Last week ABC RN ran a one-hour expose of one Aborigine and his clan of 50 (unsubstantiated) who speak their own language. He wants more money? He spoke his own tongue. God only knows what he said with only 50 people on earth who might know—maybe! Maybe that’s where the word “jabba” came from? Government sponsored apartheid in its naked ugliness at work!
TEACHER SUSPENDED FOR DOUBTING STOLEN GENERATIONS MYTH
Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun
A sad indictment of our intellectual climate, when a myth cannot be challenged:
A volunteer was stood down for questioning the Stolen Generations in front of a year six class… Four students lodged complaints.
Don’t consider the arguments. Complain instead. Don’t allow a debate. Suspend him.
If the complaints are to be believed, the argument was put crudely – but I think we need to hear the other side before we accept a third or fourth-hand account:
The elderly teacher told the students that what they had been told about the Stolen Generations was a beat-up, and that the real reason children were taken from their families was bad, lazy parenting, according to the parents of two students who attended the class.
Oh, and the teacher is accused of racism, naturally:
The complaint involved stereotyping and the ethics teacher is alleged to have voiced racist opinions,” said a spokeswoman for the organisation that runs Special Ethics Education, Primary Ethics.
Dear me, what fear of debate. What unmerited praise for those hostile to it:
“We commend these students for speaking up and the principal for proactively addressing the matter,” the spokeswoman said.
So did this volunteer teacher tell a falsehood – or something uncomfortably close to the truth?
Let’s look at some prominent examples of people hailed as members of the “stolen generation”:
[“Stolen generations” propagandist Robert Manne] included children sent to school, rescued from neglect, unwanted by their mother….
They included a fatherless 12-year-old girl with syphilis, a 13-year-old who was seven months pregnant and working for no wages on a station…
Lorna Cubillo, once named by Manne as a “stolen” child, was found in fact to have been rescued by authorities after being found in a bush camp with her mother dead, her father gone and her grandmother somewhere else…
[Manne] also lists as stolen the late Robert Riley, citing as his source the biography by Quentin Beresford. Did you actually read that book, Robert? Beresford says he in fact doesn’t know why Riley went to Sister Kate’s home as a two year old, although a file letter to the Minister of Child Welfare at the time records he was simply “left at this home, by his mother”. A later report from a welfare officer notes that his mother “showed no interest at all in her son”. And some of those who knew Riley later said his mother actually sent him to Sister Kate’s because her then boyfriend said he’d kill him if she didn’t…
So who are the 106 “stolen generations” members compensated under Tasmania’s $5 million scheme? Most names have been withheld, but four claimants have identified themselves.
Eddie Thomas was taken from his grandmother when he was six months old and his mother dead. He claimed his grandmother was duped into signing a consent form. Really? For racist reasons?
Annette Peardon said her case files showed she was actually removed for “neglect”. She didn’t believe it, yet admitted her mother served three months for the crime.
Debra Hocking, a Stolen Generations Alliance spokeswoman, told the ABC she, too, was “removed on the grounds of neglect” and conceded: “In Tasmania there were no removal policies as such …”
The fourth, Heather Brown, said she and six other children were taken from home for reasons she can’t explain. But why assume she was stolen merely for being Aboriginal?
Historian Keith Windschuttle found half of the Aboriginal wards documented from 1969 to 1995 were removed because of “neglect” and most of the rest after they broke laws or were uncontrollable, in danger or abandoned.
Then there’s this case in Western Australia, which was dismissed.
[Lowitja] O’Donoghue had been cited by Manne and others as a member of the “stolen generations”. In fact, as she conceded to me, she had been sent by her white father to Colebrook home, and she should not have called herself “stolen”. Her youngest sister was left with their mother, and her life turned out nowhere near as well as Lowitja’s.
Manne also lists Rosalie Fraser, who in fact writes that she was made a ward of the state at two in 1961 – but why? To “breed out the colour”, as Manne suggests? Or because of some family dysfunction? Manne does not say, yet the fact that Fraser was removed by child welfare officers, not Aboriginal welfare, and sent with one of her sisters to live with her father’s relatives suggests Fraser’s sad story is not part of the “stolen generations” narrative.
Also named as stolen by Robert was Malcolm Smith, one of the only four cases – just four – he discusses in his book In Denial. In fact, Malcolm in 1965 was an 11 year old son of a drunk widower who’d let his six sons run wild, wagging school, going hungry and stealing. His dad agreed in a court hearing that he’d could not look after Malcolm , and Malcolm was sent to a boys home.
Other prominent “stolen generations” cases are ambiguous, at best:
Bob Randall, son of white station owner Bill Liddle, … at age seven was sent to the Bungalow at Alice Springs, where he’d live while he got a schooling there he couldn’t get at the station. He says he was “stolen”, but the Federal Court in the Gunner-Cubillo test case found there was no government policy in the Northern Terrritory at that time to steal children just for being black, and nor could it find any example of any child taken for such reasons.
Doris Kartinyeri, of the family behind the “secret women’s business” scandal, claims she was stolen because her widowed father thought the form he was signing was an application for child endowment, and not a permission form to have her given to the care of Colebrook Home.
In fact, other children raised at Colebrook, such as Nancy Barnes, have told me they do not remember Katrinyeri as having been stolen, and South Australian law did not allow Aboriginal children to be stolen, either, as the South Australian court found three years ago in the Bruce Trevorrow case. Manne chooses to believe Kartinyeri was stolen. Many others would not, and with good reason.
All that said, I would question the (alleged and unverified) account of the volunteer teacher on this point: a significant number of the allegedly “stolen” children were not mistreated by bad parents, but miscounted by bad polemicists.
Many were in fact sent away from home to get a good education. For instance, here is part of the Federal Court finding dismissing the claim of Peter Gunner to have been “stolen” from his mother:
The documents that were available point strongly to the Director, through his officers, having given close consideration to the welfare of the young Peter. Most importantly, there was his mother’s thumbprint on a form of request that asked that Peter be taken to St Mary’s [at Alice Springs] and given a western education. I have concluded that Peter went to St Mary’s at his mother’s request.
And this famous example, of Charlie Perkins, one of the two people first named as “stolen” by the academic who invented the phrase:
The ‘stolen generations’ did not rate a mention by Aboriginal activists for decades; not until 1981, in fact, when a young academic, Peter Read, let his wife convince him to change the title of a pamphlet he’d dashed off in a day from The Lost Generations — too boring! — to The Stolen Generations.
My own attention was first caught by Read when I read a speech he gave in 1996, naming as the two most prominent ‘stolen’ children Charles Perkins and Lowitja O’Donoghue. Raised in the Northern Territory, I smelled a rat. Perkins was an Alice Springs boy, and it’s well known in those parts that his mother Hetti, deserted by the last of her partners, had pleaded with Father Percy Smith to give the smartest, and perhaps best-loved, of her children a good education.
In fact, Smith’s Adelaide boarding school taught Perkins so well that he became the first Aborigine to head a government department. But now Perkins was ‘stolen’? By racists? In fact, O’Donoghue later confessed that she was not stolen, either, despite being co-chairman of the National Sorry Day Committee. She’d been left by her father at South Australia’s Colebrook Home.
But, on the whole, the volunteer teacher was much, much closer to the truth of the “stolen generations” than any number of academics, politicians, journalists and teachers who repeat the grotesque and now lethal myth that a generation of children were stolen by racist officials just because they were Aboriginal.
Yet the volunteer gets sacked while the myth-makers get praised for their virtue. Why?