Report card on the Intervention

Last week the mainstream media devoted tens of thousands of words to “analysing” the effects of the Brough/Howard NT Indigenous Intervention.

Today the NT Department of Justice published its March quarter 2008 crime statistics (also see my previous post on NT crime figures over the last 6 years). What effect has the Intervention had?  A very slight reduction in violent crime but nothing to celebrate given the expenditure of well over a billion dollars by the Federal government.  Assaults are down by 14% Territory-wide from the previous quarter (which hadn’t shown any significant reduction) and by 3% from the March quarter last year.  Sexual assaults are down by 12% from the previous quarter and by 10% from the March quarter last year.

It’s hardly surprising given that, despite all the ballyhoo and reasonably massive expenditure of federal funds, the actual number of additional police deployed to remote communities under the Intervention has been quite modest (see this useful Crikey evaluation):

THE PROMISE: “Law and order will be a central focus of the measures I’ve announced. There will be an immediate increase in policing levels. They’re manifestly inadequate. The existing laws, even with their shortcomings, are not being adequately enforced. We’ll be asking each state police service to provide up to 10 officers, who will be sworn as police in the Northern Territory.” — John Howard, press conference, June 21, 2007.

THE DELIVERY: The leaked Situation Reports claim night patrols are operating in all 73 prescribed communities.

A total of 55 communities have still received no extra police resources. 51 additional police have been deployed across just 18 communities, comprising 33 interstate police and 18 from the Northern Territory.

Only 18 of 73 remote communities have received any additional policing resources at all, so you wouldn’t really expect huge reductions in crime rates.  Moreover, many of the interstate police have already returned home or are about to do so. None of this is meant as a criticism of the intensity of governments’ efforts, in one sense anyway.  The problem is a huge one and not susceptible of any “quick fix” solution, although that’s not the impression Brough and Howard tried to create.

For the NT government, the effects of the Intervention actually create a short term political management problem at a time when they’re contemplating calling an early election to capitalise on a (rumoured) about to be announced huge new gas project and the opening of the new Darwin Convention Centre.  Although there have been modest-to-insignificant reductions in violent crime across the Territory, there’s actually been an (arguable) increase in assaults in the Darwin region where all the marginal seats are located (though a small drop in sexual assaults).  Assaults in Darwin have decreased by 16% from the December quarter but increased by 25% from the March quarter last year.

Predictably, CLP Opposition Leader Terry Mills is completely ignoring all the other figures and attempting to persuade the media to focus solely on the increase in Darwin assaults by comparison with the March quarter last year:

Opposition Leader Terry Mills says the Territory Government has lost the war on crime, and says Chris Burns is being dishonest in describing the crime statistics as good news.

Ignoring the political hyperbole, what we’re almost certainly seeing is a simple transference effect. Policing intensity has increased out bush and grog is harder to smuggle into communities, so some of the hardened drinkers have shifted to Darwin and Alice Springs. Everyone living in Darwin has noticed this phenomenon over the last 6 months: there have been many more drunken indigenous people on the streets, beaches and hanging around shopping centres. Mind you, authorities seem to have begun getting on top of the problem over the last 6-8 weeks, but there’s little doubt that this transference effect largely accounts for the increase in assaults through the March quarter.  Moreover, it’s a phenomenon I predicted as soon as the Intervention was announced (albeit with a certain amount of hyperbole myself):

What effect will banning alcohol from all remote remote Aboriginal communities have? I can tell you immediately, from 24 years living in the NT. All the drinkers would immediately move into town in Darwin, Alice Springs, Katherine and Tennant Creek, where there is no way they could be stopped from drinking without restriction.

I recall Harry Clarke touted the Intervention as a success not so long ago on the basis of STD statistics for the Northern Territory. I only wish I could agree that the figures look promising, because the incidence of child sexual abuse in indigenous communities throughout Australia including the NT (which was merely a convenient target given the Commonwealth’s sweeping constitutional powers over territories) is truly horrendous as the Australian Crime Commission has recently confirmed (if any confirmation was needed).  Sadly, STD figures do not provide any clear indication that the Intervention has made any significant difference:

The Northern Territory Government’s latest surveillance update on sexual health and blood-borne viruses revealed that 62 children aged under 14 were diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections in the Territory in the first six months of the intervention. Three of the children diagnosed with chlamydia between July and December last year [the first 6 months of the Intervention] were under the age of 10.

