Aurukun

There’s been considerable discussion of the case of the rape in Aurukun of a 10 year old girl on the Saturday Salon thread. While I agree with those who are arguing that the decision of the judge (and the submissions of the subsequently demoted Crown Prosecutor) is flat out wrong and disgraceful (and see this post at Talk It Out for a summation of why), I also think it’s important to place the case within its wider context and to resist simplistic calls for an extension of the “intervention” to Queensland (which in any case, as those doing the calling may not know, is constitutionally impossible without the co-operation of the Queensland government).

The problems which underlie these most regrettable events in Aurukun are complex, and not amenable to simple solutions such as those advocated by Noel Pearson, whose own “end welfare dependency” experiment in the Cape is in dire trouble. They need to be debated soberly, and with an eye to the facts not to predetermined ideological positions or sloganeering – which is why I was so pleased to see an interview with anthropologist and former resident of Aurukun, David Martin, in today’s Crikey. With permission, I’m reproducing it over the fold. All of it is well worth reading.

David Martin has had close connections with Aurukun for over 30 years, including living there as a community worker for eight years from the mid-1970s, and later spending a further two years there conducting research for his doctoral thesis. He has close family connections with Aurukun, and has raised children there. He gave evidence into the Aurukun hearings of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and provided advice to the Fitzgerald Cape York Justice Inquiry. David is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at the Australian National University and an independent anthropological consultant. He spoke to Thomas Hunter.

Beyond a failure of justice, does this case highlight the failure, more broadly, of the community in which these people live?

This case is not just the tragedy of this little girl, which will be a lifelong tragedy. The bigger tragedy is the one in which both she and her perpetrators are enmeshed. And that’s the tragedy of a truly extraordinary community, as it was in 1975 when I first went there, which has systematically spiralled out of control. By any measure, Aurukun is hugely underinvested in by government in terms of all the things we know are essential to civil society: decent health, decent education, decent housing, decent food, law enforcement. There are insufficient police, and this has been the case ever since the mission period and ever since the introduction of alcohol against majority community wishes in 1985. But it’s not just police. It is a place where dysfunction breeds in no small part not because people are bad, not because they are inherently irresponsible, but because they are abandoned and neglected.

What effect will this judgment and its national coverage have on the Aurukun community?

The most likely reaction is a feeling of deep shame because they have TV and newspapers like the Cairns Post, and there is the internet for those who are literate enough. They will know about the commentary around Australia on it, and there will be a feeling of shame, hurt, and possibly anger at that sort of comment. In terms of the particular event and how Aurukun people feel about it, it’s very likely to be determined by their kinship and family connection to the people involved, the perpetrators or the victim here.

The justice system is only one aspect of the infrastructure that supports civil society. Is it any surprise that the courts cannot deal with cases like this when it appears they are acting virtually alone?

The problem is that because of the political concerns of the wider society, there is this huge weight placed on the justice system to solve problems which have their roots way outside the justice system. In that sense, yes, the justice system has failed, but there is a really important caveat here. The perpetrators of this crime in Aurukun are themselves victims. In saying that, I recognise it’s paramount to keep the ultimate victimhood of this girl at the forefront. The girl is a victim of the same abandonment by the wider society as the boys. It’s she who is the double victim, but the young men themselves are also victims. Aurukun hasn’t just happened because Wik people, the local people, are somehow morally weak or because they are collectively culpable.

From the point of view of the justice system, what can be done about it?

The notion of restorative justice is an admirable one. It needs to be the goal against which much of the impact of our justice system on communities such as Aurukun are based. But we also need to be very aware that in the absence of structures of authority, respect, and widely held norms of social behaviour, restorative justice has no substrate onto which it can be grafted. Aurukun was not always like this. This sort of behaviour was inconceivable in the mid-70s when I went there, at the end of the mission era. It’s now all too commonplace. So what’s happened? What’s gone wrong? To appeal solely to Indigenous mechanisms is another way of abandoning people to a fate in which they have had some role, but which is essentially the creation of neglect clothed by politicians and bureaucrats in the rhetoric of self-determination.

But isn’t self-determination a part of the solution?

A part, yes, but I agree with people like Mick Dodson who say it has never been truly implemented. It has served as a cover, and not only for the supposed chardonnay sipping socialists in the cities to write out their own vision for black Australia. It has served as a device for bureaucracies to avoid taking up their responsibilities to people who are after all citizens of the state. The insistence that a community take responsibility for its problems, whether that be petrol sniffing or alcoholism or car thefts — and Aurukun has had all of those things — is simply abandoning people. The evidence is that it is beyond people’s control. We don’t ask this of people outside Aboriginal communities. Aurukun people have been abandoned, ever since I have known them, as the beggars at the table of one of the richest countries on earth, and indeed in one of the richest States in Australia. The glittering skyscrapers in Brisbane are not reflected in what you see in Aurukun.

Where is the imperative to act within government given that, unlike large sections of white Australia, they are aware of the condition of communities like Aurukun?

The cynical answer is that there are no votes in black fellas. There’s quite a strong view out there, which was given some credence by Alexander Downer, that the Northern Territory intervention was a cynical vote buying exercise. It’s interesting to note that all of the half billion dollars initially committed went to bureaucratic process. There wasn’t a cent of this money to address the well documented infrastructure deficits in those communities, and what’s been promised fails miserably to meet requirements. The politics of apathy and neglect reflect that of the populace as a whole. And there’s a long history of that, especially in Queensland. While we focus on the personal tragedy of this case and the personal culpability of the perpetrators, those personal things take place within structural factors which have helped create the conditions in which these crimes take place. The justice system can’t address that. I’m not sure that justice has been properly done in this case.

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Posted in culture, indigenous, politics, sociology
179 comments on “Aurukun
  1. Thanks, from one who is not a Crikey subscriber, for reproducing that.

  2. mbahnisch says:

    No probs! I thought it deserved as wide as possible circulation.

  3. Su says:

    It is really good to read the perspective of someone with local experience and knowledge. The idea that this case is being used to try and impose another version of a discredited strategy is dismaying. Why, I wonder, aren’t there calls to implement the hundreds of ignored proposals from dozens of commissioned reports now gathering dust in Canberra?

    To some extent, most violent offenders, regardless of their heritage, are themselves victims and it is tragic that this is frequently only recognized after they have offended, but in the case of indigenous offenders, the victimisation was most frequently a direct result of government policies, actions or failures.

  4. Paul Burns says:

    We know what the problem is, but if I read the piece from Crikey correctly, it is either insoluble or there is no real will to solve it unless it becomes a matter of international controversy, and even then, after the fuss dies down, won’t things all go back to “normal”? I presict with absolute confidence that in years to come we’ll see more and more similar reports to the case of the 10 year old girl.Probably the only hope is that the Aboriginal scream their lungs out about it. With the support of Hetty Johnson they might get somewhere. This is one incident where I think Johnson has definitely got it right.
    As for Pearson. His appearance on the 7.30 Report last night was appalling. It was blindingly obvious that he wasn’t that interested in the fate of the little girl, but in preserving his own bailiwick. What a grovel to Rudd. The man sickens me.As I’ve remarked before his welfare solution has laid the ground for persecution of welfare recipients all over Australia, black and white.

  5. FDB says:

    Direct, Su? Surely you mean indirect.

  6. “The girl is a victim of the same abandonment by the wider society as the boys. It’s she who is the double victim, but the young men themselves are also victims.”

    Classic!

  7. Alex says:

    I’d suggest Steve, you wouldn’t have the first idea about the generational affects of poverty and abuse. If indeed you do, please share your enlightened views with us.

    PS – thanks for sharing Mark. A very refreshing change from the tabloid idiocy displayed by other pundits.

  8. Su says:

    Direct, Su? Surely you mean indirect.

    I was thinking of the abuse of indigenous people at missions etc. Removal from family itself was a kind of victimisation.

  9. Alex, if you feel there is some sort of enlightened moral equivalence between some generational “affects” of poverty and abuse, and of a child being pack raped by stronger older males please share that enlightenment, it isn’t immediately apparent.

  10. FDB says:

    Duly noted. As I read it, shrill and indefensible. As you meant it, manifestly true. I’m glad I didn’t jump all over it and make a twit of myself for once!

  11. FDB says:

    Curses! That was for Su.

  12. “I’m not sure that justice has been properly done in this case.”

    Rather an understatement!

  13. Alex says:

    I never claimed moral equivalence, so I’m not going to ever bother answering your question.

    You sarcastically wrote “classic” to this quote

    “The girl is a victim of the same abandonment by the wider society as the boys. It’s she who is the double victim, but the young men themselves are also victims.”

    Indicating your displeasure. Which part of it is incorrect, and which part claims there is a moral equivalence? Choosing to ignore underlying factors is a disgrace, especially to the future victims of the same or similar crimes.

  14. Su says:

    I’m glad I haven’t provoked another argument! No stomach for etc.

  15. David Rubie says:

    What is interesting to me about this problem is that suddenly the government we favour is involved, rather than one where it’s easy to knee-jerk a response about the uncaring and paternalistic attitudes of the previous government.

    SATP – nobody claimed moral equivalence between inter-generational poverty and the devastating rapes that the poor girl has endured. I think the general idea is to find a way of (a) preventing this kind of thing and (b) acknowledging that punishment without trying to find solutions for the males problems is probably satisfying for some, but simply serves to create the same conditions for these things to happen again.

  16. mbahnisch says:

    That’s well put, David.

  17. amused says:

    But for SATP the good feelings engendered by bloviating about something about which he knows nothing, so that he gets to feel all warm and wet about what he knows he doesn’t like, is the best thing ever, isn’t it, and that’s the important thing here, after all.

  18. You know, I wish SATP would stick around and answer some of the questions people throw at him. For example, Alex’s:

    Indicating your displeasure. Which part of it is incorrect, and which part claims there is a moral equivalence? Choosing to ignore underlying factors is a disgrace, especially to the future victims of the same or similar crimes.

    But bloviating is so much easier.

  19. mbahnisch says:

    Well, I’d be happier if we discussed this with the seriousness it deserves and ignored those who want to sloganeer.

  20. Please state why any of you think I have no experience of the events described in the post above, and why any of you think I would have no idea of the social dynamics invovled?

    I disapprove of rape, I disapprove of guilty persons going unpunished, I disapprove of the law seeming to condone violent crime, and I disapprove of attempts to excuse the inexcuseable.

    You all got that part correct.

  21. chrisl says:

    How to defend the indefensible 101
    First lesson free (see above)

  22. Su says:

    (b) acknowledging that punishment without trying to find solutions for the males problems is probably satisfying for some, but simply serves to create the same conditions for these things to happen again.

    I don’t think it is appropriate punishment that causes the cycle to continue but the unseen and unspoken violence that goes unpunished. Tony Calma and Professor Atkinson have deep knowledge of this area and Tony Calma has this to say in part;

    Violence and abuse is a criminal matter. If an Indigenous person commits an offence they should be dealt with by the criminal justice system just as any other person would be. There should also be swift intervention from care and protection systems to ensure that the best interests of the child is the primary consideration.
    Violence relates to almost every aspect of policy making and service delivery to Indigenous communities. The solutions to family violence and abuse in Indigenous communities are complex, multi-faceted and require long term focus and commitment to address. They require bi-partisan political will and leadership at the highest levels of government.

  23. joe2 says:

    Thanks, Mark, for releasing Mark Davids’ say. Here is the quote I find most interesting in light of the suggestions I made on Saturday Salon. Attacks on some members of the outlying QLD judiciary are far smaller in matters of concern than child abuse. Still, obviously they do intersect.

    “The problem is that because of the political concerns of the wider society, there is this huge weight placed on the justice system to solve problems which have their roots way outside the justice system.”

    For which I have been assured… “Of course you’re right that one shouldn’t jump to the tabloids’ conclusions, but this isn’t a fight you’re going to win.”

    Too,too, right. I still reckon that the people on the front line are being abandoned and morale will be at an all time low because they are being used as easy scapegoats.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/12/13/2118085.htm?section=justin

  24. Katz says:

    According to the transcript of the hearing, cited by Casey on another thread, these were the facts of the rape:

    http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,22911515-953,00.html

    Mr Carter: Yes, that’s right, and there’s no possible way that she could have consented willing (sic)– knowingly, with the full knowledge to these offences, even though – that she’d gone through the motions of having sex with these people and I’d submit that that’s something as well. They didn’t force themselves on her, threaten her, or in any way engage in any of that sort of behaviour..

    If this is true then it does not make the 10 year old girl any less a victim of rape. However, it does suggest that her victimhood is of a different and more tragic kind than some posters are imagining.

  25. Punishing the boys involved may make fine fodder for vengeance-fantasy, but it will achieve nothing significant, not that achieving anything’s of any interest to the mouthbreathers and string-em-uppers anyway. Go read the case transcripts. Look into the festering hell-hole in which these people live.

    This girl victim was born with fetal alcohol syndrome, probably born addicted to alcohol and various drugs, in any case acquired and reinforced these addictions very early in life. The same applies to the boys. The girl, the boys, the whole lot of them, live in an environment where sex is traded for alcohol and drugs, sex is traded for respite from violence, and there is basically *nothing* to do except get stoned, get drunk, beat each other up, have sex (voluntarily or not), torture animals, steal food, and steal things. Remember, almost all of the money is spent on drink and drugs. They drink and take drugs, so they’re unemployable. They have no prospects, so they drink and take drugs. They can’t be taken away from each other, we’d have another stolen generation fiasco to add to our national guilt. They can’t be re-settled somewhere else, that’d be even more disruptive. As much as they don’t want to be there, they want even less to be anywhere else.

    Girls and boys of her peer group are having sex from pretty much the age of 6 to 8. (Remember the hints at “experimentation”? That’s what that means.) You may bluster about legal niceties like “no child may consent”, and raise questions about whether acts undertaken to feed drug addiction can count as “consented”, but the facts of this case, as proven in the court, are that the boys–themselves drunk and high–wanted to have sex with the girl–herself strung out–the girl agreed to do it, and in exchange, the boys would give her alcohol and drugs, both of which help mightily to moderate the experience. Those are the facts, that the court took into consideration. If you don’t care what the facts are–if you wish to deny her agency entirely–then why enquire into the facts at all? If you want courts to ignore facts, then say so.

    So, given that it’s pretty clear that this is what goes on there, do you want to arrest the entire town? Punish them all? Maybe you do. Maybe you’ll be happy punishing just these nine, whose conduct was so egregious–if she were sixteen, even fourteen, no-one would have blinked an eye, I’m sure–that they actually got prosecuted. Good luck, though, with the task of coming up with *any* punishment that exceeds the horror of their lives. It’s really unclear what purpose punishment is *actually supposed to achieve* anyway, other than the titillation of mouthbreaters. Deterrent? Laughable, just laughable. *There is nothing you can do to these people to make their lives worse*.

    The lid’s come off the box labelled “Conditions in Aboriginal Settlements in Queensland” now, and one horror story has fallen out of it, and people are standing around looking at it and ranting about how terrible it is and how Something Ought To Be Done although no-one has the least clue what The Something or wants to be the one who Does The Something. There’s a lot more in the box, and it’s a big box. Merry Christmas, Australia.

  26. MichaelH says:

    This is one of those ‘wicked’ problems – complex, messy, seen differently by different people, hard to fully grasp and can’t be solved completely.

    Solutions must be adaptable, and they are likely to create their own problems which then have to be dealt with.

    At least identifying the priniciples in formulating a response seems possible and I think they are broadly agreed upon – local involvement in formulating, implementing and monitoring solutions, reform in govt. service delivery and generally better resourcing of community infrastructure.

    Another lesson from the Federal intevention is to put together an evaluative framework before you implement changes. It has the very helpful outcome of providing some objective way of telling if new approaches are actually making a difference.

  27. Gaz says:

    As an x serving Police Officer and a person who has received training as a Liaison Officer to the Aboriginal community in Coober Pedy South Australia. This I am sure in the midst of the so called armchair experts here,probably doesn’t qualify me to comment on this issue.

    But bollicks to that.

    In fact I have been accused of being, I think the words were,”quaintly delusional” in thinking that most Australians, would take the ten males concerned in this crime out, and have them horse whipped.With the added delight of stringing up the adults among the offenders.

