Thursday, June 28, 2007

Lack of Consultaion on Indigenous Intervention

Since Mr Howard announced Federal intervention in Indigenous communities in the NT, there have been a a number of developments. You will remember from my previous post on 23 June that I said that therre were a number of things that Mr Howard needed, and were not announced; and that he would be leaning heavily on logistics experts to cover the gaps.
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This week there have been a number of meetings involving stakeholders: indigenous people, health & welfare experts, lawyers and church groups among them. Together they have raised serious questions about Mr Howard's methods, in particular about his lack of consultation wit the very people he says he wants to help. That is his style: he did it when announcing the national water initiative, with the conflict on the wharves (although he probably consulted with Patrick Corporation), and with the WorkChoices initiative. So it should be no real surprise that he did not consult those most affected.

There have also been suggestions that the policy was driven by his own electoral concerns. The suggestions have come from Aboriginal activists, and some others. My opinionis that Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, who has previously toured communities in the NT, was a driving force. However it is likely that Mr Howard was smart enough to see some political advantage for him in an election year, additinal to his personal concern.

The lack of consultation could turn out to be a strategic error by Mr Howard. Not only did he not involve the communities, their representatives or those working "on the ground", he did not recognise the strength of desire by indigenous communities to have a say in what happens to them, their families and their communities.

The Analyst