Symbolism triumphs over substance in attacks on NT intervention report. The report from independent review of the federal Intervention into Northern Territory Aboriginal communities is being attacked before the ink is dry. Yet almost all the attacks seem to be ignoring the evidence about what has been happening on the ground, and the views of the people that live there, instead treating policies such as universal compulsory quarantining of welfare payments and scrapping the permit system as sacred totems which cannot be touched, regardless of the evidence. — Andrew Bartlett

Can we get it right this time? The question that now needs to be asked of the Rudd Government is this: did such a hastily designed policy as the Northern Territory Emergency Response even deserve to be reviewed? More time went into the review process than went into the drafting of the legislation in the first place. If the Rudd Government believed the Intervention to be a good policy, surely it should have given it longer than 12 months to judge whether it was producing positive outcomes. If Rudd believed it to be a bad policy, why didn’t he go to last year’s election pledging to scrap it? — New Matilda

How did Paul Toohey’s “Last Drinks” get it so wrong? I’ve now had a re-read of Last Drinks and think that my first impressions were wrong and that Paul has missed a too-rare opportunity to provide a meaningful, uniquely insightful and balanced overview of what has happened in the NT since 21 June 2007. Last Drinks provides no such valuable overview or insight – this is obvious to me from Paul’s writing, including, but certainly not limited to, his fast-and-loose approach to the objective, and readily available, facts and the truth; a tendency to see conspiracies lurking behind every decision or policy he dislikes; a sneering contempt for his sources – particularly Aboriginal people and; perhaps most damning of all for a ’senior’ journalist on a national newspaper – lazy, sloppy writing indicative of a real lack of interest in providing a valuable commentary from his privileged position. —  Bob Gosford, The Northern Myth

Questionable answers. It never ceases me amaze me that elements of the left keep arguing for the same old failed policies which have contributed to the emergency situation in many communities. The ideology of self-determination, backed up by unconditional welfare is a guaranteed recipe for ongoing unemployment and alcoholism. As Marren Mundine has urged, only a tough response will be enough to change bad habits and break the cycle of poverty. — Leon Bertrand

Peter Fray

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