Emergency response to Aboriginal child sexual abuse
In the news right now is our Prime Minister's 'emergency response plan' to the growing crisis of Aboriginal child sexual assault, particularly in the areas of the Northern Territory.
Like many, I find myself at a total loss to come up with a reasonable solution to the many problems that plague our Aboriginal population. Thus, I feel unqualified and self-indulgent to criticise because I have no better ideas.
However, a few things come to mind as I listen to the debates about it all.
Firstly, an 'emergency' solution may be appropriate for an emergency. But emergency solutions cannot work in the long-term, precisely because they are emergency solutions.
Secondly, child sexual assault in Aboriginal communities seems to me to be a symptom of a deeper problem. Yes, it's a problem worthy of attention in it's own right, but if the underlying problem is not addressed long term, there's not much point.
Thirdly, there has been a lot of talk about the children who are suffering. But I haven't heard anyone use this term: "Our children." Aboriginals and the rest of Australia still rarely use the common 'we'.
Last: As little as 100 years ago, white settlers went on 'hunting parties' regularly in the Northern Territory. Their targets were Aboriginal people. As little as 70 years ago the Australian government held a 'White Australia' policy. As little as 50 years ago, the Australian government removed Aboriginal children from their families to be brought up in institutions and gotten ready for a life that was deemed 'appropriate' for them. Aboriginals have only had the vote for 50 years.
Methinks the word "sorry" might go a little ways towards remedying some of the wrongs.