    All this gobbedy gook about poverty,stolen generation, and other notions of what caused this crime,and the price of salted peanuts is abject bollicks.Only in Australia where the social engineers have taken over, could this appalling behavior be tolerated.

    There is no justification for rooting a ten year old child no matter the circumstance,and it is obvious from the tenor of the comments here, this is the brief. We are being made to look a laughing stock around the globe,aided and abetted by people who in the main,wouldn’t know an Aboriginal, if one came out of the ground and bit them in the ASS.

    The biggest insult on this blog was,is anyone who wants these scum bags punished severly is some how not fucking normal.What a laugh, I am going to print this whole page off so my grand kids can read it.

  28. Su says:

    They didn’t force themselves on her, threaten her, or in any way engage in any of that sort of behaviour..

    Katz, hypersexualized behaviour is a common consequence of sexual abuse of young children. This girl had been abused previously. Today there are reports that some of the perpetrators involved in the latest rape had also been part of the original abuse.

    I don’t know why punishment and ‘revenge fantasies’ are being constantly conflated by Joe2. Even leaving aside Noel Pearson, not a single indigenous leader or spokesperson, least of all the many indigenous women who have been campaigning for years on sexual violence matters, has said anything other than that these men and boys should have received appropriate punishment.

  29. Debbie(aussie) says:

    Why does the govt not listen to the wishes of the communities when it comes to such things as alcohol? Is it the alcohol industry? Wouldn’t it be great if this horrible incident could actually be the impetus to do something worthwhile.

  30. Iain says:

    Punishing the boys involved may make fine fodder for vengeance-fantasy, but it will achieve nothing significant, not that achieving anything’s of any interest to the mouthbreathers and string-em-uppers anyway. Go read the case transcripts. Look into the festering hell-hole in which these people live.

    The facts of the matter are simple. in this country we rightly abhor the notion that any male should have sex with a child.Transgressions by anyone one of the law pertaining to this has to be treated very seriously by the courts or the law looses all credibility. As it has in places like a Aurukun You can wring your hands about the social dysfunction as much as you like but until such crimes earn the same punishment in north Queensland as they do in the cities no child will be safe in a community like Aurukun.
    Sadly all too often the reality that there is no economic reason for places like Aurukun to exist is totally ignored and perhaps the time has come to suggest that instead of whining about a lack of jobs or services there that the people should be encouraged to move to places where they can find a real future, with real jobs, and real education and opportunities for their children.

  31. Katz says:

    We don’t know whether the 10 year old was inviting sex because she like it, or whether, as Aeschenkarnos suggested, she was swapping sex for drugs, booze, food, or anything else.

    The point is, as Aeschenkarnos has so eleoquently suggested, Arakun contains elements of a moronic inferno in which the normal rules of crime and punishment, reward and deterrence, cease to have much meaning.

    How many of the boys and young men of Arakun would need to be thrown into jail before 10-y-o girls are safe there?

  32. wpd says:

    aeschenkarnos correctly outlines the extent of the problems. There are no simple solutions.

    As aeschenkarnos says: “There’s a lot more in the box, and it’s a big box”.

  33. casey says:

    “For which I have been assured… “Of course you’re right that one shouldn’t jump to the tabloids’ conclusions, but this isn’t a fight you’re going to win.”

    Joe 2, Anna Winter was referring to the assertion by the judge that a 10 year old probably agreed to sex. You seemed to want to argue that was tabloid fodder. It wasnt. It was in the transcript I posted on the Sat. Salon. No one here or anywhere disputes that statement by the judge is wrong and innapropriate.

  34. casey says:

    Here is some detail on the child:

    “Like so many indigenous children, she was born with foetal alcohol syndrome. Disadvantaged from birth, she is reportedly “mildly intellectually impaired”.

    When the girl was seven, she was molested by a family member and contracted syphilis. She became “highly sexualised”, so for her own protection the Department of Child Safety removed her from her family in Aurukun and sent her to live with a succession of foster families. She was ultimately placed with a white family in Cairns.

    But the sexual assault had left its mark. Early last year the girl’s foster carer told child safety officials she was offering to perform sex acts in exchange for cigarettes and alcohol. Nonetheless, officials returned the girl to her family in Aurukun in April last year, after she indicated she wanted to go back. Less than two months later, at the age of 10, she was raped by nine men, including six aged between 13 and 16, over a succession of days.

    Such early brutal sexual encounters have completely robbed the girl of her innocence and warped her view of what is appropriate behaviour.

    Not long after returning to Aurukun, she presented at a medical clinic requesting a pregnancy test and condoms. According to a departmental report, the girl told clinic staff she was having consensual sex.

    The girl’s experiences have highlighted the dysfunction of the remote Aurukun community, where sex among children is not unheard of, girls barely in their teens are having babies, alcoholism is rife, and there are frequent riots between tribes.”

    More here http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/raped-girl-endured-lifetime-of-trauma/2007/12/12/1197135558276.html

  35. Gaz: sneering how you may be, and welcome aboard. As a former liaison officer, I have a few questions for you:

    Was sexual abuse a big problem at Coober Pedy?

    How did you police it?

    And were you successful?

  36. casey says:

    “but the facts of this case, as proven in the court, are that the boys–themselves drunk and high–wanted to have sex with the girl–herself strung out–the girl agreed to do it, and in exchange, the boys would give her alcohol and drugs, both of which help mightily to moderate the experience. Those are the facts, that the court took into consideration. ”

    Aeschenkarnos, you seem to have more knowledge of this case than is available online. Can you tell me where you got this? Or are you involved in this in some way?

  37. Chris says:

    “They can’t be taken away from each other, we’d have another stolen generation fiasco to add to our national guilt.”

    Its this belief that I see as one of the central problems. The criticism of the stolen generation was not about removing aboriginal children from environments where they were at risk, it was because they were removed when it was not necessary.

    The lack of prison terms in this case is a problem because imprisoning people is not just about punishment, but also protecting the community.

  38. lauredhel says:

    If you don’t care what the facts are–if you wish to deny her agency entirely–then why enquire into the facts at all?

    Deny her agency? Deny her agency? Her sexual agency? A ten year old girl, intellectually disabled, and possibly drug-addled (I haven’t seen that information)? What. The. Fuck?

  39. Su says:

    “We don’t know whether the 10 year old was inviting sex because she like it, or whether, as Aeschenkarnos suggested, she was swapping sex for drugs, booze, food, or anything else.”

    On the contrary, we can say with almost 100% certainty that had this girl not been abused previously she would not have agreed to or solicited sex. There is a wealth of psychological articles on this phenomenon. The hypersexualized behaviour can take a range of forms; from inappropriately seductive behaviour, to masturbation in clear and open view, to soliciting sex. This girl has learnt, from prior experience to gain approval and reward both tangible and intangible from offering her body for sex.

    Exactly Chris; something I have been trying to articulate with little success. If an alternative to prison could be found for such serious offences; one that protected the community, acted as a deterrent both for the perpetrators and for others, and signalled society’s extreme sanction against rape while offering rehabilitative programmes, then I would be all in favour of it. The problems with prisons as they currently exist is that the ethos within them is not conducive to sex offenders coming to terms with their culpability and then being able to develop into safe citizens with appropriate ways of relating to others, especially when it comes to expressions of sex and power. For many sex offenders, it seems that the only way of keeping them relatively safe in prison is to isolate them and that is not conducive to rehabilitation at all in the long term.

    However the prime motivation must be the protection of the community. Not to do so is to sentence that community to an exponential increase in violence. Each time someone is victimised, the population of potential offenders goes up by one. I have made a long study of offenders, some of it in formal study and some informally and I have come to the conclusion that the biggest difference between offenders and those who are victims but not offenders, is the tendency to act out rather than in. The reason and mechanisms why some people go on to offend are undoubtedly complex and I am by no means an expert, however, on the situation of a very young girl, victimized by adolescents I have a lot of knowledge.

  40. Gaz says:

    Was sexual abuse a big problem at Coober Pedy?

    How did you police it?

    And were you successful?

    Sneering? Ummm who would have thought that having hands on experience was sneering.If sneering means responding to asinine comments that are totally with out any credibility,and mostly from the mouths of I can only presume 16 yr olds.Sneering ? o/k, put me down for sneering.

    Now before I answer your questions,let me preface by saying this.Sexual abuse at Coober Pedy in the early sixty’s was not always purportrated by and exclusive to the Aboriginal communities, a lot of it was white on black.

    Sexual abuse was always a big problem at Coober Pedy and shock horror from a recent visit still is.

    Any Policing in an Aboriginal community,when it comes to “Sexual Abuse” was and is treated as “Taboo ” and hence near on impossible to police.However when offenders were charged they were brought before the local courts, and received in most cases, custodial sentences.However,after time served, they were handed over to the elders of the tribe where summary justice was usually met out,and kept hidden because the emotion of shame,had not been totally wiped out by the 1967 Referendum that in effect gave Aboriginals, the green light to commit genocide on them selves with alcohol.

    Yes they were drinking before 1967,but not to the extent they do now.Now call me a Noel Pearson,or accuse me of being a paternal prick,but until we bite the bullet and ban alcohol in these communities period,(Yea rah rah rah Sth Africa)this shit will never end.

    But not punishing the offenders of what can only be described as a violent and disgusting act,is no excuse for anything.

  41. John T. says:

    Chris said “The lack of prison terms in this case is a problem because imprisoning people is not just about punishment, but also protecting the community.”

    This may be the basis of the rhetoric but it is not true. One of the major causes of rape and sexual assault in Aboriginal communities is prison, in particular men’s prison sexuality. The over representation of Aboriginal people in prison means an over representation of Gaol sexuality in the community because, even if after a long time, the perpetrator comes back to the family and community more brutalised than when they went in. This is not a new phenomenon, it has been happening for generations.

    Sending the Aurukun perpetrators to gaol is perpetuating the cycle of violence that is the cause of the breakdown.

    David M. hits the nail on the head when he says…. “But we also need to be very aware that in the absence of structures of authority, respect, and widely held norms of social behaviour, restorative justice has no substrate onto which it can be grafted.

    Until the authority structures are resourced, nurtured and healed then there is no real solution, whatever the government indigenous policy of the day might be.

    Customary law provides for prevention, crisis management and resolution. The victim is central and the perpetrator is dealt with, but it is a very different notion that punishment and the deterent theory of prison. It is about healing and doing what needs to be done from the perspective of the victim and broader community.

    The question of customary law came into the media today with the Aurukun Mayor saying this is what should happen to his son. Others have been calling for leg spearing.

    Customary law is much more broad and complicated than a sensational illusion such as revenge spearing but it is certainly hard.

    However customary law has been outlawed and demonised as a justification for under age sex and domestic violence. The very solution to sexual violence and a range of other crimes has been extinguished in favour of colonial state intervention on behalf of the victim, and not solving anything, in particular for the victim.

    The young men involved need to participate in traditional mens business to correct their consciousness and restore balance in the community, by any means necessary.

    The young girl needs to participate in traditional womens business to heal.

    Despite the Royal commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody reccomending restorative justice based on customary law and culture as an alternative to custodial corrections, no such enterprises were ever encouraged or resourced by state authorities. Since that time customary law has been outlawed and prison has remained as the one size fits all solution to all Aboriginal crisis. The criminalisation of alcohol consuption has greatly accelerated this.

    Customary law is not just a notion or a religion, it is a system just like the police, courts and prisons are. It requires budgets and management and labour. Until customary law is legitimised and resourced these problems will increase in direct proportion to the social breakdown.

    If state military interventions can resource and institutionalise customary law and the dictatorship of community elders, then that would be good. However the intervention model is just the supercharging of the same old colonial policies which, one way or another, are based on funnelling people into the white prison system.

  42. This sort of verdict can be stopped by judges having to face election. While ever judges are appointed for life, this sort of rot will not end.

  43. Paul Burns says:

    I’m usuaslly to the “left” on everything but
    The girl was 10 years old
    she was intellectually disabled
    she was raped.
    It is irrelevant she was highly sexualised.
    It is irrelevant that she was Aboriginal.
    It is irrelevant that the males who raped her were themselves victims.
    Most men, black or white,who rape usually have been victims in the sense they were brought up so dysfunctionally they see that behaviour as in some way okay.
    They still deserve , if found guilty of the offence, to be put away for a very long time.
    Sure, they’ll be bashed, abused, raped etc., in jail.
    As a wise old crim said to me long ago, “If you don’t want to do the time, don’t do the crime.”

  44. Gaz says:

    “Comment by Paul Burns — December 13, 2007 @ 9:07 pm”

    Hoorah! My faith restored there are wise people on this blog.

  45. adrian says:

    Simple solutions for simple people. Lock ’em up, throw away the key, killing’s to good for them, blah, blah, blah.

    It’s clear that this isn’t about finding a solution to one of the greatest crises facing this country; it’s about making some people feel better by finding an outlet for their particular brand of moral outrage.

  46. hc says:

    Her attackers should have gone to jail.

    Of course you ‘oppose’ it Mark (take care, cover yourself) but you do want to put it in a ‘broader context’. You make me feel ill – you have no sense of shame at all.

    The girl was taken from her indigenous family after being raped first time around – and given to a non-indigenous family where she was given education and counselling. Brainless Queensland ‘social workers’ returned her to the family because they didn’t want a repeat of the ‘stolen generations’.

    She was raped again. What do you want? No possible case for Federal intervention here – that was just Coalition paternalism. Noel Peason – no he is just being simplistic.

    Will Jenny Macklin apologise to this girl (and others killed, raped)? They demand apologies for myths of 40 years ago allegedly committed by other generations – what about the destruction of young kids lives last year?

  47. philiptravers says:

    I have a problem,and there will never be a remedy for it.That problem is I could write many gigabytes about people I know,and potentially the same about people I dont,then there are the people here,who are attempting to find a way of discussing others they do not know.Graz,whilst obviously having some experience in matters is exaggerating, a good and valid point,others may not be exaggerating but ignoring something fundamental,which isnt easily explainable until a attempt to accept views that rankle becomes the only zone to be in.I will say, as a suggestion similar to Grazs that an average person would be totally upset by all this involving this case,and I dont think that can be ignored.Although the word average could have its rightful critics.Whilst a critic of Pearson ready to dismiss him for being totally invalid,I have noticed he is Aboriginal,and maybe, in all his efforts to not be a victim of that in itself at times,becomes one when people see some aspect of his personality that isnt pleasant or unacceptable.Plain Truth is Paris Hilton has the same problem.So I am just making those type of points because essentially,if someone is talking about me,and often I couldnt careless,there are other times when I find it really objectionable,and downright insulting.This country should not turn every Aboriginal citizen into unpopular movie stars,because of their problems.Reduce the drama content,because I am sure they would prefer to be in paid dramas rather than what is easily describable,and doesnt necessarily mean they are like any description 24 hours a day.We shouldnt let Aboriginals unconsciously accept that their life is for, us,who, arent aboriginal,to be extended by their problems.Now this might seem like a cowardly attack on Martin,but endless reports have been made about Aboriginal matters,how many get acted upon reasonably rapidly!?The answer has not been self-assuring to members of those communities where ever you find them,so wanting say appropriate work has to be then suggested by another individual in a long line of individuals before the relevance of such meets a specific gravity!?Why dont you build me up buttercup baby ,just to let me down again.As a line from a song could be their theme song,with didge playing in the background!

  48. Paul Burns says:

    Gaz,
    There are crimes committed which frequently have mitigating circumstances. This one is so clear-cut that there is no doubting it was a very serious crime and it was morally wrong in the Lockean Sense of being against natural law.
    Nobody, whatever their culture, has to be told its wrong to rape children.
    Even in the 18th Century and earlier, and up to, I think mid-Victorian times, the age of consent was 12.
    So 10 has never, repeat, never, been okay at any time in history.

  49. Gaz says:

    “It’s clear that this isn’t about finding a solution to one of the greatest crises facing this country; it’s about making some people feel better by finding an outlet for their particular brand of moral outrage.”

    That has to be the best yet! My God that’s funny.

  50. wpd says:

    Comment by Paul Burns. Paul, I accept what you say in broad terms. But the real issue here is much bigger than how to deal with the despicable behaviour of a gang of youths in the short term.

