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Howard's new Tampa children overboard : Martiniello's reply to Dan Fitzpatrick

We published an article by Jennifer Martiniello here at LeftClick --Howard's new Tampa children overboard are our Aboriginal children -- which was challenged by Dan Fitzpatrick . LeftClick received this note today from Jennifer in reply.

Hi Dave,
nice to hear from you. Some comments below on Dan Fitzpatrick's comments,

1. It is now (27/6/07) apparent that the Howard/Brough Plan does not extend to forced anal/vaginal xaminations. The proposal is for consent to be sought from parents for children to have blood tests, and where STIs are identified, that permission for further investigation may be sought.
Howard's plan as announced makes a specific point of compulsory sexual health tests for Aboriginal children under 16. So far Neither Howard nor Brough have rescinded that statement. Brough has added to the statement that he would consult the AMA as how those health checks might be carried out. The Little Children are Sacred Report does not advocate sexual health checks at all. In fact, according to last night's interview on lateline with Rex Wilds, QC, co-author of the report, the Howard solution addresses NONE! of the 97 recommendations in the report.
2. There has never been a proposal that the Feds gain leases over Tangentyere's camps.
Last week the Tangentyere Council announced it had formally rejected the Howard Government's proposed $60m for them to sign over the land on which 17 Town camps stand to become Federal Government controlled leases. Among their reasons were the fact that Aboriginal people would lose all rights and control to their lands that are currently guaranteed to them under Australian Common law, that the redevelopment of those lands as outlined by the Howard Government meant a wholesale eviction of Aboriginal people from their homes on those lands, it did not guarantee housing for Aboriginal people as redevelopment housing rentals were proposed market value and beyond the income of the people living on those lands, among others. The terms of Howard's proposal amounted to dispossession and displacement of Aboriginal people and a takeover of their land. A similar proposal in June 2006 to Yirrkala and Nhulunbuy communities in NE Arnhemland proposed 99 year leases of Aboriginal lands in return for a dubious redevelopment scheme purported to facilitate Aboriginal people owning their homes, despite that fact that the average wage in those communities through CDEP is lower than the dole and precluded any possibility of Aboriginal people being able to pay a mortgage at current market value rates (c. $1300 month).
3. Greg Andrews is not and never has been a member of Mal Brough's personal staff.>
Andrews was, and remains, a member of Mal Brough's staff. He eventually made an apology to the Senate, which was not the subject of a media release, and no apology was made to the community of Mutitjulu. Neither had the Howard Government acknowledged that an AFP 3 week inquiry, including over 100 interviews, at Mutitjulu last year concluded there was no evidence of the occurrence of child sexual abuse on that community.
4. Mal Brough is not and never has been a Senator.
A typo, have just mentioned the Senate Committee Inquiry. mal Brough is the Minister for Indigenous Affairs.
5. nether the Mutitjulu Clinic nor the Youth Centre were defunded.
The youth centre and the health centre at at Mutitjulu were both defunded in July 2004, followed by a circus of administrators. Brough's statements about the child care centre refer to the proposed childcare centre, very hastily in the last couple of months, and which remains unstaffed and therefore unopened.
6. Politicians have always been and will always be opportunists. We have to get used to it.
Not good enough. It is the responsibility of all decent minded people to stand up for what is right and uphold the human rights of all Australians, including the politicians. The public are not helpless, we all have a voice and a vote. And politicians who engineer circumstances calculated to deprive people of the human rights and rights under common law are not opportunists, which infers that they take opportunities as they arise. The Howard Government, despite the many report on just these issues and their recommendations during all of its time in office, has implemented none of them, and has, in fact defunded Aboriginal health to the tune of $400m over the last 3 years, effectively closing down successful programs on the communities and deliberately engineering the state of communities we have today. In other words, premeditated planning to create the place and time of military and police intervention (neither of which are in the 97 recommendations either).
7. It is completely inaccurate to claim that only 15% of Aboriginal people drink. The percentage is closer to 50%.
In 'Rebutting the Myths' these statistics are quoted as drawn from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and are correct. 'Rebutting the Myths' also explodes a range of other contemporary social mythologies about Aboriginal people which are derived from the Social Darwinism and Biological Determinist Theories of the past 200 years, and survive today in uneducated right populist opinion and have become instutionalised.
8. Tennant Creek had no takeaway alcohol sales on Thursdays from 1995 to 2006.
I was in Tennant Creek in May 2006 , including a Thursday, and saw Indigenous and non-Indigenous people walking out of the grog shop with cans and casks. People at the ICC and other community health and education leaders there were complaining bitterly about the lack of responses to Indigenous proposed controls over alcohol.
9. Tennant Ck and Katherine both currently have other, but lesser, alcohol restrictions.
That's not what those communities are saying, and they should knowm they live there.
10. The degree of child sexual abuse in the non-Aboriginal population, whilst scandalous, is nowhere near as high as the level in the Aboriginal community.
Sydney morning herald, June 27, Dorothy Scott, the Director of the Australian Centre for Child Protection at the University of South Australia, and an expert adviser to the Northern Territory inquiry that produced the explosive report on child abuse, joined other experts in calling for a federal response to the plight of all children at risk because of parental alcohol and drug abuse. "This is not just an 'Aboriginal problem' - one in 10 Australian children are in this situation," she said, "and what is needed is a ban on alcohol advertising and improved funding for treatment services."

