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  • Peter Francis Fenwick

Being Responsible for Ourselves and Our Families

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 doing to allow such anti-social behaviour to persist.

Is there no-one prepared to take responsibility ? Is there no-one prepared to tell the wife-basher “ Mate. This is not acceptable behaviour” ? Is there no family, friend or neighbour prepared to offer the bashed wife a helping hand? Is there no-one prepared to take 12-year old boys aside, inculcate traditional values and give them more productive activities, tasks and responsibilities so that they can mature into good citizens? What are the parents doing? What are the grand-parents doing? What are the friends and neighbours doing? Is there no-one who cares for these young people and their future life?

Has the welfare state sapped our moral strength? Do we believe that all problems can be addressed by strangers and paid for by others?

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