Howard's motivation is not the most important thing.
But what do you do when a child is being subjected to abuse this very day? What do you do when a child is likely to be abused next week? What do you when the abuse is going to happen the week after next? What do we do when there are scores of children involved across the communities, the states and territories? If it were your child at risk of this suffering, would you think this a matter of emergency?Read the whole thing.
This is not a moral panic. The abuse is real. This is not a media or political beat-up. The report from Pat Anderson and Rex Wild confirms a reality of suffering. Something has to be done to relieve the suffering now, not in six months, not in two years. Now.
We can’t rehabilitate people from alcohol or drug dependence immediately. We can’t fix the poor education immediately. We can’t fix up the poor health immediately. But we must stop the suffering straight away. Everyone, from the Prime Minister to his bitterest opponents, centres their preferred strategy or response on the fate of the children. No one can escape this fact: the fate of the children is the bottom line. Whatever one thinks of Howard and Brough, their strategy is justified on the basis of the fate of the children. If not Brough and Howard’s plan to stop the suffering, then what alternative plan should be pursued? Here most of the critics fall into a deafening silence. They have vociferous views about what will not work, but they are silent about what will work. So the sum total of their response—“we don’t need missionary paternalism again”, “prohibition doesn’t work”, “indigenous people must consent to the changes”, “we need more government services”, “we have to provide rehabilitation”, “we have to deal with intergenerational trauma”, “we have to deal with things in a holistic way”—is inaction and procrastination while children’s lives continue to be ruined. It is not that the points made by the critics are wrong—they are often correct—but their criticism does not translate and often cannot be translated into action.
I wrote another article about noel pearson's analysis of aboriginal issues here