Monday, February 18, 2008

Still not Sorry ?

A bit of plagarism but worth saying (Andrew Bolt is probably the leading Australian Conservative Writers, son of immigrants and bane of the touchy feely left in Australia)

By Andrew Bolt
February 08, 2008 04:25am
Article from: Herald Sun

IT'S over, and all I can do now is offer a sincere sorry of my own.

You see, no matter what, a sorry to the "stolen generations" will be read out in Parliament next week by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Rudd will say that sorry to "stolen" children no one can actually find,
but few commentators and politicians seem to mind. Or care to notice.

Most Liberals, cowed and cringing, will just back whatever Rudd says. Most journalists, teary over their own goodness, will praise it. And most Australians will sigh with relief, hoping a bit of well-meaning humbuggery will let us "move on".

So it's over. The only thing I can hope for now is that if Rudd must read out an apology, he reads out a compromise like mine.

What has divided us so far is that Rudd is a sentimentalist who wants to say sorry regardless of the facts about the "stolen generations". But I am a rationalist who can only say a sorry that respects the truth - and no apology I've read, including the ones on this page yesterday, comes close.

Mine does - not that I have much hope that even this last appeal to reason will work.

To Rudd and other Say-Sorries it simply doesn't matter that there's no evidence any Australian government had a policy to steal children just because they were Aboriginal.

See the evidence they've ignored.

In Victoria, for instance, the state Stolen Generations Taskforce
concluded there had been "no formal policy for removing children". Ever.

In the Northern Territory, the Federal Court found no sign of "any policy of removal of part-Aboriginal children such as that alleged".

In Tasmania, the Stolen Generations Alliance admitted "there were no removal policies as such".

In South Australia, the Supreme Court last year found no government policy to steal Aboriginal children there, either. Rather, stealing black children had been "without legal authority, beyond power and contrary to authoritative legal advice".

But none of that evidence matters to Rudd.

Nor does it matter that no one has yet named even 10 of these 100,000 children we are told were stolen - stolen not because we wanted to save children in trouble, but because we wanted to "keep White Australia pure", as "stolen generations" author Prof Robert Manne put it.

Name just 10, I asked Manne in debates in print and on stage. He couldn't.

Name just 10, I asked Stolen Generations Alliance spokesman Brian Butler last week on Adelaide radio. He wouldn't.

Name just 10, I now ask the Prime Minister. He won't.

Even the Liberals, now desperate to seem more "compassionate", seem to know they will be saying sorry for a great crime that never happened.

Here is Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson, urging Rudd only to not say "stolen": "(I)t has pejorative connotations particularly for several
generations of very good men and women from churches and other organisations who believed they were doing the right thing in removing these children."

But if these people really did steal Aboriginal children from good homes just to smash their culture and "keep White Australia pure", how on earth could they be "very good men and women"? That's like condemning slavery while praising slavers as "very good men" who only meant well.

But not even that matters. Rudd's apology is happening and all I can hope is that he can still hear a little voice telling him he has a duty to truth, and to the Aboriginal children today who will suffer if he lies.

Because suffer they will. Already we read almost monthly of Aboriginal children who are bashed, raped or killed because social workers and magistrates are too scared by the "stolen generations" to "steal" them.

So, what is my own apology?

No apology can do us good, dividing us by race and suffocating us with victimhood. But mine, I hope, can avoid most harm.

My sorry will acknowledge that many Aboriginal children were indeed betrayed by their walk-away parents, white and black, and even by some institutions pledged to help them.

But my sorry won't make our children ashamed for a society that still offers us all - Aborigines included - more freedom, health, justice and security than any before.

My sorry will also have one other great virtue you'll see in almost none of the dozens of others suggested.

Mine, at least, will tell no lies.

That is because I have done what few others will: I have checked the
histories of scores of the "stolen" children asking for this sorry, to
see what it is we should be sorry for.

I've asked, for instance, why I'd say sorry to Lowitja O'Donoghue, the Stolen Generations Alliance's co-patron.

O'Donoghue in fact was dumped at a children's home by her footloose Irish father, to be educated by missionaries.

