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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Meanwhile back in the First Nations......

.....the care of children has a whole other meaning than the issue of childcare in mainstream society. Children are still being taken from their families and the groundwork is being laid for the continuing high representation of Australia's First Nations in the prisons of Australia. Two points to consider here:
  1. Democracy is government with the consent of the governed. The consent of aboriginal people is seldom considered in this country. In fact, until 1967, the Commonwonwealth of Australia constitutionally excluded them from the rights of citizenship. There is no Aboriginal representation in the Australian Parliament although in the Northern Territory of Australia representation of Aboriginal people in the Parliament (although they are clustered only in one party - and that party currently governs) almost exactly matches in proportion the Aboriginal component of the Territory's population. What sort of voice do Aboriginal people have in the government and governance of Australia?
  2. Economic participation. Voices are being raised in this regard. Two leading voices - although not the only ones - are Noel Pearson and Warren Mundine. Their voices need to be heard while recognising that while some of their points are universal in nature other items they discuss should not be taken as one size fits all. The other problem is that white politicians have been quick to grab on to some of Pearson's agenda - because they coincide with and reinforce their own agenda. Other ideas and other people whose ideas and experience are just as valid - and in some cases precede Pearson's - are sidelined. Whitefellas have to deal with themselves and remove themselves from centrestage.

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