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Issue #1746      August 31, 2016

Why did it take all this time?

No-one with even a shred of human decency could have seen the footage of Aboriginal children being abused at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre and been unmoved.

#IndigenousDads: Heartfelt images shared to counter Leak’s cartoon.

The Four Corners show finally shamed our Prime Minister into action.

But. … why did it take that shocking CCTV footage to spark a proper government response?

The NT government was fully aware of incidents at Don Dale – its own Children’s Commissioner handed the government a report into the incidents months ago and lawyer Michael Vita also reported into the abuse.

What’s not shocking enough about words describing Aboriginal children being gassed, forcibly restrained, forced to eat bird faeces for guards’ amusement, kept without water for days and having hoods put over their heads?

Those reports might not have “piqued” the interest sufficiently of Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion or NT Chief Minister Adam Giles – but they certainly should have.

It’s the job of politicians to be across important issues and if you can’t do that, what are you doing in the role?

Some commentators – predictably – have sought to blame Aboriginal parents and children for the abuse, claiming that if they hadn’t done terrible things they wouldn’t have been in detention.

That is a distraction and as irrelevant to the abuse of the children in Don Dale as the harmful racist stereotypes propagated by The Australian newspaper when it published a horrible cartoon by Bill Leak.

They’re kids.

No matter what they’ve done to get into detention, they don’t deserve to be abused.

Violence only ever leads to more violence and our kids deserve better than that.

On Saturday night Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people found the perfect antidote to the nasty and racist cartoon published by The Australian.

For hours our mob posted photos and messages of their fathers, children, uncles, grandfathers and other family members to Twitter under #lndigenousDads.

The outpouring of pride, respect and love was the best possible response to a hateful stereotype and showed once again the resilience and strength of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and how important family is.

Thanks and congrats to everyone who stood up. #lndigenousDads are deadly.

Koori Mail – “Our Say”

Next article – Through a glass darkly

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