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Thursday
Jun212007

Draconian Measures to Counter Australian Aboriginal Child Abuse

ani4.gifA report fromThe Sydney Morning Herald announces a radical move by The Australian Government to curb child abuse due to alcohol and substance abuse on aboriginal communities in the Northern teritory. Some see this as setting the aboriginal cause back 40 years but if you knew of the terrible things that are happening in some of these communities you would endorse this move. We have 11 and 12 year old girls being shared around as virtual sex-slaves, we have babies being raped, we have women bashed and abused on a regular basis and we have all the other violence associated with alcohol, petrol-sniffing and drug-taking. And where do they get the money for it you ask? From Centrelink - Social Security. I'm all for this. Something had to be done. they are destroying themselves. Read on -

Prime Minister John Howard has announced a six-month ban on alcohol in indigenous communities across the Northern Territory.

The move is one of a series of measures in response to a major Northern Territory report last week which revealed widespread child abuse in indigenous communities, fuelled in part by alcohol.

"We regard this as akin to a national emergency," Mr Howard said in Canberra.

Detailing measures to be taken, he said: "In relation to alcohol the intention is to introduce widespread alcohol restrictions on Northern Territory Aboriginal land for six months.

"We will ban the sale, the possession, the transportation, the consumption and [introduce the] broader monitoring of takeaway sales across the Northern Territory."

The Federal Government would legislate to intervene in the territory to enact measures to combat child abuse, Mr Howard said.

He said 50 per cent of welfare payments through Centrelink to parents of children in affected areas would be quarantined to prevent all their money being spent on alcohol.

"The obligation in relation to that will follow the parent wherever that parent may go so the obligation cannot be avoided simply by moving to another part of Australia.

"Effectively, the arrangements will be that that 50 per cent can only be used for the purchase of food and other essentials."

Mr Howard also announced the Commonwealth would make welfare payments dependent on children attending school.

"We're going to enforce school attendance by linking income support and family assistance payments to school attendance for all people living on Aboriginal land," he said.

"We will be ensuring that meals are provided to children at school, with parents paying for the meals."

The Federal Government would take control of Aboriginal townships through five-year leases to improve property and public housing, Mr Howard said, adding that compensation would be forthcoming if required.

Mr Howard said the reforms would include scrapping the permit system for common areas and road corridors on Aboriginal lands, and marshalling work-for-the-dole participants to clean up Aboriginal communities.

231239-251045-thumbnail.jpgPossession of X-rated pornography would be banned and all publicly-funded computers searched for evidence of stored pornography, he said.

Mr Howard said law and order would be a central focus of the dramatic measures.

"There will be an immediate increase in policing efforts," he said.

"We'll be asking each state police service to provide up to 10 officers who will be sworn as police in the Northern Territory."

The Government will also set up an Australian Government sexual abuse reporting desk.

Mr Howard said there will be a meeting next Thursday of the intergovernmental committee on the Australian Crime Commission.

"At the meeting our minister will ask the ministerial council to formally refer this issue to the Australian Crime Commission to allow the crime commission to locate and identify perpetrators of sexual abuse of indigenous children in other areas of Australia."

Mr Howard said at cabinet's next meeting Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough would present further proposals to extend the conditionalities of welfare payments to other welfare recipients.

"To ensure that these payments are used for the benefit of the children," he said.

He said Parliament would come back during the winter break, if needed, to deal with the legislation required to implement the initiative.

Mr Brough said cabinet would consider conditions on which measures requiring welfare payments to be devoted to the benefit of indigenous children would be extended to all other welfare recipients.

He said that particularly applied to the family tax benefit, but included all payments intended to assist children.

"The Australian population has a real desire to see that money only spent on the welfare of children. That has been our clear objective," he said.

"In addition to that is of course school education. You shouldn't have a black or white boundary. Every child should be going to school and if this can help do that, then they are two areas we are current examining and we will have further to say after the cabinet."

Seizure of land 'will take indigenous people back 40 years'

Sydney Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council chair Rob Welsh said he had not yet seen the details of the proposed measures, but that the seizure of Aboriginal land would take indigenous people back 40 years.

"It's total control of Aboriginal destinies. They've been trying to do it with housing right across Australia.

"That land has cultural significance because there are things that connect people to the land over centuries."

He said Aboriginal people had little trust in governments to deal sensitively with land.

"As soon as we start giving it back it's going to be mined and have waste dumped on it."

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