For what should I say sorry to Peter Gunner, who sought compensation in the Federal Court for being "stolen"?

Gunner, in fact, was sent to a home in Alice Springs with the written
permission of his mother, to get a schooling.

For what should I say sorry to Topsy, named by Manne as a "stolen" child?

Topsy, in fact, was just 12 when she was found, riddled with syphilis and far from hospitals, schools or police, with her parents unknown.

For what should I say sorry to Mary Hooker, another Stolen Generations Alliance spokeswoman?

Hooker, in fact, was removed with three of her 11 siblings because welfare officers thought she was neglected and "I was raped by my brother".

For what should I say sorry to Lorna Cubillo, who claimed compensation?

Cubillo, in fact, was just seven, with no parents or even known guardian when she was found at a missionary-run ration camp in the bush, and sent to a home and school in Darwin.

For what should I say sorry to Molly, portrayed in Rabbit Proof Fence as a girl stolen to "breed out the colour"?

Molly in fact was taken into care with the agreement of her tribal chief after warnings that she was in danger of sexual abuse and had been ostracised as a half-caste by her tribe.

For what should I say sorry to Archie Roach, famous for his song Took the Children Away?

Roach, in fact, said yesterday he was removed when he was three because "word got around" he was neglected -- his parents weren't there, and his sister was trying to care for him.

For what should I say sorry to all the "stolen children" like these -
activist Robert Riley, whose mother dumped him at a home; author Mudrooroo Narogin, who turned out to be neither stolen nor Aboriginal; claimant Joy Williams, whose mother gave away her illegitimate girl; bureaucrat Charlie Perkins, whose mother asked a boarding school to help her gifted boy; an "stolen generations" leader Annette Peardon, whose mother was jailed for three months for neglecting her children.

And here's the sorry I say to them:

What makes us Australians helps make us human. As Australians, we believe in the dignity of each person, regardless of their race or place of birth, of their colour or creed.

We believe that no one is a stranger to us, beyond our sympathy and our help. And we believe it is in offering such sympathy and help that we best realise our humanity.

But we are sorry. We are sorry that at times we have not as a nation, or as individuals, lived up to those ideals. We are but human, and, as all humans do, have failed and fail still.

As a nation, we are sorry for those children that we harmed, when we meant to help. We are sorry that in helping many, we did not help all.

We have failed at other times as well. We are sorry for having taken, when we could have shared. We are sorry we have treated some as strangers, when in truth this is their sacred home.

But we are a people whose sins are small when set beside our virtues, which are great.

We have as a nation desired to do good, just as we desire it now.

We therefore commit ourselves anew to the purpose with which this nation was founded - to give every citizen the right and opportunity to live their life in peace, honour and freedom, under laws common to us all.

But more - we recommit ourselves, today especially, to our young, our lost, our helpless and our poor. They will not find us wanting as some have found us wanting before. This will be the measure of our repentance.

For our failings we are sorry. But for our ideals we are not. What has
divided us can be overcome, and with the goodwill that compels us to say sorry today, overcome we surely will.


Achmad Sudarsono said...

Hi Oigal,

These are pretty serious claims, and I'm a bit stunned if they're true. Perhaps in a way I shouldn't be -- the conventional wisdom is often not wise or true. But it's not as if aboriginal history is short of dark pages, why build a case on bullshit? More to the point, why has the myth survived for so long if it's a myth? At the same time, is it true no-one's actually come forth to say they've been stolen? I thought Peter Read's LinkUp organization hooked up such removed children with their original families ?

All very disturbing. Point is no matter what the post - modernists say, there is such a thing as historical fact - truth is very healthy and bullshit is unhealthy. That's how you build a national consensus and point of healing -- not spreading more bullshit.

Never thought I'd say this -- but good on the conservatives for standing up at an unfashionable time to do it.

Rob Baiton said...

Good post!

I still believe that saying sorry and making the apology was a good idea and I am happy to be categorized and thrown onto the leftist leaning pile!

