands who forced their promised wives to give up half-white children, had no spiritual alternative. All parties were captive to the pervading mores and perceptions of those times.
Nevertheless, I have listened to some compensation-seekers loudly proclaiming their stolen generation status, when I have vivid memories of the terrible conditions of neglect in which they were abandoned by their drunken mothers; rarely for the first time. Today, neglectful parents are permitted to continue their neglect, progressing to the development of fully-fledged criminal families, who are earmarked for Don Dale. Lobbies will never grasp this nettle and only expression of the wider community will facilitate a return to timely intervention.
Which draws attention to many of the Darwin public’s reaction to the Four Corners expose, which was applause. These were the hundreds of victims of juvenile criminals, who have suffered bashings, rapes, home invasions, and car thefts, all of which damaged the victim's lives. This is the side to this issue which is ignored by the judiciary and media, and by the voluble albeit other-worldly human rights lobby; which is intensely selective in applying human rights. In the opinion of a surveyed majority of Australians, the rights of victims supersede those of criminals, juvenile or otherwise (at least two surveys, both of which identified 97% hostile to judicial leniency towards violent criminals).
It can be concluded that what is required is balance, and balance is never achieved through government by lobby which, by definition, can only achieve non-balance. The electorate/community must be re-enfranchised to enable government by The People…who are the ultimate arbiter. This must be recognised by the Royal Commission or this entire exercise becomes farcical. To elaborate…
There is a wise old saying… it takes a village to raise a child and, in contemporary terms, this means the immediate community of neighbours and/or extended family, enriched with the freely available modern resources of counsellors, schools, and local volunteer organisations.
That politicians acknowledge this with cynical tokenism reflects their growing distance from the electorate and corresponding proximity to their real bosses… the corporate and invariably foreign lobbyists who run political parties from behind the electoral curtain. This unpalatable reality must be squarely confronted by the Commission, as has been done by a growing component of the electorate.
Historically, the disintegration of the above-referred-to Village Community model was the inexorable outcome of media and corporate entity replacement of the electorate as the genesis of national and regional policy.
More specifically, privatisation placed all media, academia, science (including social sciences), and think tanks under the manipulative control of globalist corporations, the ownership of which is dominated by the Rothschild/Rockefeller investment banker alliance; an alliance which is also the most significant driver of UN policy (as is daily evidenced by the influence of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organisation); organisations designed and entirely controlled by the same banker alliance.
How is this acceptable?
Perhaps it would assist the Commissioners to appreciate the immediacy and gravity of these assertions if it is pointed out that the senior officers of the Australian Reserve Bank, who control all national financial policy, and thence climate for trade, are employed by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basle, Switzerland; which is owned entirely by the Rothschild family. Most Australians have been lead to believe the RBA is a sacrosanct independent Australian institution… so why the deception?
The point being made here is that for four decades, Australian policy in the fields of parenting, health, education, criminal justice, trade, social administration, and local government, have been dictated by United Nations agencies, which are run by the same entities who run our RBA. This period has witnessed a serious disintegration of effectiveness in all these fields, a view reflected in every independent public survey.
These UN policy interventions were enabled by the policies of privatisation, deregulation, unpegging of the Australian currency, and secret signing of myriad treaties, all of which were the creation of UN agencies, beginning with the Lima Agreement.
It has never been said, but should be, that the UN has replaced the electorate in influence on policy, even down to how a juvenile remand facility is run. Truly, when it comes to failures in juvenile justice, this is the elephant in the room. Blinkers anyone?
The historical evidence of administrative decay is overwhelming.
The freedom of knowledge and information which had hitherto ensured the electorate is reasonably well-informed vanished entirely (only to emerge exclusively on a disparate stage with the advent of the internet).
Nowhere were public values manipulated more than in schools. Whereas prior to 1973, primary school teachers (I was one) were trained in dedicated teaching colleges, and curriculum was entirely focused on the acquisition of teaching techniques, applied in conjunction with practiced observation of learning thresholds in children.
When the UN influenced governments to abandon teacher training colleges in favour of obtaining university degrees, all teaching skills disappeared and no teacher I have met in recent decades has even heard of ‘learning thresholds’. Instead, student educators were bestowed with the responsibility to sever the intergenerational transfer of values… ie to jettison parental and family values and adopt those generated by UN agencies. More bluntly, teach UN propaganda. This was manifested in children who considered they had the right to report their parents to welfare for applying traditional discipline. Also, inculcated to presume the Policy of Multiculturalism emerged from the electorate, which it did not. And indoctrinated with a plethora of new values which were promulgated by the un-elected and undemocratic UN and which had never been mandated by the Australian community.
Bulldozed aside by the onslaught of ideological impositions, core curriculum began to wither and collapse and by 1980 a NT survey found that half of all apprentices were insufficiently numerate and literate to pass trade exams. By 1990, one third of NT children were unable to cope with year 8 level literacy and numeracy. In 1997, NSW Dept. of Education measured its students almost as handicapped.
It must be concluded that, other factors aside, higher qualifications for teachers has been massively counter-productive. One cannot replace talent, temperament, and motivation with irrelevant academic qualifications; and, in fact, the teacher campaign was aimed at higher salaries, not improved education. That was an incorrectly-presumed bonus. The relevance of this to the Royal Commission and the juvenile justice system?
Failure to cope at school is the second precursor for juvenile crime; the first being inadequate parenting.
The proliferation of incantations and slogans
Information repression and inadequate education was accompanied by a backdrop era of pseudo-scientific and moral incantationalism, highlighted by political correctness, absurd and meaningless corporate mission statements, and intensely proselytised slogans which were intended to lend credibility to otherwise nonsensical political and economic theories (ie free trade). There were even monumental lies that belied a nationwide catastrophe… such as the official claim that national unemployment is 6% when any objective survey shows that one in four workers has no work at all, and another one in four is struggling to survive on part time work.
The reason for official denial is obvious... If real unemployment levels are acknowledged then the entire rationale for free trade policies collapses. It was claimed that free trade creates jobs, when in fact it destroyed three million full time jobs and pauperised half of Australia. The nation’s hierarchy actually believes we are all living in an era of prosperity. Oh… the Orwell-predicted power of incantationalism.
And we think we left medievalism behind?
Leading youth by example… when dishonesty on this scale is perpetrated by the nation’s most visible leaders, it should surprise nobody that youth gets the message.
That this worse-than-the-Great-Depression scenario is also gloried by journalists, academics, social scientists, and the executive class, as an “era of unprecedented prosperity” can only be calculated to create widespread division and alienation. Which exposes the real intent: what has proven to be a 1984-style regime, benchmarked by “lies are normal and dishonesty is good”. Kids were undoubtedly impressed and duly concluded that an abbreviated new set of values is summarised by Winners and Losers.
Only the information flow facilitated by the internet has prevented this strategy of deception from entirely succeeding; but one aspect was devastatingly successful for two entire decades: the Australian public became convinced that it was powerless to effect change and was, increasingly, swamped by feelings of helplessness, and hopelessness.
This engineered political lethargy intensified measurably following the political, legal and media vilification of Pauline Hanson, whose parliamentary maiden speech was supported by a surveyed 94% of the electorate. Her calls for a return to genuine democracy provoked the corporate-driven major political parties to launch a campaign for her destruction and, hopefully, her One Nation Party. This was successful, assisted greatly by Hanson’s own self-destructive and megalomaniacal behavior.
Yet shrill media and academic accusations of racism were nowhere found to be evident, and the daily claim that One Nation had no written policies was a calculated lie. At her Caloundra conference, with her permission, I read through seventy well-written policies, all written by one John Pasquerelli (not Hanson!!!). Pasquerelli was loaned to Hanson by the Australia First Party. Significantly, Hanson later sacked Pasquerelli, disagreeing with his accurate portrayal of democracy.
Ridicule and vilification are powerful controlling tools but, when Hanson was actually sent to prison, the majority electorate froze in horror. Thus, when members of the community later witnessed government activities which they considered to be grossly unacceptable they were cowered into silence. (This was measurably evident in my 2001, 2004, 2007, and 1010 surveys of a national sample demographic). This state of terror was amply reinforced by the fate of many whistle-blowers, whose admirable moral fibre forced them into a public stance, official reactions of which ultimately destroyed their careers and even their families.
The futility of protest was evidenced in other arenas. Even though several surveys have demonstrated that 97% of the Australian electorate condemns judicial activism and the parallel abandonment of public protection by the courts which this activism has generated, there has been little or no overt protest; other than one remarkably unpublicised incident:
In 2000, Queensland (Maroochydore) Neighbourhood Watch (Area 7) became so exasperated with judicially proliferated violence in the community, that it penned a demand to Parliament, with a copy for the Sunshine Coast Daily, calling for the sacking of judiciary who failed to reflect appropriate community values in sentences. Their meeting was promptly invaded by a cadre of senior police officers who warned of dire consequences of any further attempt at direct action. Obviously, the newspaper editor was complicit. The committee secretary, a woman of German origin, commented that the experience provoked chilling ethnic memories.
