Noel Pearson, Keating, Howard and their politics of money, power and shame
When you read Noel Pearson in the Daily Telegraph today it flies along until the very last line where he reveals his hyperbole and indeed excess:
Here is the column here: Noel Pearson: We must all help to stop abuse
and the offending sentence here
"Those people will the protection of Aboriginal children to fail the same way and as vehemently as they will failure in Iraq."
The headline for Noel's Sydney Daily Telegraph piece 28th June calls for unity of purpose but the conclusion drives a dagger of emotional violence into the hearts of anyone who dares to vary not so much on goals, as methods. Lawyers like Noel Pearson, and this writer, are taught in law school this is known as 'blowing hot and cold'. It's a big no no in professional advocacy actually due to overt inconsistency.
The assertion by Pearson that some people in our political community actually will Iraq to fail in terms of the horrendously savage civil war is plain wrong, and so much so it's actually a form of emotional violence on anyone daring to simply observe the truth that the Iraq Occupation has failed, past tense.
Celebrate Aboriginal Australia:
You are either for us or against us. Absolute truth. And this is our sophisticated Black leader? It's surely a calculated form of rhetoric by Noel Pearson to pander to the Howard govt with the purse strings this side of the federal election. It is also a give away to Noel's limited objectivity let alone diplomacy.
A few weeks ago Noel was claiming in the pages of The Australian greens like this writer with a staunch commitment to Aboriginal social justice wanted billions of people to suffer and die. And there we were thinking we were trying to stop dangerous sea level rise to save millions of lives: Refer our website here for the details:
Sunday, 10 June 2007
John Howard's betrayal of practical reconciliation with broken $40M 1996 election promise for Cape York Land Use Agreement
including analysis there of a slippery provocative article, egregiously airbrushing the true history of the Cape York Land Use Agreement neutered by lack of funding despite its grand substance:
We notice a Board member Ms. Lisa Paul is Secretary of a federal govt department who presents like another Howard loyalist Catherine Murphy at the head of the ultra political National Association of Forest Industries (read woodchippers like Gunns Ltd). And what an extremely political operation Murphy has run quite comfortable with overt industry violence on greens both physical and emotional.To be fair there is also Geof Gallop former WA Premier on the CYI board. But there is also Chairperson - Professor Marcia Langton a long time green hater (especially versus a heroic achiever for the environment being The Wilderness Society) whose academic career was in part built on financial support from ERA uranium miner if memory serves. ERA were responsible for the Jabiluka uranium mine farce in 1998 within Kakadu World Heritage national park, near Jabiru, which actually prefaced the failed Statehood referendum later that year, and then 2001 election loss of power from CLP's Shane Stone to the ALP's Clair Martin in the NT. Stone was a strong ally of Howard.
As the old saying goes - he who pays the piper ....
Thus Greg Sheridan a keen right winger lauds Pearson today and eagerly joins in the emotional and psychological kicking of many experts who have very justified concerns over 11 long years of the Howard Govt to question not just motives but far more importantly capacity or mentality for change, as distinct from grandstanding.
Similarly the editorial tub thumps about "shameful protest" when the shame can be liberally apportioned on this topic:
- the 11 year delay by the Coalition federal govt let alone National Country Party in the NT up to 2001
- the shameless opportunism of an election context
- the amateurish glossing of detail by Minister Brough on 7.30 last night
- the fierce 'ownership' of misery and the cures of same by the centre left parties of the ALP, whether successful or not, in an obvious form of territorial defence.
Only a fool would think this is an easy problem from any side of politics. Addictions in particular are never so easy as just "law and order" let alone a very big cultural divide. But the effort must be made too.
Everyone is holier than thou that the children should come first, as per the Sydney Morning Herald editorial 28th June. Well that's about the only thing I've heard so far that rings true: Actions and money speak a whole lot louder than anything else.
Thus Pearson reminds us of that other great articulate advocate Paul Keating in the great debate over the 'true' modern history of reform in the Australian economy, starting out on Lateline - 07/06/2007: Paul Keating on the lead-up to the federal ... which morphed into Q & A in federal Parliament and then grew like topsy including:
21/6 Wayne Swan: Howard, Costello in state of denial | Opinion |
22/6 Peter Costello: Productivity all Greek to Rudd | Opinion | The ...
23/6 Productivity should be a spin-free zone - Business - Business ...
23/6 The latest jobs blarney comes out in the wash - Opinion - smh.com.au
23/6 Both sides belabour a skills issue | Features | The Australian
25/6 We gave Keating free ride, says PM | The Nation | The Australian
25/6 Editorial: Reform is key to economic growth | Opinion | The Australian
back to Keating again with
26/6 Paul Keating: Libs are making it up | Opinion | The Australian
The ex PM makes some fantastic instructive points while periodically trashing his credibility with throw away hyperbole as if the bike has got the wobbles at high intellectual speed sommersaulting over the handlebars - saying for instance at one point interest rates were not an issue in the 1996 federal election. Err fraid so Paul. Just like they must have been for Howard in 1983. Whether Keating wins in the end on points I don't know, though I suspect he does actually.
This big economics debate is about who did what, when, did it work and who gets the credit, and the brickbats just like failure of welfare for Aboriginal children. There is plenty of blame and maybe praise to go around in my book.
