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Geez, I hope it works; that will provide the impetus to spread it wider. I attended a tourism related business forum the other day, and there was quite a bit of discussion as to why there is little aboriginal involvement in it. There are some real success stories, but not many, yet the industry provides real jobs, with an entry for low skilled people combined with the necessary "ladder of opportunity". Lack of education is always thrown up as an problem but there are many unskilled jobs available; it seems to be the will that's missing. The point was made that this lack of drive is certainly not confined to aboriginal children; all parents want a better life for their children. I made the point that, in our area at least, even after the loss of jobs in the pastoral industry, many aboriginal people had jobs in the construction industry. Most of these people are retired now, yet their children have largely not followed in their footsteps despite a supposedly better education; why? I honestly don't know; the many aboriginal parents and grandparents that I know are in despair. My wife and I fretted over our own children but, at 28, the last one's pulled through; lot's of semi urban and rural aboriginal kids don't. Power to Pearson; I wave the flag for him, but I know that in many areas he's not popular and is condemned for his views.

Maybe they need to look at reasons why the parents are not sending their children to school, instead of just looking to "punish" them by taking away their welfare payments. That sounds very "Aborigines protection board" like to me.

I'm unsure too Ian why with better retention rates and education of late, aboriginal kids are still lagging behind the general community gaining employment. One reason would be the very low historical base they're coming off but there's obviously other reasons not motivating enough of them.

Can't believe it's purely a lack of opportunity though, unless they're refusing to travel to gain employment. There's plenty of government assistance and employer incentive to do so.

Yes Steph, on the surface 'punish' would appear to be the operative word but I believe it's a misnomer. It's encouraging to witness the recent advent of SRA's, whereby communities are volunteering to join schemes which employ the same principle of conditional payments.

This would indicate those aborigines consider such initiatives benevolent rather than punitive. As is the Government's intention. I think it's fair to say there wouldn't be an Australian alive who didn't wish only the best for our indigenous.

The fact communities are volunteering for these agreements, after years of inertia-creating handouts is cause for optimism though. As everything else has been tried and failed dismally, we can only wait and hope these radical trials are the circuit breakers aborigines have long deserved.

Early mail looks promising...

I think that at least part of the 'aboriginal problem' is caused by hammering the victim mentality into aboriginal people from a very early age. People like Pearson have recognised this and moved on, but too much influence is wielded by the Mansells and Tilmouths of this world.

Hi Dirk, I certainly agree with you but can I point out that, unlike Mansell, Tilmouth is the consumate political animal. I have known him (Tilmouth) well, for over 30 years, and can assure you that he's much in the Pearson vein. When he was negotiating jobs for aboriginal people when the Granites gold mine started, I have personally heard him berate people along the lines " righto you ********, I've pushed for the jobs for you, get off your black **** and get out there"!! This was not just for effect and was over many years - and a long time ago now!! But he took to the Westminster system like a duck to water - and got a lot of results - but it takes a lot of people to come out and call a spade a "bloody spade" for a long time before the wheel will turn. Cheers,

Context is everything... unless you know of the situation on the ground in remote communities, it's very hard to get an acurate feel for the measures put in place for Aboriginal peoples.

Well and good to say opportunity exists... it's true, if what happens is that those Aboriginal people measure opportunity in EXACTLY the same way you do. In remote communities people have access to very few CONSISTANT services... rather they access a bandaid box of services, and when that runs out - it's hurry up and wait time till the next band aid box arrives. This could be six months away! To build skills - meaningful skills - in a communitiy that lacks them (opportunity or no) takes time and commitment, believe me when I tell you that this isn't happening in any fashion that REALLY addresses the issues faced in these communities.

The playing fields often expected, are not - and will never be - level between the world of remote, rural (or urban) Aboriginal and Mainstream communties. This was never the case in the first place. Australians have had over two hundred years to develop their social wellbeing and communities to that which it is today. Now it's not perfect, but it allows for opportuntiy, as this was part of our education - I work with people who have NEVER been a part of that education, and some still who are struggling to find it's relevance. How do you convince a people who have never been valued to step up and take a place in their 'own' society? Many people I know live in these communities because they feel they don't belong anywhere else... opportunity is for most of these fellas a double edged sword - and you might as well throw yourself on it for all the possiblities it gives them in THEIR world, where THEY are coming from.

Having said that, if a community decides that IT (the WHOLE community) wants more for their young fellas and takes a stand togther to do so, more power to them... they're at least having a go. But this risks blaming the victims for their 'f@#$ups... something we can do all too easily. Don't kick these people in the teeth if they try and fail, as this type of decision requires some real grit - right in there amongst it at the coal face - it requires COMMITMENT, SUPPORT (SRAs are meant to be two sided affairs) and understanding. Not some fool on the hill squawking about what should be done. Time will tell, how well the community was prepared for their plan to work, and how far into their future the plan has been projected. Seven Ps of planning apply here as well as anywhere else I've worked... let's hope they've been applied effectively and this mob haven't been set up to fail - AGAIN!


Quite right Belongum, and the problem is compounded by only really tackling one or two things at a time. Not much good having a nice new school if most of the kids are crook because the health sisters have all bolted; usually due to extreme violence. Or kids unable to study because there's 20 people in a house built for 6 - even if they're all sober and/or the sewerage etc actually functions. I have long advocated that a better approach may be that a lot of money should go into one community at a time, to bring ALL the community aspirations up to scratch in at least one place. Sounds harsh to start with because lots of others will miss out, but hindsight tells us that stopgap measures, delivered on the run (often for political expediency) are doomed to fail, so that money is ultimately wasted anyway. But as Pearson rightly points out, it's not just money; you touched on it - the people on the ground HAVE to be able to see a better future for their kids, if not for themselves.

^Belongum: PS enjoyed your blog, bookmarked and will return when time permits. Cheers,

Belongum, great to hear an incisive perspective from the frontline, similiar to Ians experience. Will check out your blog in depth on my days off. Had a quick squizz and looks very interesting.

Cheers Gents... for the kind words. I'm relatively new to this blog world business, but it appears to be a stimulating place to 'empty you head' every now and then. I'm also finding out that it's good for filling it up also... very interesting seeing other peoples perspectives on the many things in life.

Feel free to 'drop on by' fellas, and have a yarn.

democratic values are learned, and it's not an easy system....
being a responsible parent is teaching your children to respect the institutions built for them to use...
if u don't participate you are not using the democratic system and shortchange yourself...
but...if u feel u have found a better way...let me know....thankyou

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