The political atmosphere in the NT was similar. Since self-government in 1978, members of the NT public who have taken government to task over misapplication of juvenile justice policies, have faced victimisation and harassment. Even veteran NT businessmen who exposed commercial corruption, suffered bureaucratic reprisals.
It is little wonder, therefore, that although the activities at Don Dale were public knowledge, nothing was done and no member of the community was fool enough to position him or herself for being thrown under a bus.
The community was well and truly cowered into silence. However, we should be reminded that many members of the community applauded what they witnessed on Four Corners. These were the victims of juvenile crime, who noted with despair that these well-known recidivists were routinely unleashed on the community; arrogant in their assuredness of judicial patronage.
The judiciary is impervious to expression of such sentiments.
How and when did the disintegration of the juvenile justice system commence, and why?
As a coincidence of history, I was the hapless welfare officer who witnessed the first NT act of judicial activism which turned a contrite and remorseful child offender into a recidivist:
Recently graduated lawyer, Darwin activist magistrate David McCann, in Children’s Court session, released a child without conviction, saying “I refuse to punish a child for society’s crimes”.
This confused child, hitherto remorseful and determined never to reoffend, was regailed outside of court as a hero by dozens of fellow offenders. To his mother’s growing horror, his new-found popularity constituted irresistible pressure to adopt a criminal career. This pattern exploded exponentially around Australia.
Every survey conducted in the past 20 years (the largest by Channel 7 as far back as the late 1990s) has shown consistently that 97% of Australians have no confidence in the judiciary, who are seen to not live in the real world and who are primarily responsible for growing youth contempt for the justice system and for the community itself.
More specifically, the traditional judicial options of justice, protection of the public, restitution, deterrence and, finally, rehabilitation; were reduced simply to rehabilitation.
Even with the change of government from the CLP to the "worker's party" the ALP, this current Royal Commission will predictably proceed in conjunction with the same amoral and immoral NT Government bureaucracy that has so oppressed Territorians since 1978. Which means witnesses and critics will continue to be silenced.
A notion which provokes a new question: has a witness protection committee been appointed?
Moreover, an increasingly popular perception is that the only significant difference between the ALP and CLP is that one is driven by self-interest and greed and the other by self-interest framed by autocratic Fabian Socialist ideology. Both routinely abuse power as one of the perks of incumbency. Worse, ALP politicians are even more actively anti-democratic than the CLP, convinced as they are that their policies may rightfully be imposed on the electorate, rather than the democratic formulation of policies through electoral consensus or referendum.
The campaigned erosion of parenting
Disenfranchisement of the electorate, coupled with anti-family sentiment expressed through pop media, educationists, and a variety of unaccountable lobbies, has had its impact on parenting.
So far, there is no evidence that the Royal Commission will recognise the absent role of effective parenting as the initial causative factor in juvenile crime, and even less acknowledgement that parents need restored support in order to nurture their children as productive and socially cohesive adults.
Moreover, it has yet to be recognised at any official level that UN-inspired active diminishment of the rights of parents and families, which first became evident around the mid-1970s, established a pattern of state-sponsored institutionalisation of children which has negated the controls otherwise successfully exercised by thousands of generations of parents during this planet’s history.
It is horribly evident that wherever the community itself has been marginalised (social control contemporarily replaced by the academic, political, executive, and bureaucratic class), the development and behavior of children has deteriorated. This is currently evident in the outcomes of education, child care, fostering and adoption, juvenile justice, youth employment, and later adult behavior. We are now confronted by widespread attitudes of self-absorption, disrespect, absence of self-control, and contempt for the community.
The collapse of effective parenting, and concomitant refusal by authorities to take punitive action against parents who neglect their children, must be examined by the Royal Commission. In terms of the many urban Aboriginal parents who actually justify their offspring’s criminality as the endemic right of all victims of Stolen Generation and cultural colonialism, must be challenged. Nothing justifies victimisation of one’s fellow citizens.
Ending of unjustified child interventions
When past child intervention files are finally examined for alacrity, particular attention should be focused on the then Department of Community Development’s general welfare file 7/77 and the events which flowed from that historic outcome, including the original book Take this child, by Barbara Cummings; and its political hijacking by the then Commissioner for Human Rights.
The HR&EOC’s distortions of history has spawned a legacy of victimism and social irresponsibility which has facilitated and promoted destructive parenting. For many NT children, this has launched them through a doorless corridor to a life of nihilism, crime, and violence. Only the publicised truth of historical events, whatever this may prove to be, will suffice to regulate destructive parental behavior.
Aboriginal urban drift
This aspect notwithstanding, it has never been recognised that Aborigines moving from Aboriginal communities to full-spectrum-demographic cities, require assistance to appreciate the very changed parental roles demanded by their new community.
In their former traditional environments, Aboriginal parents do not normally impose discipline on their children, this being the function of specific relatives after the child has turned 7 to 9 years of age. In fact, there is no discipline to speak of prior to achieving this age level. (It has been speculated that this is one of the reasons why neurosis was rarely if ever evident in traditional Aboriginal society).
When parents move to towns, experienced Aboriginal family counsellors should be explaining the parental requirements when extended family is no longer available. Moreover, this prospect should be presented to communities in local languages so that they are fully cognizant of their new future urban responsibilities.
Discipline and guidance in traditional Aboriginal society is relegated to the Ngapipi / Waku and Mari / Gutharra relationships (respectively... uncle-nephew and grandfather-grandchild) but many ngapipis either do not honour their responsibilities or are otherwise not available, and most grandparents are dead. Government should have taken steps to re-orientate parents towards their inheritance of these roles. My guess is that not one public servant is aware of the deficiency because no government workers learn Aboriginal languages; a skill which is the sole window to cross-cultural understanding. Parents have children, which then grow up unparented.
This results in Aboriginal children's failure to cope with schools or mainstream society, and most certainly, the later demands of employment.
Nevertheless, unmindful of the pitfalls, many single mothers move to towns for the sexual freedom and access to liquor such a lifestyle presents, and it is a naïve community which expects happy outcomes to emerge from such parental nihilism. Many thorny issues arise which can only be satisfactorily resolved by the wider community itself. It is critical that the Royal Commission recognise these negative outcomes of Aboriginal urban drift and make the necessary adjustment recommendations.
Human rights celebrities
Meanwhile, the media, in its collective manic race to assume leadership of the Four Corners storyline, has rushed to interview the very people who separate the people of the NT from their capacity to regulate their own society. In interview, equal rights Commissioner, Mick Gooda demonstrated his absolute lack of familiarity and insights when he referred to the typical Top Ender’s attitude to “Mexican” southerners, a colloquialism entirely restricted to South East Queensland in jocular reference to New South Welshmen ‘across the border’.
Gooda’s call for ministerial sacking adheres to the typical hosing down exercise which always prevents abuse of authority being tracked to its proper source. Manifestly, Gooda has no mandate to represent or analyse Territorians. Yet he is now a Commissioner. Well done, Malcolm Turnbull. Another historical blunder.
Gooda does, however, have the right skin colour… whatever that is meant to mean. Am I being cynical?
Gillian Triggs, and all other unelected human rights bureaucrats, are exercising their imagined prerogative to pass comment on the NT situation… not one of whom has a single helpful insight to contribute. Meanwhile, colonisation of the media by these social justice celebrities ensures Territorians who are indeed comprehending of the issues, will never be heard. This is media displacement... squashing the electorate out of the dialogue, only to be replaced by manageable and tuitioned 'representatives of the people'.
ABC TV has already launched its favourite information source strategy… interview the minister, then the shadow minister, then a plethora of celebrity academics, lobbyists and corporate-controlled think tank denizens (almost all of which are controlled by either Rupert Murdoch or fellow Rockefeller associate, Frank Lowy). So much for democracy and freedom of information flow. Meanwhile, the real community never gets a look-in.
In terms of information-led public comprehension of issues, the NT situation is infinitely worse than that interstate. The primary reason why Darwin is so dysfunctional is that all news and community information is controlled and regulated by foreigner Rupert Murdoch’s NT News. Murdoch’s technique for dumbing down the population is to focus entirely on boobs, crocs, and bizarre social behavior… and on a no-news-day, this is simply fabricated. The current editor’s main role is creative croc headlines, so admired by ABC TV’s breakfast programme presenters. Mandatory ABC adulation of the Murdoch flagship is indicative of the Murdoch thrall; virulently evident in The Drum.
As a mechanism of political exclusion, the Territory’s prime font of comprehensive knowledge and wisdom, the local senior citizen sector, is denied access to the NT News unless individual seniors subscribe financially to the paper, something few age pensioners can afford. (Indeed, in this the exploitation capital of Australia, unserviced site rental for a pensioner’s own caravan, costs half the total age pension... yet another unrecorded aspect of the Territory's dysfunctionalism).