The figures also showed that total diagnoses of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and trichomoniasis declined in the second half of last year, compared with the first half, following the intervention. The Territory’s rates of sexual disease among both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal population still soar above the rest of the nation.

Between January and June last year, five children under 10 were diagnosed with chlamydia, compared with three diagnoses of children under 10 between June and December.

Rates of gonorrhoea also declined, with 40 diagnoses of children aged between 10 and 14 between January and June, compared with 27 diagnoses in the latter half of last year.

However, the report revealed that total new notifications of chlamydia and syphilis were higher overall last year. In contrast, new notifications of gonorrhoea last year had declined by 8.2per cent compared with the previous year. …

The Alice Springs district – which takes in remote central Australian communities first targeted under the emergency intervention – had overwhelmingly high notifications of STIs, particularly gonorrhoea and syphilis, between July and December last year [the first 6 months of the Intervention].

As I remarked above, none of this is surprising.  The causes of extreme violence and child sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities are complex, entrenched and longstanding.  Violent alcoholics and substance abusers are not cured overnight, nor do generations of functionally illiterate people (many of whom lack even basic oral English skills) suddenly become literate and employable.  Nor can endemic health, housing, nutrition, education and training deficiencies be overcome with a magic wand. 

Anyone who expected to see  quick dramatic reductions in violent crime generally or child sexual abuse specifically was naive. 

Nevertheless, despite all this seeming pessimism, I’m actually cautiously optimistic about the long-term outcomes of the Intervention.  Funding for remote indigenous housing has been significantly increased, and that’s certainly a key aspect of the problem.  There are some promising initiatives in education as well, and I’m also guardedly hopeful about some of the “mutual obligation” measures like welfare quarantining and tying benefits to children’s school attendance (a measure Brough announced but which hasn’t yet commenced).  In more general terms there are grounds for hope that indigenous issues won’t again be swept under the carpet and ignored for another 20 years.  Federal Minister Jenny Macklin seems to have a clear-eyed determination to tackle these problems, and is well served by experienced advisers. 

The key is finding constructive ways of addressing housing, nutrition, hygeine, education, training and job and enterprise creation.  Those are aspects I intend to cover in separate posts just as soon as I finish university exam marking in a few days time.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic at Charles Darwin University, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law) and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 12 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in he early 1990s.
This entry was posted in Economics and public policy, Politics - national, Politics - Northern Territory. Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Report card on the Intervention

  1. If the 51 additional police were outside Darwin thats about 1 extra cop for every 2,000 people – that seems like a pretty significant increase to me.

  2. I was told by someone last night when we were talking about the intervention and health care that there was in fact some real degree of improvement in that a fair bit of the health delivered was at a Tertiary level – that is procedures (operations) that made a difference such as cataract removal etc.

  3. One of the frequent complaints from aboriginal communities everywhere is that they are subject to wave after wave of research, surveys, PhDs and screenings but bugger all in the way of treatment. In fact many commuities have jacked up and won’t allow anything that doesn’t deliver increased treatment. After all its not as if we don’t know what the health issues are.

  4. Following the first para above, one of the possible ways to see if some improvements have resulted would be to get figures from Medicare (or whoever might have kept figures) to see if there was an increase in numbers of say cataracts performed. I picked cataracts just as one fairly simple procedure that delivers a big benefit lifetime for a once off intervention not requiring any significant after care or habilitation.

  5. jacques – as you can see I could not get the above to post as one post or even two. I had to split it up. I am posting from Opera but I seem to recall I’ve had the same problem posting from IE.

  6. Ken Parish says:

    FX

    One of the more cogent criticisms IMO of the Intervention strategy (such as it was) by a local aboriginal medical service doctor was that it was an extrvagantly expensive and unsustainable way to deliver either tertiary or primary healthcare to remote communities: groups of doctors supported by army units trooping around the countryside performing examinations of kids and (perhaps) delivering treatments in the field including some surgery where possible. I assume cataract removal would only have occurred if an eye surgeon and anaesthetist had been present. In any event, the point the medical service doctor made was that the primary health care needs of remote communities for the entire next decade could have been met fulsomely from the money spent in just 6 months of Intervention, instead it had all been splurged on short term measures that would have little if any effect on the ongoing problem.

    The problems that give rise to medical issues are entrenched and long term. I’m sure the Intervention doctors diagnosed some conditions which were capable of being treated, whether on the spot or by referral to hospitals in Darwin and Alice Springs. But those conditions occur on an ongoing basis, so that if immediate diagnoses were “bought” with money that could have been much more effectively spent on tackling the problems in a more lasting way that is clearly sub-optimal to say the least. Government funding is not a bottomless pit, it needs to be spent wisely and efficiently.

