When it comes to problems in the aboriginal community of Australia, the government is always wrong. It is wrong when it allows an aboriginal organisation to look after its own people. It is wrong when it intervenes in aboriginal communities when small children have been sexually molested by their own families and friends. It is wrong when it wants to educate young aboriginals so that they can find jobs instead of being on the dole. It is wrong when it brings doctors and nurses into an aboriginal community and tells the locals that children should have their health problems seen to.
Anything that the government of Australia tries to do is regarded by the aborigines as disrespecting their culture. Education, health, trying to stem alcohol and drug addiction, protecting children from abuse- that’s apparently being disrespectful.
This is all very discouraging to a government which has poured billions of dollars and man hours into the problem. The aborigines wanted an apology. Well, they got it. So has anything improved? Not one bit, because what the aborigines are asking for is more money so that they can look after themselves. When you consider how bad they were when their own organisation failed to do this and instead filled its own coffers, you do have to wonder whether it isn’t time that we told the aborigines some home truths.
The truth is this. It’s time that the aborigines followed jobs on offer. Jobs don’t follow people. People go to jobs. If there are no jobs in their own areas they should be prepared to move to where they can earn a living. As long as people are paid not to work, then work will not be an attractive option. As long as aborigines allow themselves to depend on welfare they will have no real autonomy and without autonomy there cannot be self-respect.
It is now one year since the government took the brave step of intervening in the abuse of little children. As I write, aborigines are holding protest marches against the intervention.
So here’s my apology. Sorry we tried to help.