Anyone with an income under $30K has no social voice in the NT whatsoever. Consequently, there is a barrier to mature input on any issues.
Finally, the NT is the only part of Australia in which all development is driven by foreigners and southern state celebrities and itinerants who have zero comprehension of local realities or any motivation to consider social implications of investments, modifications, and events.
If the NT News has its way, this is the way it will stay.
How did this anti-democracy information monopoly develop? The true story should be known to all Australians.
The illuminating narative has ramifications for all Australian’s access to knowledge, and the impact this has on policy and decision-making; and on permitting the kind of bureaucratic incompetence that led to the unrelieved Don Dale experience:
Originally, the NT News was socially and politically navigated by one of the nation’s most competent editors, Jim Bowditch. In 1971 he showed me the letter signed by Rupert Murdoch which guaranteed editorial independence, this being a condition of Murdoch’s earlier purchase of the paper.
This freedom enabled appropriate coverage of political and bureaucratic misbehavior, which infuriated the terminally-corrupted CLP. Consequently, in a strategy coordinated by a disgruntled NT News staff member, the NT Government silently launched legislation which identified the entirely unjust key in a car’s ignition as constituting Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol.
An important component of Jim Bowditch’s signature engagement of the public in news reporting was the public’s knowledgeable presence in late night text-writing. In accordance with Darwin culture, this was accompanied with a few beers. Unfortunately, this cheery practice facilitated the well-planned police ambush to arrest Bowditch when he engaged in his nightly routine of sleeping in the car to ensure any effects of these late night’s beers had dissipated. As soon as he put the key in the ignition, as was his habit before dozing, he was arrested.
Bashed by his own newspaper, now permanently in the hands of the enemy, Bowditch was forced to resign and Murdoch-compliant editors were installed.
However, the phrase “ignorance of the law is no excuse” is predicated on the centuries-old requirement of all new laws to appear in the Public Notices columns and also on Post Office notice boards. Neither occurred and the law was duly unenforceable and the NT Government’s action illegal.
One can only speculate upon Murdoch’s role in this incident. This aspect notwithstanding, since that day the NT News has adopted a policy of trivialisation, sensationalism, news distortion, and hierarchical partisanship in its reporting. Writers who are seen as penetrating or objective have no access to this ‘news’ paper.
Denied reporting or editorialisation which would promote public understanding of pertinent issues, government decision-making thenceforth was influenced only by the most powerful lobbies. In order to garner media support to win elections, Hawke, Keating and Howard enabled progressively enhanced monopoly formation and foreign influence. In fact, what we have today is government by lobby, mostly corporate; which is at the opposite end of the political spectrum to democracy. As an aid to moral navigation, it might help readers to appreciate that, historically, this ideology was known 70 years ago as fascism.
Unsurprisingly, in such a media-political climate, social services suffer and it becomes impossible for publicly-acceptable remedies to emerge. Juvenile justice was just one victim of this barrier to public intervention.
No doubt the Royal Commission cannot respond directly to this call, but let me say it anyway so that the politicians can hear… foreign monopolist Rupert Murdoch must go, and media monopolies must be broken up.
There was active departmental and judicial opposition to Indigenous initiatives for youth behavior modification, and this was amply demonstrated by the demise of the original Aboriginal Community Worker Programme, and the Bamyili (Burunga) family empowerment experience.
It is exasperating in the extreme to listen to media and academic pundits pontificate on how they fondly imagine the real world works. It has been my experience that they are always eons from reality. Media coverage of petrol-sniffing and juvenile crime have always had both the public and ‘experts’ looking in the wrong direction.
The following two project histories amply demonstrate how Australia’s bureaucracy places self-interest ahead of community advancement… in both these instances, Aboriginal advancement. And the media either fails to notice or simply goes along with it.
In the first event, bureaucrats remorselessly crushed the first undesirable project but, for the second, their only access being after the event, they simply smothered all possible public awareness of this threat to their lucrative careers.
The Aboriginal Community Worker Programme:
In recognition of politically-selective evidence that overwhelmingly identified white Australians and bureaucracies as incapable of delivering workable developmental and remedial social services to traditional Aborigines, the NT Government’s new white and unanimously southern or foreign social scientist/bureaucrats, employed by the Department of Community Development, created the Aboriginal Community Worker Programme (ACWP). What transpired is recorded here partly because a record should exist which contradicts the official records. As they say, if we fail to learn from history we are doomed ever to repeat it...
It was intended that Aborigines chosen by their respective Communities would be trained for service delivery in welfare, child protection, probation and parole, fostering and adoption, and income maintenance beyond statutory payments.
In point of historically-recorded fact, prior to 1975, white public service bureaucrats had in fact installed remarkably successful school education programmes, clinic-based health services, radical improvements in juvenile nutrition, and facilitated widespread local employment.
That these programmes later crashed was due to dedicated personnel replacement with urbanised people who claimed Aboriginality, but whose only qualification was a tenuous racial link and an immediate acceptance by peers who shared the same opportunistic motivation. Few of these possessed prerequisite skills or knowledge to successfully orientate traditional people.
It should surprise nobody that Bob Hawke’s simplistic Aboriginalisation of Services Strategy was a spectacular failure and culminated in the corrupt monolith known as ATSIC. As the whole world has learned to its cost, Affirmative Action is a formula for failure.
Disregarding my own misgivings, and conceding the inherent albeit limited merits of this new strategy, I joined the Aboriginal Community Worker Programme anyway and duly commenced training of community workers.
Although these Field Officers performed well, departmental blockades were eventually encountered. Confronting these I was made to understand, by the Assistant Director of Welfare Services and the Director of Correctional Services (Doug Owston), that every ACWP effort would be white-anted (pun intended... so bite me). Even blunter was the verbal assertion by Owston that “we are not handing our jobs over to blackfellers”.
Meanwhile, The Director of Community Government, Bill Coburn, assured me that I was welcome to transfer to his Division and that his officers would be most cooperative. As many of these were ex-Commonwealth Department of Aboriginal Affairs field officers, all with a wealth of NT bush experience and most already well-known to me by reputation, I agreed. Accordingly, I advertised for seven new Aboriginal field officers. All seven of the Welfare Division field officers who I had already trained promptly resigned from welfare and successfully applied to become my new field officers. Personally, their loyalty was deeply moving but my reaction did not prove universal.
Supremely ideologically confident Welfare Division social workers were mortified and outraged. Personnel became even more recalcitrant. Training in welfare services and corrections (70% of the department’s then output) ceased abruptly. We were boycotted.
Our energies were then focused on the NT Government’s Cabinet decision to research Aboriginal urban drift, a project originally established by former Departmental Head, Ray McHenry and myself, as pivotal to much of the NT’s extra-community Aboriginal social and infrastructural issues.
My subsequent Northern Region Report identified lack of a genuine indigenous economy as the prime determinant of Aboriginal urban drift, and the single most promising means of remedying this was buffalo harvesting and domestication. Although veteran station managers and personnel of the Departments of Primary Production and Primary Industries (Com.) unanimously supported my conclusions, Bob Hawke’s Federal Government was determined to impose the US-demanded albeit industrially-suicidal BTEC Programme on the NT (for details of the treasonous BTEC history and rationale visit oziz4oziz.com/ and click on the Live Export submission to the review committee; which, curiously, was also rejected).
Indigenous economic development took second place to dubious geopolitics and Director Bill Coburn deleted the entire pastoral section of my report, leaving only a valueless shell. Yet my analysis of the ailing cattle industry and its recommended replacement with buffalo domestication, positioned perfectly for exploitation by Aboriginal communities in the Top End, would have enabled government to assist an orderly pastoral transition and to simultaneously provide a genuine and sustainable economy for Aborigines.
I left the public service and even got cheated of 30% of my payout. Such is life under the NT Government.
The demise of the Aboriginal Community Worker Programme and its research off-shoots was just another nail in the coffin of Aboriginal self-determination and economic independence.
Nevertheless, contemporary Top End Indigenous activists have finally grasped that they will never be permitted a self-destined future and are working to wrest political control from the establishment.
I wish them well.
The Bamyili (Burunga) family empowerment project
In 1979, the Director of Welfare, Bruce Alcorn, instructed me to represent the Department in the Katherine Court. At issue was nightly petrol-sniffing-inspired rioting by Bamyili kids, culminating the previous night with the killing of 1500 hens.
Arriving in Katherine, I found that some hundreds of parents and extended family of the offending kids were sitting on the lawns behind the (old) Court. (Obviously, they cared; contrary to popularly held white opinion). After alerting the Court to this avenue of possible resolution, I addressed the families en masse, officially advising them that Welfare will no longer intervene (a new anti-intervention policy reflecting massive credit to the integrity of new Director Alcorn) and that the behavior of the children was now entirely the responsibility of their respective families.