    Aeschenkarnos referred to some of the deep and abiding problems that need to be addressed.

    Any suggestions?

  51. haiku says:

    I hope that Macklin does apologise to this girl. And Brough – the previous Federal Minister. And more importantly, the Queensland authorities. And, in contrast to the Stolen Generation, I think compensation is able to be calculated, and is desirable.

    That said, a national apology to the Stolen Generation, and their parents, is entirely appropriate as well. (Much more so than a personal apology from someone who wasn’t involved.)

    These men should have gone to jail. But there is no justice in them being brutalised, bashed and raped while in jail. See Rodney Adler’s comments from about a week ago.

    I cannot support the continued use of customary law wherever it involves violence. Those who oppose the recognition of customary law should also oppose the widespread view that it’s acceptable for men to be brutalised, bashed and raped while serving jail time.

    I could think of few things more damaging to the law in Australia than the requirement that judges must be elected, with the possible exception of the appointment of Janet Albrechtsen to the High Court.

  52. Paul Burns says:

    I’m definitely not in the lock ’em up brigade when it comes to many crimes, especially crimes that are relatively victimless.But I long ago was dis-illusioned that everyone ran with the milk of human kindness. I have had long and close experience of the lumpenproletariat, and its a very sad fact of life that some people, fortunately a minority, are just plain bad. Society must be protected from them. Among those people who are just plain bad, are the rockspiders and the rapists.
    There are others, but I can’t be bothered making a list.

  53. Gaz says:

    “Comment by Paul Burns — December 13, 2007 @ 9:40 pm”

    Paul what can I say?I agree with you totally,and why wouldn’t I it is total common dog.

    I kid you not, I am going to lift this page off of here and show it to my friends who are not on the net,they will be shocked,some of them may faint I’ll let ya know.

    Like your self Paul, I make most of the people on this blog look like raving wing nuts I am that far to the left.But the comments here on this matter,are over the top.The right wing looney tunes will be having a field day with this.

    They only suspected we on the left were away with the fairies on social issues, this will no doubt go a long way to removing any doubt.This is not the only blog to the left,that is running this shlock about we who want justice are retards, and don’t understand the nuance ha ha ha ha.

  54. Darin says:

    Any suggestions?

    Maybe something that involves removing the rapists from the community? It could always be followed up with efforts towards reintegrating the child back into her family and community without making her feel that she was at fault?

    Hard? sure. But at the moment the rapists are comtinuing with their dysfunctional lives and she is hidden away in foster care.

  55. Lock up the offenders. Lock them all up. If this means a significant chunk of the aboriginal male population spends their life in gaol, then so be it.

    The law must be applied equally to all. Little aboriginal girls deserve the same protection under the law which is the right of every other citizen.

    This case, and quite possibly others, could be prevented by NOT removing children from foster families (who happen to be white) and putting them back into an environment where (indisputably) she was at risk. Irrational fear of “repeating” a (yet to be proved) “stolen” generation notwithstanding.

    The next question is: Why does Aurukun exist? It seems that life there is a fast track to nowhere.

  56. mbahnisch says:

    Of course you ‘oppose’ it Mark (take care, cover yourself) but you do want to put it in a ‘broader context’. You make me feel ill – you have no sense of shame at all.

    I have no idea why, hc, but what always seems to get your goat up is what you don’t like about those who differ from you politically. If you think that any crime exists outside of a context, you’re entitled to do so, but you’re failing to live in the real world. You really should try harder to grasp that understanding and exculpation are not the same thing. I’m sorry if that’s difficult to grasp for you in your black and white world. I use that phrase advisedly.

  57. Gaz says:

    Lock up the offenders. Lock them all up. If this means a significant chunk of the aboriginal male population spends their life in gaol, then so be it.

    SATP Jesus Mary and Joseph that I’d be agreeing with you.

  58. joe2 says:

    “Of course you ‘oppose’ it Mark (take care, cover yourself) but you do want to put it in a ‘broader context’. You make me feel ill – you have no sense of shame at all.”

    Harry Clarke it is your comments that prove you are neither a gentlemen or even near fair minded. Mark has been been open to discussion but you seem hellbent on dragging matters that should not be treated as a political football into some sore loser last stand.

  59. wpd says:

    Surely hc, there is a simple economic solution to this? Or did the 10 year old in question simply engage in the ‘economic solution’ as suggested by Aeschenkarnos?

    Maybe she did not have ‘perfect knowledge’ on which to base her ‘choice’?

  60. #43 Paul Burns: There is nothing about being Left-wing which implies one must side with criminals, paedophiles and rapists. (Real) Left-wing governments are extremely tough on crime. Real left-wing people (ie, those who are the backbone of the union movement, those who built the nation, and those who perform the toil) harbour extremely socially conservative views when it comes to crime and punishment.

    Even in the “left-by-convenience” housing commission/dole belt, kiddy fiddlers get short shrift.

    There is nothing inherently non-left about believing criminals should be subject to the full force of the law. Your left-wing credentials are not at risk.

  61. Paul Burns says:

    wpc.
    We cross-posted.
    Suggestions? No. It’s totally beyond me. My heart aches when I see what has happened and is happening to many Aboriginal people. I have a few Aboriginal friends, they are all decent people and they don’t get into any of this stuff. They watch over the well-being of their children like hawks, and have given them very clear warnings about the dangers of potential sexual abuse, and how they should react if they are ever caught in that situarion. They check out the people the kids mix with thoroughly.But solutions, suggestions? No, the horror of the whole dreadful situation overwhelms me. Maybe genuine reconciliation. But I come from the country. I know there are people out there still filled with hate towards Aborigines. People who still see them as not quite human. How do you change that? How do you even begin to eradicate such an evil.
    I guess I treat Aborigines the same as anyone else. Just as with the whites I know, some I really like, some I can’t stand a bar of. But I have to say I’ve met a lot more white scum than I have Aborigines.And I’ve got to know quite a few Kurris.

  62. mbahnisch says:

    I’m not sure if hc has become grumpier now his mob have lost. But he’s always combined attacks on his opponents for allegedly always seeing everything in ideological terms with a very narrow view of the world that seems to combine Howardian talking points and economic theory. I don’t think that we should waste any time on him when there are more serious matters to discuss.

    As to the comments about the economic viability of Aurukun, to give Noel Pearson some credit, at least he’s thought about these issues, but from the wrong perspective, I think – the “scratch a Blackfella and you’ll find a white picket fence entrepreneur” perspective. Aurukun is not necessarily much more remote than other settlements with a much bigger white population that are relatively well served in terms of resources – it’s much harder to get to Weipa but proximity to mining means that it doesn’t lack for public services. The truth is that further dispossession of the Aurukun community would do nothing more than move the problems that exist somewhere else – Cairns probably. I think what we can take from Martin’s thoughts is that it was not always so, and that does give some hope that it need not be so. But whatever solution won’t be a quick one, and it absolutely has to have community acceptance and input – which has not been the case with Pearson’s. There’s a hell of a lot more going on up at the Cape than “welfare dependency”.

  63. wpd says:

    “Suggestions? No. It’s totally beyond me.”

    Paul thanks for the response. And it’s beyond me also – not that it’s any consolation.

    But decisions have to be made. 10 year old girls being raped is simply the tip of a large iceberg. One can’t simply sit on the sidelines and shake one’s head.

    I know that Beattie was very committed to developing solutions as was Fitzgerald but now Beattie is calling for Federal intervention. It seems to me he is also throwing up his hands (in horror).

    It is not easy.

    However what we don’t need are simplistic solutions. Been there and done that.

  64. mbahnisch says:

    There is nothing inherently non-left about believing criminals should be subject to the full force of the law.

    That’s true, but it misses something important. And the hackneyed phrase also misses something important – sentencing has more functions than punishment alone (noting Martin’s reservations about the possibility of restorative justice in this situation). Tony Blair’s slogan (which he stole from Gordon Brown!) “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” would be worth supporting if the latter part weren’t too often ignored and the former part weren’t an excuse for law and order auctions and imprisonment or stronger sentence for victimless crimes. There is no contradiction, as I’ve been arguing, in seeing a need for the law to operate as it ought and also for the structural factors which lead to social dysfunction to be addressed. David Martin is correct when he argues that the justice system by itself cannot be expected to “solve” these problems, and what I explicitly wanted to do on this thread was foster discussion of that, not get into a rather predictable stoush over whether “they should all hang”…

  65. Iain says:

    The truth is that further dispossession of the Aurukun community would do nothing more than move the problems that exist somewhere else – Cairns probably.

    Mark
    it’s not about dispossession it’s about building a future, if the people at Aurukun don’t want to live of the land then they have to be prepared to move to somewhere that gives them opportunities in the money economy. Because when you get down to it the biggest problem is idleness and a mindset that stifles any self reliance. That is precisely the mindset that Pearson rails against and the mindset that has been so lovingly nurtured by the “rights agenda” and “Guilt industry” Left.

  66. philiptravers says:

    Slagging off is not a sign of being an expert on the religious order of who is the true Left.Not that slagging off hasnt got its place in the contexy of political spectrumly.The Police still to this day have got a right to contest language and description of people including themselves in their presence.Unless you have any form of actionable evidence that Housing Commission equals child fiddlers,it is unsafe territory as a honest account of the seemingly hard working.Why would someone who is hard working actually know that as a specific reoccuring truth is beyond my bludging non-housing commission analysis.Justice in Australia and those who administerand deliver it,may disagree that justice will be served by lock up,more so when evidence could suggest even as punishment the lesson wont be learnt.I believe myself that social isolation,productive social isolation with limited rights earnt to socialise is a possible other form of punishment,in a non jail setting ,but this vast continent being a jail if limited by social access rights.That is a modified tradition with appropriate modern work and an incapacity to be able to escape the requirement of that work,but not necessarily within a given time.Australia has a lot of environmental problems that just need laboring,it also has got the existing portable housing,and electronic expertise,and food delivery services,including The Flying Doctor.A individual could have a walking to work and back pathway fully monitored ,including health and emergency matters,within the context of regulated social isolation.The working class also suffers the problem of being taxed,and seeing people go to jail,even if they dont like them,which remains a burden ,an unproductive burden,if they become repeat offenders,aboriginality and its prospects have always had a punishment by social isolation,they have traditional had to survive by perspiring freely in a harsh environment,but not always across the whole continent.And to be working class, which doesnt necessarily mean that you accept those who call themselves Left have automatic wisdom,are usually able to rankle as much as cop it.

  67. Paul Burns says:

    Reconciliation, perhaps, Mark? But how, now.Once I think there was great hope for it on both sides. But we have the incubus of the Howard years on our backs. If Howard demonstrated anything, he demonstrated that there are about 47% if the population out there who don’t want a bar of it. And that doesn’t count the Kooris who are so angered by that 47% that they don’t want it either.The Sunday after Howard won in 1996 I was in the Armidale Mall. Two young Aboriginals girls were walking along the Mall, and this white man aged about 50 said to them, “What are you doing walking the street. Go back to the mish.. Don’t you know there’s been a change of Government. I told him off, and he laughed at me. “Its all changed now”, he said. How right he was.
    How do you beat that? How do you counter the anger that causes? A few years later (I think) we had a race riot that hit the front pages of the Daily Telegraph. You know what I mean?

  68. But not punishing the offenders of what can only be described as a violent and disgusting act,is no excuse for anything.

    I agree wholeheartedly with you. But I thought that didn’t need to be said.

  69. mbahnisch says:

    Paul, it’s all changed again though. It’s always interesting that in polls taken after elections that more people claim to have voted for the victor than could have – and the one poll taken post-24/11 shows the Labor primary on 58. There’s a real chance for the government to change the terms of these debates, and for other people of good will to do their bit. You never will get, and you don’t need unanimity, as we discussed on the “Sorry” thread – doing the right thing won’t ever bring about universal acceptance. It would be good if the impulses which led many to support the “intervention” could be harnessed to support something that genuinely does try to equalise living conditions for all Australians – something Jenny Macklin has promised to work towards. Acceptance that the road will be long and hard and simplistic nostrums a la Brough and Pearson are likely to fail is also necessary.

  70. Su says:

    I still think that the solutions could be found in the consultative reports that indigenous people have engaged with over the past decades, only to be disappointed when the recommendations of those reports sank without any apparent impact upon the government who commissioned them. And of course the government would need to care enough about the value of the work to fund the solutions properly, despite the poor return in votes.

  71. mbahnisch says:

    #65 – Iain, let’s leave aside rhetoric about “the guilt industry”. As Lowitja O’Donoghue said, there isn’t one and nobody is being asked to feel guilt – which is a very negative emotion.

    Again, you (and Pearson) are being too simplistic, though I suspect Pearson has more of an idea about the challenges. The nature of the histories of those who were the perps in this case should be a clue – people whose lives and brains have been destroyed by grog and pills. Plonking them down in Cairns (and in any case it’s not for the Australian government or anyone else to say where people can live – that’s one of the few constitutional rights we have as citizens!) won’t magically make functionally illiterate unschooled people with addictions “work ready”.

    In any case, much of the decay of the “social norms” and the culture Pearson is always talking about happened because the Queensland government forcibly moved people from different affiliations to where it found them easy to plonk them – as recently as the 70s. I’d suggest you inform yourself on some of the history of the Cape.

  72. Gaz says:

    “I agree wholeheartedly with you. But I thought that didn’t need to be said.”

    Well fine,I also came up with a possible solution unlike many apart from SATP. Stop the grog,and I know that is gonna piss off the civil libertarians,and we may,just may,stop some of the anti social behavior.

    That didn’t need to be said either I would have thought,but cutting off the main cause of most of this shit seems to be as “Taboo” as investigating sexual abuse.

    I mean after all,we didn’t give a flying root about what the rest of the world thought when we were trying to commit genocide on them,did we?

    Maybe it’s time to try something else ? We can keep burying our heads in the sand about these issues,but all roads lead back to good ol alcohol.

    Of course grog effects the Anglo Saxons as well, but we are more inclined to scape goat it, cause we can handle it,can’t we?.UNLESS of course it is your son, daughter, that will be killed tonight by some pissed up fuck in a motor vehicle. By the time the lawyers get hold of the case the driver will be made out to be Mother fucking Teresa.The parents well that’s another story.

  73. mbahnisch says:

    Action has already been taken by the Queensland Government to “stop the grog” in the Cape in consultation with the local community.:

    http://www.mcmc.qld.gov.au/community/search/restricted.php

    In Aurukun, alcohol can only be consumed in canteens up to a limit and transport or carriage of alcohol is illegal, and it’s illegal to be drunk in public.

    These debates would be more worthwhile if people took the trouble to learn what was going on.

  74. David Rubie says:

    Gaz wrote;

    Maybe it’s time to try something else ? We can keep burying our heads in the sand about these issues,but all roads lead back to good ol alcohol.

    Why do they want it Gaz? And why do we need to dismiss an entire people as a “them” in order to save them? Of solutions so far, we’ve heard (a) jail, you know it makes sense, (b) punish the entire community for the acts of a smaller number and (c) move the offenders somewhere else to offend again presumably (that worked well for the Catholic church and their pederast ministers).

    It might, just might, be possible to punish and/or restrict the activities of just the crappy elements of Aboriginal society without condemning the whole lot to a life of doled out restrictions and paternalism. We don’t treat white blokes like that, despite them having a long history of abusing aboriginal women and children. We segregate out the offenders where we can catch them and leave the rest of the law abiding community alone.

    I think it’s high time the 1966 referendum was revisited to remove the provision to make special laws for Aboriginals, and welcome them into society as Australians. We also need to find punishment and (where applicable) jailing that doesn’t cause further problems for these seriously disturbed individuals.

  75. Gaz says:

    “These debates would be more worthwhile if people took the trouble to learn what was going on.”

    That comment apart from being absolutely contemptible,is as naive as the day is long.If you think Aboriginals are still not getting pissed up in Aurukun,or for that matter in just about every Aboriginal community in Australia,could I humbly suggest you have, 1.Your hearing tested.2.Your eyes tested.

    It is common knowledge and an un-deniable fact, that alcohol is the root cause of the plight of the Aboriginal race Australia wide.To deny this fact,and to sugar coat it in any other way,is bloody not only stupid,it is dis-honest.