    The big problem with the Intervention was that Brough (quite sincerely it seems) characterised it as an “emergency” response and insisted on taking instant dramatic gestures whereby groups of police, medical teams and supporting army units moved through communities on short notice with little plannning and at enormous financial cost, to tackle problems that aren’t in fact an “emergency” in a way that would make it sensible to respond in that manner. It wasn’t a cyclone or tsunami or earthquake whose source/cause had either ended or was susceptible of being permanently stopped by large-scale short-term intervention. Almost universal illiteracy, idleness and boredom caused by lack of jobs and skills, gross ignorance and neglect of basic nutrition and hygiene, and extreme violence fuelled (though only in part) by alcohol and substance abuse are the causes of both child sexual abuse and medical problems generally. They were present in epidemic proportions before the Intervention and they’re present in just as great proportions right now.

    No long term measures have yet been taken to address them AFAIK. Hopefully, however, they are at least now being planned, and hopefully the public spotlight will remain on the issues (although the nature of media and public attention span suggests otherwise). The specific Intervention initiatives were in large measure misconceived, hugely expensive short term responses to long term problems incapable of being solved or even significantly affected by short term measures. It hasn’t even brought violence or child sexual abuse under control, unless you count the marginal reductions in the horrendous figures cited in the primary post as “under control”. Those figures would be a reasonable beginning if it was intended to keep pouring more and more policing resources into bush communities until every one of them had a permanent police station. But significant additional policing increases aren’t planned AFAIK because it would be prohibitively expensive. Brough wasn’t planning or offering to fund them nor is Macklin and the NT government cannot do so (it already spends vastly more proportionately on policing than any other state or territory). Indeed the deployed interstate cops are already starting to return home.

    In any event, I don’t really want to descend any further into sterile recriminations about the Intervention. What is needed now is focus on what sorts of sustainable measures can be put in place that WILL make a positive difference in the long term. That’s what I intend looking at in future posts.

  7. Sharon Alsop says:

    The system as it stands now will never work.
    It’s impossible to live a traditional nomadic life style in a community with a fish and chip shop. The elders have given up and the young ones are confused. Education is the only way for the future of the young people, as they are stuck between two cultures.

  8. Ken Lovell says:

    This is from the article you linked to, quoting the CEO of the Crime Commission:

    He said there instances of child sexual abuse including sodomy and rape, while a high number of sexual assaults, pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections had been reported among children under the age of consent. Intelligence had also confirmed examples of child sex offenders working with children in indigenous communities.

    Mr Milroy said children had been gang-raped by teenagers but the crimes were not reported by the victims for fear of retribution.

    The taskforce found a high level of sexualised activity and behaviour has been demonstrated by children, including seven-year-olds experimenting with sex and sex toys.

    Intelligence also suggested that children as young as seven were actively using alcohol and drugs such as marijuana, or passively smoking the cannabis used by their parents.

    The problem with all this is that similar observations could be made about numerous other communities in Australia – perhaps of ALL communities. The statements are exceptionally vague – what is a ‘high’ level, for instance? High in absolute terms or high compared to some benchmark and if so what? And of course intelligence can confirm ‘examples’ of something – it would be remarkable if it couldn’t.

    I can’t find any primary data on the Crime Commission site. Maybe it’s published elsewhere but if not, it’s completely unsatisfactory to have to rely on the interpretation of one person who may have a personal interest in presenting the issues in a certain way.

    All this is not to downplay the importance of indigenous child abuse, but surely if there was truly a ‘national emergency’ someone should be gathering and publishing comprehensive data? The figures cited of the incidence of STDs hardly suggest a rampant epidemic and as I say, I’d be interested to know how they compare on a per capita basis with the population generally and with other equivalent socio-economic groups in particular.

  9. Michael Kalecki says:

    I would like to say something original here but the Piping Shrike has beaten me to it.

    The initial reason for the intervention has been forgotten.

    Not surprised the Wild Report had as much credibility and did as much credible research as the Bringing them home report.

  10. John Grenfield says:

    The most important response to this review must be the collation the data to identify which “communities” are viable and which are not. Those that are not self-sustainable should be closed immediately. No more fricking “Reports” for the love of god.

  11. Patrick says:

    The problem with all this is that similar observations could be made about numerous other communities in Australia – perhaps of ALL communities

    For some reason that doesn’t ring true. Can’t think why.

