Professor Peter Botsman has worked as a volunteer for the Indigenous Stock Exchange since 2003 and currently edits Australian Prospect. With all the commentary on yesterday’s ‘Sorry’ Peter’s words are well worth absorbing – particularly by our pollies?
Today, in his regular ISX Update email Peter writes:
“All over Aboriginal Australia everyone knows that Labor is good on symbolism, changing laws and big programatic spending and bureaucratic decisions but Labor is not good at empowerment of grass roots communities. It is not good at cutting through red tape to make things happen.
On the other side, the Opposition has the opposite problem. It is prepared to take action but it still works with an assimilationist mentality and that was very clear from Brendan Nelson’s speech yesterday and is also clear from the Northern Territory Intervention. It does not support a vision of sustainable Aboriginal communities, except those components which match non-Indigenous sentiment or understanding.
A joint party political exercise will be especially positive in bringing about constitutional change in this country but we cannot expect leadership from politicians about what is needed within Indigenous communities; that would result in just another Indigenous social policy disaster.
What to do day two? The government has started energetically moving forward in Indigenous affairs. But let us not make the same social policy mistakes all over again.”
Six points based on thoughts from people on the ground in Indigenous Australia:
1. Aboriginal people need their own sustainable economic base that will enable them to make their own decisions and assessments about their own lives.
2. Governments are too opinion poll driven and not critical enough about the way polls are framed.
3. Arselickers. (Comments from Sonny Sims after a late invitation from Minister Macklin’s office).
4. Passive spending is not enough. The most significant problem with the way government is thinking at the moment is that social problems have to be accompanied by forms of economic enterprise and sustainablity.
5. Education is not a cure all.
6. Key industries need to be targetted for employment.
NB Peter’s discussion of these points – well worth the read – is available as a downloadable file Apology Day Two (24kb)