The arguments made are solid and open to argument. Without a doubt there will be some in the indigenous community who seek to exploit the "stolen generations" for their own personal gain and hopefully they will be exposed for the frauds that they are.

It is also fair to say that some indigenous children benefitted from the change of environment and even fairer to say that some aboriginal children were removed on the insistence of their own family members.

It is also true that not only indigenous children were / are removed from dysfunctional families! And is it not still true that the Department of Community Services (DOCS) still have the power to remove children from dysfunctional families where there is a danger identified.

The tragedy is that DOCS take too long to move against dysfunctional families with children and the children end up dead.

It is an interesting point about the inability to name 10, but perhaps the author needs to ask someone else. I am sure if I did the research I could refute the claim and name 10. Yet, the point for me is not whether it is 10 or 100,000 but if there was 1 then this was too many.

The apology is made and it is time to move on. And this is the essence of the final sentence of the article you pasted, whether one agrees or disagrees with the apology it is time to move forward and ensure all children are protected from dysfunctional families no matter what their race, color, or creed!

oigal said...

Well I can vouch for the LD fraud, she was caught red handed so to speak making big claims to be "stolen" when a piece of documentation turned up at rather a bad time for street cred as they say.

I have no doubt they are true, Andrew Bolt writes for a major newspaper and is a regular on "the insiders" on ABC Asia as the token conservative. His blog also contains this and other pieces. As much as they have tried the left has failed time and again to get him to withdraw the pieces simply because they cannot prove him wrong, which is a sad reflection of the level of research by the left.

Plenty have come forth and said they have been stolen but none have stood up to investigation (big difference between stolen and removed).

That being said, the fact that so many have been accepted as "truth" only then to exposed as lairs only empowers the "rednecks". Time will tell just how much damage this will do..trouble with conserative backlashes they tend to go too far.

SOme terrible things did happen but it really went and has gone too far where children and women are left to be brutalised.

Ask yourself this..if you were a copper on a remote aborginal community would you remove a spouse being beaten or would you first "cover your arse" by buck passing to some nameless, slow inept govt agency..then ask what would you it was a white bloke and spouse..therein lies the problem.

I know for a fact and personal experience that it was SOP.. to round up the drunk aborginals in T'Creek drive them out of town 50Km and dump them..denial of justice..yep but as the local copper clean up the vomit, fight every do gooder in town and they will only be let off point..

Never the less, please check out his blog and any other research, if nay of this is wrong happy to withdraw and say SORRY..but I am betting I won't have to

oigal said...

sorry for the spelling guys, kinda busy today

oigal said...

I am puzzled tho AS, You seem to show admirable concern for the admitted sad plight of aborginals in Australia who via at best suffered from ignorance and poorly thought out plans for their 'best" welfare yet seem to think that the murder of Indonesians as part of government sponsored policy was acceptable due to the conditions at the time.. puzzling

Rob Baiton said...

Indeed on the "stolen" and "removed" point...

Maybe now that the apology is done the credibility issue will come in time. I am guessing that there will be numerous attempts to claim compensation for being one of the stolen generations.

This will morph into the perfect opportunity to validate each and every claim -- the result will be an "I told ya so!" from which ever side gets the numbers on the board so to speak!

Rob Baiton said...

Mas Achmad...bullshit is unhealthy! Yep, I agree if you are human you should not eat it! But I throw it on my garden and it is a wonderful fertilizer! I grow all sorts of really healthy stuff from bullshit!

Yep, it is all very disturbing! But what these right of centre fellas are saying is that the "historical fact" has not been made out and until it has been made out then the apology to our indingenous brothers and sisters is premature!

Whether I agree with them or not is neither here nor there in the big scheme of things. The beauty of a democracy is being able to agree to disagree and to advance opinions to counter those advanced by your opponents. Hence to say that it is "bullshit" and leave it at that is hardly making an argument in your defence.

If you followed the most recent federal election in Australia you would know that it was a convincing win in terms of seats for the new Labor Government but on the two party preferred vote my right of centre friends here attracted 47.2% of the vote. So, there is probably still a good whack of the Australian population that feel the apology is premature!

