In a remarkable interview featuring the frankness for which he has become known, Pearson really laid the boot into those who were calling the policy 'racist' and 'paternalistic' but who have supported the catastrophic policies inflicted upon the Aboriginal people over the last 30 years in which they were given money to live on without having any requirement to behave responsibly and appropriately.
LEIGH SALES: There might be some out there who would have expected that the majority of Aboriginal leaders would say, "look, thank goodness, we've been calling for action on this for so long, now something's going to happen". Why have we seen this negative reaction?The problems facing Aborigines in, especially, remote communities have been a blight on Australia for more than 20 years. The usual crowd of do-gooders have spent that time criticising successive governments for their failure to address the issue effectively. When a government finally summons up the political will to take the tough action required then these same people, seemingly affronted by the fact that the solution doesn't involve simply throwing good money after bad, come out of the woodwork to denigrate it.
NOEL PEARSON: Well, you would think so. You would think so. This is almost a form of madness. I can't understand it myself. But I suppose it is an explanation, it gives you some kind of explanation as to why we have not done anything effective to prevent this abuse hitherto. It does provide some kind of explanation as to why we have never done anything effective up to now. We haven't come up with the ideas to prevent the abuse. Did we - we're in fact saying, I hear people saying in the commentary, that this abuse has been known about for a long time. People say in defence of, in objection to what the Government is doing. people say, "oh, the Government should have known, we've known about this problem for 20 years." Geez, if we've known about it for that long, why is it not that we've come up with any kind of effective solution to the problem?
LEIGH SALES: So it's not just the Government's fault, it's the people's fault as well?
NOEL PEARSON: Absolutely. I mean, you know, the first and best defenders of an Aboriginal child has got to be Aboriginal people. You know, these are our children at stake here. You know, it's quite, it's quite to be expected that the first people who should have regard for our children are ourselves, and, you know, it's just an absolutely miserable show that we see people who have never come up with any solution to prevent this suffering in 20 years of knowledge about the problem, but the minute somebody suggests trying to do something decisive about it, you've got all of them finding every excuse under the sun not to do anything.
LEIGH SALES: We heard accusations today that rumours are being spread in Mutitjulu that the police and army are going to be coming in to take children away. Who would be spreading such disinformation, and why?
NOEL PEARSON: Well, you know, I think that - I mean, I've been taking the stick quite a bit to progressives in relation to Aboriginal policy. People on the - people who have always professed a regard for Aboriginal people, and you know, there's something mad going on from in the midst of many of our traditional supporters because they're putting quibbling about politics and putting all kinds of objections in the road. For example, the suggestion that this is about land rights. You know, I've got as much objections as anybody to the ideological prejudices of the Howard Government in relation to land, but this question is not about a 'land grab'. The Anderson Wild Report tells us about the scale of Aboriginal children's neglect and abuse. This is what this is about. It's an absolute alibi to try and characterise this debate as being about land grabs and so on. Who wants a land grab in main street Hopevale, for goodness sake?
NOEL PEARSON:...There is within every community good people, and it's an absolutely shameful thing that those good people are misled by people whose children sleep safely at night. You know, that's the horrendous thing here. That the people who are nay saying any kind of intervention are people whose children, like my own, sleep safely at night. And I think that's a terrible indulgence.Those are powerful words. 'Good people are misled by people...' is exactly right but the situation is made worse by '...we seek to put roadblocks in the way and we wish failure...' Those who are opposed to this plan have no legitimate role to play in the repairing the damage done.
When our children sleep safely at night, we seek to put road blocks in the way and we wish failure, we wish failure upon any decisive action that's going to deliver some relief of suffering to vulnerable children.
LEIGH SALES: With the Federal Government now seizing control, what will it take from here on to persuade the Prime Minister, whether John Howard or Kevin Rudd in the future, to devolve power to the Aboriginal people, or has the moment for self-determination now passed with this move?Successive government departments focused on Aborigines - from the Department of Aboriginal Affairs to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Commission - have been wracked by high levels of incompetence, corruption and self-interest that has seen billions of dollars poured into finding solutions to problems but that, in fact, simply made matter worse.