    If you want a pessimistic outlook on our chances, read this report on Europe’s success improving the lot of its Roma communities:

    Fully 11 billion ($17 billion) is available from the EU’s social fund, with a further 23 billion earmarked from the regional development fund in coming years.

    Yet the main effect so far has been to create a well-paid elite of Roma lobbying outfits, fluent in bureaucratic jargon, adept at organising seminars and conferences and nobbling decision-makers. It has had little effect on the lives of the Roma themselves.

    I hope we can do better.

  12. Ken Parish says:

    Patrick

    Yes, Ken Lovell’s statement is absurd and an example of denialism every bit as noxious and potentially dangerous as the RWDBs’ behaviour on global warming etc. Chris Graham of the National Indigenous Times makes similar assertions, seemingly because he believes that admitting that child sexual absue really IS vastly higher in indigenous communities that in the general community would somehow unleash a tide of racism. But denying that a problem exists is itself an even more dangerous form of racism because it would leave a horrifying problem unaddressed.

    If you doubt the extent of the problem, read this study by Bowden and Fethers or this Oz article about the Australian Crime Commission’s efforts to uncover child sexual abuse or indeed Little Children Are Sacred. Anyone who actually lives in or works closely with remote indigenous communities, as opposed to armchair “down south” lefty experts, knows the extent of the problem. Nanette Rogers’ MSM whistleblowing was long overdue. The Ken Lovells of this world should be ignored as they deserve. Moreover, contrary to his view that “figures cited of the incidence of STDs hardly suggest a rampant epidemic”, 62 diagnosed STD infections among children under 14 in a quite small NT indigenous population does in fact indicate a rampant epidemic. Here’s what the experts Bowden and Fethers say:

    STI rates in Indigenous communities are orders of magnitude higher than in non-Indigenous communities. Surveys in remote communities have shown that up to one in four women have an STI (one or more of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis or trichomoniasis).2-4 In some Indigenous populations, STIs are so common that many medical newcomers find it hard to believe that the diagnostic tests they are using are accurate, or worse, that diseases of such endemic prevalence are regarded as normal for the group. …

    I’m certainly not denying that direct statistical/quantified research is needed, and I understand that is one of the ACC’s tasks. But child STD rates aren’t a bad proxy in the meantime. They show, like pretty well all other data, that this is a massive problem. As the Oz story noted:

    Australian Crime Commission chief executive Alistair Milroy says the National Indigenous Violence and Child Abuse Intelligence Task Force, which in February acquired star-chamber powers, has discovered high levels of under-reporting of abuse. “Intimidation, fear and threat of retribution is a key cause of under-reporting,” Milroy says. “If you live in a small community and disclose abuse, there is the real possibility of retribution from the offender’s family, from your own family or from your community.”

  13. ken – I was not disagreeing with the points you make in the above comment, in fact they are the points I was making the other night and have made before.

    I was just pointing out that despite my reservations there was (is/could be) some interventions, generally not primary care, that were short, sharp, one off and effective and that these could and should be quantified.

  14. Michael Kalecki says:

    Ken,

    The Report actually says itself that child abuse in the N/T is similar to other parts of Australia.

    However they then resort to hearsay and anecdotes to assert why chill abuse in worse in the N/T.

    you appear to be travelling a similar path.

    Child abuse is almost always under-reported anywhere. That is the nature of the beast.

    the intervention has resulted in no increase in the number of referrals to child protection authorities and no charges having been laid? if there is widespread child abuse then this is very curious

  15. homer – no one denies there is disturbingly wide child sexual abuse in some communities. How to do something effective about it is the issue.

    Do you drag everyone under 12 off to state care in Darwin, if so for how long, 2 years, 5 years 10 years?

    If the abuse is perpetrated by 15 year olds on 11 years old – do you drag both perpetrator and victim off to Darwin for 2 , 3, 4 years – if so what then?

    I want it to stop today like everyone else but wishing for something doesn’t make it happen.

  16. Patrick says:

    If you have time, Ken, I would be interested in your thoughts on whether the Roma example is as damning of our chances as it seems at first glance.

    I think not, because:
    – our problem is of a much smaller scale;
    – I don’t believe that the Australian community has anywhere near western and eastern european levels of racism and resentment; and
    – I don’t think our governments are as disposed to happy-happ-joy-joy beureaucratic nonsense as the EU and many of its constituent governments are.

