Aboriginal tragedy (letter)by Richard CongramNews Weekly
, July 22, 2006
As one who has long regarded the National Civic Council as a bastion to ensure the triumph of common sense over nonsense, I was very surprised and disappointed to see the political correctness disease present in News Weekly
In "No quick fix for suffering Aboriginal communities" (Canberra Observed, News Weekly
, July 8, 2006), Health Minister Tony Abbott's realistic, sensible and responsible call for a policy of "new paternalism" was described as "inflammatory and unhelpful".
That criticism is all the more extraordinary in light of the article's later statement that indigenous communities have been the victims of a cynical social engineering exercise over the past 30-odd years.
Indeed they have, and prior to the beginning of that disastrous experiment their living standards and conditions were far above the deplorable and hopeless depths to which they have now sunk.
Yes, the previous official policy was, of necessity, paternalistic; but it was motivated by compassion, in exactly the same way as we were and are paternalistic towards our children.
No fair-minded person suggests that Aborigines should not be allowed to nurture their own history and culture; but before that is possible they must be lifted up from their present abject environment of poverty, illness, ignorance and self-harm.
Aboriginal leaders have been given considerable autonomy but have failed their people; and billions of taxpayers' dollars have been squandered over very many years in a vain attempt to improve the catastrophic situation.
It may be a truism, but we do elect governments to govern. They must ignore the misguided protestations of civil libertarians, naïve church groups and NGOs if the Aboriginal tragedy is to be ended. And, distasteful though some may find it, success can be achieved only through a policy of kind but firm paternalism.Richard Congram,