Unfortunately, for my right of centre friends the apology moved out of the strictly factual and into the emotional some time ago and it would seem (no empirical research by me yet) that generally the Australian population, now the apology has been made, wants to move on!

oigal said...

Aw Rob, I had begun to expect more of you than that last post..

"But what these right of centre fellas (aka me?)are saying is that the "historical fact" has not been made out and until it has been made out then the apology to our indingenous brothers and sisters is premature! "

I never said that,I tend to think we need to be careful what we are saying sorry for. Just important be careful the "sorry' does not become the "be all and end all solution" Problem with a sorry based on emotional unproven data is it will provide those true "rednecks" with so much fodder to roll back any advances when the conservative back lash begins (and it will). By saying sorry for the wrong things you tend to maintain the divide and put people on the defensive.
As you say whats the point if 47% population think its a rubbish apology.

"It was a convincing win in terms of seats for the new Labor Government" mmmm

It would be streching it to say it was a win for the left..more like a win for the new "Liberal lite brand'

On please..."right of centre friends the apology moved out of the strictly factual and into the emotional some time ago" are you kidding? ..Lets look at some of the stolen generations stories for emotional (and do go and look up LD'S orginal (as opposed to the truth)heart rendering story.

I am interested in how you reconcile your own statments here tho..
..."right of centre friends the apology moved out of the strictly factual and into the emotional some time ago"

"these right of centre fellas are saying is that the "historical fact" has not been made out and until it has been made out then the apology to our indingenous"

A dollar each way then?

Are you doing what the left is so good at (I expected more)? Anyone who does not agree with the left's view of the world, slowly by slights of a thousand cuts gets painted as a raving conserative redneck..? Worked for the last 30 years but the results of lack of rational debate in this issue are coming home to roost and even the left is feeling the pinch.

BTW..Have you noticed the swag of compensation claims starting to be mounted..I will be interested to see how this extra money provides real world solutions to the issues.

I like most reasonable australians would not against any amount of money be allocated to provide a long term solution..yet to see one

BTW..Who is saying sorry to the pre-teen boy who was raped in townsville last week..court case currently in recess as the defence needs to time to gather evidence it was part of a tribal right to manhood...

Rob Baiton said...

Sorry to disappoint with the last blog...nah, not a dollar but maybe 50 cents each way!

The reconciliation part (and this whole 'sorry' process is about reconciliation in some way isn't it? a pun or not it is up to you!)...I think it is the manner of expression that confuses, as my point really was that the historical facts on whether people are stolen or removed still rages on but I believe that ultimately if the empirical research is done properly then we will get a proper accounting of numbers. I think that this proper accounting will come when the claims start coming in and have to be vetted to a particular standard.

The idea that the argument moved from the historical fact to the emotional is borne out in your earlier posts, particularly in the idea that an apology was made for a perceived injustice with what many (probably not only the Libs and Nats) people consider slender historical factual evidence.

Unfortunately, for those that believe an apology is unwarranted or unnecessary then the fact that the debate is emotional rather than factual means that the soft left will take that opportunity to apologize and they did!

"Liberal lite" could not agree more but this was an argument that the Libs and Nats advanced during the election; Labor would appear to be moving to the centre but once they snatched power would return to their hard left union ways...I tend to think that the Liberal Lite analogy might be a little longer lasting...

If you apologize on the emotional response and not the factual evidence then the backlash you predict would seem inevitable.

I did not suggest you would oppose compensation and did not figure you would. I do not think it should matter what side of the political isle you stand on here so I in fact agree with you that there needs to be a long term fix and not a short term warm and fussy make you feel good response.

On the rape. Whether it is male or female, the argument that it is culturally acceptable as a right to passage conflicts with the prevailing morals of out society as it is. But it is an easy out for a defence lawyer to argue tribal customs to condone appalling and reprehensible behaviour, there is nothing new in the advancement of that type of argument. Townsville is not exactly a collection of humpies in the middle of the outback!

