Politics

Some Politicians And Commentators Are Basically Calling For Another Stolen Generation

Sunrise and the Liberal Party doing us proud again.

This morning the federal Assistant Minister for Children, David Gillespie, announced that he wanted to “relax” the rules around the adoption of Aboriginal children to make it easier for “white families” in particular to adopt.

Gillespie cited “rape, assault and neglect” in Indigenous communities as the reason for the latest policy proposal.

“If a child is being raped we can’t just say it’s ok on cultural grounds,” he said, refuting an argument that  no one has ever actually made.

Gillespie said he doesn’t want to create a new Stolen Generation, he’s just concerned about the welfare of children.

Gillespie was specifically concerned about recent reporting that showed high rates of STIs in some Indigenous communities in the NT. But experts have warned against linking infection rates to rates of abuse. Additionally, the number of young Indigenous people in the NT with STIs has actually been falling in recent years.

Not only does Gillespie’s rationale for encouraging more Aboriginal children to be adopted into white families not stack up, his proposed solution — to effectively recreate the policies of the Stolen Generations — has also been thoroughly debunked.

The landmark ‘Bringing Them Home’ report into the Stolen Generations found that “inter-racial adoption is known to be contrary to the best interests of Aboriginal children in the great majority of cases”.

Then Sunrise Got Involved

But because this is Australia and we never let facts get in the way of a calculated political campaign to demonise marginalised communities, the Gillespie proposal was picked up by everyone’s favourite forum for political discussion… Sunrise.

“Should WHITE families be allowed to adopt abused aboriginal children..?” Sunrise asked. And just to make it really clear where they stand on the issue, they decided to capitalise the entire word ‘white’ and left ‘Aboriginal’ in lower-case.

Sunrise decided the best and most sensitive way to discuss the issue was to get host Samantha Armytage to facilitate a discussion between two white radio shock jocks: Prue MacSween and Ben Davis. Yeah, they got a bunch of white people to talk about the forced adoption of Aboriginal children.

MacSween, you might remember, made headlines last year when she said on-air she would be “tempted to run over” Yassmin Abdel-Magied. Sounds like exactly the kind of person you would want to get for a topic that brings up the worst elements of Australia’s history of political racism.

Armytage kicked off the discussion by saying “Post-Stolen Generations there’s been this huge move to leave Aboriginal children where they are, even if they’re being neglected in their own families,” which is… a significant misunderstanding of the current situation.

“Post-Stolen Generations”, there’s certainly been a view among plenty of people that we shouldn’t recreate those policies, but the sad reality is the rate of forced removals is is 65 percent higher than it was when Kevin Rudd delivered the apology to the Stolen Generations in 2008. So the idea that we’re “Post-Stolen Generations” is itself pretty misleading, and there’s certainly no evidence the government is supportive of a “huge move to leave Aboriginal children where they are”.

But who cares about facts, right?

MacSween referred to Gillespie’s proposal as a “no brainer” and said “we can’t have another generation of young Indigenous children being abused in this way” before blaming political correctness.

She then went on to positively compare Gillespie’s plan to the actual Stolen Generations. Seriously.

“Just like the first Stolen Generations, where a lot of children were taken because it was for their well-being, we need to do it again, perhaps,” she said.

Yep, you read that right. That’s someone on breakfast TV straight up calling for the return of policies that led to the Stolen Generations.

Davis agreed with MacSween, as did Armytage, who ended the discussion by saying “let’s hope some sense prevails… poor kids”. Gillespie’s policy proposal, and the train wreck Sunrise discussion, have been slammed as racist by plenty of Indigenous Australians.

It’s hard to believe Australia is still able to plumb new depths when it comes to absolutely cooked, racist policies, but I guess when you combine the geniuses at the Liberal party with Sunrise what else can you expect?