  76. Iain says:

    Mark
    Perhaps the reality is that those already ruined by the grog and other drugs can not in fact be helped and they are just going to have to be managed but there is hope for the young and those as yet undiminished by the grog, and it is they who do have a chance for the future.
    In any case I am not advocating any sort of wholesale clearance of communities like Aurukun but the encouragement of people to seek a better future elsewhere, because I can’t see much of a future there at present.
    To those here who are very keen to lay the blame for this situation at the feet of the former federal government I suggest that you should remember that this community has always been the responsibility of the state government and who has been in power in George st?

  77. Gaz says:

    “And why do we need to dismiss an entire people as a “them” in order to save them? Of solutions so far,”

    If you havn’t already,could I suggest you join M.Banish in a trip around this fair land and visit Aboriginal communities to see what is going on.

    I have just recently returned from Coober Pedy S.A. the place is in a time warp,nothing apart from some new buildings in the communities, has changed.Sorry you can get botique beers there now.

    Unfortunately we sometimes make laws to protect the whole community, a case in point, is the gun laws.I would like a machine gun cause I like the noise they make,and I have a small dick.But I can’t have one because society says they to dangerous for individuals.It wasn’t so long ago governments were telling people what they could read,the previous government bless their hearts were going to try and restrict the internet.

    So what is your point?I am not suggesting collective punishment for anyone.Off the cuff sarcasm,”Prison we know it works” well what is an alternative when you have a shit bag that wont comply to society’s norms.Let me know and I’ll consider it.

  78. David Rubie says:

    Off the cuff sarcasm,”Prison we know it works” well what is an alternative when you have a shit bag that wont comply to society’s norms.Let me know and I’ll consider it.

    The problem is Gaz (and you’d know, being an ex plod) is that putting some of these shitbags in prison simply shifts the problem from one place to another. There are few efforts to fix them, or make jails anything like the “correctional facilities” they are supposed to be. There is little or no effort in trying to work out which of the offenders might be psychologically damaged, affected by things like foetal alcohol syndrome or just plain retarded or evil.

    Collective punishment is what the NT intervention is all about, and I suspect the poor bastards in Aurukun are about to receive their own metric shitload of collective punishment too. Why? Apparently we’re too lazy or cheap to police effectively in remote communities. We’re too lazy or cheap to provide reasonable housing that limits overcrowding, and we seem to have a collective belief that Aboriginals are somehow sub-human rather than just poor, with few prospects and no future. All of it of our making through two disastrous centuries of abuse from within and without. The Aboriginal community in Armidale have their problems, but they make a lie of the blanket assertion that a whole race of people aren’t worth bothering with. I’ll repeat it: Housing, policing, prospects. Those things can go a long way to making a functional community, all of which have been neglected in the last 11 years.

  79. I’ve a little experience in this issue having worked out of the same Child Protection Office this case is now focussing on albeit in the mid nineties. During my time I worked on a succession complex yet fascinating projects including a review of all indigenous children in care, looking particularly at cultural identity and community of origin issues (which current case centres around) , and later on developing alternatives to youth detention (as a response to the deaths in custody report att.).

    It is a very very difficult area of work, and ideologically fraught, and in part saw me transition from my very academic and idealistically left framework to more pragmatic ‘centerist’ position.

    (One of my most haunting recollections is being beseeched by elders to remove their chronically neglected and abused grandchildren from their community to ‘give ’em a chance’). I won’t say much more on a forum about this time, but i think it meeds to be understood, without in anyway denying the injustice, reality and pain experienced by the people of the stolen generation, that not every case where a child was removed was unjust or unwarranted, and this continues to be the case and that failure to understand this distinction only serves to polarise response to issues of abuse and /injustice to the detriment of the most vulnerable.

    As to the appropriateness of the sentences, the issue brings the inadequacy of our prison system to rehabilitate either black or white offenders into focus, which is one of the many shames in this whole affair. It is sadly ironic to point out however, that had the young girl consented to or even solicited sex with the older of these men, but had had the ‘fortune’ of being born in one of near ‘third world’ neighbours, there may have been a vastly different response from the Justice system:

    Child Sex Tourism Law

    Extra-territorial laws have been an important response to CSEC and have been enacted in over 35 countries.

    Child Wise was instrumental in having the Crimes (Child Sex Tourism) Amendment Act 1994 passed in Australia. The Act came into force in July 1994. This Act makes sexual activity with a child under 16 years committed in an overseas country by an Australian citizen or resident a criminal offence in Australia. The laws apply to individuals, companies or corporations and provide for a term of imprisonment of up to 17 years and fines of up to $ 500,000. It is also an offence to encourage, benefit of profit from any activity that promotes sexual activity with children.

    The Child Sex Tourism Law acts as a deterrence to and punishment for people who are running, making money from or participating in any way in child sex. It encourages all Australians not to tolerate child sexual abuse anywhere in the world and reinforces their obligation to act as a citizen of the world. It also encourages other countries to adopt similar laws and sends a strong message to governments in receiving countries that Australia does not approve of this behaviour and encourages those governments to take action on foreign child sex tourists. It also tells child sex tourists that what they are doing is illegal and punishable by law. Tourists who have sex with children usually justify their actions and will not accept moral arguments.

    Download a copy of the Crimes (Child Sex Tourism) Amendment Act 1994:
    Crimes_(Child_Sex_Tourism).pdf

  80. Gaz says:

    “I’ll repeat it: Housing, policing, prospects. Those things can go a long way to making a functional community, all of which have been neglected in the last 11 years.’

    Look David I am not a lock up hang by the bollicks any miscreant that comes along.All crimes have mitigating circumstances that should be made aware of to the courts,and in most cases they are.

    This whole sorry saga is about a mob of blokes rooting a ten year old, there are no gray areas here,I could give a flying root if the offenders fathers and mothers were drunks or astronauts..

    I am the first one to go into bat for Aboriginal causes,people are not reading what I am saying.To use that old hackneyed “Some of my best friends are Aboriginals”well in my case that happens to be true.

    These animals,I will concede are probably retarded,cos my mind is telling me a sane person/persons would not do such a thing.

    And by the way,I am not calling for a para military intervention,Howards late feigned caring attitude, was a land grab end of.I may look like a cabbage but I aint green.

  81. paul walter says:

    Casey’s potted history of the girl, #34, tallies with what a female friend told me a little while go.
    She’s white, but grew up in the country and reckons this stuff is rife in many rougher white communities, too. And she reckoned she should know; nuff said.
    Was abuse big time in Aboriginal communities before Settlement? What’s the bet it went on but no where to the extent it does in these chaotic times. Perhaps in an average functioning culture it goes on at a certain level, but only radically increases with social breakdown. I’m thinking of Darfor. I don’t know about incest there per se, but the news reports talk of sexual violence big time with the breakdown of law, civilisation and social norms.
    So, the perpetrators involved with the ten year old girl are both guilty in the conventional sense , but also victims themselves. It’s possible to both.
    I understand where Paul Burns is coming from, I’m of his ilk. Pity no one is talking about rehab, tho. Even the mayor wants his son dealt with severely, but what also of changing people’s attitudes and conditions etc so that things ease in the future.
    As an aussie, am ashamed that that people keep talking about indigenes as seperate from the community. They are actually an example of the low level the Australian community is prepared to acept for Australian children. Because make no mistake, that kid is as Australian as the rest of us and we’ve not done a thing since the ‘nineties to try and move things on as to that sort of suffering . Just the opposite, in fact.
    It is not (just) Aboriginal communites that tolerate abuse in aboriginal communities, it is white Australia that tolerates suffering in these communities, and thus the Australian comunity welcomes incest and violence in the Australian community. The mess at Arukun is as much a comment on the mean spiritedness of white Australia as any personal failing regarded as intrinsic to Aborigines.
    In the mean time to my late parent, a belated thanks. I never knew how lucky I was, ’till now.

  82. Michael says:

    Yes, what to do, other than vent your spleen, which does feel good.

    A term used that I think is helpful in understanding what is going on is “cumulative causation”. It gives a sense of compounding problems over time, such as harmful drinking levels causing high rates of foetal alcohol syndrome and subesquently poor educational, behavioural and social outcomes. Multi-dimensional problems won’t be fixed by purported magic bullets, such as sending people to jail for longer periods.

    Generally in Australia we have one of the lowest rates of early intervention spending in the OECD, yet it is one of the most effective avenues for making life-long positive impacts. The situation is even more dire in remote communities. A much greater focus on early intevention services such as play-groups, creches, young mothers groups, parenting skills etc., could have good outcomes. There is good evidence for this. And there are other programs already running which should be more broadly available, like the Family Violence workshops in Alice that were designed, and are run, by Indigenous people, or the behavioural program for kids on the Tiwi Is, that gets parents and children together in an intensive course to develop skills in shared problem solving and communication.

    There is good stuff happening, but it’s often scattered and getting by on a year-to-year basis. Like the problems themselves, we need strategies that will give cumulative improvements and not pin our hopes on the dramatic and spectacular.

  83. Ash says:

    Lauredhel: “Deny her agency? Deny her agency? Her sexual agency? A ten year old girl, intellectually disabled, and possibly drug-addled (I haven’t seen that information)? What. The. Fuck?”

    You don’t see it? Very well, I will explain in hopefully much more clear terms the kind of lives these people live.

    This girl, or another like her, has suffered terrible childhood abuse and trauma which no-one is particularly interested in spending money addressing. The cops have picked out out one or two of her relatives to be sent into jail from time to time in order to make them into morally worse and more dangerous people, as is white man’s tradition. Quite a lot of the bad things they do *don’t* ever get reported, after all. There’s no reason to assume a ten year old (or anyone living in those conditions) has a view of the law that is anything other than capricious. In her experience, people hurt each other *all the time*. Take a walk through the town at night, you’ll hear the screams and the sobbing.

    This is what police mean to her: on *occasion*, white men dressed in blue with guns will come by and take away one or more of her relatives. This means some beatings will stop for a while, it also means the household is down that individual’s pension/dole/drug dealing/whatever income, it also means that others may beat her instead, or beat her worse. Sometimes the police might take her away for a while too, from her mother, sometimes her mother might be beaten so badly that she’s put in hospital, and whatever man normally makes her mother have sex in return for money and drugs and drink and protection … Let’s just say that the police’s view of their own actions isn’t exactly borne out by her experiences. The relationship between who beats *her* and who gets sent to jail is at best vague. Sometimes men who might protect her get sent to jail.

    The concept of going to a police officer for help is … absurd, just absurd. Maybe if someone was being killed, she might. There are some people in the community she might consider herself safe with, maybe some church people; but to her, the police are the ones who take uncles away, and when an uncle comes back, he comes back worse.

    She’s been shunted around a few underfunded and uninterested foster homes and child protection agencies and so forth and whatever but due to her overwhelming problems, terror of strangers, addictions, etc she has been difficult if not impossible to even deal with, let alone “discipline”, and there are many more such kids and in the end it would *cost precious precious money* to do anything real about her problems, and as we all know there’s plenty more kids but budgetary discipline is actually important, so at the earliest opportunity she has been returned into the custody of whatever relative shows up to claim her looking sober.

    She drinks alcohol if it’s available, huffs petrol if it’s not, and whenever possible, takes whatever drugs she can get hold of. In her short life she’s learned a few things; one of those things is that a lot of men don’t much care who or what they have sex with, and these are the ones most likely to give her drink and drugs.

    What I mean by “agency” is this: does it matter if she trades sex for a swig of rum, or is forced to have sex by brutal strength? In the first case, she has exercised some agency. In the second, none. All else being equal, wouldn’t we say the second is a worse thing to do? They are both terrible things to do, and people ought to be stopped from doing them; but do you think the courts ought to punish the first or second man more harshly? If so, for what other reason than his actions?

    It frankly amazes me that people are so naive that they assume the morality and custom of Kenmore Heights are applicable, that this situation should be treated in precisely the same way as, say, a gang of middle-class white dentists grabbing a fifth-grader from the Saint Whoever Private School and raping her at knifepoint in the back of an SUV. The social context could not be more different.

    Both actions are wrong, immoral, evil. Both girls are victims. But the Aboriginal girl here is not only a victim of nine bad men with no-one else to blame. She is a victim of the social context that put her mother into a situation where she drank heavily throughout her life including pregnancy, that put her into a situation where it was *inevitable* that she would develop addictions as soon as she was old enough to grab hold of a bottle, where she was in the company of drunken, drug-addled, violent people (and each of them have their own variation on this story).

    So why do they live in such a horrible, brutal way? It’s like this: decades ago white men wanted land to farm and build things on, the Aboriginals didn’t seem to be using it and in any case couldn’t defend it, so they were driven off or killed or forced to work. Work is white man’s religion: “why would you not want to work?” we say, “No-one will give you money if you don’t work!” An odd sounding idea, but they found out pretty quickly why it was they needed money: kill a sheep and a whole bunch of white men showed up shouting and bearing guns and knives. We made it impossible for them, the same way we’d spent the previous thousand years making it impossible for ourselves, to live without money. We stopped them from hunting, gathering, and most of all, from wandering, the prime necessity of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, because we’d told each other we could have all the good places, and stuck fences around them.

    (All this was only some three to eight generations ago, by the way. Much more recent than it seems. Yes, I realize you want me to get to “the part where raping kiddies became OK, hyuk hyuk” so you can wave your fists at me with rage. Yeah, I will.)

    Even then, there were a hell of a lot less of them than of us. So, they did what we wanted, or we saw to it that they suffered. Up ’til only about two generations ago, we were dead sure, the same way we’re sure of gravity and the germ theory of disease, that our religion was absolutely right, and theirs was absolutely wrong, so we took them on on that front, too. Since it was clearly better than they not be raised as savages (remember, savages don’t take well to *working*, and *working* is important), we took them away where we could, and the churches were very keen on that.

    Some of them were quick of thought and adaptable, and started to fit in. Some of them saw the things we could do and wanted to do that. Some of them even intermarried. Some became, for all intents and purposes, “us” too. We’re not all bad, we whites; we have a tendency to judge people by their *work*. And people from other nations besides the British were showing up – the Chinese, for instance, who were even keener on work and even more willing to let the non-working die off than we were.

    The nation of Australia became ever more a mix of cultures. We learned all this in Social Studies, it’s just that most of us haven’t thought about it from anyone else’s point of view.

    (“But what about the raping kiddies?” Patience.)

    So, what happened to the Aboriginals? With a distinctive appearance, cultural traditions of moving around, several generations’ history of failure to gladly and fervently embrace the concept of work, and ten thousand years of evolutionary adaptation to alcohol (ie, the overly vulnerable dying out from abuse of it) to catch up on, it was very easy for everyone else to presume that Aboriginals were shiftless, lazy, dishonest, unreliable drunkards. Here and there, clear exceptions – “Him? He’s not like the Rest Of Them.” But in the main, that’s been the prevailing view. Which means that Aboriginals have been seen, until *extremely* recently, as a problem to be solved. One of the solutions was, “reservations”. But not like the Americans did; the military gap here was wider, the population lower, the tribes more spread out. Build towns, offer to let Aboriginals move there “for free”. Give them houses, since that’s charitable, and they don’t seem to build them themselves. Well away from the big towns. “They like that, don’t they?” Well, not really, not with those catches, but there’s no real choice given, and it’s been made clear to them that they’re not wanted here, and even if they were wanted, they have parents and grandparents telling them they’re not (how many streets are named “Boundary Road”?), so, off they went.

    But there’s nothing there, except each other. There’s some work, but not really a functional economy; the places are totally dependent on production elsewhere to exist. Mostly, the government will give them money. Hassle them from time to time about it, but that’s life. Generations of belief in family (there’s no-one else around) and hospitality and collective action ensure that no-one will actually *starve*, so long as someone’s got food.

    [As an aside, the Australian native bush environment is *extremely* hostile to human life and had a tiny few farmable native crops; the Aboriginal tribes who didn’t have strong cultural traditions of sharing and wandering lost out to those who did long before Babylon was built – it’s a major underlying theme in Aboriginal culture, the same way work is for us. It’s an effort to think any other way. If you suggested the ideas of keeping separate food stashes, and staying in one place, and not giving things to each other unless you got things back, to an Aboriginal tribe of a thousand years ago, they would consider you insane.]