NOEL PEARSON: Listen, self-determination - in the proper meaning of the world, if self-determination means that we should be put in artificial office, we should be given titles, we should be given travel allowances and all of the trappings of office, but we don't care about the suffering of the children and we don't do anything about the disintegration of social circumstances in our own communities, if that's the meaning of self-determination, then I don't want any part of it. But if self-determination is about taking real responsibility for your people's solutions and for your people's problems, if that's what self-determination means, if it means hard work and responsibility, and accountability, not just saying, "well listen, our children are miserable, they're malnutritioned and somebody else is to blame for that", that's not self-determination in my view. But real self-determination is about Indigenous people taking responsibility for the results, and I can tell you the results that are out there at the moment are very, very miserable and shameful. And, you know, it is a measure of our performance that - it's a measure of our performance in fulfilment of what we have called self-determination, that the results are so miserable.
LEIGH SALES: Long term - when this immediate crisis is hopefully stabilised - do you think there's a role for another body, similar to ATSIC, perhaps on a better model, to be developed to help Aboriginal people take greater control over their own futures?The reason that Pearson has attracted so much criticism by 'progressives' is that he is rejecting outright their platform that Aboriginal people cannot look after themselves and be masters of their own future.
NOEL PEARSON: Absolutely. We've got the take charge. We've got to be given back responsibility. Might I say the collapse of responsibility that we see, the wasteland of responsibility in Indigenous Australia is the consequence of government and bureaucracies and welfare organisations, including NGOs, who have intervened in Aboriginal affairs and said, "listen, you don't have to take responsibility. You have a whole suite of rights, including the right to welfare, the right to drink, the right to party all night, the right to have the trappings of office without being accountable for any return on your role."
You know, it's been the intervention of government and bureaucracies in this way that has really crumbled what were strong and proud people. You know, when - in Aboriginal families that are functional, there's no greater love of children than Aboriginal people who nurture and look after their own children, and you witness that time and time again. But, you know, in recent decades, this very precious thing of the Aboriginal love for their own people has come under severe assault and has severely unravelled because responsibility has been taken away from us and we've abandoned it. We've been quite happy to abandon it, and ultimately the solution to our problems will require us to pick up the mantle of responsibility and take it up because nobody can save us as surely as we can save ourselves.
NOEL PEARSON:...You know, I hear people bleat uphill and down about self-determination and in my view self-determination is about people taking responsibility for themselves, for their own families and for their communities and, you know, it's an absolutely shameful hour that has descended on us, absolutely shameful hour where even an emergency intervention to protect the safety of our children is hindered, is hindered by people who supposedly have good will for Aboriginal people and in fact, those people are willing, they are willing the protection and succour to Aboriginal children to fail in the same way and as vehemently as they will failure in Iraq.And having nailed the issue at every stage of the interview he ends up kicking yet another goal when he points out that it's the same schadenfreude crowd barracking for failure in Iraq who want to see the government's intervention fail in Aboriginal communities. It tells you something about the lack of moral fibre of Pearson's opponents that they are defined by their criticisms and not by their track record of success.
There is an aspect to the immiserisation of Australia's Aboriginal population over the last 30 years that has not been mentioned, for fairly obvious reasons. The plight that Aborigines find themselves in is exactly the result you'd expect of the leftist post-modern 'solutions' that have been implemented in that time.
There are no examples of any society benefiting from giving money to specific groups and not attaching any responsibility to the payments. There are no examples of any society benefiting from giving special access to education or employment to any specific groups. There are no examples of society benefiting from favouring minority groups over the majority.
None. Nil. Nada.
These ideas come from the immature minds of social sciences professors, left-wing do-gooders and those with the deliberate intention of undermining society such as union officials.
From Affirmative Action to Multiculturalism, no society has benefited from leftist post-modernism.
There's a simple explanation why they haven't - their ideas fail to take into account what motivates people. Not only that but throughout history the improvement in standards of living has been as a result of the success and failures of all manner of ideas. Those that are good are woven into the fabric of society while those that are bad are discarded. One stark feature of leftist thinking is denial - the denial of reality, the denial of the spectacular failure of socialism wherever it's been tried, the denial that people really are motivated by their own selfish interest and the denial that a free market is the best way for society to improve.
Make no mistake. What has happened to Australia's Aborigines is a microcosm of what awaits any nation that embraces, or has inflicted upon it, the misery of socialism.
Don't believe me? How is what's happened to Aborigines different to what Robert Mugabe has done to Zimbabwe in the same period? If the price of oil were to return to $20/barrel then what do you think would be the result for Venezuela?
The fact that Noel Pearson's statements, and the government's intervention, have been received so positively by the Australian public, as demonstrated by ninemsn's poll showing a 3:1 result in favour, may be a signal that the public is getting sick of leftist elites talking the talk, putting their hand in that taxpayers' pockets and delivering no positive result. Let's hope so.