Where are we?

In the little-known movie Dave (1993) a look-alike of the US president takes his place while the incumbent recovers in an isolation ward at the White House. The public is not told.

While struggling with his new job, Dave gets his small-town accountant friend to take a look at the budget and see where the country could make some savings. He does this in about five minutes, using a biro.

In the Australia TV series Utopia (2014-), a retired man is brought into a government department to satisfy some policy of reemploying senior citizens. When a committee of bureaucrats cannot decide where to make savings, the old man asks if he can get his friend to come in and help. 

Using a pencil, the two men solve the problem in less than 30 minutes, saving millions of dollars.

This is fiction but how far is it from the truth?

According to Peta Credlin on Sky News, $30 billion is spent every year on Indigenous affairs.


While billion trips off the tongue where not long ago $100,000 seemed like a lot of money, how much of this amount is being wasted, getting to the people who most need help, incompetently placed or simply stolen? 

There has been very little advancement for people of Aboriginal descent in 50 years. Yet Australia spends $30 billion a year either pretending that there is or making decisions that keep other Australians feeling like something is being done.

That’s a lot of money for warm and fuzzy.

Even if you leave out comment and opinion on The Voice, there has been a lot of news in the past week about key factors involving Indigenous people.

An art gallery in South Australia is accused of (and this is supported by video evidence) inserting white people’s hands on Aboriginal art. So much for the world’s oldest culture? ‘Here, pass me that Etruscan ewer, it needs a couple more naked gymnasts wrestling near the handle’.

Then opposition leader Peter Dutton visited Alice Springs and mayor Matt Patterson told him that the violence in his town was ‘back to where it was’. Not a good thing if examples shown in the past month are any guide. 

Worse than violence in the streets, there is a bigger problem that goes Australia wide. No exceptions. Women are being beaten and raped. Children are being raped. We abhor this when it happens in the Ukraine invasion but it seems to slide here. 

Welcome to Country celebrations don’t cut it when you’re an Indigenous woman in country Western Australia who begs to stay in hospital rather than be returned home after she has been treated for a beating. The assault is usually at the hands of her husband, partner or some other person living in the same residence.

The problem never goes away. But we spend $30 billion a year on it. 

It’s a lot money to assuage the guilt of British settlement in 1788. 

It’s a drop in the ocean in today’s numbers but it still has to be accounted for. If the $30 billion a year hasn’t helped then scrap all the departments, state and federal, and start again. 

Put the new offices in the nearest big centre to all the remote communities where help is most needed and hand pick a small team to run them. This group could then hand pick local people to help them. No one works from Canberra or Sydney or Perth. 

If you think this sounds like The Voice I can assure you it isn’t. If The Voice gets up, every other government department related to Indigenous affairs will be retained and another layer of government will be brought in…and it won’t be done within the $30 billion. 

Perhaps that old gent from Utopia is still alive? He could bring his pencil and do a lot better job in a month than all these departments have done.

But who would do that job? Bullied and belittled by every left-leaning journalist, TV person, corporate executive and bellicose activist, it would be hell.

Probably best if we just spend the $30 billion and let the children fend for themselves.

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