    So it’s like being in jail, really. A town in jail. You can leave … *but* you were brought up being told that the family was the most important thing it’s possible to have, indeed the only permanent thing a person *can* have. And what would you do? You have some education, there is that – maybe enough to know how bad the conditions in which you live are. You’ve grown up thinking a house is a ramshackle building with a dozen people in it; the poorest suburban citydwellers live in unimaginable luxury and isolation. Everything about the outside world says that you are desperately, horribly, miserably poor. Everyone is angry, hopeless, addicted to alcohol, addicted to worse things.

    Some of you string-em-uppers have this impression that the judge in this case was inappropriately merciful, racistly weak in judgement of the Aboriginals’ terrible crimes, allowing them to “get away” with something. You’re looking at it from the wrong angle.

    Let’s say you did something bad. Not rape a kid, that’s too provoking … say, you fly into a rage over some webforum argument and track your antagonist down and kill him. Not inconceivable, surely. OK, you’re nicked coming out of his house, blood all over your hands and your hammer, and sentenced to whatever the penalty is. You print this out and plead provocation. Whatever. Ten years for you, says the judge. Let’s total up what you lose.
    – You lose your job.
    – You lose your modest but still desirable house and car.
    – You lose your spouse, most likely, to all intents and purposes, and your children grow up with minimal contact with you.
    – You lose your prospects, mostly. When you’re out, you might be able to get a job somewhere, but not one like you had.
    – You lose almost all of your friends.
    – You lose your social standing and respectable place in your community.
    – You lose ten years of socking away superannuation for your brief but maybe fulfilling-ish retirement.
    Now consider how much of the above the people in Aukurun, guilty or innocent, *start* without.

    To put it another way: in a certain country, crimes were punished by amputation. Hand for a thief, finger for a blasphemer, eye for an adulterer, foot for a breaker of a contract. Anyway, a thief has been caught for the second time, and is led to the court to be tried. The evidence is lined up against him, and the judge remonstrates with him, and tells him that he has lost his left hand for thieving and now he will lose his right, and has he anything to say about it. “Yes, your honour. Can you tell me what the penalty for blasphemy is?” “A loss of fingers, for such a wicked crime.” “In that case, your honour, may God and the Devil get drunk together and take you, your mother, the High Priest himself, and a rabid donkey and …”

  84. mbahnisch says:

    That comment apart from being absolutely contemptible,is as naive as the day is long.If you think Aboriginals are still not getting pissed up in Aurukun,or for that matter in just about every Aboriginal community in Australia,could I humbly suggest you have, 1.Your hearing tested.2.Your eyes tested.

    Get off your moral high horse, please. I’m pointing out to you that there are already severe legal restrictions on the consumption of alcohol in Aurukun. I’m unclear what more it is that you want. Send in Cap’n Brough and his Quinceland Rangers perhaps?

  85. mbahnisch says:

    If you havn’t already,could I suggest you join M.Banish in a trip around this fair land and visit Aboriginal communities to see what is going on.

    Mate, I know people who live up in the Cape. Blackfellas btw.

  86. mbahnisch says:

    A term used that I think is helpful in understanding what is going on is “cumulative causation”. It gives a sense of compounding problems over time, such as harmful drinking levels causing high rates of foetal alcohol syndrome and subesquently poor educational, behavioural and social outcomes. Multi-dimensional problems won’t be fixed by purported magic bullets, such as sending people to jail for longer periods.

    That’s very true. It’s also worthwhile emphasising, Michael, as you do, that good things are happening around the place. One of the results of the NT intervention was to compound what’s not good and destroy some that is good – principally with CDEP (fortunately now stopped in its tracks) but also with absurdities like the defunding of the domestic violence refuge in Maningrida. Lots of people working in the area, like Judy Atkinson, are well worth listening to, but they don’t get listened to as much as the Pearsons of the world because they don’t offer headline worthy copy and pious absolutes.

    Aurukun is one place where his program completely failed to gain any support. It might be a good thing if he admitted that when being interviewed as a “Cape York leader”.

  87. mbahnisch says:

    To those here who are very keen to lay the blame for this situation at the feet of the former federal government I suggest that you should remember that this community has always been the responsibility of the state government and who has been in power in George st?

    Do you know anything about what the Queensland government has been doing, Ian? Contrary to what Pearson implies, his programs wouldn’t exist had it not been for Beattie’s support. Beattie’s right – he didn’t do enough. But a lot of effort has gone into solving some of the problems in the North Qld communities – the shift to dry communities, for one. Very significant progress has been made in some areas where mining dollars mean there are economic opportunities. It remains very difficult to properly deliver services in remote areas without the dollars only the Feds can deliver. As Martin suggested in his interview, Downer added fuel to the fire of the suspicion that the NT intervention was largely a political exercise. That’s not wholely so – I’d give Brough and even Howard some credit for sincerity but it’s deeply misconceived – hundreds of millions spent and almost all on process and bureaucracy – including incredibly complex and expensive Centrelink activity regarding quarantining of welfare payments (which affects those who are good parents as well and those who don’t even have kids!)… This issue, if any progress is to be made, needs to be taken out of partisan political slanging matches.

  88. Sam Ward says:

    The funny thing about this thread is that the same people who oppose jail for rapists because “it doesn’t rehabilitate like it’s supposed to” are the same people who support CEOs being sent to jail for price fixing.

    I guess some things are easier to rehabilitate than others.

  89. John Tracey says:

    Mark,

    You said… “But a lot of effort has gone into solving some of the problems in the North Qld communities – the shift to dry communities, for one.”

    Did you catch this news story?
    “Bligh concedes failures in alcohol policy”
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/12/13/2117708.htm

    The Beattie government achieved nothing in Aboriginal affairs because it single policy was alcohol prohibition. Just like Gaz, the Beattie government saw alcohol as the cause of all problems.

    Alcohol abuse is a symptom, not a cause. Programs and policies that do not deal with the underlying reasons of why people turn to grog will never achieve anything.

    Apart from alcohol prohibition the Beattie government had a complete vacuum of indigenous policy.

  90. Gaz says:

    “get off your moral high horse, please.’

    Au contraire it is you that are on the great moral steed here.Did you think comments like”I wish people would do their research first” was going to go through to the keeper did you ?.

    What has happened here is the left,oh yes that’s me and you,but in this case, just you and others,are trying to justify the unjustifiable by throwing a load of red herrings into the equation,because comments here in relation to a ten yr old being rooted are over the top.

    I dare you or any of the other people on this blog,to either 1.Send your opinions for print in any m.s. news paper in Australia, or stand up in a large gathering and voice your thoughts on this matter.Being tarred and feathered would be the least of your worries.

    “I’m unclear what more it is that you want. Send in Cap’n Brough and his Quinceland Rangers perhaps?”

    Please give me a break,Is all I am asking for is the scum bags that did this to be punished, I mean shit,in some countries some of these fuckers would already be in the ground.

    “Mate, I know people who live up in the Cape.
    Blackfellas btw.”

    Gee Mark I’m overjoyed for ya.I know some Inuits that live in Canada that suffer the same problems, I will send them your regards.

  91. Su says:


    What I mean by “agency” is this: does it matter if she trades sex for a swig of rum, or is forced to have sex by brutal strength? In the first case, she has exercised some agency.”

    No she has not, she has demonstrated behaviour which is the direct result of her prior abuse and in any case it emerges that attacks took place over six weeks and included force on occasion. Subsequently her behaviour has deteriorated even further. You are clearly ignorant about child abuse.

  92. Katz says:

    Su’s perceptions of “agency” may satisfy a clinician concerned with understanding and treating child abuse.

    The perceptions of drug-addled youths are somewhat different. When a 10-y-o approaches them with a suggestion that they can have sex for some of their drugs, that looks like agency to them.

  93. adrian says:

    Now on AM we have the tag team of Pearson and Brough talking tough, blaming Queensland for the problem etc etc. Hasn’t anyone told the ABC that there’s been an election? And why is Pearson always the Aboriginal spokpesperson of choice on the ABC?

    Well said Ash. It’s a pity that many people here aren’t interested in history, context, nuance or workable solutions. Righteous indignation is so much easier.

  94. Su says:

    “When a 10-y-o approaches them with a suggestion that they can have sex for some of their drugs, that looks like agency to them.”

    That seems to have happened in one out of the 6 apparent incidences. The fact that the boy refused at first saying she was too young also indicates he was aware that it was wrong. A juvenile sex offender is most likely to spring from a disturbed background but that is true whether they are indigenous or nonindigenous.

  95. Su says:

    Every sex offender regardless of race comes to court with a history, a context Adrian and those circumstances could be used as mitigation. I don’t think that that context should ever see offenders immediately released without further intervention to do more harm which is exactly what has happened in this case. The same perpetrators were involved in revictimising the child. The goal of keeping the community safe is not incompatible with improving the circumstances for all in that community. In fact if the first does not happen then how will you ever achieve the second?

  96. Katz says:

    The fact that the boy refused at first saying she was too young also indicates he was aware that it was wrong.

    This is irrelevant to the issue of agency, or perceived agency.

    If someone tries to sell you stolen goods in a pub, you know its wrong to buy those goods. But your sense of moral disapprobation does not vitiate the agency of the person attempting to sell the goods.

  97. may i ask says:

    The problems which underlie these most regrettable events in Aurukun are complex, and not amenable to simple solutions such as those advocated by Noel Pearson, whose own “end welfare dependency” experiment in the Cape is in dire trouble.

    could someone enlighten the rest of us as to what problems these are? I vaguely remember pearson sharing a stage with lawrence mead earlier in the year, telling us that the thing to do to ensure this all worked out was to cut off payments to black single mothers. what happened to that?

  98. philiptravers says:

    There may be many high moral horses here,but dont ride them until the Sun gives you brain fag..a terrible disease that is genetic and many generations of white Australians suffer it,unwillingly.I cannot stand my failures remembering names,and other blither in a tongue twisted way.However,if,my memory serves me this foetal alcohol problem has already been under scrutiny with specific dietetics,perhaps vitamin B12.In the more sublime moments of my understandings,enjailment of offenders has a large component of rehabilitation,well at least in mind.The other is like why people like me entered a mental hospital because of a complaint by some who thought my behaviour was ,a bit anti-social and thus to protect society and little me..off I go in a Police car to said place.Which I still feel I would rather have been charged with an offence,before I finally desperately figured out that I must get across the border into N.S.W. from Victoria.Dog tired,warn out in the deepest of inability to be at all interested in anything accept get on my way,I done it.But I was exposed to something that was criminal,and maybe operating below the gaze of Police,and, is International in scope.That I cannot prove,as much as I havent got a hope in Hades to stop a Echelon related technology in the background a nuisance interfering with the processes of thought,and as yet,hasnt been accepted by the majority of academic types interested in human rights,because of the abundance of those who imagine schizophrenia is the hallmark of those who believe wholeheartedly in conspiracy,including the use of remote technologies to this land and using what may not be common knowledge.Police are also subjected to this,when they start to fall apart for whatever reason.As fact,I am asserting.As concern I let others decide wether my intentions are the ultimate form of Leftist reality where the non-acceptance of the regular human has been reduced further in criticism to being the end result of technology applied.So if there is sufficient evidence,in this society and others to believe that matters of the real workings of mind and body have been deeply twisted by commercial and academic military types,there is then a potential to see this particular crime not happening outside the influence of applied technologies.Is it simply grog and other whitey impacts in all sorts of directions,how aboriginal behaviour has been progressively getting more pathological as the years roll by since,say Pine Gap became a institution that now is Secret Military Business.Even the Editor of the then National Times newspaper ,in that and his later attempts touched on changes to Echelon technology.Including a silly bloody woman who introduced a new word pairing into its outward words signals.I suffer deep distress about this.I have seen kids speak what I was thinking at times within a framework of cyclical frequencies that are brain entrainment,within seconds.I will leave this subject now,because,as I express this,the rest of my day is now sealed.Nexus Magazine,New Dawn and Hard Evidence often touch on this subject.Be careful ,but,do not accept everytime the brain is acting abnormally it is biochemical in nature.This alcohol foetal thing maybe a real brain lesion,but even with such damage,can it really be said that such a person wouldnt easily be subliminally driven by applied technologies!?Her rapists,are susceptible too,for the same reasons of a lack of understanding in understanding brain processes,and what and what isnt ones own thoughts…as schizophrenia descriptions do not allow other descriptions.

  99. philiptravers says:

    !? after outside the infuence of applied technologies.Meaning essentially within that.As correction of printed thoughts.

  100. casey says:

    Katz, firstly, a 10 year old may think she has agency – understood.

    But because her brain is not developed at the age of 10, the law says she cannot consent, therefore she does not have agency right? Or am I wrong?

    Second, here is something written by Su last night:

    “I am by no means an expert, however, on the situation of a very young girl, victimized by adolescents I have a lot of knowledge.”

    If one thing is certain its that child rape and sexual abuse is drearily homogenous. It crosses into and is found in cultures and genders and class like nothing else. Therefore people who have had direct personal experience can be distressed by a concept that a 10 year old’s agency in the matter influences a court’s decision. Even if they don’t know Aurukun. Because they know the experience personally. Because the concept seems to confer responsibility for the rape on the child. And for people who have had this happen to them or have seen this close up, thats just outrageous to them. And this is not lynch mob mentality at all. Or naysaying. Or whatever. This is borne of the heartbreak of watching a child going through it or of having lived through it.

    I have read through all the comments. It seems to me there are people here whose comments indicate an intimate knowledge of Aurukun and of the case itself and who think we are naive to apply outside standards to a community gone to hell and then there are people who have had personal experiences of child rape or seen it close up and find the concept of ‘agency’ at the age of 10 a little astounding, as they would! It should be kept in mind, no matter what the realities of Aurukun are, that child rape and child abuse is something which touches every community and this is evidenced by the outrage at comments like “agency” and “consensual sex” at the age of 10.

    Because of the universal nature of child rape and child abuse, and of the lived experiences of some commenters, it still remains the case that people outside Aurukun can speak with some authority on the agency of children at this age, and of the meaning of their behaviour.

  101. Paul Burns says:

    Ash, marvellous comment. It puts it all in context.I’ve already made my point of view on the topic clear so I won’t bother reiterating.
    And, as David Rubie says, the Kooris in Armidale are pretty well on top of and in control of the issues here in Armidale, apart from some property crime issues, and my impression is that’s dropping with the introduction of circle sentencing.
    I will, though say something about the castigation of the prison system.Ro put it mildly, prison is not a nice place. It never has been, in the English tradition, and I can probably include the US here, though, apart from the late 18c I’m not familiar enough with the issues there to comment.
    Newgate in 18c. London was essentially a holding prison (I won’t get into debtors’ prisopns as its not relevant) as were the various prisons in the Rnglish counties, prior to execution or transportarion. Though there were ideas about prison reform in the late 18c. proper prisons were not built in England until the early 19c. There firdt attempts were based somewhat on Bentham’s Pantechnipon (Sp.?) and put prisoners in isolation cells under a regime of strict silence. When in groups prisoners were masked, and were not allowed to talk or have any physical contact with each other. After a few years of this they started to go mad, so, very broadly speaking, the prison system in its basics as we know it today was introduced. It reverted to the intimidation, sexual predatoriness, violence etc that occurred on occasion in Newgate, the difference being that the prisoners were no longer responsible for providing their own food. They were fed by the state.
    When you get a lot a bad buggers together in one place, which is generally what you get in the Australian prison system because we usually don’t lock people up for minor crime, they behave just as badly inside the prison as they do on the outside. Some take advantage of rehabilitation, but many are habitual offenders, or to use the jargon, recidivist. That’s just the way it is. And its colour-free.
    A bad bugger is a bad bugger, white or black.And its been that way for centuries. The only difference is we don’t lock people up much for shoplifting now.
    We can debate til the cows come home what causes a person to be a criminal – because they’re bad, because their environment is stuffed, because they came from a criminal background, because they poor or far too rich, but in the end they choose to break the law to the point they deserve a prison serntence.And so they end up in an horeendous institution where, whatever the authorities try to tyell us, the law of the jungle rules, and the strong stand over the weak.

