What an Aussie hero is Noel Pearson. Stop the grog, apply decent normal standards –kids fed, clothed and made to go to school and do homework — get the bruvvers back to work so they don’t have time to loll about getting p-ssed and abusing kids, wives and anyone else who can’t defend themselves.

The 7.30 Report transcript can be found here.

If non-indigenous Australia, including the federal and Queensland governments, do not provide the support Pearson has asked for, it will be a real scandal. Beware Messrs Howard and Beattie, Henry will hold you to account on this one!

This was our last line on Wednesday, and never have we seen so fast or so positive a reaction.

Age writers say:

Aborigines in remote communities will be subject to sweeping new controls over their lives in an unprecedented intervention by the Howard Government to stop sexual abuse of indigenous children.

Declaring the indigenous child-sex crisis a “national emergency”, Prime Minister John Howard said yesterday drastic action was required in isolated Northern Territory townships because “in the end, the duty of care to the young of this country is paramount.

This is a watershed. No one can predict the outcome, but failure to act would have been a national disgrace. Indeed, one cannot help observing that the problems in remote (as well as less remote — e.g. Alice Springs) Aboriginal townships have been known about for decades — one had only to visit them to see.

Prime ministers Bob (“No child shall live in poverty”) Hawke, Paul (“You’re a maggot-infested scumbag”) Keating and John (“Get a job”) Howard all stand indicted on this one.

But congratulations to John Howard for having a red-hot go. We await Peter Beattie’s response about the Queensland problems — Noel Pearson’s particular focus — with interest.

Defence: new ships

Two years ago, there was a contest between Victoria and South Australia as to which represented the best option (in terms of national interest, of course) for constructing the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD). The decision unsurprisingly went South Australia’s way, specifically, to the soon-to-be on the block, Commonwealth-owned Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC) of Collins submarine fame.

The Victorian Government was unimpressed. Important to note here that nobody knew precisely what was going to be built — the design would be chosen later. As a senior defence bloke told Henry: “This is Defence, remember … we do it our way”.

Soon afterwards, it was announced that the preferred design would be selected from Australianised versions of the F-100 (from the state-owned shipyards of Navantia, in Spain), and the “Evolved Design” variation of the Arleigh-Burke (Gibbs & Cox — USA).

Both crews promptly set up camp in a Chinese-walled building in Felixtow in Adelaide and started work on costing out their versions of the ship with ASC personnel. The decision that was announced on Tuesday represents the selection of the preferred design.

Henry has spent many hours grappling with the implications of all this and presents his findings here

Read more at Henry Thornton.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey