Daily News - Wednesday 11 March 2015

Posted 11 March 2015 5:25pm
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Australian PM criticised for remarks on remote communities

BBC News

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been criticised for suggesting that people living in indigenous communities are making a "lifestyle choice".

Visiting Western Australia, Mr Abbott said the government could not "endlessly subsidise" those that chose not to fit in with wider society.

He has previously said he supports the planned closure of up to 150 remote communities in Western Australia.

Critics have called the remarks "offensive" and "inappropriate".

It was announced in September that the federal government would transfer responsibility for funding Indigenous Australian communities to individual states

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Tony Abbott's choice of words on Indigenous communities clumsy, insensitive, destructive

Michael Gordon - Brisbane Times

Tony Abbott is right, in one respect. It is a lifestyle choice for Aboriginal people to live in the country of their ancestors, a choice they have exercised for thousands of years because connection to country is part of their being.

The surprise is that a politician who has immersed himself in remote Indigenous communities to the extent that Abbott has would resort to sloganeering on such a sensitive issue

It is also a lifestyle choice to live in small homeland communities that are safe, far away from the problems of substance abuse and family violence that afflict too many who live in poverty on the fringes of regional centres.

But it is not a lifestyle choice in the sense that most of us would understand it, like packing up and moving to Noosa, or working from home, or downsizing to buy a weekender.

Where the Prime Minister is dangerously wrong is to reduce a complex question to a glib sound bite – one that will make it all the more difficult to engage Indigenous Australians on the challenge of closing the gap, or anything else.

 

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Quarantining welfare to pay off fines a silly idea, Deaths in Custody Watch Committee chair says

Gian De Poloni - ABC News

The head of Western Australia's Deaths in Custody Watch Committee says a plan to quarantine the welfare payments of people who have outstanding fines is "silly" and "ill-informed".

The WA Premier Colin Barnett threw his support behind a federal plan where people with outstanding fines had 14 per cent of their income frozen to pay back debts.
Committee chairperson Marc Newhouse said that idea was "nonsense".

"It's an idea that is ill-informed and has the potential to further disadvantage people in the community that might be subject to these sort of circumstances," he said.

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