Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 November 1994



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 November 1994

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Parliamentary Record 6


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 23 November 1994 to find something to do for which we can pay them wages. I suggest that this is a fairly tall order. The communities that have come up with projects to fill that requirement should be supported very publicly and in all sorts o f ways by members on both sides o f this Assembly. A community like Apatula in my electorate is one where, for a variety o f reasons, that particular program works very well and it should be supported. In other areas, where the program may not be working as well, we should be identifying the reasons for that. There should be an underlying objective o f 80% award wage employment on Aboriginal communities for those people who are ready and willing to work. I do not think that that is a high ceiling o f expectation. An 80% employment rate on those communities would still be dramatically lower than the figure in the broad community. We all know that the Australian community starts to become very jittery when the level o f employment participation drops below about 90%. I believe the unemployment rate is between 8% and 10% at the moment, depending on which region you are in. That is a great deal better than it was a couple o f years ago when we were well and truly into double digit inflation. However, when we look across the Aboriginal communities, where we still have endemic rates o f unemployment, not enough is being done. We cannot talk about alcohol abuse without talking in the same breath about unemployment and under-employment. We should be looking for employment in the areas o f road construction and o f construction generally on those communities, and also in municipal services. I am sure that, with a little imagination, that list could be made considerably longer. I will put in another plug for a proposal in this area which I believe is important. I refer to traditional hunting and gathering. Frequently, we hear people praising traditional skills in bush medicine, hunting and so on. However, I believe encouragement should be given for young people to learn both ways in that regard. They should be trained both for formal employment in the broader Australian community and in those traditional hunting skills that are a source of such great pride and that, in themselves, are unique human achievements both in technology and in understanding the interaction o f the plant, animal and human worlds. Looking at another area of the ministers answer yesterday, he talked about cross-cultural education. I must say that, when I think about Country Liberal Party ministers talking about cross-cultural education, it is a matter o f looking towards their own ranks. I would have thought the first candidate for that type o f education would be the Minister for Police. Basically, he thinks that no consideration ought to be given to Aboriginal law and Aboriginal customs and that Aboriginal people have to change their ways to fit in with the rest o f the world. Personally, I find those views repugnant. I believe that, in this day and age, majority society has to find ways for coexistence. To that extent, I welcome support from the minister. I suspect that he is the Robinson Crusoe on the ... M r Finch: No, I am not. Mr BELL: To pick up the interjection from the minister, I cannot believe that he is supported by the member for Sanderson in that regard because the comments made regularly by the member for Sanderson suggest quite clearly a monotonously assimilationist view o f cross-cultural issues in the Northern Territory. I find that repugnant. If any one thing has disturbed me more than another about the move to this new Parliament House, it has been the reinforcement o f those colonialist, assimilationist views 1867