  102. adrian says:

    Su, I’m all for ‘intervention’ that works, but I’m not sure that locking people up in this sort of situation helps anyone, unless you intend to lock up the perpetrators on a permanent basis.
    The assumption that when released they will almost certainly be more violent and more dangerous to the community to which they are returned, is a correct one.

    So we need complex solutions to complex problems, not reflex self righteousness, however good it may make those indulging feel about themselves.

    BTW, I don’t include you in that category, su.

  103. Katz says:

    But because her brain is not developed at the age of 10, the law says she cannot consent, therefore she does not have agency right? Or am I wrong?

    I’ve never disputed this. The law is correct when it states that a 10-y-o cannot give legal consent. Her agency is unformed because whe hasn’t developed the mental capacity to inform that agency.

    My argument is about perception of agency. That perception belongs to the rapist. To a drug addled youth who is approached by a 10-y-o willing to exchange sex for drugs, that gesture looks like agency. And don’t forget that the central element in any crime is mens rea of the accused. Thus a sleep walker should not be convicted of murder if she strangles someone in her sleep.

    A woman who kills her infant before the age of one is convicted of infanticide, not murder, because her mens rea is deemed to have been impaired by the emotional and hormonal rigours of child-bearing.

  104. casey says:

    Katz, fair enough. So I want to get this right. Even if youth did have moral qualms about her age, it still does not detract from percieved agency in the mind of the rapist which is taken into account by the law (along with the consideration of mens rea)? eg, this from police statement?

    The statement says the gang rape was committed by Raymond Woolla, 26, Ian Koowarta, 20, Michael Wikmunea, 19, and a number of juveniles at a house in Aurukun on an unknown date between May 1 and June 12 last year.

    One of the juvenile offenders told police he went to the house with another boy to see the girl. “The complainant asked this accused if she could have sex with him,” the statement says.

    “Initially, he said he couldn’t because she was just a little kid, but she kept asking him so he put a condon (sic) on and had sex with her.”

    Another boy who was in the house told police the girl did not want to have sex, but one of the juvenile offenders forced himself on her.

    “He had sex with the complainant … The complainant was telling him to stop.”

  105. j_p_z says:

    Mark: “…what we can take from Martin’s thoughts is that it was not always so, and that does give some hope that it need not be so.”

    That’s a very important point, and well put. A lot of the more holistically-minded commenters here like Mark, Su, David Rubie and others have made excellent points, esp. about the macro-context in which the case occurred.

    As shocking and heart-breaking as the case is, perhaps it could still become the rallying-point or wake-up call for a very broad constructive conversation about all the surrounding issues, getting people involved from all corners and levels of society, who all have an important part to play. It helps to remember that just as destructive environments and behaviors re-inforce and multiply their effects, so also do positive and healthy efforts have a tendency to spiral upward, and increase benefits as they interact in unexpected ways. Every constructive idea or thing you do to improve things will help the overall situation to stabilize and create better chances for further improvement. Normal healthy people don’t do these sorts of horrible things mostly because they don’t even want to, it never even occurs to them. True you can’t prevent all the wicked acts in the world, but you can make social contexts where they become less and less and less likely to happen.

    For instance, since there’s evidently a pretty sizeable population of very capable and educated Aboriginals already, you could use various incentives to create kinds of local centers of cultural and economic Aboriginal “renaissance” in cities and towns. These would then attract other Aboriginal individuals who are on the verge of stabilizing their life situations, with the help of a little community support, which in turn grows the community of capable individuals, who then tend to share the good effects of their skills and positive habits. Maybe you’re already doing things like that, I don’t know. You could do all kinds of things, so long as you just made it a priority.

  106. Su says:

    “but I’m not sure that locking people up in this sort of situation helps anyone, unless you intend to lock up the perpetrators on a permanent basis.”

    That goes to another issue; of prison reform which is urgently needed for all communities. All sex offenders go into that system and the effects may not be helpful to any of them, whatever their heritage.

    But releasing them into the community definitely doesn’t help anyone. It results in further offenses, further harm, further community breakdown. I would be happy with John Tracey’s sugggestion of applying customary law (which I believe involves separating the individual from the community for a considerable period of time), if that customary law upheld the principles of protection, deterrence etc. For customary law I imagine that traditional structures of authority would have to be intact and respected by the community. It seems that everyone involved both within and without Aurukun feels powerless to change anything and this has resulted in nothing being done, with predictable results. I find it appalling that a child is sent away and her family warn against her return becaue they know the offenders are at large and will reoffend . We don’t want that in our communities, why do we think it is ok for Aurukun?

  107. Further interesting developments from the SMH. Some hope from Wadeye, some more nuanced analysis and some further background story.

  108. Katz says:

    Another boy who was in the house told police the girl did not want to have sex, but one of the juvenile offenders forced himself on her.

    That would refer to one of the three juvenile offenders who had sex with the complainant. This implies that she agreed to have sex with the other two.

  109. joe2 says:

    Casey, you are giving specific details of a case that I gather is under appeal. Most of the defendants are minors. If it is already in the public domain fair enough. Just saying..

  110. philiptravers says:

    Try looking at DavidIcke.com and see if you can handle it,before concluding much about Aboriginal rapists,10 year old girls,Judges, prosecutors and what it is like to be shocked out of ones head again.If you are not the I couldnt quite understand you.Being caring towards everyone here,because we need each other.

  111. casey says:

    Joe2, yes its in the public domain. Sorry I didnt link it – I found that here:

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22923001-5006786,00.html

    No, look, I am really interested in Katz’s comments . There is a debate about this whole thing flying round where I am at uni at the moment and his interpretations of the statements found in the media are proving very provocative to some of the people around me….heh.

  112. Su says:

    But that was already known. It also shows that the summing up of the case as one involving no forced was wrong. Yet another failure of the prosecutor.

    John Tracey has a really good post on customary law at Paradigm Oz and in the comments he makes the point that restoration of a properly funded system of customary law is part, in his opinion, of a long term solution to the community break down:

    The loss of respect and discipline cannot be remedied until elders and leaders are allowed power and control to establish authority, respect and discipline.

  113. Su says:

    Crossed with Joe2 and Casey. First para refers to Katz’s comment.

  114. Katz says:

    It also shows that the summing up of the case as one involving no forced was wrong. Yet another failure of the prosecutor.

    That is correct.

    The prosecutor should have made an effort to discover which defendant had sex against the will of the complainant. This surely does increase the severity of the crime.

    It also increases the complexity of the case.

    If the defendant who had sex against the will of the complainant was the last in line, then his criminality is stark.

    If, however, the complainant protested against that individual and then went on to have sex with some of the others, then the level of criminality of those who had sex later is very confused indeed.

  115. MichaelH says:

    aesch,

    Thanks for the links.

    The SMH article on Wadeye was interesting. I think I’m going to have to go and have a chat with Lindsay about his story – there are some confused timelines there. The new housing initiative in Wadeye pre-dates the intervention and the diminished ‘gang’ related trouble does too.

  116. Su says:

    You are saying their mens rea is confused, the criminality is beyond dispute. If a ten year old solicits sex it is still rape. The fact that some of them were involved in her original abuse also suggests that there is a very high likelihood that they had ‘guilty mind’; they knew it was wrong. In fact they targeted her specifically because of her history.

  117. Katz says:

    Su, I don’t how how many times I need to reiterate that I believe that all defendants in this case are guilty of rape.

    Here, we are talking about degrees of heinousness, which has nothing to do with their guilt, but has much to do with any sentence that may be merited.

  118. Su says:

    I understand that Katz but you seem to think that the girl’s behaviour has an impact on the mens rea of the defendants. Did they know it was wrong? Her behaviour does not affect whether in the first instance they knew that the act was wrong. They either knew but acted against that knowledge or they did not know. Giving into an urge in response to a set of behaviours is not to suddenly no longer know the act is wrong.

  119. Katz says:

    Su, there are degrees of “wrong”. The law has long recognised that. I provided some examples further upthread.

    If there were no degrees of “wrong” then the heinousness of the defendants’ acts is uninfluenced by the degree of force that they exerted to have sex with the complainant.

    And therefore, whether or not the complainant withdrew her willingness from one or more of the defendants is irrelevant. But as you acknowledge upthread, andI agreed with you, it is relevant and should have been pursued by the prosecution.

  120. Bismarck says:

    “If, however, the complainant protested against that individual and then went on to have sex with some of the others, then the level of criminality of those who had sex later is very confused indeed.”

    No, it isn’t. They had sex with a 10 year old girl. That is rape.

    The issue of “consent”, in the non-legal sense (because in the legal sense it is irrelevant) goes only to mitigation in the sentencing process. The “consent” of the victim might class the offence as less serious *for sentencing purposes* than one attended by additional violence. The rape of a 10 year old is any event a serious violent offence and what can be said in mitigation is that was less violent than broadly comparable offences committed by others that attracted a tariff of however many years imprisonment.

    Katz, on your earlier point of intoxication, it is available as a *defence* only if the degree of intoxication was such as negate the mental element of the offence AND was not self-administered. If the intoxicant was self-admininistered, it might be pleaded in mitigation for the purposes of establishing the offence was out of character for the accused, that a shorter sentence does not pose an unacceptable risk to the community and that there are prospects of rehabilitation. It might therefore show that certain subjective features of the offence merit a lesser penalty, but must be balanced against the objective criminality.

    The fact that the little girl in question might have been habituated into this conduct is tragic. Newspaper reports indicate that she may in fact have been habituated by some of the offenders. If this is true, the failure of the prosecutor to use evidence of that nature against the relevant accused is monstrous. To plead her habituation in mitigation of penalty when it caused by your own conduct is akin to murdering your parents and then asking for the Court’s mercy on the grounds that you are an orphan.

  121. Bismarck says:

    Katz, I see that some of the points raised in my post have been answered by you before my comment made it onto this thread. Don’t think I’m badgering you.

  122. casey says:

    Greg Barns makes a compelling argument, in line with other commenters here and suggests Judge Bradley’s statement on the girl probably agreeing to sex has been misinterpreted:

    He also defended Judge Bradley’s controversial remarks.

    “All that Judge Bradley was doing was stating the facts of the matter that this was not a case where the accused physically struggled,” Mr Barns said.

    “Judge Bradley is in no way implying that there was legitimate consent on the part of the victim.”

    here: http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/gangrape-sentence-right/2007/12/12/1197135550184.html

  123. Katz says:

    You’re right Bismarck. My term “level of criminality” is inaccurate. I should have said “the degree to which the heinousness of their criminal acts is mitigated and therefore reflected in any sentence received”.

    I agree, and have said it many times, that I believe all defendants are guilty of rape.

    I never referred to intoxication in this case as a defence against the charge of rape.

  124. Su says:

    But my comments were addressing your statement; “then the level of criminality of those who had sex later is very confused indeed.” She is unable to consent. How does her ‘willingness’ alter that fact? The key feature of her inability to consent is her age, not her behaviour.

  125. Bismarck says:

    Katz, I was referring to this comment at #103:

    “My argument is about perception of agency. That perception belongs to the rapist. To a drug addled youth who is approached by a 10-y-o willing to exchange sex for drugs, that gesture looks like agency. And don’t forget that the central element in any crime is mens rea of the accused. Thus a sleep walker should not be convicted of murder if she strangles someone in her sleep.”

    I won’t harp on it because I think we are more or less on the same page. Suffice to say that once the accused is shown to have formed the intention to have sexual intercourse with the victim, the mens rea point goes away. “I was drunk/stoned, your Honour” should give you very little in mitigation thereafter.

  126. Katz says:

    1. I’ve reformulated that phrase at Bismarck’s prompting.

    2. This discussion is taking place in the context of the mens rea of the defendants.

    There is much case law on this. It is well established that a man rapes if he impersonates the sexual partner of a woman. But if he has sex with woman who consents, thinking the man is someone else, but he too thinks he is having sex with another woman, then this is not rape. In the second case, the man did not have the mens rea to rape the complainant.

    And again, a woman who is comatose cannot give consent. However, what is the legal status of a “yes” from the lips of a woman who is well-nigh comatose? The mens rea of the defendant is critical in this case.

  127. Katz says:

    should give you very little in mitigation thereafter

    Perhaps. But the central question at issue here is “how little”?

    You yourself acknowledge it is greater than zero.

  128. mbahnisch says:

    It’s a long thread, and I can’t recall which commenters made this point, so please forgive me but I recall a number of people pointing out that similar things happen in deprived communities all over Australia – regardless of race. When I was 19, I used to live by the river at Kangaroo Point (which was then run down and full of brothels and scary pubs rather than the apartment city it is now). For some reason, perhaps because it was “going into town”, a whole bunch of high school kids from “housing commission” suburbs on the Southside used to come to the riverside park on Friday nights to get pissed. The cops very rarely paid any attention – and in the pre-Fitzgerald era the Woollongabba cops were notorious for being more interested in committing than preventing or detecting crime.

    Anyway, one night my flatmate and I were walking home from the city ferry and came across a group of teenage males in a dark area of the park. There was a teenage girl lying on the ground with her jeans and pants around her ankles, and one boy was holding her mouth open while another was pouring the contents of a bottle of spirits into her mouth.

    We yelled at the boys and chased them away. We then took the girl back to our place – we were very concerned as she was so intoxicated she couldn’t walk, and rang the cops and an ambulance. The cops displayed very little interest – apparently having decided the girl was white trash and suggested to us that she’d probably “asked for it”. I doubt any charges were ever laid – we were more than happy to be witnesses but were never contacted. It was probable that she knew the boys. It was also probable that the incident started out as something other than a premeditated attempt to rape, and I’m sure if charged those boys would have said something along the lines of what the cops suggested. I very much regret the fact that they more than likely escaped any penalty for their actions.

    There are two morals from this story (in which everyone is white and a Brisbanite) – first, that “the breakdown of social norms” is not peculiar to Indigenous communities, and secondly that reflexively calling for more policing doesn’t necessarily get you very far in terms of rape and sexual assault. This may be particularly so in northern Queensland where relationships between the cops and Indigenous people can be appalling – Aurukun is a town where there’s been a fair bit of rioting in recent years, and some of this was highlighted in the wash up from the Palm Island death in custody.

  129. Bismarck says:

    Yes, it is greater than zero, because it affects the subjective criminality of the offence. Of course, we’re talking about rape in company of a 10 year old girl apparently extending over a six week period, so it should not attract much of a discount. I’d say 5%.

  130. mbahnisch says:

    The other point I wanted to make to Gaz is that the culture and history of Cape communities is very different from that in South Australia – for instance, Coober Pedy, I believe, is a (largely white) mining town whereas Aurukun, Hope Vale, etc. are former missions, with miniscule white populations all of whom are state employees.

  131. paul walter says:

    Let’s take it from consensus that a crime was committed. Even the court had no problem with that.
    The question is, what should have the court’s response been in the light of its own finding.
    Did it understand what extenuating factors, if any, were in play and apply these in correct weighting ainst common sentencing criteria?
    After all, it’s the sentence as much as the crime that seems to be involved in here. There seems a degree of slippage involved in the concepts concerning “crime” here.
    If all have indeed “already gone to hell” can we judge the situation on our “own” ( white )norms? Once again , we know that abuse is almost a universal. But does it occur more in some ( dysfunctional because of outside violent intervention? )communities than others, and was a perception fair or otherwise of this applied in the sentencing, as seperate from the crime, ok?
    Sorry, know above is “rough”; am no genius. But there seems a bit of gridlock developing through confusion of sentence with crime.

  132. Katz says:

    Precisely, Bismarck.

    And once a sliding scale has been established, it is difficult to defend 5% against 10%, and so on.

    It is clear that the judge in the Aurukun case has slid right up to the top end of this sliding scale.

    I don’t agree with her, but what point on this sliding scale can be defended as more reasonable than any other point?

  133. mbahnisch says:

    And Guy Rundle in Crikey today, further to what I was saying at 128:

    And yes, that Werribee video – C-nt The Movie featuring the “Teenage Kings of Werribee”, not only s-xually assaulting a disabled girl, but urinating on her. Their sentences? All suspended, or supervision orders. The outrage, the extended reportage? Virtually nil.

    http://www.crikey.com.au/Politics/20071214-Arukun-questions-and-the-kings-of-Werribee.html

  134. Bismarck says:

    Well, there’s a lot of case law on that, Katz. A plea of guilty is usually given 15-25%, genuine contrition 5-10%, etc. However, sentencing is not a science which is why, on appeal, a sentence will only be interfered with if it is clearly outside an appropriate range. What we can say with some confidence is that rape in company of someone under 12 will justify a “range” that has a swingeing (sic, not “swinging”) component of time in custody, even for a juvenile.

