Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sorry no longer the hardest word

At last - an inspiring and moving recognition of the stolen generations. Kevin Rudd made me proud to be Australian again after Howard's hideous white arm-band view of history. I look forward to taking more steps with our amazing Indigenous brothers and sisters into a new and better Australia. Brendan Nelson gave an offensive and deeply inconsiderate, partially incoherent speech referring to upsetting and most extreme abuse and black 'sacrifice' for a better Australia. How insulting and inappropriate. Every day we read of white men driving their kids into dams and hiding their wives in 44 gallons drums while the mistress moves in, etcetera etcetera, but that's just as irrelevant to 'sorry' as Brendan's mean-spirited ravings were. The fact that old paperwork may be missing or inadequate and tiny children and people who spoke no English can't explain their family circumstances when children were removed via force and subterfuge, separated from siblings and all family and tribal groups, frequently abused including sexually and often forced to work for stolen wages as unpaid slaves doesn't mean no widespread racially-based injustice didn't occur. It did. Rudd said around 50,000 black kids were taken, and this affected 10 - 30% of Indigenous children. That is a form of genocide. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.


David said...

I agree Jen, Rudd deserves his 70% approval rating and Nelson's 9% is way too high in my opinion, though you'd assume Nelson's 9% are just the dyed in the wool sticks in the mud and people who didn't understand the question. What do you think of the government sticking to the 'no compensation' rule though? I think I see all the issues, and I still think that even on totally pragmatic terms, there should be further consideration given to this - it might bite them on the bum.

Jen Jewel Brown said...

Hey David, great to bump into you here. The compensation issue is a really difficult one. The courts currently allow cases to be filed and worked through individually. Without taking away from the truly unfair and racist circumstances of many of these removals, each is a separate circumstance, and there must be some latitude for removing children of any colour if they're being badly mistreated. Little children are sacred, yes, but history has taught us that parents and family are usually - not always - the best carers. If a court finds compensation is due then it should be paid. Blanket cover would be hard to apply I reckon. What do you think? - Jen