As if living out his fantasy for a “final solution” for Aboriginal Australia, PM Howard has used the excuse of a report of abuse of children in the Northern Territory to do what? To send in troops, police, ill prepared bureaucrats, and unmarried doctors to check on the integrity of the genitalia of Aboriginal children. More than that, the Howard government has taken control of 73 Aboriginal townships, compelling them to submit to leasing their territories for five years. The central government needs to take over land to stop child abuse? More than that even, non-Aboriginals no longer require permits to enter Aboriginal territories–what this means is that, ironically, sex tourists who fancy Aboriginal children can now have a go. Alcohol and pornography are to be banned, and yet most Aboriginals who drink do their drinking in white-owned establishments in towns, not in their territories. Troops to prevent Aboriginals from sexually abusing their children? And yet the report that offered this entry point for Howard indicated that non-Aboriginals had also sexually abused Aboriginal children. The same “Little Children Are Sacred” report listed 97 prescriptions for tackling child abuse, and not one of them involved troops, land takeovers, or scrapping the permit system.
Howard’s concern for child welfare is more than just questionable. After all, this is the same Prime Minister who locked up Afghan children fleeing the Taliban along with their parents in desolate, blazingly hot prison camps in the outback, in places such as Woomera in South Australia. Afghans fleeing the Taliban pre-2001 were labelled “economic opportunists,” but suddenly, after September 11, 2001, the same John Howard was the first to offer troops to support a US invasion of Afghanistan, and the Taliban suddenly really were “evil.” In Australia, an Aboriginal child received a prison sentence for stealing magic markers, called “texters” in Australia, under a “three strikes” policy since he had stolen minor items before. As we all know, prisons are ideal places for rehabilitating disadvantaged children. Now they can all live in prison once more.
No other people in Australia–and child abuse is not a monopoly of Aboriginals, needless to say–suffers troops in their homes to deal with their domestic crises. Aboriginals are being singled out for special treatment indeed, as children, as cripples, and as wards.
This latest Trojan horse does not come to say “sorry,” it comes to say “I am here to look after the welfare of your little ones.”