posted on Nov, 10 2004 @ 07:56 PM
A laymans view
Its a devisive issue here in Australia at the moment.
Aboriginals got the vote in Australia after a national referendum in the 1960s.
Land Rights and the definition of it has caused a lot of arguments.....some people think it ranges from just convincing John Howard to say "Sorry"
publicly for past injustices, to those who either push or fear wholesale claims against the homes and businesses of the majority properties.
Lets just say its got extremes on both sides and the truth must lie somewhere in the middle.
There are a whole range of issues in there like the higher infant mortality rate, higher unemployment and alcoholism and violence, and in this case
high absenteeism from school, to name a few.
The Howard government recently made radical and in some case severe changes to the Aboriginal run Agencies and authorities here following allegations
and evidence of graft corruption and embezzlement by some of its senior appointees. Some say the Government took advantage of an opportunity, others
say it was only given to them.
Our present government is neo conservative. That said even some aboriginals ( I am not one) agree there are serious problems in need of radical
approaches.....Black and White authorities have been banging thier heads against walls for years.
Our unemployment and welfare systems (Jobstart, Newstart among others) are based on what is called "Mutual Obligation". Those who can, and want
fortnightly payments and assistance, sign on to it. We have no cut off period in Australia for welfare...as long as you need it you get it. We fear
the US model.Its not "A fair Go" as we like to say.
Under our system the unemployed are expected to apply for ten jobs per fortnight, keep a log with details, and accept that these may be checked up on
to ensure compliance. For longer termed unemployed MO may include attending training and self help programes or what we call "work for the dole"
programes, the idea being (if you support it) that it is vital to put peoples dignity to get into some kind of work, even if it is only planting verge
side trees, in exchange for payment.
There is a trend to means testing for some catagories of age and disability pensions to see if a form of MO should apply.
The problem with Aboriginal education, especially in country and outback areas where there is little if any work is that some parents are unable or
diinterested in getting thier kids back into school and off the streets.
We have similar problems in parts of white and other ethnic communities but not to the same degree.
If you dont want to force people away from thier traditional homes, if you can't create jobs magically for them where there are none (and modern
society is making them fewer..jobs that is) then you might as well use MO welfare to get them to get thier kids into the classroom and give them a
chance at something better. They may not take it but at least they can change thier minds then.
I wish they'd apply it to some of the welfare families who have this same problem. MOST WELFARE AND ABORIGINAL families who are doing it hard and
doing thier best to get thier kids in, but it's a case, as usual of a minority making it hard for the rest.
People may not like that kind of "interference" but I prefer the option to the system that seems prevelent in the US of "youve had too long good
I am white unemployed and my wife insists we manage off welfare, although we have been before, so I feel partially qualified to talk about it, and
have had many Aboriginal passengers in the car who were concerned about the same issue when I drove cabs.
It may not be the perfect solution, but its not the worst solution.
[edit on 10-11-2004 by craigandrew]