February 13, 2017

Indigenous disadvantage persists. The gap is not closing.

In many communities, children are not getting an education, health is poor and life expectancy is low. There is a lot of drug abuse and violence, employment opportunities are few or non-existent and there is an entrenched culture of welfare dependence.

Although Indigenous Australians represent only 3 per cent of the population, they represent over 27 per cent of the prison population and this is rising – up from 20 per cent a decade ago.

Social policies for Indigenous Australians have not delivered positive outcomes, despite all the good i...

April 18, 2015

If we work, rest and pray solely with friends who live in the same neighbourhood, we develop fears and prejudices about outsiders. But if we develop multiple associations, if we mix with people from different backgrounds, we soon realise that they too are all right. Our prejudices dissipate.


It is one hundred and fifty years since General Sherman burnt Atlanta and the American Civil War ended. Over a million lives had been lost and the Southern economy was devastated. Abe Lincoln had achieved his objectives: the United States remained one nation; amendments to the constitution ended slavery an...

March 29, 2015

Noel Pearson is admired as one of Australia’s great political leaders and thinkers.  Last week, he released a 165-page document Empowered Communities: Empowered Peoples recommending radical changes to government policies for Indigenous Australians.

 

Instead of policies being determined by bureaucrats in our capital cities and delivered by a largely non-indigenous support industry, the report calls for the decision making and its execution to be devolved to empowered communities.

 

The idea is that is the principle of subsidiarity should apply.  As Craig Ingrey of the La Perouse Local Aboriginal L...

March 22, 2015

I wonder why the focus of our solutions for social problems seems to be to ask strangers to deal with them and government to fund it.

 

The incidence of family violence in Broken Hill is met by calls to restore funding of a legal aid facility. The incidence of vandalism by 12-year olds in Kununurra is met by calls for improved juvenile detention facilities.

 

In both cases, attention to the root causes of the problems might be more effective – minimizing or preventing the problems rather than treating the consequences. In both cases, one wonders what family, friends, neighbours and workmates were...

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