  135. joe2 says:

    “But there seems a bit of gridlock developing through confusion of sentence with crime.”

    And do not forget, while we judge the judge and prosecutor our only source of evidence are selective leaks from a newspaper or two.

  136. Bismarck says:

    Mark, six of the accused in the Aurukun case did not even have convictions recorded, FFS.

  137. […] Prodeo An EmbuggeranceAurukunNine: we’re still the one… for sexismShorter Plan […]

  138. mbahnisch says:

    Bismarck, I stated in the post that I believe that the sentencing was outrageous. What I’m trying to allude to is that the outrage is selective. Are we seeing calls for “intervention” in Werribee or Inala? I also want to make the point that this sort of repulsive behaviour occurs in *white* communities where “social norms have broken down” – and where it’s not ascribed to “the grog” or “welfare dependency” because it’s not much discussed at all. I continue to maintain we need to understand the causal factors involved, while not allowing individual responsibility to fall by the wayside or exculpating offenders.

    See further my earlier comment:

    https://larvatusprodeo.wordpress.com/2007/12/13/aurukun/#comment-6592

  139. Possum Comitatus says:

    Now that is a disturbing pingback – WordPress.com does some funny things sometimes, but I’ve never seen that one before.

  140. Bismarck says:

    Mark, I note that the Teenage Kings of Werribee merit their own Wikipedia entry, which has a summary of the community reaction, including many voices talking of the shame the boys’ conduct had brought on their community. Perhaps their sentences, which also seem light, were drowned out by the election campaign. Note, however, all but 1 of the 8 had convictions recorded and all were directed into prison diversionary or rehab programs. Also note that their victim was above the age of consent and that all of the attackers were themselves juveniles. By any measure Aurukun was much worse and the offenders were treated considerably more leniently.

  141. Mark, I reckon that recounting a story like that only goes to discredit the Left as having the will to take serious action to address the problem. Phillip Adams does the same thing all the time, citing stories of domestic violence in poor white suburbs as reasons why people shouldn’t think aboriginal communities are especially prone to it. (And incidentally, your story does not come across anywhere near as bad as the appalling situation of aboriginal children in remote communities, such as this victim, getting venereal disease when under 10.)

    It may be fair enough to argue against taking a racist line against aboriginal problems; but in fact I think most people now feel that it is more the fear of racism that has delayed the taking of strong action in many States and communities.

    And by the way, don’t those on the Left ever feel a twinge of something like guilt that their historic promotion of aboriginal self determination has had such disastrous consequences in many cases? (I don’t accept the David Martin line that true self determination has not been tried. Apart from aboriginal activists, who can really see that as working when the communities are as broken as they are now?)

    I know something of Aurukun through a relative who has worked there for many years. I know enough to be able to tell that David Martin does not tell the whole story. He downplays the problems with government support for the community, as new facilities that have been provided tend not to last long anyway. A swimming pool, for example, and new housing. A perfectly good house is abandoned for months after a death there. We may want to respect their cultural beliefs, but we should all recognize the additional burdens the culture can place on providing the facilities. Martin mentioned in his recent article in The Age that mangy dogs roam the streets; I happen to know that when the Council had some put down, it resulted in the council building being stoned by some upset youths. When a community has a riot every few months, it is obviously hard for government to force people to work there, hence the lack of health care workers.

    Martin skirts over all of this, I think, and is more intent on painting it as a failure of government support.

    My relative, who has given up on working there, says the base problem is the complete lack of respect the young now have for their elders and community leaders. Sounds a plausible explanation to me, and one that is not likely to be cured by a sudden rush to build new houses and facilities at huge cost.

  142. mbahnisch says:

    Bismarck, note what David Martin says in his interview about the shame felt in Aurukun and the reported comments of one offender’s father. As I’m not a lawyer, I don’t feel the need to adjudicate on which of these horrendous incidents was “worse”, but urinating on the victim, some might think, hardly mitigates the fact that she was “above the age of consent”.

  143. mbahnisch says:

    I reckon that recounting a story like that only goes to discredit the Left as having the will to take serious action to address the problem

    I disagree, steve, and I don’t see how pointing out that there are serious social and crime problems in non-Indigenous communities is somehow wrong.

    And by the way, don’t those on the Left ever feel a twinge of something like guilt that their historic promotion of aboriginal self determination has had such disastrous consequences in many cases? (I don’t accept the David Martin line that true self determination has not been tried. Apart from aboriginal activists, who can really see that as working when the communities are as broken as they are now?)

    I quoted Lowitja O’Donoghue earlier on the fact that guilt is a most unproductive emotion. And I agree with Martin about self-determination. It’s also wrong to imply that there aren’t people living within those communities who aren’t criminals or alcoholics, or that leaders don’t emerge from those communities. Where did Pearson come from?

  144. Bismarck says:

    “…but urinating on the victim, some might think, hardly mitigates the fact that she was “above the age of consent”.”

    Of course it doesn’t. But it doesn’t take a lawyer to understand that full penetrative rape by 9 men/youths, in company, of a 10 year old (I’ll repeat that, 10 year old) over 6 weeks is by far the more heinous offence.

  145. paul walter says:

    Gee, wider society has its knickers in a right knot over this knotty problem.
    Conservatives crying out for “no tolerance” to stop the rot and deal with brutal crime as it deserves. Others like myself who are suspicious of the Aboriginal Intervention in general and this case as example, as a Trojan horse for a wider absolutist intervention throughout society from the hard right.
    Then there are feminists who live in utter dread of wider licence being afforded violent crime against women and girls.
    There are legal intellectuals, civil servants and politicians trying to negotiate between the two poles of PC on one hand and fears of increasing an already likely injustice as to indigenous history, including the current deaths in custody, complicated by the girl’s urgent need also for justice and ( hopefully )help.
    I see social class bias expressed in racism suggested in perceived legal bias against representative, of class, indigenous underdogs( well, I would, wouldn’t I? ), while the bottom-feeders in tabloid media will happily muddy the waters out of self -interest.
    Too many people have too much to gain and too much to lose over the thing for it not to be a battlefield for competing wider social interests, so the real victims are in danger of being ignored in the stampede.

  146. John T. says:

    Su at 106

    A clarification

    At Paradigm Oz I refered to an example of customary law which involved temporarily removing people from a community. This is not the essence of customary law, just a specific instance. The purpose of removal in that case was to catalyse cultural education and consciousness shift – healing, not deterrence or protection.

    The essence of customary law is for the elders, mens business and women’s business to have absolute and unconditional power over the situation, as opposed to police, courts and prison.

    What the agencies of customary law decide to do is open ended (they might even choose gaol as an option).

  147. Gaz says:

    “The other point I wanted to make to Gaz is that the culture and history of Cape communities is very different from that in South Australia – for instance, Coober Pedy, I believe, is a (largely white) mining town”

    This is true Mark,however several missions are spread around the area some being there since for nearly as long as the the state was settled. As an aside the South Australian Film Corporation hired many of its Aboriginal actors from Coober Pedy, The actors were the trail blazers for the first of the Australiana films like “The Tracker” The Aboriginal actor a one Billy Pepper starred in this movie ,who incidently died from an Aboriginal elder punishment of leg spearing.

    A topic for another time mayhaps.

    Mark I don’t know what the fuck we’re arguing about here,I want the bastards who committed this crime punished end of,their color,position,upbringing, for mine are irrelevant.

    If that makes me an ignorant,hang em high,fuck. I’ll get over it.

  148. Su says:

    This is not the essence of customary law, just a specific instance.

    Oh I understood that John T- there was another case in the newspaper involving the assault of a small boy. An elder was talking about a punishment whereby the offender is sent ‘into the bush’ alone for a period of time. I should have clarified that that story was from a different community. Can’t find the link now.

  149. philiptravers says:

    Do not let our insistences be misrepresented,I do not know exactly where I am on the Left,but,it makes me laugh a bit to think,if I consider myself that,then it follows I am part of some group mind,who are marching along against ex-Police.I just read in the SMH how a Police Officer in Queensland is accusing the Bureau and Bligh is having a look into that too.Luckily whenever I was protesting for Aboriginal Land Rights etc. it was a friendly turnout,where everyone looked good,including Bill Hayden.So remain good looking with all the differences,maybe try a tug-of -war turn out Ex-Police versus the assorted Left,in a location yet to be decided.Judged by a Aboriginal.

  150. Chris says:

    “But a lot of effort has gone into solving some of the problems in the North Qld communities – the shift to dry communities, for one. Very significant progress has been made in some areas where mining dollars mean there are economic opportunities. It remains very difficult to properly deliver services in remote areas without the dollars only the Feds can deliver.”

    The estimated Queensland state budget surplus is over $200 million dollars this year. They have the money to help at least some communities if they really wanted to.

  151. Chris says:

    “I quoted Lowitja O’Donoghue earlier on the fact that guilt is a most unproductive emotion. And I agree with Martin about self-determination. It’s also wrong to imply that there aren’t people living within those communities who aren’t criminals or alcoholics, or that leaders don’t emerge from those communities. Where did Pearson come from?”

    The fact that there are people within these communities who aren’t criminals or alcoholics is the reason that it is important to remove those who break the law from those very communities. Any community (white or black) can handle only a certain percentage of people who do not follow community standards before the community itself disintegrates.

    Its not fair on the people who are removed if there are not adequate rehabilitation schemes available for them in prison (or alternative programs where they are removed from the community, but the problem is so bad that a triage procedure is required. Save those who you can and give the communities time to reestablish themselves. Even if this comes at a high cost of other people from those communities because they’ve been dumped into prisons.

    By trying to save everyone with insufficient funding, hardly anyone is getting real help.

  152. joe2 says:

    Clearly, the answer is to build more jails closer to aboriginal communities.
    Convenient execution chambers with a leaner and cleaner whiz bang state of the art judiciary. Dispense with the old judicial habits and make them white and pointy. Hand it over to Gaz. Prob solved.

  153. Rain says:

    mbahnisch @128: “There are two morals from this story .. – first, that “the breakdown of social norms” is not peculiar to Indigenous communities, and secondly that reflexively calling for more policing doesn’t necessarily get you very far in terms of rape and sexual assault.”

    Very true. These stories and cases are not unique or limited to outback Indigenous communities.

    My home used to be an emergency foster home for girls, many like this one, in a nice white middle-class professional suburban city.

    On blogs over the last few days, I have seen men reminiscing about their youth participating in gang-bangs with the underage town bike, like an adolescent male coming-of-age ritual. I’ve seen male lawyers shrug it off as no Big Deal, just another case of statutory rape.

    I’ve personally helped with caring for victims of nice white boys, from good private schools (and even Universities) preying on such tragic girls. At most, they are considered guilty of “bad taste”.

    Some months ago, in the USA a group of nice white boys sexually tortured a Downes Syndrome girl, filmed their ‘fun’ and put it on the internet. They were just ‘naughty boys’ too.

    Paul @ 145
    1. “Conservatives crying out for “no tolerance” to stop the rot and deal with brutal crime as it deserves”

    I would sympathise with their outrage, if they included their own white brothers with their city private school educations for the exact same crimes too. But the white boys always get off, dont they? Now they have an even better excuse, their lily-white moral high ground means they can hide their crimes even more.

    2. “Others like myself who are suspicious of the Aboriginal Intervention in general and this case as example, as a Trojan horse..”

    Thats probably where I fit too. The fact that it was leaked so long after, and only to the Murdoch right-ring press has me so suspicious of right-wing racist hidden agendas, that have SFA to do with the girl or the community of Aurukun.

    3. “Then there are feminists who live in utter dread of wider licence being afforded violent crime against women and girls.”

    True. Coupled with right-wing racist racialised Interventionist agendas, the lack of accountability or national outcry or moral panic on all the thousands of girls/women that this happens to in all walks of life, in all communities is deafening in its silence.

    One 12-yr old victim I worked with was gang-raped by a bunch of Catholic school Year 11/12 boys, behind the school weather-sheds, who all came from upstanding community families.
    The story we were told, was she was flirting with them after school, being 12 was flattered at attention from such older boys. They got her drunk, and you can connect the dots. She “asked for it” etc blah blah.. he said, she said, he said.. They were just *naughty boys* too — told off by their dads. They even apologised to the girl and her family. So very *civilised*.

    Can’t have nice white well-brought-up Catholic boys up there in national headlines, can we?

    4. “There are legal intellectuals, civil servants and politicians trying to negotiate between the two poles of PC on one hand and fears of increasing an already likely injustice as to indigenous history,”

    The over-intellectualisation, hand-wringing and head-scratching over the finer legal and moral points of cultural relativism, would be entertaining, if it wasn’t so tragic.

  154. Peter Kemp says:

    If a ten year old solicits sex it is still rape.

    Not necessarily so Su if the accused is between 10 and 14. In NSW where I’m at, it’s a common law principle of doli incapax (criminally incapable).

    In Queensland the principle of doli incapax has been codified:

    http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/qld/consol_act/cc189994/s29.html

    29(1) A person under the age of 10 years is not criminally responsible for any act or omission.

    29(2) A person under the age of 14 years is not criminally responsible for an act or omission, unless it is proved that at the time of doing the act or making the omission the person had capacity to know that the person ought not to do the act or make the omission.

    An example of the onus on the prosecution successfully discharged re capacity (2), that the accused knew that the act was wrong, was a case (the name of which I forget–a sexual assault case) the “young person” drew up the blanket to cover what was happening.

    I’d also like to reiterate and stress Bismark’s point on mitigation. Consent is of course not a defence at trial for sexual assault on a ten year old. Consent is however an issue for mitigation on a guilty plea (or if at trial the accused is found guilty and then at the sentencing,the defence mitigates. )

    As I said over at Pollbludger a few nights ago when things were running a little “hotter” than here:

    But to enlighten, the Qld Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 section 9 may be of assistance:
    http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/qld/consol_act/pasa1992224/s9.html

    {(2) In sentencing an offender, a court must have regard to–

    (a) principles that– (i) a sentence of imprisonment should only be imposed as a last resort; and
    (ii) a sentence that allows the offender to stay in the community is preferable;}

    Now, without the whole transcript, without a transcript of the individual pre-sentence reports,[PSRs] without the separate submissions of their defence lawyers, we have no idea of the full circumstances of each guilty plea, no idea of all the submissions and the weighing up process that resulted in the individual judgements.

    A guilty plea does not mean automatic (choose) [custodial sentence/rip their testicles off/execution] judgement just in case some were wondering. The law gives judges discretion, if that discretion is wrong there are appeals for severity or over-leniency from the defence/prosecution respectively. Clearly the prosecution in this case did not want custodial sentences–we need to know more than the transcript shows at the Oz.

    This is not to say the decision was necessarily correct, but can we not wait for the judicial process to work before some here cast it into eternal damnation and we resurrect some apparent desire for middle ages Star Chambers?

    (I’d respectfully disagree on Bismark’s 5% discount on sentence for the consent BTW, I’d put it much higher but conditional on reading the PSRs and defence lawyer submissions, the 26 year old, for example, may have been mentally ill.)

  155. Gaz says:

    “Clearly, the answer is to build more jails closer to aboriginal communities.
    Convenient execution chambers with a leaner and cleaner whiz bang state of the art judiciary. Dispense with the old judicial habits and make them white and pointy. Hand it over to Gaz. Prob solved.”

    On the other hand Joe2 we could hand over the judicial system to you, then you could decide what holiday resort to send these toe rags to.Id say a crime like this could be worth ,oh i don’t know, what about 6 weeks in Nusa Dua.? Yea you could be right!that may be a bit cheap,I hear Paris is nice this time of year. we would have to send a qualified nurse or carer with them,heaven forbid they should have a bed wetting accident, or get a bit of the old Bali belly.

