Archive for June, 2007

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

From the Melbourne Age:

Response from ANTar [Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation]:

I am writing to let you know ANTaR’s response to the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday, regarding the child abuse crisis in Northern Territory Aboriginal communities: these measures are Draconian and will only add to the suffering of children.

ANTaR believes the Prime Minister was right to describe the widespread abuse of Aboriginal children as a national emergency but wrong in the way his government is seeking to overcome it.

Particularly horrifying is the plan to introduce compulsory health checks for all Aboriginal children to examine for signs of abuse – regardless of whether this is suspected.

Little children are sacred. Compulsory and potentially invasive checks of this kind will add to their trauma.

There is no other group in society that would be subject to these kinds of measures. Can you imagine what would happen if the Government ordered compulsory health checks for Anglo, Chinese, Jewish or Muslim children? There’d be an uproar. Yet the Prime Minister thinks it is appropriate to enforce this on Aboriginal children.

Efforts to stamp out child abuse should target the perpetrators rather than demonise whole communities.

The Government response also seemed to ignore the findings of the ‘Little Children are Sacred’ report that non-Aboriginal men were also responsible for the abuse of Aboriginal children.

We should tackle the extent of pornography and there may even be a case for banning it, but if this is going to happen it should occur across the board – in mining camps and lounge rooms as well as Aboriginal communities.

While stopping alcohol abuse is essential to overcoming child abuse, prohibition would be unlikely to achieve this. Prohibition hasn’t worked anywhere else in the world. Why does the Prime Minister think it will work in the Northern Territory?

There is no doubting the sincerity and commitment of the Prime Minister and Minister Brough in relation to ending child abuse, but their misguided approach would be unlikely to achieve it. The heavy handed control of Aboriginal people helped create the problems of child abuse and violence. More of the same is not going to solve them.

ANTaR has worked extensively to support Aboriginal people who are overcoming violence and child abuse. In 2006 we organized a forum in Parliament House, Canberra bringing Aboriginal leaders who have successfully tackled abuse and violence together with politicians and public servants to discuss strategies to overcome these problems.

ANTaR is currently campaigning to urge the NSW Government to properly fund its response to the abuse of Aboriginal children in that state. Our ‘Success Stories in Indigenous Health’ booklet ( released this week also profiles a number of successful programs that are tackling child abuse and its effects.

Gary Highland
National Director
Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR)
Phone: 02 9555 6138
Mobile: 0418 476 940


the demons we face:

Posted: June 19, 2007 in reflections

An idea: Lk 8

Have you ever read the reading from Luke about a guy who is demon possessed called Legion? Basically the story tells of this guy in absolute mayhem, Jesus calls the demons out of him and into a swine of pigs who then run and jump off a cliff into the sea… It got me thinking about 2 questions:

1) what are the demons that we and society face today?
Mental health; broken relationships; isolation; the need to ‘be right’; our egos; learnt & nurtured behaviours that we all know we have but are so difficult to rid ourselves of??? I’m sure we could all name more! I wonder what they look like more specifically to you.

2) what would you want to cast off the cliff?
What For me, at my worst I seem to need to justify myself, and rely on my ego – for some reason I need to get my point across, I feel I need to be right… I have some good ideas at why I’m like this and what I need to regularly do to try to limit it. So for me, today I’m wanting to throw my need for justification and my ego off that cliff – for they are my demons!

a prayer

Posted: June 19, 2007 in prayers


You gave us orchestras.

You gave us music notes and harmony.

You gave us fluffy blankets on windy nights. You gave us herbal tea to warm us up when it’s pouring down rain outside.

You gave us water. Pools of water. Rivers, lakes, oceans of water. Cool, smooth, wild, life-giving water.

You gave us the sun. And lemon, lime and bitters to sip whilst basking in it. And feet to singe on the sun-burnt sand.

You gave us giggling afternoons with ice cream and hopscotch.

You gave us incredible minds to notice all these things.

To marvel. To wonder. To watch. To listen. To hope.

You gave us soccer balls to kick around in the dirt on a steaming hot day.

You gave us peanut butter cookies and cuddles from timid cats.

You gave us ringlets to remind us things don’t have to be tamed to be beautiful.

You gave us bright yellow raincoats and slippers and multi-coloured beanies.

You gave us good movies on stormy days with foot massages to put us to sleep.

You gave us our voice.

You gave us our melodies, our songs of rapture.

You gave us bonds with friends; moments when we feel indescribably connected to one another.

You gave us solitaire and tetris for when we need to procrastinate.

You gave us friends with legs who can kick our bums when we need it most.

You gave us love.

So, Lord, we wanna say ‘Grazias’. ‘Merci beaucoup’. ‘Danke schon’. Cheers.

We wanna say thank you. We love you.


Megan Graham June 07