Don’t blame the victim

Mick Dodson, The Age, June 22:

It’s not easy to separate some reasonable messages Tony Abbott was trying to deliver yesterday without getting caught up in the “put-down” language adopted in his speech to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Nobody disputes that addressing the 17-year gap in life expectancy between indigenous and non-indigenous children is a national priority. And if Abbott is suggesting that governments should assume full responsibility for delivering essential services to Aboriginal Australians, just like other Australians, I fully agree with that too.

But why does he wrap that up in language about paternalism rather than describing it as a basic responsibility of government to the citizens of Maningrida, just as it is to the citizens of Manly?… 

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