NACCHO Aboriginal Community News Alert : WA Liberal MP slams ’noble savage’ ideal

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A Liberal Federal MP has lashed out at indigenous welfare programs, saying taxpayers shouldn’t fund “noble savage“ lifestyle choices of remote communities.

Tangney MP Dennis Jensen believes the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous outcomes will never close with government dependency, calling for strong economic strategy.

Download the Senate 20 Page Closing the Gap Speeches  From all Parties

He agrees with former prime minister Tony Abbott that taxpayers shouldn’t fund the “lifestyle choices” of Australia’s remote indigenous communities.

“We allow our Aboriginal Australians to live in situations, and support situations financially, that we would support with nobody else,” he said on Monday.

Addressing parliament on bills to release funds for government programs, Dr Jensen said if the “noble savage” ideal was true, indigenous Australians could pursue it without any taxpayer funding.

Liberal Party values were to seek equality of opportunity, not of outcome, he said.

Recalling a trip to Broome, Dr Jensen told of a local chamber of commerce tour when he was driven past sections of land dotted with smashed alcohol bottles and litter.

Despite the indigenous elders being “disgusted” by the situation, the groups causing the mess could only be moved on every three days because the land was Native Title, he said.

“If the indigenous elders are disgusted by this and it’s their land, why aren’t they doing something about it?” he asked.

Dr Jensen believes indigenous Australians must participate in the “real economy” and policies must move away from government dependency and welfare centricity.

Getting kids into school and adults into work should be the only priorities.

Dr Jensen criticised his government’s own Empowered Communities program, saying indigenous people were not empowered when they depend on the government for everything.

Leyonhjelm slams indigenous ‘fairy tales’

Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm has lashed out at special treatment given to indigenous Australians, arguing “fairy tales” are encouraging them to consider themselves special.

In a speech in the Senate on Monday, Senator Leyonhjelm responded to the annual Closing the Gap report by accusing the government and indigenous leaders of maintaining policies that foster dysfunctional indigenous communities, attitudes and behaviours.

The gap would close a lot quicker if indigenous Australians were treated like refugees, who are expected to join mainstream Australia, he said.

Senator Leyonhjelm said governments encouraged dysfunctional attitudes when lamenting injustices done to previous generations of indigenous Australians.

“Hanging on to injustices that weren’t done to you is paralysing and shouldn’t be encouraged.

“The government continues to treat Aborigines in rural and remote areas like museum exhibits and perpetuates violence, child abuse and neglect.”

He also slammed government language that cast Aboriginal offenders as victims, labelling it irresponsible and insisting anyone could reject violent behaviour and rise above their upbringing.

Affirmative action programs, including targets for government employment of indigenous Australians, encouraged indigenous people to get ahead through “special pleading” and non-indigenous Australians to view them as charity cases, he said.

“Governments tell Aborigines fairy tales, which encourages them to consider themselves special.

“They say Aborigines were undoubtedly the first Australians, as if they know exactly what happened 40,000 years ago.”

Senator Leyonhjelm said many indigenous Australians were getting out of “hell-holes” in rural and remote communities but accused the government of holding back the exodus with a push towards local empowerment.

He said policies requiring child protection departments to consult indigenous organisations prior to removing children and arrange care with extended family or local indigenous families were enabling child abuse and neglect.

“The idea that a kid is better off growing up illiterate and unhealthy in an Aboriginal household, rather than literate and healthy in a non-indigenous household, is destructive racism,” he said.

© AAP 2016

 

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