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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Surprise, surprise, the whitefellas got the money!

Can I have a balance sheet please? One that shows how much money designated for aboriginal people has gone into whitefellas pockets. We blame aborigines for wasting money. We disband ATSIC because of perceived insufficiency of accountability in relation to funding. (We don't disband Parliament because ministers and members of parliament rip off their travel and accommodation entitlements.) And this government is ignorant and unprepared to learn from the experience, both black and white, of those who have gone before. They are doing their dough in administration costs. Small amounts of money are outweighed by huge administration costs. How many aboriginal people and how many white people were involved in the administration?

I never agreed with the establishment of ATSIC. This was a Clayton's form of power - the power you have when you don't have any power. It was also a vehicle for a more sophisticated form of government handout. For what the administration of ATSIC cost, I wonder what effect that money would have had if it had been invested in electoral education for aboriginal people and in encouraging existing political parties to install aboriginal candidates in winnable seats. And I do not agree with some aboriginal people who want a guaranteed number of seats as in New Zealand.

In the massive swing to the right in the Liberal Party some years ago people, like Fred Chaney, who had some knowledge of aboriginal affairs were stymied. Where does sound knowledge of Aboriginal affairs lie in either the House of Representatives or the Senate? Certainly aboriginal representation in the major parties is conspicuous by its absence.