Tag Archives: australia

No Illusions Podcast #50 – Aboriginal Suicide

I wonder how many of you are, like me, feeling terrible about the indigenous affairs situation in Australia.

Gundjeihmi hand stencil

Gundjeihmi hand stencil

My guest today is Justin O’Brien, Executive Officer of the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation (www.mirarr.net). The Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation (GAC) represents the Mirarr traditional owners of the Ranger uranium mine area, the site of the proposed Jabiluka uranium mine, much of Kakadu National Park and parts of Western Arnhem Land. They are the royalty receiving entity for the Ranger uranium mine and intimately associated with the political and social advancement of Indigenous rights.

We talk about some of the factors relating to indigenous youth suicide and the general need for more non-indigenous Australians to spend time with our indigenous citizens so we can better understand their situation.

 

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Suicide of young Aboriginal Australians at epidemic rate.

Young Aborigines are four times more likely to commit suicide than non-indigenous Australians. Experts and aboriginal elders believe a variety of reasons drive aboriginal youth to suicide, including a disconnection from traditional culture and land.

In Western Australia’s Kimberley region suicide has reached epidemic proportions, with one suicide every week on average since the end of December 2011.

(via AlJazeera)

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More Catholic Cover-Ups Revealed In Australia

Four Corners has revealed more Australia Catholic Church rape cover-ups. 

George Pell is in denial, as usual. Of course we cannot trust the Catholic Church to investigate its own misdoings because covering up their crimes is part of the culture of the organisation.

Paul Kennedy nails it:

So what will change?

Who will stand up for these children, raped and then tortured by silence and denial?

Do not expect the Catholic Church hierarchy to alter its time-honoured global policies.

As I discussed with Dr. Wayne Chamley from Broken Rites back in 2009, if any other organisation had systematically covered up child rape for decades, the government would throw the book at it. Why does the Catholic Church get special treatment from Australian politicians? Are they *that* scared of losing the Catholic vote? We need a Royal Commission like Ireland.

 

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Clive Palmer On Asylum Seekers

Good ol’ Clive Palmer, who often sounds like he’s batshit crazy, actually made some sensible comments about Australia’s asylum seeker policy (another reason I’m embarrassed to be an Aussie these days).

Mining magnate Clive Palmer says the Federal Government should allow asylum seekers to fly to Australia to have their claims processed.

A political stalemate has gripped federal politics since two asylum seeker boats capsized, killing almost 100 people.

Mr Palmer does not support offshore processing, and says the current system puts asylum seekers in a difficult position.

He says even though many asylum seekers can afford plane fares, they are not allowed to fly so they turn to the riskier alternative of trying to reach Australia by boat.

“People who are in Indonesia and want to come to Australia cannot buy an airline ticket because the Australian Government stops them,” he told the ABC after the Liberal Party’s national conference.

“All that needs to happen is that the Government needs to stop telling airlines and other people not to give people safe transport.

“If they come down here and if they’re refugees, that’s one thing. If they haven’t got a legitimate claim, they can go right back on the plane the next day.”

(ABC News)

I don’t know who created this graphic, but it’s been doing the rounds on Facebook and it’s pretty damning.

The bottom line as far as I’m concerned is that we have a responsibility to accept genuine refugees, to make their travel to Australia fast and safe, and to process their claims for asylum quickly and efficiently once they are here.

For frak’s sake, people – we are one of the wealthiest countries per capita on the entire planet with the lowest population density to boot. What is WRONG with us? Why are we so mean and churlish? Why are we so selfish and scared?

I seriously think we, as a nation, are suffering from some kind of clinical depression. We have everything going for us and yet we seem to have lost our basic human decency. It’s just not acceptable.

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Australian Aboriginals On “Bottom Rung”

Via @mikeb476:

A new international report has ranked the life circumstances of Aboriginal Australians at the “bottom rung” and warned that Aboriginal children are “23 times more likely” to face jail than non-Aboriginal children.

The report also notes that federal government programs still falling short to address extreme hardship within Aboriginal communities.

The London-based rights organisation, Minority Rights Group International, in its latest annual survey of Aboriginal communities globally and released in Bangkok, says Australian Aboriginal communities “occupy the bottom rung” of a range of social indicators.

Aboriginal Australians are also over-represented in the criminal justice system and are 14 times more likely to be sent to jail than non-Aboriginal people.

Read the full article here.

As Mike tweeted, it’s a “proud day for Australia”. I’m certainly not an expert on the challenges we face as a nation improving the living conditions of the original inhabitants of this country, but I’ve been trying for years to get my head around it. Recently I’ve been reading “The Politics Of Suffering” by Peter Sutton, an excellent primer, and I’ve tried to get a podcast series up and running on the subject for many years. The recent news that the government has extended the NT intervention for another decade is very disturbing, even though Sutton seems to have changed his mind on the original intervention by the Howard government and believes it was necessary to prevent further decline. I really don’t know enough about it, but it disturbs the hell out of me and I’m embarrassed as an Australian that the oldest civilisation on the planet is suffering like this on our watch. What disturbs me even more is when I talk to fellow Aussies about it and I get, more often than not, the impression that many of my country folk have just washed their hands of the issue and seem to believe our fellow citizens somehow deserve the situation so many of them are in. What does this say about us as a people?

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