On the same day that Victoria announced a separate-but-equal Koori County Court, the South Australian government released the Mullighan Report on Aboriginal welfare in the northern part of the State.

The Report is deemed so shocking that it comes with a warning label “WARNING: This report deals with allegations of abuse of children while in state care and in places contains graphic details which may be distressing.”

Sadly, there are no surprises, just a continuation of the horror that we have already seen in the Northern Territory and Queensland. The abuse is largely of Aboriginal children by Aboriginal adults or adolescents. It is widespread. Outside the family groups but within the community, there are sections on S-x for petrol, S-x for food or marijuana and S-x for money for gambling. There were cases of abuse within families.

We have now had similar reports or situations in SA, WA, QLD and NT.

This s-xual abuse of Aboriginal children has to be stopped now. Period. If cultural factors are the reason then the culture is wrong and must be changed. More likely is the total breakdown of family and community values. This is not a Third World problem, it is much worse.

Let me spell it out clearly. There is now overwhelming evidence that Australian Aboriginals living in remote communities s-xually abuse Aboriginal children, sometimes their own. This is not the White Man abusing them, this is their own people.

The only solution on the table is the Federal intervention launched by the Howard Government and apparently supported by Rudd. It must be extended to all Aborigines in all parts of Australia. The Australian Constitution gives the Federal Government power to make laws for Aborigines under section 51(xxvi). The power is there, it must be exercised now.

Let me make two footnote comments.

First, when Jenny Macklin was in opposition I particularly disliked her as the typical extreme-Left trendy politician. I was pleased that she lost the Deputy’s job to Julia Gillard. Well, I was wrong. As Minister of Indigenous Affairs she has been strong and magnificent. She is Labor’s Brough.

Second, we should put aside the signing of Treaties, more saying Sorry, 2020 Summits and other futile symbolic gestures. Let us develop a 12-year plan of action to save the Aboriginal children. In 2020 we can then all celebrate our success together. If we cannot start today, the Aboriginal race will be destroyed by 2020 and there will be no need for symbolism, just mourning.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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