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Federal

May 22, 2009

Jenny Macklin explains her new Indigenous policy to Walter Slurry

Jenny Macklin on Closing the Gap, as told to Walter Slurry.

The Rudd Government, unlike the Coalition, is committed to closing the gap and providing our Natives with the suite of policies and provisions that I believe is in their best interests.

I do acknowledge that over the years we may have sent conflicting messages to the blacks of the Northern Territory: live in your traditional communities, be forcibly relocated to corrupt town centres; have autonomy, let the police and Canberra public servants run your life and quarantine your incomes; access specialised employment assistance, get off your lazy black arses and get a job; we will improve your living conditions, we can’t build a single house with proper amenities, and so on.

So let me just add this, as the PM would say. This is a complicated issue made worse by the Global Financial Crisis. But nobody should question my integrity and commitment to Aboriginal people.

I remind all Australians that I represent the seat of Jagajaga, a seat which derives its name from the Aboriginal expression for “Labor hack”. My understanding of the needs and aspirations of our darker skinned brethren is beyond question. Some of my best acquaintances are Indigenous Australians, or know an Indigenous Australian. That’s why Kevin Rudd appointed me to bring all my maternalistic empathy to helping these poor souls assimilate into a more urbanised environment.

Importantly, the new measures involving the relocation of thousands of traditional desert Aborigines will not in any way diminish their ability to make bark paintings for tourists or play footy in the AFL. The Rudd Government is a proud supporter of your self-achieving black person.

I have also consulted widely with many of the more educated, Baptist-schooled, suit-wearing representatives from their tribes; and the policies I have announced have been supported by these representatives and/or Noel Pearson.

Moving Aboriginal people who live on small outstations on their traditional land, where they practice their traditional culture and mores into bigger town centres is a proven formula for better economic management of these people.

My staff of middle class urban white chicks has analysed how similar policies operated overseas, and the advice I have received is that in the United States, the system of Native Reservations has worked a treat. You’ll notice that the situation viz-a-viz native Americans is so far off the media radar that President Obama is yet to mention them as a political or social issue.

Kevin Rudd wants a similar situation here in Australia, only without the casinos and gambling establishments.

Critics of my policy of relocation should look no further than the Bantustan policy, which has been a resounding success in Southern Africa. You will note that they now have an all-singing, all-dancing Mr Jacob Zuma as their Chief, so the proof is in the pudding, or the bully-beef, as my Indigenous adviser so wittily noted.

The fact is, that in these tough economic times, providing basic services to Aborigines who chose to live away from white society: away from booze, drugs, sniffable petrol, white po*nography, racism and tourists is just not feasible or practicable.

It would obviously be in all our interests if all Aborigines could be relocated in one Reservation or camp and that way we could better service all their needs.

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