Frank Hytten, CEO Reconciliation Victoria
We believe that Aboriginal people themselves need to make these decisions community by community if need be, about violence, abuse, humbugging and whatever else.
The role of governments and others is to offer the supports, structures and expertise that are requested by Aboriginal people. Of course there will be different opinions and different solutions sought by Aboriginal peoples and many conflicts along the way, some pre date the intervention and others are clearly being caused by it, but in the end, it is Aboriginal people who will need to sort it out in their own ways.
Other fundamental issues like housing, education/employment and preventative health are keys to sorting it out and must be included in any 'solution'. The responses that the government is sticking to so far are focused on control - especially taking control of land away from Aboriginal people and returning it to government. There seems to be no coherent reason for this move. In addition these policies are very, very disempowering, not least in relation to foreclosing on real self-determined development of policy and delivery of programs. Yet another betrayal by ‘white' governments also impacts on the will to continue their struggle against apparently insurmountable odds and the confidence to try. The long term sustainability of Aboriginal communities depends of encouragement, support, resourcing and ‘space' - the space to make their own decisions, mistakes and adjustments to changing circumstances. Those who seek protection should get it on their terms, but the larger role of Government is to find ways to work with Aboriginal communities to find ways forward that do not punish, discriminate or further oppress everyone under the pretext of protecting some.
Frank Hytten, CEO