As expected, after a century of absolute white domination, the nonplussed families admitted to no insight whatsoever into how to deal with their children. I put up a proposal but this provoked immediate consternation.
Delicate cross-cultural negotiations ensued and dozens of family members combed Katherine to locate six ceremony songmen whom they considered were critical for the success of the proposed strategy.
The eventual outcome of this negotiation was that the local (Maranboy) police officer, Dave Walter who, I might add was extraordinarily cooperative, was later able to deliver his three-month report to Bruce Alcorn. When the scheduled day arrived, he evidenced that, not only had petrol sniffing ended, there had been no new juvenile offences of any nature committed over that three months period. In another entirely unanticipated development, he reported, there had also been no adult offences… this, in what was hitherto the Top End’s most notorious and dysfunctional community.
Officer Roger noted wryly that he was the Territory’s toughest bush cop who was now supervising a model community, a situation which placed his job in jeopardy.
Prior to writing this submission I have never reported how this transformation was brought about.
The social reconstruction proposal was in three parts:
- That the community’s grandparents were to visit the classrooms regularly, if not daily, and encourage the children to secure adequate English language and numeracy (expressly… not pidgin or the phony kreole); and to generally develop skills which would attract eventual adult employment or enterprise.
- That every weekend, each family take their kids out bush and teach them their own language and culture. And, how to find bush tucker. (There were at that time seven language groups in Bamyili: Jauan, Myali, Ngalbon, Rembarrunga, Dalabon, and Djinang; knowledge of which reveals personal, geographical and clan identity, and promotes self-image and personal confidence, and all-important identification with Country).
- That all the juvenile offenders who were 13 years and older be entered into "Dry Season Business", a high discipline ceremony which, fortuitously, was commencing that very week.
The six Songmen consulted were ecstatic at the proposal and this reaction was conveyed to the families.
Significantly, these songmen were formerly prominent drinkers around Katherine but following this meeting, abandoned that lifestyle. Do-gooders and medicos who consider that all “Aboriginal problems” come down to Aboriginal alcohol abuse should reflect on this. (White observers have this all back to front).
The success of the Bamyili project was a significant episode in community development history, judicially obscured or otherwise. It is further testament to the people power unleashed within this community that, a couple of years later, enabled this once dysfunctional community to change its name from the white-bestowed ‘Bamyili’, to the correct Aboriginal name of Burunga; the proud inhabitants of which promptly launched the now-famous annual Burunga Festival.
It is important for the Royal Commissioners to understand what happened here, no matter how culturally difficult to digest.
What was conjointly launched behind the old Katherine Courthouse was Spirit Power, Family power, and People Power. Together, these factors triggered pride, self-respect, spiritual and personal direction, self-discipline, and initiative.
Unidentified and unauthorised judiciary who have subsequently attempted to use Kunapipi ceremony as punishment for Aboriginal offenders have no idea what they are meddling with and are causing irreparable harm to the ceremony and its participants. By undermining ceremonial culture, they are actually placing the future of traditional Aborigines in jeopardy.
Social workers and judiciary with an oversight of the 1979 Bamyili/Burunga experience, instead of promulgating a successful project, did their best to bury it.
Magistrates McGregor and Thomas, who presided over Katherine Court aspects of the project, have never tangibly supported it; and Welfare Division social workers were unanimously dismissive and even hostile. Even the North Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service turned its back, which is not what partisan race lobbyists want to hear.
As I have noted in previous experiences, whenever measures are tabled which might very well reduce crime or poverty, especially in Aboriginal communities, this is seen as a threat to help industry and judicial careers.
Providing an amusing insight, a stingingly sardonic poster proclaiming "Become a social worker… there is big money in Poverty", was ceremonially burned by angry social workers outside the Darwin welfare office. As more genuine community workers have observed with irony, the Help Industry should note that "Help is a four letter word".
A few years ago, when NT coroner Greg Cavanagh offered government some off-target suggestions about treating petrol-sniffing I wrote to him, reminding him of the success of the Bamyili experience. He ignored this communication. In my opinion, these are not people who want solutions; they want further grist for their mills.
Similarly, when Rirritjingu ‘leader’ Roy Marika manipulated the local welfare officer into supporting a ludicrous “devil’s island” cure for petrol sniffing, involving children as young as seven and from as far away as Yuendumu, Justice James Muirhead ruled that this was a “worthwhile experiment”. He was blithely oblivious to what everyone else knew, which is that Marika was engaging in hegemony of Dhamarrandji land on Bremer Island; a uniquely Gove perversion and distortion of songline protocols. Unsurprisingly, Gumatj ‘leaders’ have expanded the practice and used willing anthropologists to hegamonise other clan's land..
In the Top End, judicial incompetence and corruption is legend.
Additionally, and no small matter, the Travel Allowance gained through Community Courts (courts which actually serve to rub indigenous noses in colonial authority), is a significant source of income for those associated with these traveling judicial circuses.
Returning our focus to Bamyili, another factor contributed to the project’s success: Aboriginal consensus protocols were also engaged, which enabled all members of the community to have their say in all future secular decision-making; which ultimately led to community social reconstruction and restored identity, and delivered the community from colonisation by opportunistic Queensland Aboriginal exploiters.
There are no secular leaders in genuine Aboriginal society, at least in the western sense.
Leadership only emerges through expression of Songline-related matters.
In East Arnhem Land, for example, authority flowing from Songlines can be delegated by Songmen known as Gunyanyuk. This is not the unilateral decision-making role understood by western peoples as leadership. Unilateralism is alien to Aboriginal culture.
There is another and subservient form of leadership practiced in Aboriginal culture, one which is based on respect: intrinsic knowledge which evolves only through maturity, experience and memory. I was recently reminded by the NT’s foremost Djambarrpuyngu interpreter, Dilipuma Dhamarrandji, that even the most prosaic of traditional Aboriginal activities is subject to guidance by Songlines... viz a viz songmen (or songwomen). For example, the decision when and where to annually burn the bush is specifically described in song, in terms of location and signal flowers and seed emergence. Aboriginal activities and aspirations are all enshrined in Songlines. In this manner songlines function as almanacs. Other functions are: sources of personal and clan identity; means of comprehension of nature and the universe; channel of communication with spirit beings; conduit for recognition of humans by spirits; and history.
However, matters connected to birth-spirit places become the province of all members of the relevant clan, as is established by absolute consensus and facilitating protocols.
Which unavoidably takes us back to what the media likes to refer to as “Aboriginal Leaders”. There are no legitimate Aboriginal leaders in the western hierarchical sense. As much government policy is now inspired by these 'leaders' we must understand clearly what this divergence represents.
Acclaimed "leaders" Gallarrwuy Yunupingu and Gatjil Djerrkura were groomed for leadership of entirely European-designed organisations, neither of which has benefited Aborigines.
This was recognised from the outset by Tiwi elder Bernard Tipaloura, who refused to accommodate the then-proposed Northern Land Council, which bore no resemblance to what was originally envisaged. When it was put to him that opting out would mitigate against future Tiwi funding he reviewed the NLC charter and then announced the formation of his own Tiwi Land Council, run by Tiwi, not by European lawyers and anthropologists.
Introducing 'leadership' to traditional Aborigines
Government agencies, such as the secretive British-Raj-inspired Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASPA), were painfully aware of the fatal consequences of Aboriginal consensus and, mindful of conditions of NZ’s Treaty of Waitangi, which prevented most of the attempted tribal land-grabs by requiring acquiescence from all tribe members, they moved swiftly to circumvent such a formal proclamation here.
And they were absolutely right. Saturation consensus-demand would make corporate access to recently identified mineral-rich Aboriginal land almost impossible. It was decided by this shadowy cabal that the engineered emergence of leadership within anti-hierarchical Aboriginal society was imperative. And these were the experts who knew exactly how to achieve this.
Thus, three promising youths: Gallarrwuy Yunupingu, Gatjil Djekurra, and Wesley Lanhupuy were sent to a Charters Towers Queensland boarding school to be groomed as “Aboriginal leaders”. This new mindset enabled the newly-devised Northern Land Council to create Aboriginal Traditional Land Owners, a concept entirely alien to former Aboriginal consciousness (ie” the land owns the people”, not vice versa).
How was this brought about? All Australians should become acquainted with this chilling story because it reflects the hijacking of national sovereignty which occurred incrementally in 1973, 1975, and during the Hawke/Keating years.
In 1973, Zbigniew Brzezinski, reputed architect of the Cold War, completed construction of America's Trilateral Commission, at the behest of Wall Street high priest, David Rockefeller. This essentially formalised what President Eisenhower had once described as the military-industrial complex, but which added sophisticated elements of espionage, national intelligence penetration, and academia/media liaison. This was immediately followed by Rockefeller's sponsorship of Rupert Murdoch as an American citizen.
