Howard’s Record Speaks Volumes

June 27, 2007 at 1:15 am (Uncategorized)

Further to my post last week (John Howard’s Breathtaking, Boundless Cynicism), I’d like to say thanks to Warwick for providing the following:

Some good background on Howard’s previous handling of indigenous affairs.

Also, for those who haven’t seen it already, the following link is the official summary of the Children are Sacred Report.

W.

Thanks, Warwick. As a point of interest, I’ve met members of the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA), including its 2006 President, Dr Mark Wenitong, and I’ve interviewed this country’s first Indigenous surgeon, Dr Kelvin Kong. Yes, you read that right: our FIRST Indigenous surgeon. Kelvin, an inspirational person in general and a really terrific Indigenous mentor specifically, was just finishing his qualifications when I met him this time last year. So this country welcomed its first Indigenous surgeon in 2006. I think that fact speaks volumes, as does the additional fact that AIDA hasn’t even been consulted by the Howard Government…well, no surprises there. Ten years, John Howard. Ten years. The problems faced by the Indigenous population of Australia are problems every single Australian needs to acknowledge, understand, and address. This is a bipartisan issue, and Howard’s preparedness to make something like child abuse a political tool makes me sick to the very core of my being. It’s disgusting.

Thanks to Bronwyn, too, for passing on this opinion piece from the Crikey website:

Long-serving Sydney political journalist Alex Mitchell writes:

This is the last throw of the dice for John Howard. He is doing one big favour for the mining industry which he has faithfully served in public life for the past 30 years by rolling back Aboriginal ownership of their tribal lands. Cynically, cruelly but utterly predictably, he’s doing it under the hypocritical colours of humanitarianism. (Very similar to the invasion and occupation of Iraq sold as “spreading democracy”). In his four terms as PM, he has starved indigenous health, education and housing of funds, abolished ATSIC and pointedly marginalised the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio. This particular pre-election pitch is aimed at Lateline viewers, readers of The Age and The SMH and ABC stalwarts, the demographic that constitutes Australian (small “l”) liberalism. These are the feeble-brained, hand-wringers who are congenitally incapable of separating the wood from the trees. They are types currently heard sobbing: “I’m no fan of Mr Howard, but at least he’s DOING SOMETHING!” Yes, he is: he’s giving the mining giants the leg-up they need to start exploring, digging and quarrying in indigenous lands in the Northern Territory and then elsewhere. He is being aided and abetted by Kevin Rudd’s craven behaviour. Instead of falling into line with Howard’s agenda, he should have demanded complete details of the plan, the highest-level briefing, sought face-to-face meetings with Aboriginal leaders, state premiers, police and army officers and taken the lead in a national debate. Instead, he mouthed pieties such as “I’m taking Mr Howard at his word” and “I believe the Prime Minister when he says he is responding to a national crisis” etc etc. Has anyone realised that these are almost the same words used by Kim Beazley when he backed Howard during the Tampa scam? By his pusillanimous approach, Rudd has vacated leadership on the tragic issue of rescuing Aboriginal communities and given Howard the opportunity to play his sickening Father of the Nation role. Paul Keating, you were right about the Rudd team of fixers, hucksters, flyweights and spineless opportunists.

[Back to me now. This is clearly not a flattering portrait of Kevin Rudd, either, but it’s probably about right as far as his fairly impotent response to Howard’s latest goes. “Taking Mr Howard at his word” (which is MUD pretty much everywhere, isn’t it?) has been a very disappointing move on Rudd’s part for those of us hopeful of a change of government not just to get away from Howard but also to get away from what he stands for. Someone in the Labor party really needs to start showing some balls (see Keating, Paul).]

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