Oigal, your political view of the world does not fall within my definition of a redneck. Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer :)

Once again sorry to disappoint. I will try and regain my hard left credentials in a later post.

johnorford said...

assuming that the above article is factual, the problem of the apology is that it misdirects attention away from the real problems of the aboriginal communities... and the real crimes they were victimised by...

oigal said...

Hi Rob,

Don't take it too personal..I admit my posts do get a tad passionate at times, its just blowing off steam and about as substantial.

I am just sad..this could well turn out to be just another walk across the bridge..(I am sure you know what I mean)

spew-it-all said...

A question though, do have a similar point of view to a conservative redneck Bolt in term of stolen generation?
I thought his analysis is mediocre and based on appalling research skill, as Robert Manne once launched a criticism against him.

Policy? Oh dear, even the Nazi did not have a blueprint of 'final solution'.

Jakartass said...

Andrew Bolt's 'apology' is both sensible and sensitive. However, he suggests that the "stolen generation" is a myth. Considering that it is supposedly part of recent history, this is surprising.

His argument that "there's no evidence any Australian government had a policy to steal children just because they were Aboriginal" is also fallacious. Just because there weren't any "official" policies, does not mean that there weren't 'unofficial' policies. There may not be documentation, but isn't aboriginal history recorded orally?

On the other hand, in the documentary which is an extra on my (pirated) DVD of Rabbit Proof Fence, Kenneth Branagh, who plays the supervisor of the settlement where the three children are taken, does talk about the government policy of those times, the thirties. the Aborigines Act of 1905.

The Chief Protector of Aborigines Files 1898 -1908 (AN1, Acc 255) deal with a wide range of topics relating to the welfare of Aboriginals and the general administration of the Aborigines Act 1897 (and later 1905), including the admission of Aboriginal children to missions ....

One cannot deny that the white settlers had the best of intentions - for those times. It was we Brits who were responsible, in the same way that the first concentration camps were built by the Brits in South Africa.

Some 15 years ago I met an American couple in Banda and we spent a week or so snorkling around the islands. Then middle-aged, they didn't have any children because of his childhood, one that scarred him emotionally. He was a native American and in the early fifties the state had forcibly taken him away from his parents on their reservation and 'given' him to white foster parents.

So, if it makes you Aussies feel less guilt-ridden, remember that man's inhumanity to man is not just an Australian issue.

Rabbit Proof Fence is a tremendous film, with great acting and direction. Philip Noyce, the director, says in the documentary on auditioning the child actors: "I wanted children who parents all over the world would want to adopt."


Jakartass said...

Sorry, but here's more, with footnotes including a bio of Chief Protector A.O. Neville, whose "rigorous implementation of the Act during his tenure [from 1915] until 1940 cannot be over-estimated."

Effects of the Aborigines Act 1905

For persons of mixed descent, who primarily lived in the southwest of the State, the Act had a profound impact. It enabled the removal of anyone deemed “Aboriginal native” to a Reserve and any child under 1 deemed “Aboriginal native” to a State institution. This confusing extension of the definition of ‘Aboriginal native’ meant that although the children of ‘half-castes’ were excluded from the provisions of the Act, in practice ‘quarter-castes’ and ‘octoroons’ were subject to it anyway, regardless of their lifestyle. In other words, the Act effectively abolished the prior legal status and citizen rights of all persons of indigenous descent and underpinned policy directives that established what is now referred to as the ‘stolen generations’.

An academic study, this is essential reading. As AS says, the truth is better than bullshit.

oigal said...

Hi All,

Sorry been away for a bit..

SIA.."analysis is mediocre and based on appalling research skill," Really ..which fact most of its drawn from research of Keith Windshuttle..are you seriously equating NAZI type policies..time for a deep breath sport..

J..I figured this would appeal to you..but even you are struggling here...
"that the "stolen generation" is a myth. Considering that it is supposedly part of recent history, this is surprising." It is a for the recent history..It was primarily a little bit leftist selective research that has been debunk at every serious level but gained traction and was soooo appealing to the white guilt industry..As the man 10...no0w is you want to get into unfair laws, ubable to vote..different story but has sweet FA to do with the Stolen Generations Myth..