It was concomitantly realised that the originally-conceived land council must be seriously transformed from an inter and intra clan consensus model, to a power pyramid hierarchy which would be eminently more manageable. However, Rockefeller had no agency active in Australia which could achieve this and so the Rothschilds were asked to intervene, an act which they executed brilliantly.
Their employee who controlled Australia's financial system, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), 'Nugget' Combs, aided by the Murdoch and Packer media, posed as a long-time friend and ally of northern Aborigines and, assisted by the Law Society, which in turn was fronted by the Law Reform Commission, hijacked the entire Aboriginal Land Rights legal construct, resulting in the NLC and base legislation as we now know it. (Despite most Australian's presumption that the Governor and all executive members of the Reserve Bank of Australia are paid by the Australian Government, they are in fact remunerated by the Rothschild-owned Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basle, Switzerland).
These acts cumulatively reflected the favoured colonial British twin-ploys of 'divide and rule' and 'isolate and control'; strategies now adopted seamlessly by the Rothschild/Rockefeller alliance.
Once identified and isolated as Traditional Owners (TAs), corruption and control automatically followed. As was insightfully predicted by Lord Acton… “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.
Corruption is indeed the operative word. Then NLC Chairman, Galarrawuy Yunupingu urged me to apply for the position of editor of the organisation's newspaper... the Land Rights News. In the subsequent interview, the first question I was asked was "Are you prepared to lie under oath?" Needless to say, I exited the interview.
Leadership and control of Aboriginal land
Essentially, spiritual authority delegation was extended to secular matters, including the spurious 'land ownership'. This was achieved by stealth and intense diplomacy and was incredibly successful, especially when finally installed by the charismatic Galarrwuy.
Meanwhile, across Arnhem Land, the Methodist/United Church obligingly created Mala Leaders (clan bosses), who were invited to make secular decisions about what were invariably local government issues, often pertaining to land belonging to other clans. It was not long before any pain or guilt was anaesthetised with money paid as meeting remuneration.
In other words, men and women who had inherited sacred site songline custodianship were gradually identified by Christian Missionaries as secular leaders.
This creation of leadership and personal land ownership quickly evolved from focusing on local government, to geopolitical issues; such as was evidenced by the Muckety Station Toxic Substances Storage proposal; and before that, the Gumatj-dominated Gove compensation and royalties settlements (which benefited a handful of cronies and provided Gallarrwuy with his famous mansion), and which were used to further corrupt other language groups.
As a later consequence, although the vast majority of NE Arnhem Land Yolngu (Aborigines) oppose mining on their lands, Galarrwuy Yunupingu recently unilaterally announced a new Gumatj bauxite mine. And, at the 2016 Garma Festival, while the seated audience slumbered with heat, exhaustion and expertly-generated boredom, an Aboriginal corporate PR man announced in practiced monotone the broad scale burning of Aboriginal land in order to claim carbon offset compensation, to be followed by widespread mining and globalised corporate development.
... Was I the only person listening?
Many sympathetic Australians ask, why do traditional people remain silent under such a cultural onslaught? This can be answered only by appreciating traditional Aboriginal culture.
The cultural imperative to preserve harmony
Firstly, just as the prime determinant of western culture is acquisition (some might say aggressive acquisition), the prime determinant of Aboriginal culture is harmony… actively avoiding conflict.
Consequently, traditional Aboriginal people avoid confrontation, and even embarrassment of other people including Europeans, and so rarely express their discomfort over what they invariably view as just another western faux pas. If a traditional Aborigine has cause for complaint, this is submitted to the Mari/Gutharra system; modeled on the traditional conciliatory grandfather/grandchild relationship; which ensures equitable outcomes.
Rarely, does a traditional Aborigine speak out in any manner remotely construed as confrontational, but on the odd occasion when this has occurred it appears nobody has been listening. For example, when Ramingining’s Dhulumburrk Gaykamangu told an ABC Radio interviewer that his community was prosperous and happy until government stepped in to help, and that misery and family disintegration followed in the wake of government assistance, the interviewer heard only her cue for her next question.
Similarly, the Department of Social Security was urged to survey NT Aboriginal communities for their attitude to proposed access to Unemployment Benefit. Despite the recorded unanimous rejection… “No thank you. Sit-down money will mean our young people won’t work”, and ignoring the then-current policy of Aboriginal self-determination, Social Security sent teams to impose UB and CDEP. (Personally witnessed confirmation of this travesty appears in Richard Trudgen’s expose book Warriors lie down and die).
Another… Tiwi man, Bernard Tipaloura, expressed his opinion that “welfare is destroying our culture and our people”; pretty much the identical sentiment which earned Pauline Hanson the label of racist.
In truth, with the exception of the original NT Liquor Commission’s liquor auto-regulation initiatives, in 47 years, I am personally aware of not one government policy which benefits traditional Aborigines, regardless of politician’s claims. And I have never witnessed a journalist contribute in any way to genuine Aboriginal aspirations. LIke doctors, lawyers, and teachers, they do not listen. This attitude makes absolute sense if one believes one is superior to the listener.
Finally, as if Aboriginal reticence at complaining were not handicap enough, instead of government and the media seeking genuine Aboriginal expression, they installed so-called ‘Aboriginal Leaders’ on centre stage.
These are exclusively urbanised and acculturated people who speak English as a first language, who possess only typical Australian western culture, and are invariably from southern states.
Yet to southerners, their names are synonymous with supposed Aboriginal issues: Marcia Langton, Pat Dodson, Warren Mundine, Noel Pearson, Stan Grant, Mick Gooda (Commissioner on this Royal Commission), Jackie Huggins, Mervyn Eades, Justin Mohamid, to mention just a few.
According to traditional activists of my acquaintance, none of these people have any adequate comprehension of traditional culture or developmental needs.
This outrageously contrived misrepresentation makes a mockery of “consultation” and takes on a somewhat less-than-innocent complexion when one notes that the current campaign by the above ‘Aboriginal Leaders’ to amend the Constitution to accommodate prior Aboriginal occupancy, is jointly paid for by BHP, Riotinto, and the Federal LNP Government.
Anyone who believes Riotinto and BHP share genuine concerns about indigenous rights has no knowledge of these corporation’s shocking histories; which are those of ruthless exploitation, environmental degradation, habitat toxification, and contrived deaths of inconvenient human inhabitants.
This media-popular constitutional activity appears to target the southern electorate, to convince southern voters that government bends over backwards to accommodate Aboriginal aspirations and needs. My guess is that when northern tribal peoples finally demand real self-determination and the right to protect their lands, this will be dismissed by most Australians as an outrageously excessive demand which demonstrates grasping ingratitude for freely provided Constitutional Amendments and Treaties... meaningless and tokenistic though these may be in real-world politics.
I would be remiss if, having outed the United Church as complicit in this corporate colonialism, I omitted the Catholic Church. The Vatican is more covert in its approach but is implacably opposed to democracy in any shape or form. Its attitude has always been medieval. As Bishop O’Lachlan stated from the front page of the NT News in May 1971, “It will take the Aborigine a thousand years to catch up to the white man”.
How’s that for monumental racism?
More recently, the Vatican’s true autocracy was exposed when it conjoined with the Church of England in overturning the Territory’s own Voluntary Euthanasia Act. Funding electoral blackmail of southern politicians was the primary tool.
Parallel with this was the propaganda to NT Aborigines that Voluntary Euthanasia was "a plot to kill elderly Aborigines". The Catholic Church has no qualms about either telling direct lies or applying blackmail to assist in its global control.
This is the moral climate in which Jesuit Father Frank Brennan groomed the Dodson brothers to become the Church’s propaganda tools, the current manifestation of which is Pat Dodson, who is now an unelected albeit very activist ALP senator, suggesting to me that the ALP is also complicit. Well, this also makes sense because the ALP certainly shares the Vatican’s implacable hatred of democracy.
These are the entities that smother the genuine voice of Aboriginal Northern Territory, and which ensure that the true story of Aboriginal juvenile representation in corrections remains unexplained, and therefore, unremedied.
- Media-promoted urban youth crime;
- Unemployment and poverty;
- De-education, and
- The international promotion of elitism and consequential culture of bullying.
- The part played by the UN’s campaign of diminishment of parental control and responsibility and concomitant direction to trainee school teachers to sever the inter-generational transfer of values.
Pop media, led by Hollywood, has sensationalised and romanticised thug crime and great robberies, which has encouraged many youths to adopt criminality as a role model.
Anyone with children, and who has watched TV or movies, knows what I mean so there is no need to elaborate. And I hasten to add, in terms of hip hop, R&B, and rap, there is no genre guilt here. I am an avid fan of the music of 2pac Shakur, whose songs pointedly highlighted, not whites killing blacks, but blacks killing blacks. He clearly valued family, surrogate or otherwise, and the virtues of loyalty, courage, and the rare ability to not only see the real world clearly, but to see into oneself. The latter takes the greatest degree of courage.