    I mean shit J

    This would be after the mandatory sessions with the court psychologists,appointed by you of course,where we could find out why they wet the bed and how their fathers used to sexually abuse them,only whilst drunk of course.

  156. mbahnisch says:

    Rain, it’s very true that sexual assault and rape are committed by upper class teens and young men – as you say with nil outrage – and usually covered up. I could tell another long story about the resistance to efforts to get University colleges at UQ to accept they were bound by sexual harrassment codes, and the attempts to reduce sexual assault at university functions – both of which I was heavily involved in in the early 90s – but maybe that’s one for another thread.

    Gaz at 147, I’m not seeking to have an argument. I was just trying to point out that measures have already been taken in Aurukun and other Indigenous communities in Qld to restrict access to alchohol – supported by large numbers of people living there. I’m not sure that you can ever do anything to “stop the rivers of grog” if that’s taken to be the solution – as I think Mal Brough would have found out in time, stubborn as he appears to be – and greater policing runs up against both whether it’s the most effective allocation of police resources and the problem of dire police-Indigenous relationships in some communities – Aurukun is one where they’re at their worst. All I’m trying to say is that every community has its own history and its own problems and just because one community is also primarily Indigenous doesn’t mean the same one size solutions will work – which is why community involvement is so important. This “rights and responsibilities” thing isn’t just about individuals – if people collectively are committed to and involved in mapping out their future it’s likely to turn out a lot better than if it arrives with soldiers and federal police and a “road map” written in Canberra.

    The estimated Queensland state budget surplus is over $200 million dollars this year. They have the money to help at least some communities if they really wanted to.

    That’s true, Chris, and as David Martin says in the interview, the will is rarely there. The $600 million that’s been allocated for NT has largely been spent on bureaucratic crap and “sending in the army” for a bunch of solutions that as Downer now admits, were designed to look good on tv and raise the Coalition’s standing in the polls.

  157. Gaz says:

    “Clearly, the answer is to build more jails closer to aboriginal communities.
    Convenient execution chambers with a leaner and cleaner whiz bang state of the art judiciary. Dispense with the old judicial habits and make them white and pointy. Hand it over to Gaz. Prob solved.”

    On the other hand Joe2 we could hand over the judicial system to you, then you could decide what holiday resort to send these toe rags to.Id say a crime like this could be worth ,oh i don’t know, what about 6 weeks in Nusa Dua.? Yea you could be right!that may be a bit cheap,I hear Paris is nice this time of year.Of course we would have to send a qualified nurse or carer with them,heaven forbid they should have a bed wetting accident, or get a bit of the old Bali belly.

    I mean shit Joe you would be beside yourself,travel arrangements,passports, shit passports what would we put on them ?umm under occupation? vagina testers sounds good Joe..

    This would be after the mandatory sessions with the court psychologists,appointed by you of course,where we could find out why they wet the bed and why their fathers used to sexually abuse them,only whilst drunk of course.

    I guess we could have a scale of suffering for these good ol boys.I could give you a hand there Joe I’ve seen a bit of poverty among Aboriginals.

    Spare me your patronising shite you wouldn’t have a clue what was going on in Aboriginal communities.

    You know Joe,I was in Melbourne when they hung Ryan 1967,now his guilt or innocence has always been a matter of conjecture,but I remember the anti capital punishment brigade at the time,from memory, I think there was about twenty people there.

  158. Peter Kemp says:

    but I remember the anti capital punishment brigade at the time,from memory, I think there was about twenty people there.

    Many more than that Gaz, at Pentridge:

    Around three thousand protesters had gathered outside the prison

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Ryan#_note-4

  159. Gaz says:

    “Around three thousand protesters had gathered outside the prison”

    I could care less I was making a point,in the scheme of things that was five fifths of five eights of F.A.

    Lets have a referendum,that is money in the bank for me.

  160. joe2 says:

    Peter Kemp you have done well in explaining complex matters to this blogger.

    What do you feel about the media treatment of this case?

  161. Peter Kemp says:

    Joe2, in general the media love to generate “moral panics” and this case was no exception. It has lasted a few days only and I personally tend not to read all on offer due to its legally-ill informed and inflammatory nature. The Oz posted a pdf of the prosecutor’s submissions but that was by far, nowhere near a whole picture of the process.

    OTOH an element of that reporting has a positive impact in bringing to light potential overly lenient (or conversely “jailing of innocents”) and if that has resulted in a judicial review where none would have happened otherwise (in the face of what appears to be unusually lenient sentences) then I’m not saying the media is all bad.

    Problem is they always have a tendency towards sensationalism over accuracy which is great for them as Joe Sixpacks will buy more papers, and unfortunately politicians tend then to go into “Laura Norder” mode and go of half cocked for political reasons ie votes. Personal attacks on the judiciary generated as a result of the media stirring up the ill-informed are never helpful.

    Sentencing is always difficult at the best of times, but it needs to be done by legal professionals ie judges, not by the media inflamed, “go with the gut” knee jerk public reactions to a particular case.

  162. Mervyn Langford says:

    I can’t begin to comment on the agony of the little girl involved in this, nor on the aweful gulag that Aurukun is. I have never heard much comment about the recent history of the people of Aurukun, just tut-tutting and finger pointing – whenever some alcohol fuelled outrage ruffles us (leering in the grandstands) and bad enough to grab media attention.
    In 1963, Queensland police raided the mission at Mapoon, loading the people at gunpoint onto boats, burning their houses, gardens and possessions in front of them; prior to forceably relocating them into Aurukun. The Mapoon misssion was then run by the Presbyterian church and the destruction was planned between the church (I can name the church minister involved) and the Qld Dept of Native Affairs (then part of a bigger department – with the glorious name: Dept of Fauna, Flora and Native Affairs – Con O’Leary was then head of the DNA).
    This is recent history – not the acts of long gone white settlers who we can plead didn’t understand they were engaging in genocide, and for whom we now shrug our shoulders and excuse.
    Why were the Mapoon destroyed like this?
    Simple: Bauxite.
    The entire Qld cabinet received shares in the company, gratis, in 1968 – and before they became available on the stock exchange.
    These shares (a token of gratitude from Comalco – for a job well done?), is just a very small part of the pieces of silver that has led to the on-going crucification of the people: we get the loot; they get the social dislocation, neglect, alcoholism, substance usage, community violence, nihilism and hopelessness.
    To respond in this way is probably the only sane response to such a concerted, systematic and vicious on-going attack on a people.
    The people of Auschwitz have memorials and an acknowledgement – the people of Aurukun ………. well it’s now playing out in front of us.
    PS Brian Noone, John Roberts and co, wrote a 3 part series (published mid 70’s) on the developing situation of the Mapoon people. I hope we’re not writing the eulogies.

  163. Peter Kemp says:

    And just for anecdotal evidence Joe2, that “sentencing” is always difficult, even for defence lawyers, a client for whom I reduced a 9 month custodial sentence to a 9 month suspended sentence (on severity appeal) abused the hell out of me for not objecting to those “horrible” people continuing to repeat those “nasty” things said about him.

  164. joe2 says:

    Thank you Peter.
    Much of my own rehabiltation has been the move from the ” Joe Sixpack” to the leftist chardy. What white wine of that variety would you advise?
    And more thanks.

  165. The Devil Drink says:

    Riesling.
    Definitely an honest dry riesling, joe2. Like any good intervention from above it’s not necessarily very sweet or light-tasting at first, but the effect repays entirely the intent.

  166. Peter Kemp says:

    What white wine of that variety would you advise?

    Chateaux cardboard “El Cheapo White Plonk”, given Legal Aid rates of pay 🙂

  167. wpd says:

    Mervyn Langford. Yes it was a disgrace. A timely reminder.

  168. philiptravers says:

    And seeing there is no apparent, We Left, here,may you all take up positions tomorrow… to as Sir Henry Bolte said about some protestors “They can march to they are bloody well foot sore”.And yet I feel like one of the sheep of the time,as Telstra Bills and memory of events fade into a need for sleep,a jumbuck feeling at the best of times!And no reruns of Homicide run through my head..just a ” pull over driver!”

  169. paul walter says:

    I was going to ask Chris why (s)he cited the witholding of the relative pittance that constitutes the qld budget suplus as being the problem in getting things sorted.
    We just had an election where the People arguably tossed out a federal government sitting on nearly twenty BILLIONS of surplus for not ddressing pressing issues like the one discussed above. EG, rather than 1.handing the money over in the form of tax cuts to already tolerably well off people, and 2. Engaging in fruitless non cooperation and gamesmanship with the states to avoid taking blame for their own failures over a decade in governemt 3.wasting so much money under their control on non-functioning defence hardwear and very expensive “solutions” to immigration/ refugee problems.
    But I note that mbahnisch has already mentioned the $ 600 mill wasted on the NT occupation, whichitself isa [ittance when compared to something equally as useles and repressive; No Choices” IR.
    I wonder if the above mentioned by mbahnisch is what Rain meant when Rain talked of suspicion as to hidden agendas? I believe so and the comments about teenage gang bangs behind footy grandstands and the like as “rite of passage” examplified by Rain’s example are not confined to black settlements where decultured people have had not the abilty to do anything but absorb and mimic conduct offered by example from the Master Race, for generations, given their own imposed from without cultural vaccuum.

  170. paul walter says:

    Another thing, the civil servants, politicians etc all avoiding decision-making because of the likelihood of political fallout.
    Anna Bligh has been stewed for her government’s errors and some of the legal officials involved in the Arukun foul up have been chucked, if I read it right.
    So no joke for these when there is such politicisation going on. Therefore the manifest failures of the Howard years should not go unremarked, either .
    I think m bahnisch provided us a link to the Richard Farmer article in “Crikey” that touched on the above.

  171. Given the topic of priveleged white boys and non forced sex with children arose a little while back – in contrast – a contemporaneous judgment handed down this week:

    Brisbane Boys College boy jailed for 9 year old sex abuse

    (if you can fix the link, go ahead).

    http://news.smh.com.au/boy-had-pics-of-girlfriend-raping-sister/20071213-1gvt.html

    December 13, 2007 – 3:29PM

    A former student caught at a prestigious private school with photographs of his girlfriend raping her nine-year-old sister has been jailed for four months.

    The boy, now aged 19, pleaded guilty to 17 charges in Brisbane District Court on Thursday, including possession of child exploitation material and indecent treatment of a child under the age of 12.

    He also pleaded guilty to charges of unlawful carnal knowledge and indecent treatment of a child aged under 16.

    The charges stemmed from his relationship with his girlfriend, who was two years younger than him and was just 14 when their relationship started in late 2004.
    ……….

    Prosecutor Petrina Clohessy said the offences came to light in May last year after a student at the prestigious Brisbane Boys’ College accessed the boy’s email account and found digital photos of his girlfriend performing sex acts on her sister.

    ………………….

    The girl pleaded guilty in Brisbane District Court in September to seven charges, including three counts of rape and was sentenced to 18 months’ detention.

    The court also heard the boy had masturbated in his girlfriend’s bedroom on two occasions while the young sister was present and once simulated anal sex with the nine-year-old.

    Defence barrister John Griffin QC described the incident as a “gross misjudgment” on his client’s behalf and said the boy had taken steps to rehabilitate himself.

    He said the boy had undergone counselling and had obtained employment.

    Mr Griffin also argued sending his client to prison would interrupt his rehabilitation and place him in a dangerous environment.

    Judge Gilbert Trafford-Walker agreed the boy’s offending was not as serious as that of his girlfriend but insisted a prison sentence was warranted.

    He sentenced him to 12 months imprisonment, suspended after four months, for the offences against the nine-year-old, and two years probation for those committed with his girlfriend.

    © 2007 AAP
    Brought to you by aap

    Apologoes if this is a copyright breah – please feel free to ammend as able.

  172. (Even the best QC Daddy could buy didnt seem to move this judge….)

  173. paul walter says:

    Why was the lad seen as somehow less culpable than the lass?
    I suppose it is difficult to understand judges and magistates sometimes, not being there to follow the evidence, but at times it does seem that funny ideas are indicatd in their remarks.
    Above seems a little remiscint of that elite school for young gentlemen that comes to mind inpassing: Trinity college. The antic involved the refined and genteel scions of the elite inserting chunks of wood into the rectum, via the anus, of another younger fellow a few years ago.
    Everywhere, we se the hallmarks and trappings of civilisation.

  174. David says:

    Look, you can hate the vengeful lynch-mob mentality (as I do), you can point out the horrible background of the offenders, you can stress the need for rehabilitation and social programs, you can believe all this but still acknowledge there is something out of wack when a guy in his 20s has pack sex with a 10 year old and it’s not being deemed worthy of a single day in prison.

    When all is said and done, people demand punishment for gross crimes. The severity of the crime and NOT the background of the individual has to be the primary determiner of the punishment. Otherwise, you have a Foucauldian nightmare where people get punished for who they are rather than what they do, and where courts and prisons turn into phoney psychological investigations, tied up in problematic and undecidable free will-determinist dualisms. Ultimately, all actions have causal explanations. But causation doesn’t annul guilt, or our deep conviction that justice needs to be maintained – symbolically if nothing else – by means of punishment. The overwhelming majority of offenders come from an appalling background, whether white or black. You can’t suddenly terminate prison. And if you did do that, there are thousands of offenders who should be let out before this guy. People are imprisoned for pretty minor property crimes. I despise the lynch-mob mentality, but this was a failure of justice.

  175. GregM says:

    “Why was the lad seen as somehow less culpable than the lass?”

    Paul if you are really interested you should look up the judge’s remarks on sentencing, which are a public document, rather than inviting speculation.

    Even so, given that the victim was nine I am surprised and disturbed that the offender only got a 4 month custodial sentence. At seventeen years old he should have been well enough aware of the enormity of a crime of violating a child of such a young age.

  176. paul walter says:

    “Me an’ my shadow”.
    Paul Walter posts; up pops like a pop-up;
    Greg M.
    What is this..sexual harrassment?
    WHAT ABOUT SOMETHING ON THE TOPIC, Greg?!

  177. GregM says:

    Paul my comment was entirely relevant and fair.

    I just happened to be posting when you were so I responded to your comments, not unfairly I think, since while I pointed out that rather than just spurious speculation you could get the facts by looking for the judge’s sentencing remarks, while at the same time expressing my disquiet about what I think is the excessively lenient tsentence of the offender.

    But since you choose to insult me, with a filthy innuendo, in bold type let me return your gratuitous comment in kind:

    WHY DON’T YOU GET OFF THE TURPS PAUL. THEN YOU MIGHT WRITE SOMETHING SOBER AND SENSIBLE.

  178. GregM says:

    “The insistence that a community take responsibility for its problems, whether that be petrol sniffing or alcoholism or car thefts — and Aurukun has had all of those things — is simply abandoning people.”

    No it is not. It is what we expect everyone in our society to do. The very foundation of our society is premised on the concept that people should be responsible for themselves, their actions and solving their own problems. In this they are supported by social norms, including social disapprobation of anti-social behaviour and social support networks to ensure that all in all people get along pretty decently with each other. The law exists to deal with the extreme cases where they don’t

    “The evidence is that it is beyond people’s control.”

    Are they under the influence of aliens then? The fact is that if it is beyond people’s control they’ll just have to work very hard to get it back within their control. Nothing will resolve their problems unless they do that.

    “We don’t ask this of people outside Aboriginal communities.”

    Yes we do.

    What planet are you living on?

  179. philiptravers says:

    It is easy to argue cases about what is,who should,why be etc. the whole range of heuristic potential when it comes to the problems of others.I am responsible,but may not be so in a twenty-four hour period.Responsible people go over the speed limit,responsible people book them,but, often are found out too to have aspects of irresponsibility.Responsibility is a very tough master of a word,its delinquent offspring irresponsible,is a very tough case to know or be called that.With all human problems because humans invent laws,customs,insights and behaviours,the solution to human induced problems is exactly that.If you had two boxers,one wearing one type of responsible, the other the other type of responsible,who would win if they were evenly paired!?Both maybe trying ,in motivation and performance to show their gloves are the more highly motivated.Start somewhere,easily comes to mind and avoid the punches to self,but not the near misses because that is disappointing for the opponent,in this case, what is humanely possible to achieve via different punches and near misses to save as many lives as possible.Then the opponent has a insight into winning or losing the fight.

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