Coalition Indigenous Affairs Policy

Earlier today the LNP released their internet filter plan. An 11 page document describing an opt-out system. That policy lasted less than five hours. Apparently despite the coalition having all their policies ready to go Messrs Abbott and Turnbull (his portfolio area) only read the policy the night before, and in Turnbull’s case a short time before he went on radio today (Thursday).

The Coalition also released their Policy for Indigenous Affairs. Again 11 pages long. A plan Mr Abbott has promoted is to create the “Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council” chaired by Warren Mundine. Bob Gosford has written on Mr Mundine’s ideas over at The Northern Myth.

There is not much detail in their policy. The Health “policy” is a little more than half a page long and very few of their plans are costed. Several pages of their “policy” document are used to bag Labor policies and programs (and some do need to be bagged). But their are a few costings mentioned over the forward estimates (4 years):

  • Up to $45 million to assist Andrew Forrest’s Generation One Indigenous training and employment program
  • $22mil to be spent in remote schools to introduce phonic based education models over 10 years
  • $22mil to expand boarding school opportunities through scholarships (means tested -compare that to maternity leave!)
  • $5mil to design a trial of Jawun’s “Empowered Communities Initiative”
  • From the LNP policy document:

    The Coalition’s Policy for Indigenous Affairs will invest $94 million over the forward estimates in a better future for indigenous Australians.

    If they are spending to introduce phonic based education over 10 years then it is not an investment of $94 million over the forward estimates. But still, some funds flowing in has to be a good thing. Right?

    It has been a busy day for the Coalition. They had promised more funding cuts and held a press conference to publicise them today. Eight pages of what was described as “political fluff“. The funding cuts document is here.

    The document shows the funding for the Indigenous training and employment is only over 2 years (Point 7.12). They think they will have full Indigenous employment by then?

    But the kicker is Point 9.3 Reprioritise Indigenous Policy Reform program saving $42mil over the forward estimates. What is this program? It is Indigenous Legal Aid. Despite rapidly increasing Indigenous prisoner populations they are ripping away their right to legal representation.

    Makes a mockery of their policy document investing $94mil into Indigenous Affairs “innit”?

    A Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs

    Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has pledged to take direct responsibility for Indigenous Policy…

    TONY ABBOTT: Under an incoming Coalition government, Indigenous affairs will be handled within the department of prime minister and cabinet. There will be, in effect, a prime minister for Aboriginal affairs.

    in a speech given to the Sydney Institute on April 15th.

    While there was not much detail it certainly sounds impressive. A Prime Minister forcing improvements in Indigenous lives, closing the gap. But what sort of people would in effect be running the portfolio?

    On April 18th at a Qantas function his Director of Policy Dr Mark Roberts made a throat-slitting motion and threatened to “cut the throat” of funding to Andrew Penfold the CEO of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation.

    Not only that, but when he realised there was a witness, Peter van Onselon, Mr Roberts apparently offered to become a deep throat from within Abbott’s office if van Onselon kept his mouth shut.

    The possible Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs only action was to not sack but only demote his Director of Policy.

    Makes me wonder how Indigenous Affairs will progress under Abbott.

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