John Howard’s racist intervention into the management of Aboriginal child sex abuse cases seems to be based on genuine personal shock, at least according to one feature story yesterday:
“I thought the report was just horrific,” he said yesterday. “This is very genuine. I am distressed. It is terrible. Little children. Don’t underestimate the personal interest and commitment to this. Or Mal Brough [Howard’s Minister for Indigenous Affairs]. He is quite passionate about doing something on this subject. I said to him, ‘We’ve got to do something, we’ve got to grab hold of this. The territory’s not going to do anything.'”
But once that’s out of the way, the spin begins:
“It’s just terrible. Just imagine if it was Dickson, or Brunswick or Marrickville or whatever. It’s just intolerable and you’ve just got to do something about it.
Cute choice of examples, Mr Howard. I don’t know about Dickson (are you reading this, Antony Green?), but I live in the Marrickville electorate and Brunswick is the Melbourne equivalent — both multicultural Labour-voting areas.
Howard’s choice is 100% political. Mention left-wing heartlands so those on the left take the example personally and sympathise with the pain, and those on the right are reminded that these mixed-race communities are a hotbed of sordidness. He certainly doesn’t say “Just imagine if it was Mosman or Elsternwick.”
I mean, there’s no child sexual abuse in suburbs with deciduous trees, and Howard wouldn’t risk upsetting core Liberal party voters by even suggesting it were possible.
Howard doesn’t mention that the Little Children are Sacred report is the 13th enquiry into Aboriginal child sexual abuse since he became PM — three of them federal enquiries!
He doesn’t mention that NT chief minister Clare Martin proposed an interventionist solution a year ago — which he ignored.
He doesn’t mention that federal funding to tackle this issue was cut 4 years ago.
But he does keep emphasizing that he’s taking control, that he’s in control, that once more he’s Big Strong Daddy.
And as I write that a sudden thought crosses my mind. Isn’t Big Strong Daddy the one committing most child sexual abuse?
[P.S. There’s interesting comments on this issue attached to my original post. Enjoy.]