Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (02 October 1990)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (02 October 1990)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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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 - Tuesday 2 October 1990 schools have a genuine desire to improve the position of the Aboriginal people. Nevertheless, the member for Stuart denigrates a very comprehensive report put together by the Minister for Education which, for the first time, addresses some of the concerns of Aboriginal people. Some of the comments which appear in this report are the type of comments which I hear when I am out in my electorate. One comment was made by Walter Kerinaiaua of the Nguiu Council who has had long experience in education, having been a teaching aide for many years as a young man. He said that 'the Tiwi children 'are not getting the same education as the children outside of the islands and that their education may be inferior to the white education'. A genuine concern of people in the bush. is that, in someway, they are being relegated to receiving something less than thatwhich people are receiving elsewhere. Jacob Lansen of Ngukurr said that 'the people from Ngukurr community were interested in what was going -on for the Ti wi s. He said that they were modelling their situation around the Tiwi and that the Tiwi islands had everything, but would fail if they did not have confidence. He said that if the kids could be encouraged to get out of the Aboriginal system and into the European system, they must have 'a European education wi thout forgetting their culture'. That was. addressed in this report. Jimmy Tipungwuti, the Chairman of the Tiwi Land Council, explained that it was his wish for the Tiwi people to begin to. integrate with the modern world now. He explained that they had come a long way and that, 'whether they 1 i.ked it or not, they had to learn how to survive now for the future'. The Tiwi people have come a long way in terms of accepting those parts of our European culture which are suitable and which they see as worth while. They have not given away their culture because of that. They have sought deliberately to develop those areas which they believe to be of benefit to them, and they are concerned that .the direction of education is being commandeered by left-wing elements who are trying to.promote the idea that, in some way, Aboriginal people Jack ,the power to set their own directions. Often I hear that view being put ,forward by left-wing teachers. As I said, they are not the majority. However, they seem to have grabbed the agenda in the remote areas. They are talking about the need to empower Aboriginal people to take over the educqtion of their own people. That is not the way' of Aboriginal people. It is the way of a few 1 eft-wi ng teachers and, I am sorry to say, a few 1 eft-wi ng 1 ecturers in places like Batchelor College. I can recall a time, in the 1950s and 1960s, when our universities and teachers colleges were taken over by a similar element, and we are seeing some of the results of that now. Fortunately, there has been more balance in recent times. However, during the period when the left was in control of the agenda, all sorts of harebrained schemes were put in place. In Great Britain, even fairy stories were banned from the education system because they supposedly denigrated people in some way. What rubbish! Even Peter Rabbit was out of favour as being racist because he had long ears or whatever nonsense was current at the time. The book was actually burned. I am appalled that some people would allow our education system for Abori gi na 1 people to be dragged down that path. However, I see it time and time again. New groups of lecturers are coming in. I recall that, when health 'education was introduced at Batchelor College, the health educator was looking for a book on empowerment. She said that she had been told to teach empowerment to the students and that that was the di recti on that she had to take. She wanted to know how to empower people. 10 676