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Saturday 14 October 2023

Perspectives on addressing the GAP

In one of my recent discussions on X (Twitter), with Captain Chaos, I commented that the GAP could be addressed in ways that did not require changing the Constitution. I then sent a link to my post Are we perpetuating the GAP? This then led to a range of comments. At this point, I thought I could address this better in a post. So this post provides a bit more clarification on my post as well as addressing Captain Chaos' points. 

So here is a recap of the discussion so far; -

followed by ; -

and finally, 


Captain Chaos did agree with my response in a post. So here goes.

Before addressing Captain Chaos' points, let me re-state my position on a couple of issues. 
My position on the Voice is primarily because the proposed Constitutional change would re-introduce racial discrimination, eliminated in the referendum of 1967, into our foundational document. (More details at Why I am Voting NO on the Voice ). As I noted in that post I do not have a strong issue with legislating the Voice and evaluating if it works. 

However, we have tried multiple bodies representing indigenous Australians all with the objective of being an intermediary between the local communities and all levels of government. For example, if you read the mission statement for the NIAA you will find it aligns closely with the intent of the Voice. So while these bodies have been established in the past the GAP has not been reduced. So we really have to find out why that hasn't worked and consider alternative suggestions. 

With regard to Captain Chaos's points

  • As a city based observer, is relatable to 'bureaucracies' and those without knowledge & experience doing what they think is needed as opposed to knowing what is needed.
Yes, I do not claim to know 'what is needed'. Nor do I claim specific knowledge or experience. My suggestions are exactly that, suggestions. 

  • You overlook the why. Why is a First Nation's male more likely to go to prison than University? Why are there problems with social cohesion?
I do not overlook the why, but admit I do not go into the specifics. I have not analysed the individual issues that make the difference between indigenous and non-indigenous but rather focused on what is different in the way we govern the two groups. So if we are getting different outcomes then maybe our governing them differently is contributing to the different outcomes.

  • Me personally I would not have implied that they are more violent, abusive and truancy inclined. Do you have actual evidence for that?
The statistics on domestic violence, truancy, and incarceration rates speak for themselves.

Some references;-

Indigenous Australians make up almost 30% of hospitalisations due to domestic violence, report finds  - while indigenous people represent ~3% of the population

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners accounted for 32% of all prisoners  again while ATI represented just 3% of the population

  • Also note the intervention did suspend the Racial Discrimination Act. Since that time the insinuation that there is an epidemic of abuse (child) has been left unsubstantiated In fact, in recent months the unsubstantiated allegation was repeated by both Jacinta Price and Peter Dutton, without evidence That's been reported in the media & both Jacinta Price and Peter Dutton have failed to make reports of the alleged abuse that they are required to do, by law, to investigating authorities. I could continue, however, I think what I have outlined suffices, check your preconceptions
The 'intervention' was in response to the Little Children are Sacred report published in June 2007, being the findings of an inquiry into child sexual abuse in the NT commissioned by the Northern Territory Government. The report provided shocking evidence of domestic violence and sexual abuse. So it was not without a basis. Also with regard to Jacinta Price, I think she has personal experience through her exposure to indigenous life. You cannot both accept there is a GAP and then dismiss the symptoms that are evidence of the GAP.

Again I do not profess to be anything but an interested observer. If we have invested substantially in closing the GAP over decades, and have seen no results, we should certainly have a good look at what we have been doing, and look to do something else.

I am of course open to further discussion.

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