2pac refused to submit to the Hollywood demand of conforming to mould and many of his fans believe he was killed by what they like to refer to as “the Illuminati”. We may never know the truth, but many in the music and movie industries succumbed to the pressure, well recognised by the kids of today. And, it is my impression that the single most popular artist with all ages in Aboriginal communities is 2pac Amaru Shakur. His words resonate with everyone.
However, with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal urban kids there is no such evident discernment. Pro-crime and anti-morality propaganda has high impact and it would be interesting to learn what the national electorate considered to be an appropriate response.
What is clear is that the only means of applying legitimate and acceptable censorship, in a climate of hopelessly corrupt government, is to turn this role over to volunteer councils made up of ordinary members of the electorate.
The parental role
Meanwhile, the impact of media has hopelessly dwarfed parental influence, compounded in this destruction by parent role diminishment by UN-driven academics and social scientists.
Putting this in political perspective, we may see that these entities are just part of the problematical government by lobby which has overtaken democratic government of the people, by the people and for the people.
There is only one immediate practical solution and that is to adopt government by National Referenda.
Contrary to recent claims by politicians, successful referenda brought us the 1945 mandate for a national social security system, the worker self-funded Social Services Act the following year, and the 1967 recognition of Australians Aborigines in Census and Statistics. As we can no longer trust politicians to heed the will of the people, we must adopt Citizen Initiated Referenda (CIR).
Training and employment
Unemployment and lack of access to vocational training, the latter of which is the outcome of deliberate defunding of schools and TAFES, plays a significant part in youth crime.
Let there be no miscomprehension here, unemployment is Australia’s biggest problem by far, but we are lied to daily.
All statistics require consistency of component definition to be useful. For a century, in fact since 1893, the international definition of employment was having a job that pays a livable wage. Keating and Howard, without evidencing the slightest hint of self-disgust, changed the definition of employment to one hour of work, training, or study per week.
In this manner, and through a maze of other fudge techniques, an unemployment level measured against the century-old criterion which would have delivered a current level as 50%, now becomes less than 6%.
Thousands of workers have committed suicide, believing they alone had failed their families while other workers luxuriated in John Howard’s “unprecedented era of prosperity”. Am I unreasonable in holding all those who blithely accepted the phony statistic, as accountable for these tragic deaths? I refer here to virtually all politicians, all academics, all journalists, all social scientists, all economists, all financial advisors, all CEOs, and all share market and real estate investors.
My last national sample survey, in 2010, showed that 54% of Australians were aware of the real level of unemployment and this figure would be much higher now. This means that more than half of today’s youth share the same demoralising knowledge. Actually, much more than half because unemployment affects mainly working class, which is hit harder yet has larger families. Little wonder that they have no respect for authority, for older generations, or for their more privileged peers.
And little wonder they scoff at the suggestion of job opportunities and higher aspirations. And little wonder they will fight and riot at the drop of a hat.
Very clearly, Australia as a nation is going to have to acknowledge real unemployment and other great lies.
One of these lies is the oft-heard observation that the emerging generation will be saddled with the pensions of aging baby boomers.
The truth is that, since the 1946 Social Services Act, workers have contributed 7.5% of their gross incomes (initially, one shilling and six pence per pound) into the dedicated Welfare Fund, to which Prime Minister Chifley specifically denied future governments access. Nevertheless, using a sleight-of-hand bureaucratic gesture, Menzies ‘lent’ this massive fund to his developer mates in order to create the Snowy River Scheme; fund investments which were never repaid.
Federal politicians have gone to enormous lengths to hide these trillions of dollars embezzlement, and the complicity of those politicians, under Prime Ministers Keating, Howard, Gillard and Rudd, who were later and knowingly complicit, is undeniable (as several have been reminded). But they know that one day the Damocles sword will fall. What will the army of fury-driven bogans do when they discover the truth?
Politicians quite righty tremble. Which reminds me, have you ever wondered why politicians age so dramatically and quickly when they enjoy such a worry-free and luxurious lifestyle? Now you know. Fear. Deep dark fear that the truth will one day be exposed.
This fear has inspired some melodramatic innovations: repeal of Common Law, Treason, and Capital Punishment. Indeed, one nervous nellie, Jenny Macklin, went so far as to create a clumsy smokescreen…her Canberra speech wherein she claimed that all age pensions have been means-tested since 1913, when in fact from the outset of the Social Services Act in 1946 until Paul Keating illegally introduced means-testing, there was none. And, of course, no Act mandated by National Referendum can be amended or repealed without the mandate of a successful reversing National Referendum.
And so, as a consequence, age pensioners die from malnutrition and their grandchildren witness the theft and lies of their national leaders. I wonder what they will do when they put the two events together.
While we are on the subject of honesty and setting a good example to youth, it would be a valuable gesture to require those Snowy River corporations and their Family Trust beneficiaries to repay workers their stolen age pensions.
The widely proselytised rise of elitism, which emerged during the 1980s, has made contempt for those not of the elite, respectable. Not surprisingly, the simplified youth interpretation of this ethic has resulted in a corresponding rise in bullying.
That elitism should have gained a foothold in that nation most famous for egalitarianism, Australia, is testament to the power of the media. This cannot be permitted to continue and the twin strategies of breaking up the media monopoly, and closing down of all foreign media ownership, will precipitate a more level playing field and an Australia-first values system.
Clearly, this is what the national electorate wants.
With Australian values holding reign we have a sporting chance of effectively reorienting youth through the tools of our own Australian media. To leave the media in foreign and hostile hands will cost us a generation, and most likely, our nation.
Perhaps reflecting some kind of intuitional unease, participants in the elitism movement no longer refer to themselves as the ruling class or born-to-rule. The new title is Governing Class. Members of this social class are: lawyers, doctors, academics, scientists, executives, journalists (especially ABC and SBS), investors, feminists, fabian socialists and, hilariously, school teachers (who could hardly rule the world considering they have never left school).
Impact of academia, versus university-of-life practitioners: the Great IQ Con.
When I studied education, I was taught that in schools we address only seven of thirty-four human abilities.
Since then, with the universal application of pre-education qualifications… IQ tests and their kin… has meant that quality of education is graduated vertically by arbitrary tests, which then qualify or disqualify students for future vocational roles and life-long incomes.
What we don’t hear is that the inventor of IQ tests, Alfred Binet, pointed out that intelligence is not linear and thus cannot be measured. His tests, he said, were only useful to gauge degrees of mental retardation, which is what he used to assist pioneer French research and experimentation in rehabilitation of mentally challenged children (still not matched in other countries 80 years later).
The US Society of Psychiatrists, an offshoot of Spencer’s Eugenics Society, disagreed and so the world inherited a series of suspect tests designed to create social streams, and which placed the academic profile at the top of the purely arbitrary intelligence scale. In other words what was created was a shallow replacement of the old class system. It should come as no surprise to learn that real world human productivity, far from reflecting this intelligence scale, presents a reverse correlation. Ergo, manifestly stupid academics are increasingly influencing corporate and governmental development. This is not going to end well.
This unfair and manipulated education and vocational training system locks many children into a negative self-esteem prison, from which escape is invariably impossible… unless, of course, a successful career in crime or commerce is forged.
For some kids, resentment is intuitive, and antisocial behavior becomes an easy means of expression.
The present failed education system, with its 60% hopelessly inadequate teachers, must be replaced with an egalitarian system in which progression is achieved through personal effort alone. This would create a democratic educational meritocracy which, in skills development terms, means that the economy would benefit from optimised opportunity, creating maximum productivity.
The present system hamstrings half the population before it starts.
And I mean this system to include teachers, not just students.
However, academics will scream at this suggestion and, without resorting to supportive evidence, they will continue to claim innate superiority and the right to higher remuneration; although how these two factors correlate has never been demonstrated.
As a lowly welfare officer, I once put it to higher qualified and much-higher-paid social workers that we all should be paid on the basis of productivity alone. If, as they claimed, their qualifications made them more productive then they would automatically be paid more. Not one was prepared to test their hypothesis because all knew that we university-of-life graduates outperformed them hands down. We still do.
This inequality of education and incomes is a class heist… nothing less.
Police, teachers, and nurses have all witnessed the collapse of productivity that followed academic conversion of their respective career paths. Most noticeably with primary school teachers, the more qualified they became the lower were the levels of education achieved by their students.
And each generational decline in literacy and numeracy results in a commensurate rise in youth crime. Dare we permit this drift to morph into an avalanche?
Sure, train Don Dale youth workers better, but be prepared to create Prison City.
Political alienation and disenfranchisement of The Electorate:
Abandonment of electoral selection of political candidates and subsequent termination of community influence on policy formulation; leading to government by lobby.
Central to what I have said previously, is that the replacement of the electorate by lobbies has meant that genuine and legitimate community concern is stifled and even terminally smothered.
It was once accepted that the role of elected representative was to convey the will of the electorate to government for due implementation, and in fact this position was recently put to Deputy PM Julie Bishop by a foremost ABC journalist when she complained of inexplicable withdrawn voter support for the LNP at the 2016 federal elections.
