This was a very different article from the ones I found in further reading. I went to some Australian news sites, where the announcement wasn't even front page news. The articles I did find all made reference to the troubles of Geoff Clark - the first elected chair of ATSIC (suspended in 2003), and very little mention of any of the good works and progress which ATSIC has made in its young life.
I was surprised to learn more than a few interesting things from the last ATSIC Review, released November 2003:
- In the 2001 census, 410,003 people identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (That's 2.2 per cent of the total Australian population),
- 6.7 per cent of the Aboriginal population is over 55, and
- ATSIC was created in March 1990.
Now, I was going to write more of a review of my own findings, but thought that was a bit governmenty, and not in the spirit of this blog. The last review I mentioned is a good read -- it makes several very useful and constructive recommendations about how to continue to improve the service ATSIC provides, and i'm not sure why this is just being thrown out. .So, apart from all that stuff, here's the deal.
Expecting accountability of an organisation which receives government funding is FINE. Training indigenous staff (or anyone!) to work in new and better ways is GOOD. Having elected Aboriginal representatives provide the link between their communities and the Government is GREAT. Violating human rights is BAD.
ATSIC should not be closed down. It is good for all Australians, and i'm pretty sure the wider Australian community agrees with me, except for idiots who can't see past all the mud sticking to Clarke.
Mark Latham, Leader of the Opposition
Once again, white Australia has deleted Aboriginal Australia's concerns from the governmental field of vision, when there is ongoing, fundamental human rights abuse going on in our backyard. Apart from attracting the attention of the world, which sees us as an overtly racist nation, this is a BAD DECISION and a move BACKWARDS.
Here are few references sites I found in my travels if you're interested...
. ATSIC faces a leadership test (26 Feb 2003)
. Government attempts coup d'etat at ATSIC (30 April 2003)
. Billion Dollar Babies (16 April 2004)