"Food cards doled out in the NT"
Doesn't the word paternalism (in its very worse sense...) loom ominously on the horizon- even a sense of sub-citizen status, people who are having their income spent for them- their right to choose whisked away on the back of an electoral stunt.
Why is this 'food card' issue so quiet?! Where are all the clamouring warning bells? The riots- the protesters and incensed left wing professionals? Something is seriously wrong here, and stepping back in time to methods of disempowering people as a way to 'help' them unfortunately has become the latest flavour of the month.
It reminds me of first year engineering where you are taught about 'closed systems' and learning to consider all of the influencing factors on that closed system and calculate what kind of actions would have what kinds of results. I think in science this can be very helpful, but applying this kind of methodology in human society seems simplistic and reactionary. I feel like someone has just thought: 'ok the problem is: some Aboriginal people in some communities are spending their money on things other than food- to the detriment of themselves or dependents'.
In a closed system perhaps the solution is: to restrict what these people can spend their money on, and encourage buying of food in this way. The problem is, people and human societies are not 'closed systems', they have an infinite variability of inputs, and ways of interpreting as well as spontaneous creativity. I suppose to put it bluntly- they are people- not 'systems' or equations that you can solve with a simple answer.
Someone, at some point (I'm sorry to say this to you John Howard), is going to have to go to talk with Aboriginal people in communities and say- 'whats up?', they are going to have to get deep down and dirty with trauma, death, and the scariest of all: difference. And learn about what kind of solutions might work in with different people in different places. Someone, at some point is going to have to listen.
And for that they will need an interpreter(!).