Two leading child protection organisations yesterday released a 12-point plan urging the Federal Government to adopt to better protect all children.Joe Tucci, chief executive of the Australian Childhood Foundation, said that with 266,000 annual reports of child abuse and neglect, 50,000 of which were substantiated, "child abuse is a national emergency, but not only for children in indigenous communities".Professor Chris Goddard, of Monash University's National Research Centre for the Prevention of Child Abuse, said: "A national emergency requires truly national solutions sustained over time."
11. No homes are to be surrendered under the hamfisted Howard/Brough emergency proposals in the NT.
Given the stunning lack of detail in the announced Howard solution, loss of Aboriginal homes cannot at this point be determined. However, given the persistency of the Howard Government's attempts to coerce Aboriginal people into giving over their lands into 99 year leases,and the Howard agenda to acquire control of Aboriginal lands for openly stated expanded Mining and nuclear waste dumping, it isn't far from Howard's mind. Part of the solution announced specifically states that it will be compulsory for communities to sign over their lands to 5 year leases to the federal Government. once Howard has control, he can do anything. 12. No Aboriginal towns in the NT have been taken over by the military or are under military occupation.We have already seen the pictured coming out of communities on Monday night of police rounding up people and throwing them into the backs of paddy wagons. Despite Brough's contention that the army is yet to arrive in the communities, the military are already occupying 5 Alice Springs town camps, Mutitjulu and several other first target communities.
13. You are right - it is not Israel, Palestine, Gaza or the West Bank.
No, it isn't, so why should ordinary decent Australians allow Howard to behave as if it were, using extreme military and police intervention to converge on Aboriginal communities as if they were Palestinian settlements invaded by Israel? Let's put the record straight here -Northforce, the north Australia contingent of the Army, which includes Aboriginal soldiers, has been working COLLABORATIVELY and with full consultation WITH Aboriginal communities to build infrastructure in indigenous communities and providing training for community people in skills and maintenance since the 1980s - 20 years no less. This was the brainchild of our current Governor-General, Michael Jeffery, when he was Commander of Northforce. The Howard Government terminated these programs, along with the provision of infrastructure, education and vocational programs that accompanied them.

This email may contain creative spelling!

Jennifer Martiniello
e: kemarre@optusnet.com.au

1 Com:

Jennifer Martiniello | June 30, 2007

Hi Dave,
just one comment - Dan Fitzpatrick is obviously committed to his own political agenda here. Fortunately millions of Australians don't share it. I invite everyone logging in to this blog to do their own research, talk to Aboriginal people, and seek out the responses coming directly from the communities themselves. One directly from Mutitjulu Community leaders yesterday is below, followed by one from a senior Walpiri man -
Leaders of the Mutitjulu community today questioned the need for a military occupation of their small community

A voice from the heartland

The Age yesterday received the following letter from a 13-year-old girl, written on behalf of her grandfather, a Warlpiri man from the NT.

I COME from one of the largest remote communities in the Northern Territory. Mal Brough and his team consulted the wrong people. He talked to only a handful and some are offenders themselves. How can we come to meeting when I can't tell time? We wanted to say things but he left so fast. Some of the things he said are not what we agree on. Traditional owners cannot speak for us.

We never heard of all this rape and constant drinking here. That stuff happens mostly in the town areas. There is some but not the same as he says. Maybe same as Sydney or Adelaide.

If we have problem we always sort it out ourself. Spears stop even the worst of them. If bad stuff happens, they wait till night. Police don't patrol at night and our night patrol can't get money. Me and my family feel safer (with) night patrol than police. Police treat us like dogs sometimes.

Most drinking here is done by whitefellas who have drinking permit and we know they touch our kids but they all stick up against us when we talk. How can we talk when they are our boss for work? They are all drinking mates as well. Nurse drink with mechanic, store manager, police and more.

We don't like our kids to enter the white housing areas in our community. They don't even want to live with us. This makes us feel less than them.

But they love us at royalty time when they sell us a cheap bomb car for thousands. Some cars don't last a month. I sell a painting for $50 and in town my painting sell for $1000.

I love my kids same as you. Kids are my future. I do everything I know to help my kids, but Howard calls me a raper and will take half our money as punishment. Is that fair? How would you like that to happen to you?

Our law is strong in communities and we have strong rules for marriage. I want my kids to learn but why should our kids get education? There are no jobs here anyway, all the big jobs are taken by whitefellas.

They won't give us a go because they want the money. We don't have a say in our own programs and the salary money goes to their mates they bring up. We don't even know some of these people who work here. Who picked them? Like we are not good enough. We have ideas too and we want to do things but no one can help us.

If we make mistake, is that OK? That's how we all learn, by mistake. In the city you get many choices, sometimes we don't get a single choice. If we report any problems here, no one listens. They call us troublemakers or radicals. They rubbish us to our own family. They say our own family is against us, they try to make us feel shame.

I can't speak good English but I want a say in things. We can stop most of these tricks and whitefellas from touching our kids and selling us porn and grog, but permit system gone now.

Maybe it's best to just keep quiet and say nothing. We never took up a gun before because fighting is wrong. But I think they want a war with us now. What did we do wrong? How can I lead when I'm scared too? I want you to come to our communities to see how things really are and hear our stories. I think you will cry when you hear them.

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