“Who is going to stand at the gate and see whose kid has the cleanest face?” he said. “Who’s going to impose the penalties, if there are any?”
As Indigenous leaders (well, some of them anyway) tack rightward and engage with the Howard government’s social agenda, I’m reflecting on my earlier argument against this turn. But I see no reason to change my opinion. I agree with Geoff Clark. Such policy initiatives sacrifice liberty for benefits, and ought not to be applied only to one part of the community, based on race. No doubt I’m one of the whitefellas Noel Pearson would rather leave this debate, but I still think the tragic situation of Indigenous Australians is an issue for all of us. Anyway, I’d be interested in reading readers’ views on the philosophy behind the application of mutual obligation to Indigenous policy, and whether this approach will work.
ELSEWHERE: There are some other issues in Indigenous Australia.
UPDATE: Patrick Dodson describes the Mulan agreement as “lunacy”:
Mr Dodson said the deal, which links $172,260 in Federal Government funding for petrol bowsers to a demand that children wash their faces twice daily and families keep their homes free of rubbish, belittled Aboriginal people. “It smacks so much of the old days when the superintendents of missions lined people up and checked whether they’d cleaned their teeth or put their rubbish bins out at the right angle,” he said.