Bishop blinked uncomprehendingly at the interviewer’s explanation. Julie was born to rule. Her class are not required to listen.
During the late 1970s, in a movement led by Bob Hawke, the invisible bosses of political parties began preselecting candidates; a role once the exclusive prerogative of party branch memberships through popular vote.
This hijacking of election candidates by the servants of lobbyists has denied the electorate the right to select their own representatives, which is an outrageous breach of democratic process.
The absence of electoral influence on government has meant that government has become unaccountable, a cascading situation spectacularly echoed by ongoing Don Dale personnel behavior, work release of dangerous criminals, the Adam Giles sale of TIO, and 99 year lease (deliverance) of Darwin Harbor to the Chinese.
Do I have to spell it out?
There will be more Don Dale crisies if there is no electoral reform and the one bright aspect of this Royal Commission is that it is the only entity that can call for this and get away with it; this being the NT. And the majority national electorate will then agree, if given the opportunity.
If the Royal Commission does not call for electoral reform, history will lament a lost opportunity to rescue good government. And traditional Aborigines will finally pull the pin.
Post Script... And, as I can now say in retrospect, this submission was excluded from the Royal Commission's conversation and such observations were successfully silenced.
Impact of The Intervention, and on withdrawal of funding for the Homelands movement in terms of the breakdown of Aboriginal family authority:
Although most Aboriginal juveniles entering the NT’s justice system are western acculturated and invariably just urban kids, some are of traditional backgrounds.
And for most of these, extended family-generated discipline would, at one time, have sufficed to bring them back to the family fold. The exception has historically been the Anindilyakwa of Groote Eylandt who, for five decades have viewed juvenile detention and adult prison as a pass to adult status. I suspect that establishment of their own land council (ie partial self-determination) may change this for the better.
Unfortunately, application of simplistic funding and employment policies has entirely undermined traditional authority. It is difficult to ascertain whether our politicians and bureaucrats are simply lacking in intelligence or they are willingly obtuse, but multitudinous presentations of the facts of life in Aboriginal regions of the NT appears to have to gone right over their heads.
In the vain hope that somebody is listening, let me go over the facts once again.
As I have noted earlier in this submission, every activity of traditional Aborigines is formulated in, or flows from, Songlines, and a critical part of every Aborigine’s life is exposure to these songs… the more often the better.
Songlines, and the ancillary songs which flow like arteries, veins and nerves from a mainline system, have myriad functions.
- Validate personal identity;
- Act as a birth certificate and source of identity for every clan member;
- Map out family lineage;
- Delineate tribal lands and spirit sites;
- Guide seasonal food access and natural phenomena;
- Provide a template for funeral activities and songs;
- Form a roadmap for funeral management and burial authority;
- Perform as a spreadsheet to explain the relationships between all clans;
- Educate about targets of hunting and gathering;
- Provide a source of names for new babies;
- Perform as an almanac for management of land and waters;
- Provide identification for spirit navigation and recognition;
- Serve as a general compendium; and,
- Generally explain the world around us.
Most bureaucrats engaged in services for Aborigines have heard this before; or should have, but their response is often blah, blah, yeah yeah. Yet some of ancient Indigenous knowledge has confounded scientists. For example, one song describes how a dolphin hitched a ride on a whale to travel to his chosen place to die; a scenario scoffed at by experts until this was actually observed in the wild. It is still not understood by scientists how Aborigines were familiar with this phenomenon, let alone incorporated this in ancient Songlines.
Yet even a person of less than average intelligence should be able to calculate that 23 thousand years of intimate observation of nature, by a people who have wisely chosen to live with nature rather than against it, would most certainly have been astute in this regard.
That all of this knowledge is contained in Songs should provoke considerable respect.
So too should the yet to occur realisation that what the Chinese understood three and a half thousand years ago, that the universe is constructed of positive and negative influences in constant balancing attraction and repulsion… yin and yang…was understood by Aborigines at least twelve thousand years ago. The difference is, Aborigines Australia-wide adapted their existence to this reality but the Chinese failed.
What the Yolngu call Yirritja and Dhuwa, has its equivilent everywhere except in Tasmania. All tribes are one or the other; all beings, all manifestations of the universe, are Yirritja or Dhuwa. This is the perfect acknowledgement of Living with nature, not against it. The Chinese realised this but could not relinquish hierarchy and leadership and therefore failed. The West has yet to wake up.
This rather puts white superiority in perspective.
While the West has advanced in technology, it has failed dismally in philosophy. Moreover, hierarchical leadership of an ever-more-powerful technology, currently spinning out of control, now threatens the survival of all.
This might be a good time to swap ideas. But government is doing everything in its power to destroy the last font of survival knowledge.
Just maybe, it’s time to shut up and listen.
It is the traditional Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory who live on the geographic course of Songlines who keep all of this knowledge alive. As the late MLA Wes Lanhupuy once told me, even though he was a successful politician he was not taken seriously by senior members of Wanggurri, or even of other language groups, until he finally traveled to the place of his birth spirit… Lanhu… hence his name.
This was, he said, his Epiphany. His reconciliation with Songlines and Country; from which point he could navigate his world and ours, with credibility.
In major communities, where there may typically be seven to thirteen different language groups, songs are sung without the validation and reinvigoration of the relevant sites and songlines, and this attracts jibes and attitudes approaching contempt. At times, especially when ceremonial activities encroach on the Songlines of the clan upon whom the community is situated, conflict occurs. Children are highly sensitive and susceptible to, feelings of shame and lost prestige when they witness such deep criticism.
Like all kids, they process their anguish anti-socially. Picking these kids up and sending them to a main city detention centre is rarely efficacious. However, because both the NT and Commonwealth Governments have abandoned the homeland (geographical expression of Songlines) centres in favour of large communities, wives and children refuse to live without the accustomed benefits of the 21st century (education, health clinics, internet, mobile phones) and families are forced back into the overcrowded ghettoes that describe most main Communities. Denied the enterprise opportunities of Homelands, through the Intervention they are legally forced into work-for-the-dole poverty. Others move to cities in desperation, hoping for a nirvana but finding only worse poverty, violence and substance abuse. They are joined by the extended families of diabetics needing dialysis, themselves forced into towns by the NT Government’s refusal to man dialysis machines already in communities.
This deterioration benchmarks the CLP's Giles-ean economics… simplistic, shortsighted, and requiring many times the paltry sums saved when the inevitable remedial services are reinstalled, not to mention the cost to the recipient main communities, struggling to accommodate these remote area refugees. Balancing this political failure, the ALP has proved just as cynical and shortsighted.
Compounding these problems was a cyclone (Lam) that wiped out dozens of homes across North East Arnhem Land; but even before that disaster was The Intervention; the unjustified and politically-motivated military incursion into Aboriginal communities; justified by gross exaggerations, monolithic southern ignorance, media distortions and sensationalism, and megalomaniacal, ignorant and stupidly dishonest, Mal Brough and John Howard.
Aborigines felt betrayed by the ALP when it continued The Intervention with its own Stronger Futures, which finally exposed the Labor Party for its rank opportunism and token support for the real Aboriginal cause. The ALP has always cared about the six Aboriginal-dominated NT seats which it needs to secure political power. Indeed, the unions were always opposed to the Gurrindji Walkout and the Gove Protests. And the ALP led the smothering of traditional consensus protocols with its promotion of local councils.
Currently, the all-important Homelands are evaluated by Governments on the basis of their current reduced populations, which is grossly unfair because these communities have been depopulated through airstrips that are unfit for medical evacuations, health clinics that are unmanned, roads that have not been maintained for many years, if ever… even the public arterial highways destroy vehicles… and schools are without teachers. One bush police officer told me his utility had four blowouts in a week, and my own bush-proof Toyota Landcruiser had a brand new radiator disintegrate in spite of careful driving and several decades of experience.
Another handicap to development is the outrageous gouging practiced by Air North and, to a lesser extent. For example, to fly from Gurrumuru to Galiwinku, a ten minute flight, is $400. I can fly from Darwin to Sydney for less than that, and from Sydney to Melbourne at one third that price. Thus, families rarely get to meet each other and the price of attending the almost daily funerals keeps all families broke.
The price of housing is many times that of Darwin, because the NT Department of Housing insists on catastrophically inappropriate western style architecture,which breeds illness and death. And even to get a home built, an Aborigine must effectively turn his home over to the Queen. If white Australians were forced to register their residential block as Crown land there would be a revolution.
The truth is that Aboriginal housing exists only to benefit the white construction industry; which was common knowledge in the public service during my time thus employed.
Indigenous enterprise initiatives, intended to breakout from the bureaucratic corral, are stymied before they begin. If a Yolngu starts a business he must pay any profits to the Land Council… shades of Stalinist Russia (and the analogy is no coincidence). Those Aborigines with the motivation, capacity, ingenuity, resources, and skills to launch economic independence live exclusively on Homelands yet these are the people who both the NT and Commonwealth Governments are trying to demoralise and destroy.
