Recent Reading

Here’s some (i.e: when I remember to note them) of the articles I thought might be of interest I have been reading (also viewing or listening) recently that haven’t made it to the blog.

I hope you enjoy them.

Learning in Both Worlds looks at the loss of bilingual education in the Territory with the first four hours now in English. I think they are being optimistic that government will do the right thing – to change back to bilingual education.

ABC footage taken in Yuendumu in 1976 when language was strong. “m” is like two anthills, “a” is like a lump on the side of a tree.

Indigenous literacy gap must close is an opinion piece from a parent who moved from Perth to Broome and the huge disparity in literacy she found between the Aboriginal students compared to the rest.

Subsidised medicines: are we paying too much? looking at the cost of the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme. Is it putting consumers at risk? Can we afford the cost? This podcast from “Australia Talks” on Radio National is worth listening to.

Desert shrinks get global gong. This Alice springs News article from August reports on the Sixth World Congress for Psychotherapy honouring the Aboriginal ngangkari (traditional healers) of the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjtara Yankunytjatjara region with its Sigmund Freud Award the contribution to the field of psychotherapy.

How to write about Aboriginal Australia is a satirical view on how to.. well write about Aboriginal Australia. “First, be white.
If you are Aboriginal, you can certainly speak on behalf of every Aboriginal person in Australia but it is best to get a white person to write down what they think you should be saying.” and carries on from there.

Interstate Exodus, a recent program on Living Black looks at how the Aboriginal Health service at Coober pedy is coping with the more than doubling of the transient population from 3600 to close to 10000 as people flee the Intervention in the Northern Territory

50 Social Media Case Studies Worth Bookmarking. While there is no examples involving health or health education some of these case studes are worth a look.

Snobs and whingers: the new Australia. There’s nothing better than when I reach populated areas of sitting down with a freshly brewed coffee, fresh fruit and a newspaper on the same day it was printed and going out to dinner with friends. What you consider the normal things. So normal that you need to complain when the pattern on the froth on the cappucino is not quite centred. This article is in the same vein

Northern Territory Emergency Response Evaluation Report 2011. I’ve only scanned through this government “evaluation” but they seem to think a few surveys and a few calls for an opinion substitute for good research. Here’s an example: “A survey of 85 government and service providers conducted by the Allen Consulting Group found that 71 per cent of respondents thought that engagement approaches improved over time” – nice to consult the end user.

The authors of the chapters can’t be blamed – they can only work with the data they have.

The intervention is dead, long live the intervention This article by Jon Altman, though responding to a Closing the Gap report is a nice counterpoint to the Intervention evaluation above.

A Personal Journey

Bev Manton the Chairwoman of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council today personally handed to Oprah Winfrey a DVD showing the bits of Australia she won’t see on her tour down under.

ABC 783 Alice Springs Radio Alice Springs

The part of Australia Oprah won’t see is the living conditions of her “brothers and sisters” living in the Northern Territory in third world conditions as experienced by Bev on a recent fact finding mission.

Here is a 7 minute short of the 15 minute video that was given tom Oprah. The full 15 minutes will be available from December 20.

The Intervention and Compulsory Acquisition in Town Camps

This video was recorded in July 2009 a month before the compulsory acquisition of homes in the town camps was supposed to begin.

This video was produced in defence of Tangentyere Council who was forced to relinquish the homes. It would be interesting to go back and interview these women again about whether benefits have actually been seen, and if so if it was what was promised.

It is an interesting little snapshot

The Intervention and Employment

The Intervention (or as it became to be known – Northern Territory Emergency Response) was brought in to improve the lives of remote Indigenous Australians within the Northern Territory. No where else as the Federal Government could not take over State’s rights, only the Territory. The first move was to suspend the Racial Discrimination Act.

So many things were to be changed. Improved housing, more jobs, more kids at school, even eating more vegetables.

And none of them were. New housing took forever to commence, repairs have been downgraded, school attendance is worse than ever and the government’s claim that more fresh food was sold in remote stores was disproven.

One unfortunate, but I guess a predictable consequence has been the increase in discrimination with 25% of the Aboriginal population experiencing some form of discrimination.

Which brings me to Income Management and the Basics card where a proportion of your wage is quarantined and can only be spent in certain places for essentials. You have or rather had no choice. To bring this law in the Racial Discrimination Act was altered. The government to show they are good world citizens has to reinstate the act and bring in Income Management for everyone in the NT. Just it seems if you are not aboriginal you can’t or won’t be let out of it.

Even those who work for CDEP “wages” have their income “managed” and this has been causing some disquiet with rallies in several places around Australia. Let’s put that sentence in simpler terms. Aboriginal people in remote communities who have to work for their welfare benefits are not allowed to obtain all their benefit. This has led to claims of being treated like slaves and the Intervention enslaves whole communities.

The government claims that over 2000 new jobs have been created. However remote Indigenous Australians disbelieve their claims.

Here is what the population of Ti Tree think of the Intervention, employment prospects and Income Management

More articles on this can be found here

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