|The First, Noel|
Aboriginal activist and media-tart Noel Pearson has been on the ABC's
'Australian Story', again lamenting the plight of the Australian
However Noel is an Aboriginal activist with a difference. He has more
insight into Aboriginal problems than any other Aboriginal
People generally get educated out of common-sense and into stupidity, and
Noel (lawyer) Pearson appears to have been no exception. But since being back
with his people at Cape York he seems to have had some of that
outback-common-sense knocked back into him.
Unlike the other Aboriginal activists, he has spotted the link between welfare dependence, and
substance abuse. He has also admitted the dreadful problems with sexual abuse and
incest in Aboriginal communities.
He even said that full citizenship for Aborigines
(granted in 1967) was a mixed blessing. On the positive side it brought human rights and land-rights, but on the
negative side it removed Aborigines from the mainstream economy. He agrees that the much leftist-lauded 'equal wages decision' made a whole race unemployed, and 'work-free
money' and alcohol
availability destroyed the remnants of Aboriginal culture.
Unfortunately Noel's recent clarity of vision doesn't extend to actually seeing a
solution. On the one hand he talks about the injustice of the previous
generation being paid in tobacco, food and only small amounts of money, but then
fully admits that 'money is the fuel for the drug problem, and the fuel for the
petrol [sniffing] problem'.
He wants to have an outright ban on alcohol, but seems to have no understanding of
the violation of human rights that any enforcement would require.
And his alternative to government-funded welfare seems to be government-funded
'business initiatives' - mostly based around the victim-industry of Aboriginal
art and tourism. Government grants for painting dots on non-functional
digeridoos to sell to whites who are desperate to hand over guilt-money is
hardly going to bring the Indigenous people into mainstream society.
However, in spite of Noel's short-comings, he deserves some
credit. At least he can see the causes of the problem, even if he can't
see the solution.