The issue of chronic poverty and cyclical abuse is intrinsically tricky, and when the debate is paralysed with confusion and emotion you can be pretty sure we are in the realms of power struggles rather than fact or truth. It's as old as human nature and group dynamics.
The timing of this latest govt action perhaps results from another more subtle influence - the embarrassment of budget surplus where no politician can with any moral sense ignore this festering problem with an excuse of too busy on something else.
As always the truth is a synthesis of many different angles and perspectives which is what democracy actually is. So we would recommend more listening and less emotional violence directed at political rivals. And more honest transparency about vested interests.
And listening doesn't mean suspending disbelief either. That's not realistic or honest.
As always it's mostly about the money and how it's managed, which is how those poor Aboriginal People got in this terrible mess in the first place. With economic sovereignty annexed by the Empire in their born to rule arrogance, then the stolen wages, then racial denial of citizens rights, and now hugely disproportionate life opportunities and welfare services, in a non English speaking remote culture. ESL programmes anyone?
It's all about the money for the Cape York Institute, to the major party spoils of the next federal election, to the funding not provided this last 11 years (eg $40m for CYLUA, 1996 broken election promise by John Howard, 1998 broken election promise by Robert Hill), to election promise$ up to Nov. 2007, to the free media the Howard leadership craves. How much indeed for the life of an anonymous child of different race and language who won't ever speak for themself or complain or cause embarrassment. Who effectively dies silently. The South in our North. And answer that honestly.
Up untill recently that black kid's life has not been worth very much at all. And everyone knows it. That's what Australia really is stripped back to the fundamentals. Pretty ugly isn't it? It's our character test and we've been failing it a long time now.
Postscript #1 29th June 2007
We found Gavid Mudd's contribution on Crikey.com very instructive and worth repeating here (below) in full given this front page article in The Australian today
which we have to say shows some serious editorial independence given the other blatherings in the newspaper of late. The Sky News guy on Trioli 702 picks up the theme too. These echo crikey.com's Bob Gosford lead story yesterday, we notice also
The overall impression is that funding for welfare has been withheld to leave a mess and move on in over the social disaster as if some heroic rescuer above moral reproach. Is the Howard Govt really that evil? They certainly took a torch to the CYLUA as explained above.
"Bininj culture really strong. You have to look after country. For your grandfather country, like mother country, take care." Yvonne Margarula, Mirarr Senior Traditional Owner.
"As an environmental engineer, Gavin Mudd has over ten years' experience in issues concerning Aboriginal land rights and mining. He is a lecturer in environmental engineering at Monash University, and a concerned Australian. He writes:
It is ironic that at the time of the 40th anniversary of the 1967 referendum John Howard is in the middle of gutting the Northern Territory’s Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976 (ALRA) -- the Commonwealth legislation made possible by that referendum.
The land rights were long overdue, hard fought for and won by Aboriginal people, but they are about to be critically undermined, not just by the politics of military-style interventions in problematic Aboriginal communities, but by a more insidious, as yet unrecognised agenda -- mining and nuclear waste on Aboriginal land.
The ALRA gives legitimate powers such as access permits for entry to Aboriginal freehold lands, a veto over exploration and mining and other activities. As noted by the 1974 Woodward Land Rights Inquiry, to deny Aboriginal people the right to prevent mining on their land is to deny the reality of their land rights.
Since gaining control of the Senate, the Howard Government has finally had the parliamentary power to gut the ALRA, which they are doing, but have needed a massive diversion before they introduce the most controversial reforms: radically altering the mining royalty regimes, and potentially remove the veto provision for exploration and mining.
It is no coincidence that many of the communities targeted for “military style intervention” are also areas that are heavily targeted for minerals exploration, particularly uranium, as well as for potential nuclear waste dumps. This includes Western Arnhem Land and Central Australia, where numerous known uranium deposits are being actively investigated by various wanna-be uranium producers.
I have personally visited numerous Aboriginal communities, including some with major social dysfunction and others which have escaped the tyranny of petrol sniffing, grog and domestic violence. This was achieved by the communities and took hard yakka over a decade (or more). Now, they are vibrant, positive and functional communities proud to be truly sustainable. Mining has rarely aided this process.
The use of “social issues” as a diversion to hide the gutting of Aboriginal land rights is malicious and cold-hearted. As with almost everything Howard does, there is clearly more at play -- perhaps it’s time to have a real debate about problems, true partnerships and the future.
As noted by Yvonne Margarula, Senior Traditional Owner of the Mirarr-Gundjeihmi clan of Kakadu and on whose lands the Ranger uranium mine and Jabiluka project lie, “None of the promises last, but the problems always do!” "
The editor met Yvonne Margarula of the Mirarr and Goldman Award winner (and beware the faulty link there to the Mirarr site which could be cyber squatting) in 1997, and at Jabiru going to court in 1998 (she faced a charge of 'trespassing' on her own traditional land for time immemorial!), and we hold her in the highest esteem here at SAM news site. We understand her family have been victims of mining industry culture in the past in the most extreme and fatal ways.
Postscript #2 This brutal, damaging article on the economics debate ran on June 28th a day after the first roughly drafted, and now much better edited, version of this article, to add to my list of a flurry of articles:
Michael Costello: History backs Keating's claim on economy
Posted by editor
at 4:09 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 2 July 2007 6:25 PM NZT