    But the Economist’s conclusion is sobering:
    Such hopeful nibbles abound. But even an optimist would have to concede that Europe’s biggest social problem will persist for the lifetime of anyone reading this article, and probably far longer.

  17. Michael Kalecki says:

    FXH,

    I am not saying child abuse is not happening but I want some EVIDENCE that it is far worse in N/T than elsewhere before I would intervene in a community.

    Can you imagine the hue and cry that would happen if allegations of widespread child abuse occured in Sydney purely on what people alleged nd the absence of any evidence at all?

  18. Ken Parish says:

    Homer

    To the best of my knowledge no-one has claimed that chuild sexual abuse is worse in NT Aboriginal communities than in Aboriginal communities in the rest of Australia. It isn’t. In fact I said precisely that in the primary post above. The reason Howard and brough singled out the NT was because they had the constitutional power, not because the NT situation was unique. However, if you’re suggesting that child sexual abuse is no greater in the Aboriginal community than in the general/non-indigenous community, you’re talking nonsense.

  19. Michael Kalecki says:

    Sorry Ken but you appear not to have read all the Wild report.

    The comparison always was with the rest of Australia.

    Like the Wild report you are relying on hearsay and anecdotes for evidence.

    I am afraid that just isn’t good enough

  20. John Grenfield says:

    Michael Kalecki

    You are bypassing the key agents who demanded the Intervention in the first place; Aboriginal people, particularly women. I’m not sure how impressed they would be by white city bourgeois folk demanding an assessment of the rest of Australia – which does not choose to isolate itself from the rest of the community out the back of nowhere – before responding to the cries from those isolated communities themselves.

  21. Ken Parish says:

    “Sorry Ken but you appear not to have read all the Wild report.

    The comparison always was with the rest of Australia.”

    Err, care to give me a page reference Homer? The section of Little Children Are Sacred dealing with the extent of child sexual abuse starts at page 234 for those interested in checking for themselves. It cites a variety of types of data to make the case that the incidence of sexual abuse of Aboriginal children in the NT is significantly higher than for the general community. It doesn’t at any point assert, suggest or imply that the rate of sexual abuse of Aboriginal children in the NT is greater than that of Aboriginal children in other states/territories. Indeed the citing of the Gordon report (WA) and several other studies indicates at least implicitly that Wild and Anderson accept that this is not a problem unique to the NT.

    As for your suggestion that Wild and Anderson relied on “hearsay and anecdotes”, in fact they cited detailed statistics on STDs, earlier research both in Australia and overseas, age of mothers at birth, child protection data (children at risk and neglected), sexual abuse notifications (including stats on FACS investigations and outcomes), care and protection orders made by courts, foster placements and criminal justice statistics. If you think they relied only on “hearsay and anecdotes” it rather suggests that it’s you who hasn’t read the report properly.

    For those who don’t have the time or interest to check for themselves, here is the most salient passage in relation to comparative STD/STI rates:

    The NT Centre for Disease Control (CDC) provided sexually transmitted infection (STI) data in children in the Territory for 2000-2005. This indicated that the per capita rate of STI infection among all Aboriginal people is between seven and 30 times greater than for non-Aboriginal people (additional information from DHCS, received 28 August 2006).

    From 2001-2005, of all STIs diagnosed in Aboriginal people, 8% occurred in children under the age of 16 years compared with 3.2% for non-Aboriginal children. STIs are statistically more likely to be found in Aboriginal children. In actual terms, the number of STIs in young people in Alice Springs (particularly Alice-Rural) is particularly high, reflecting the high number of young Aboriginal people living in the region (see Figure 2 below).

    From 2001-2005, an STD was identified in 64 children aged under 12 years. Some 54 of these children were identified as Aboriginal, five were identified as non- Aboriginal and the cultural identity for another five was not reported. The figures represented 0.3% of all Aboriginal and 0.15% of all non- Aboriginal STI cases.

    I should also note that the STI rate for 12 and 13 year old Aboriginal kids is much higher than for those under 12. Thus, as I noted earlier there were 62 such notifications in 207 and more the previous year. Typically the rate of STIs for 14 and 15 year olds (still under the legal age of consent) is around 200 or more per year. As Wild and Anderson note:

    On the basis of the available data, NT sexual health practitioners have developed the view that sexual activity:
    in a person under 12 years is highly likely to indicate abuse
    in a person aged 12-13 years is a grey area requiring close examination of the situation
    in a person 14 years or older is often consensual in nature, but may still indicate abuse (additional information from DHCS, received 28 August 2006).

