DOCTORS DESPAIR OVER FAILURE TO CONFRONT NORTHERN TERRITORY CHILD ABUSE
A long-serving former Alice Springs paediatrician has warned that child abuse is rife in remote communities and attacked child protection and welfare authorities for failing to get to grips with the problem. Tors Clothier, who worked at Alice Springs Hospital from the late 1980s until 2013, doubted many indigenous females made it to puberty without experiencing some form of unwanted sexual attention. “Abuse is rife. I thought vividly yesterday of the case of a seven-month-old child who was badly raped years ago and died from her injuries,” he said. “My impression was that sexual and physical abuse of children was common.”
Clotheir went on to say “I think women who spend a lot of time there would say it’s common. I’m not talking 50 per cent, but even if it’s 10 per cent then it’s prevalent. It’s obviously underreported; it’s obviously under-managed. “I suspect that very few indigenous girls on certain communities reach their early teens without experiencing unwanted sexual harassment at the very least.” Dr Clothier, who is now based in Queensland, said that during his long career he had become increasingly frustrated with Northern Territory child protection services for failing to protect at-risk children. The Department of Territory Families has undergone major reforms since 2013.
“Access to alcohol is a contributing problem but it’s not the root problem,” he said. “Clearly, with the spectre of the Stolen Generations hanging in the background, people are reluctant to take away kids, the children that were being injured or neglected or sexually or physically abused were not at the apex of the triangle where they should have been.” Dr Clothier said he believed many people living in remote communities suffered from “group depression that covers everything and probably leads to the drinking, leads to the dysfunctional behaviour”.
“If you have spent time on these communities, they are not happy or pleasant or attractive places; they really are not,” Dr Clothier said. He voiced anger towards politicians who he said appeared to be surprised about the recent rape of a two-year-old Tennant Creek girl. “We are just going through another cycle of confected outrage” he said. “Usually, everything goes back to normal soon after and kids continue getting abused. If you say that abuse is more common in some parts of the population than others then you get branded a racist.”
Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard don’t have a lot in common, apart from leading the nation, but when it comes to including the Bible in the school curriculum both are singing from the same hymn book. As prime minister, Gillard argued in 2011 that the Bible was “an important part of our culture” and that “it’s impossible to understand Western literature without having that key of understanding the Bible stories”. Abbott, a year earlier when leader of the opposition, argued in a similar fashion when he said “it is impossible to imagine our society without the influence of Christendom” and “it is important for people to leave school with some understanding of the Bible”.
While secular critics argue there is no place for Christianity and the Bible in the school curriculum the arguments in favour are overwhelming. As stated by Professor Higgins when admonishing Eliza, “your native language is the language of Shakespeare, Milton and the Bible”. The King James Bible is considered by many as an example of the English language at its most evocative and powerful, and explains why Michael Gove, as British education secretary, sent a copy to every school in the country. Classical tales such as Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and more recent literature all require a knowledge and understanding of the Bible.
Much of Western culture’s music, art and architecture reference Christianity and cannot be fully appreciated without some familiarity with the Bible and the story of Christ. Sayings such as “turn the other cheek”, “be a good Samaritan”, “let him who is without sin cast the first stone” and “the blind leading the blind” are derived from the Bible. Stories from the Bible also teach students the importance of a more spiritual sense of life. The national curriculum stipulates students should learn about indigenous spirituality, so, as our way of life is steeped in Western culture and underpinned by Judeo-Christianity, it’s only reasonable and fair that the Bible also be in the curriculum.
Source: Kevin Donnelly co-chair of the review of the national curriculum
INTEGRITY NOT THE WIN NEEDS TO BE THE CHERISHED PRIZE
Politicians in Victoria need to restore trust and build integrity following the revelations of electoral fraud in addition to a myriad of broken social policy commitments by the governing Labor Party, according to the Australian Christian Lobby. “The revelations that in the lead up to the 2014 election, newly recruited Labor Party election campaign workers were partly paid by the Victorian Parliament, in a scheme designed to exploit the public purse, is a disheartening development,” Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) Victorian director, Dan Flynn said. “For 21 Labor MPs to be signing false timesheets for campaign organisers, asserting they were electorate officers is alarming.”
Eleven of these MPs are still in the Victorian parliament, four are Ministers. “This has occurred against the backdrop of the Labor Party misleading voters in the lead up to the 2014 election.” During the closing days of that election campaign, in response to an ACL election questionnaire, Labor stated that it did not support euthanasia legislation or supervised injecting rooms. “Yet, last year the Government advocated vigorously and passed euthanasia law for which it had no electoral mandate,” Mr Flynn said. “In addition, and despite a 2014 election assurance, the Labor Government is now preparing legislation for injecting rooms, to be introduced before this year’s election.
“The struggle for voters not to become cynical is difficult. We know we have a big problem when our public leaders choose to win using cunning schemes, deceptively funded by taxpayer dollars, and then go on to break election commitments. These events will be fresh in the minds of voters as they face the polls again in November. We need leaders who will put governing well above winning, men and women of integrity who will not be party to corruption and false promises. The voters of Victoria want a fair contest with clear policies so they can make an informed choice. They want elections that are not influenced by the misappropriation of taxpayer money,” Mr Flynn said.