Robert Manne..give me a break..he has been made fool of in every debate he has been in on ths subject..Still waiting for his book he so loudly proudly proclaimed was coming after his last load of research was proven to be so much toss!!

Oral history...recent history..dollar each way again guys..Next thing you know you will be qouting "Read" at me..or shall we talk about the government sanctioned slaughter in Tasmania ..oh bugger thats right..turned out the guy or was supposed to organise and apporived the slaughter was not even in Australia yet...secret womens business in South Australia..ooops

"Rabbit Proof Fence is a tremendous film, with great acting and direction" oops bad example J, the story was about stolen generation girl right...sorry she was dumped by the very people who were supposed to care for her..but hey who needs long as we all feel guilty about something that never happened..

And whilst we are all feeling bad about stolen generations..another child will get raped and beaten tonight because you should never remove a child from her family..right...

Jakartass said...

Removing children from their families and cultural background is no guarantee that they won't suffer grievous maltreatment from their state guardians.

Check out the current news about the systematic abuse of children at the Haut de la Garenne 'care' home on the Channel Island of Jersey.

And fact, fiction or whatever, Rabbit Proof Fence is still a film worth watching on its own terms, O.

oigal said...

J, Me ol mate,

That is exactly what the issue has been in Australia for a long time, "Dreamtime" principles over the harsh and ugly reality has condemned thousands of those least equiped to defend themselves to lives of fear and brutality.

Your argument that "no guarantee that they won't suffer grievous maltreatment from their state guardians" is at best a misdirection (but a classic tactic by the cultural leftists). No one can guarantee there are no sick bastards in any institution, can we guarantee no maltreatment in marriage for instance... therefore insitution of marriage should be dropped?.

Suddenly as usual the arguement shifts..Stolen Generations(stealing children) as fact is challenged or the stories proven to based on biased reports. The facts no longer matter, It is just wrong to remove children from harms way if they are aborginal (funny how no-one see the inherent racism in that black vs white decision process)

As all cultural warriors know "better a child in danger than remove them from their cultural heritage" Of course, where child abuse, rape, drunken beatings or the actual attitude to half caste children really fits into the culture is readily glossed over in the name of principled, quaint but utlimately racist notion of the "noble savage").

Challenge the a previously stated FACT that a b grade movie was not an accurate representation of the facts then suddenly truth is not important anymore (cute how the lie once highlighted is rarely defended) as the movie conveys the context? This context concept remains the most bizarre piece of logic. Does this mean that John Wayne and the portrayal of the Amercian Indians has just as much validity, I mean is it not true that some settlers were slaughtered weren't they?

Something is factual or it is not, fairly basic I would have thought?

J, You run the very real risk the left in Australia is facing now..
By insisting that all cultures are equal and no government has no right to interfere, are you then in support of promised marriages of children, FGM, perhaps traditional punishments thigh spearing as well..or is it only those aspects of culture that meet your aspirations and image of the noble savage?

Additionally, your point that the government was removing children from their culture also refuses to recognise the fact, these camps were far from traditional, if fact more often than not (and still are) sqaulid dangerous places holding little hope for a better life.

The re-writing of Australian History has reached levels on par with the New Order in Indonesia only in the oz case the cultural leftist elite are doing the writing. I find offensive that school children are being shown that B grade movie, not because of its content but because it is protrayed as FACT, or children are now studying books such as "A History of Tasmania" which among other misrepresentations claims
"included claims by a settler of having witnessed Aborigines
killing 300 sheep at Oyster Bay in 1815, an action which led to soldiers killing 22 Aborigines."

Trouble is "this would have been difficult. The settler,
James Hobbs, was living in India at the time and there were no sheep atOyster Bay for anyone to kill."

History, our children and the aborginal people deserve more if we are to move forward and actually find a way out of this mess.

As for you reference to Chief Protector A.O. Neville (the favorite pinup hate piece of the re writers of history) I will do something on him soon..although some basic research would give the game away..Hundreds Indeed!

I will do another post on this soon...In the meantime, sure say it was all wrong and the solution?