Monday, March 24, 2014

Another stolen generation

Between 1909 and 1969, the Australian government stole tens of thousands of Aboriginal children from their families. This policy of forcible seperation was conducted in an explicit attempt to "breed out the colour" and thereby eliminate Australia's indigenous people. In 2008, then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a formal apology for the stolen generations. But that hasn't changed anything: the Australian government is still stealing indigenous children:

Today, the theft of Aboriginal children – including babies taken from the birth table – is now more widespread than at any time during the last century. As of June last year, almost 14,000 Aboriginal children had been "removed". This is five times the number when Bringing Them Home was written. More than a third of all removed children are Aboriginal – from 3% of the population. At the present rate, this mass removal of Aboriginal children will result in a stolen generation of more than 3,300 children in the Northern Territory alone.

Pat (not her real name) is the mother whose anguish was secretly recorded on a phone as four department of child services officials, and six police, descended on her home. On the tape an official claims they have come only for an "assessment". But two of the police officers, who knew Pat, told her they saw no risk to her child and warned her to "get out of here quick". Pat fled, cradling her infant, but the one-year-old was eventually seized without her knowing why. The next morning a police officer returned to apologise to her and said her baby should never have been taken away. Pat has no idea where her son is.

Once she was "invited" by officials to bring her children to "neutral" offices to discuss a "care plan". The doors were locked and officials seized the children, with one of the youngest dragging on a police officer's gun belt. Many Indigenous mothers are unaware of their legal rights. A secretive children's court has become notorious for rubber-stamping removals.

Why do they do this? Officially its about child protection. But most of the issues justifying separation are the result of poverty, which the government does nothing to fix. The Northern Territory government spends A$80 million on stealing kids, but only A$500,000 on supporting the impoverished families they target for their raids. Which tells you everything you really need to know about this policy: its just more Australian racism.