Government penny-pinching is demonstrably causing the destruction of traditional culture. It would make infinitely more sense, and justice, to provide the same services to Homeland centres that comparable villages Australia-wide enjoy; and manned dialysis machines would enable hundreds of family members to leave cities and return to their homes, reliving pressures on both.
Homeland communities also enable residents to daily access bush tucker, which probably represents the healthiest food in Australia, yet the medical industry does not support this. Instead, it lies about the death rate and the ultimate causes.
Medical claims that public education about nutrition and dangerous foods enables Aborigines to avoid conditions such as diabetes, are pure bullshit.
By my calculation (by survey), about one NT Aboriginal in fifty has the faintest idea of the risks, because any warning and education must be verbal and in the languages of the target people. And we are talking verbal languages here. It is pointless to translate warnings in written Aboriginal languages when the collapse of the education system means almost everybody is illiterate, regardless of language.
So, yes, traditional family authority can handle wayward kids, but the families themselves are economic and cultural refugees under siege.
As will already be concluded, traditional Aboriginal culture is complex and difficult to cover without sounding rambling and excessively tied to detail. Which is, no doubt, what I will be accused of.
And, anyway, I am far from being an expert on Aboriginal culture.
If I have failed to adequately explain the importance of Homelands to the Aboriginal future, this is because I am a white person, and with an extremely limited understanding of real Aboriginal culture. That I have attempted this submission at all is because it is even more difficult for a traditional Aboriginal person to express themselves adequately in English.
Actually, I would not have needed to write this at all if government observed the first basic human right of a people subjugated by a foreign power:
To engage in consultation and communication in the language of the people.
That would make me obsolete.
Impact of the continuing colonial refusal to communicate with traditional Aborigines in languages understood by the people.
The most urgent Territory Aboriginal need is effective government communication with people whose first language (and often 2nd, 3rd, and 4th) is Aboriginal.
Let me put this less equivocally: in 230 years, the Australian Government and its branches have seamlessly repeated the colonial practice of Imperial Britain, which is to demand Aborigines communicate for their survival in a foreign language.
Although I and many others have long campaigned for government consultation in local languages, we have been stonewalled with the nonsensical assertion that there are too many languages in the North and Centre; entirely ignoring the thirty odd existing lingua franca and the easy availability of personnel capable of relay translation to neighbouring languages (a hundred or so in all).
The reality is that government and the multitude of bureaucracies simply do not want to communicate effectively. They want cultural and industrial imposition and that is where it ends for them. In a word, they are cultural and racial bullies.
Consequently, one third of the NT population are traditional Aborigines who are entirely without a voice… this having been hijacked by local bureaucrats and celebrity Indigenous who can speak only English, and who have no comprehension of real-world Aboriginal culture. The media is complicit, invariably only echoing the exchanges of ignorance resonated by the earlier-listed ‘Aboriginal Leaders’.
Anthropologists, for their part, in spite of not learning Aboriginal languages, have academically colonised Aboriginal culture and lock other Australians’ out of the official communication loop.
As a visiting team of Austrian anthropologists put it, "anywhere else in the world, what Australian anthropologists have done would result in the immediate stripping of their degrees". Internationally, no anthropologist can venture on paper, a word about an alien culture until he or she has demonstrated linguistic proficiency. I have never met an Australian anthropologist who has this basic prerequisite skill, which puts the Land Councils in a perilous position.
Yet it is the land councils who most cruelly stand between traditional Aboriginal family authority and alienated youth; and between homelands and government.
Forming a demographic palisade, the bulk of the NT’s rural European population represents the ruthless and self-seeking exploitation of the destructive Resource and Live-Export industries. The impact of this is that genuine Aboriginal sentiment is also rarely heard in rural regions.
Nor can traditional Aborigines hear important messages from the outside world.
Important information, such as:
- Sugar in food and drinks causes obesity, diabetes, and coronary heart disease, and exacerbates inflammation and cancers.
- Overcrowding in western-style culturally incompatible houses leads to other serious diseases.
- Processed food and takeaways lack nutrition but are rich in toxins.
Obviously, refusal of government to communicate with Aborigines in their own languages is the primary reason for the horrific ill-health and mortality rates. What is third world is government’s colonial denial of access to knowledge critical for Aboriginal survival.
The double-layered blanket of silence smothering Aboriginal culture and survival effort is exacerbated by Telstra’s refusal to provide internet services and mobile phone coverage. Both are more important to Aborigines because these are their only means of communication with the outside world and with family separated by bad roads and communications.
How the current politicised definition of Aboriginality prevents NT traditional Indigenous engagement with child and family intervention issues.
Government defines Aboriginality in such loose terms that pretty much anyone whose peers confirm their dubious Aboriginality, is officially accepted as such.
An analogy would be my hypothetical claim that one sixteenth Scottish ancestry enables me to describe myself as a Scottish Highlander, paint myself with wode, and then to be declared eligible for funding provided for Highlander Scots. No genuine Scot would take such nonsense seriously and nor would anyone else on this planet. Yet in Australia, tens of thousands of people who are monolingual and possess not a shred of Aboriginal culture, can influence government policies on traditional Aboriginal development.
Some of these pretenders are even official government advisors in this regard.
Therein-contrived policies have no relevance for traditional people whose homelands are triangulated by the Kimberly / Arnhem Land / Centre regions, yet these people have no political voice, nor means of knowing about decision-making processes which are formulated by remote control, by people who have alien values indistinguishable from other urban Australians; and which are exclusively in English language.
Clearly, in terms of government’s cross-cultural funding, decision-making should only be the product of mutual consultation with respective language groups. In other words, all consultation should take place in Indigenous languages. We have the personnel and the skills, and there is no legitimate reason why this should not happen immediately.
Southern acculturated 'Aborigines' are free to claim their own identities, to represent their own interests and needs, but they should be silent about the rights of people whose first language is Aboriginal. Unless, of course, traditional people have appointed them to this role through a process of clan consensus.
Predictably, politicians and bureaucrats will flounder over definition issues, so it is suggested that all Aboriginal-targeted policies be applied only in terms of recipient’s first language. This should not include fraudsters who have fabricated languages for the purposes of gullible government and media manipulation.
Once there is a formal common language communication link between Aborigines and government, arrangement can be made for next of kin and extended family to be included on every hospital patient file.
Currently, if a baby or infant becomes the custodial interest of Child and Family or of the Hospital, fostering is automatic and this becomes permanent due to out-of-control caseworker caseloads. This is always disruptive and destructive to the child, and to the family.
With instant knowledge of extended family on the Health Department’s patient file, immediate arrangements can be made for care to be provided by family.
For Aboriginal infants, this 'face sheet' should also include Aboriginal first name, Aboriginal surname, language group, subsection, and home community. Currently there is a great risk of identity confusion and subsequent dangerous medication or treatment meant for somebody else.
That the Darwin Hospital liaison for Aboriginal cross-cultural issues is an Irish woman suggests just how seriously the NT Department of health takes Aboriginal health communication issues.
- That a registry be established that identifies the first language of every Aborigine in Australia, and the closest proximity language or lingua franca;
- That all government consultation with Aborigines be in their first language registered therein, or in the closest proximity lingua franca;
- That the Australian Government be urged to amend the Constitution to require all legislation likely to have a profound impact on Australians, to be the subject of National Referendum;
- That media monopolies be broken up and foreign ownership of media made illegal;
- That Government be urged to recognise volunteer electoral councils, and the recommendations these might make regarding court sentencing options, child and adult containment facilities and treatments; and comments which they see fit to present regarding any other issues;
- That Governments: state, territory and federal, be urged to undertake urgent educational reform, which provides all children with equal access to equal educational facilities; and which in all other respects reflects only evidence-based values (ie teachers employed and promoted entirely on the basis of demonstrated teaching ability);
- That the federal government record Aboriginal and wider community concerns regarding the possible impact of food, industrial and pharmaceutical toxicities; and, that the federal Government establish an independent and transparent research facility which clears for safety all commercial substances ingested by humans, especially children;
- That the federal Government immediately disband The Intervention and its ALP twin, Stronger Futures.
- Installation of an identity face sheet on all Hospital patient files, which is accessible to stipulated Department of Child and Family community workers, and which includes all accessible extended family; and, for Aboriginal patients, lists language group, age, community of residence, Aboriginal surname, Aboriginal given name, and subsection. This should suffice to prevent mistaken identity and wrong medication or treatment; and also facilitate instant and appropriate fostering and adoption.
© Copyright Tony Ryan 2018
At time of original submission:
First of September 2016.
Now contactable at:
12 Gungunnu Close
Nhulunbuy NT 0880
PO Box 129
Nhulunbuy NT 0881