  22. Michael Kalecki says:

    you might look at page 24 then go onto page 242.

  23. Ken Parish says:

    Page 24 contains recommendations numbered 22-31. None of them contain an assertion or implication that sexual abuse of Aboriginal children in the NT is higher than sexual abuse of Aboriginal children elsewhere in Australia.

    Similarly with page 242. It deals with several matters but again contains no statement or implication that NT abuse rates of indigenous kids are higher than abuse rates of indigenous kids in other parts of Australia. In fact a statement on page 242 is fairly clearly inconsistent with your claim (see words in bold):

    The proportion of substantiated cases of sexual abuse has consistently been between 5% (2005-06) and 8% (2001-02) of all substantiations (25 of 464 in 2005-06). In regards to cases involving Indigenous children, 4% (15 of 356) of all substantiations in 2005-06 were classified as sexual abuse. Sexual abuse cases make up similar proportions in other jurisdictions (AIHW 2007a) (with the exception of West Australia) where 16% of Indigenous cases were classified as sexual abuse in 2005-06.

  24. Michael Kalecki says:

    page 27,

    In the time available, the inquiry has preferred to concentrate on what is perceived to be the real task- prevention of sexual abuse, rather than historical cataloguing and statistical analysis of precise incidents’

    page 242

    It is interesting ( and concerning) to note that the present number of substantiated (TPS: indigenous and non-indigenous) cases labelled as sexual abuse in the Territory has been consistently been below 50 cases since 1997-98- despite increased awareness of the issues.
    the low proportion of substantiated cases may be due to:
    – a generally low prevalence of sexual abuse in Australian communities ( which this Inquiry would dispute_
    – a reluctance to report
    – difficulties in obtaining concrete evidence of sexual abuse which limits the number of both indigenous and non-indigenous cases that are able to be substantiated.

    Seems to me Ken you are in a lot of trouble

  25. Ken Lovell says:

    Ken you apparently have a strong interest in supporting a particular position and I won’t bother commenting further, except to say that your offensive response to my first comment was ridiculous. How anyone could interpret it as ‘denialism’ is beyond me. Moreover my request for sources of information more reliable than a News Ltd report of a speech, which BTW I thank you for citing and will read with interest, makes it clear I was not pretending to be any kind of ‘expert’, ‘lefty’ or otherwise.

  26. Ken Parish says:

    Homer

    On no view do the passages you cite suggest that Wild and Anderson are asserting that sexual abuse of Aboriginal children in the NT is higher than sexual abuse of Aboriginal children in other parts of Australia. By what means do you derive such a meaning from the passage you’ve quoted?

    Ken

    Others can read your words and interpret them as they will. I found them a repugnant example of denialism. The same might be true of Homer, if I could actually work out what he’s trying to say.

  27. C.L. says:

    Homer hates the intervention because it was a Howard initiative. If Keating had come up with it – rather than reading that speech for Sydney luvvies Don Watson wrote for him – Homer would recommend it be extended to Papua New Guinea.

  28. Ken Parish says:

    Ken

    The Little Children Are Sacred report is hardly an obscure source for me to have assumed familiarity on the part of someone commenting on this topic. Nevertheless, having read and considered the evidence, I see you’re prepared to alter your position, something not many people seem to manage for some reason. It’s greatly to your credit. Certainly it conclusively indicates that my snide comparison with climate change denialists like Blair and Bolt was unfair. Both of them are completely impervious to evidence or rational argument.

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  30. Michael Kalecki says:

    Ken,

    The report looks at the rates of child abuse for Aboriginals and non-aboriginals and found little difference.

    Indeed in media interviews and in the report as I quoted they did not se it as their job to get the evidence.

    We have had over 11,000 children looked at yet no arrests. given that there was supposed to be systematic child abuse this is amazing.

    The Wild report simply adopted the research capabilities of the Bringing them Home report.

  31. Ken Lovell says:

    Well at the risk of belabouring the point Ken, I didn’t ‘alter my position’ because I never had one. I pointed out the unsatisfactory nature of the ‘evidence’ in the link you provided. In response you linked to some much better data of which I was previously unaware and now I am better informed. Isn’t that a good outcome?

    The world is full of long reports about issues that interest me but unfortunately I don’t have time to read them all. Not every blog comment that points out the shortcomings in data is a snide attempt to discredit the main message. Sometimes a request for better evidence is exactly that, no more and no less.

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