For the past few weeks, the Rudd government has been conducting consultations with Aboriginal communities across the Northern Territory about the future of the intervention and, in particular, the reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act.
To growing howls of "rigged", brave government bureaucrats have shuffled into hostile towns throughout the Top End and Central Australia, armed with fact sheets, travel allowance dockets, and earnest facial expressions. And, as it turns out, a Power Point presentation.
As we now know, courtesy of a juicy government leak
, the consultations are being staged, at least in part, to strengthen the Rudd government’s case should it be dragged into court once it meets its promise to reinstate the RDA.
There are more than a dozen slides in the presentation, covering all aspects of the NT intervention from the grog bans and community store reforms to land leasing and pornography.
And while the slides are technically "publicly available" -- they are, after all, being shown at public meetings that the media are being prevented from entering -- attendees have told NIT
that government bureaucrats have been rather cagey about allowing the slides to be copied or distributed.
Fortunately, a set of them fell off the back of a truck. The slide show contains some important information and questions for communities to consider. But it’s perhaps most notable for what it doesn’t say… and for some silly pictures accompanying them.
Firstly, the illustrations.
One of the slides depicts an Aboriginal woman waving at a police car as it drives past. Strangely, the woman’s middle finger appears not to be raised in the drawing, and she has what looks suspiciously like a beaming smile on her face. The illustrator is apparently unfamiliar with police-Aboriginal relations in a jurisdiction where 83 percent of the prison population is black.
Another slide depicts a white man wearing a big coat and waving about some p-rnography. A young Aboriginal child cowers behind his mother’s leg. Viewers might expect the accompanying text to read like a World War II propaganda poster, warning of the evils of the Eros Foundation. Unfortunately, it’s nowhere near as interesting, simply warning that some children in some Aboriginal communities have seen some stuff they shouldn’t have. Hold the presses -- a kid somewhere got his hands on some p-rn.
The slide neglects to mention that much of the material emanates from Fyshwick in Canberra, the ACT’s red light district which is situated just a stone’s throw from the very hall where the laws were made which now depict all Northern Territory Aboriginal people as so deviant that they can’t be trusted to shield their children from porn.
The slide also neglects to mention that Fyshwick routinely experiences its busiest times of year when parliament is sitting.