Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Time to remove the neglected generation

By James McConvill - posted Wednesday, 31 May 2006

There is one sure-fired way to deal with the dreadful conditions within Aboriginal communities in Northern Australia - the forced removal of Aboriginal children.

It is unfortunate that we have allowed this clear and simple fact to be overshadowed by the political correctness engineered by the bleeding hearts of the Left.

The injustices and heartache associated with the so-called Stolen Generation of Aboriginal children was certainly regretful and a stain on our nation’s history. But it is simply time to move on. These were the mistakes of a previous generation. It is time to appreciate that a lot of good can come from forced removal if it is done for the right reasons.


We do not need racist policies directed specifically at Aboriginals - as were previous laws which resulted in the Stolen Generation - in order to clean up Northern Australia and inject some hope and opportunity into the lives of Aboriginal children. Forced removal of children, Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal, is already facilitated under state and territory laws.

Each state and territory, including Northern Territory and Queensland, where recent attention has focussed, have laws in place to protect children from neglect or abuse within the family. These so-called “child protection laws” allow for the removal of children when it is considered that the family is unable or unwilling to protect the child. While removal is an option of last resort, when the risk to the child’s safety and well-being is considered to be significant, it is to be used.

It is time to stop treating Aboriginal communities with kid gloves. What we have seen in the media recently is evidence of widespread abuse and neglect of children. When a child has to live with up to 30 other people in a three-bedroom asbestos-infected family home, and face a significantly higher risk of being sexually abused than other Australian children, there is neglect and abuse of the most significant kind.

If such neglect and abuse were to take place in any home outside an Aboriginal community, child protection authorities would be quick to bang down the door. That the problems in northern Australia have not been treated as an open and shut case calling for the application of child protection laws, but rather an opportunity for the bleeding hearts to again wheel out our Stolen Generation past in an effort to maintain “respect” for Aboriginal culture, shows just how damaging political correctness can be at times.

Every moment that we allow the abuse and neglect to continue, to allow incompetent mothers and fathers to interfere with their children, give them a cold floor to sleep on, and throw them an occasional scrap for nourishment, we disrespect the future generation.

Caring for one’s children, and ensuring that at the minimum they are well nourished and have adequate shelter, must be the paramount responsibility of any parent, including Aboriginals. Talk of customary law and Aboriginal culture as excuses for this behaviour must no longer wash.


Political leaders should enter into a pact that in moving forwards to deal with the abuse and neglect in Aboriginal communities, the Stolen Generation should no longer be discussed. There is no point in going back to the future.

It is time to appreciate that while forced removal of Aboriginal children from their parents was a mechanism for past injustices, it is the best thing to resolve the problems in Aboriginal communities. What we have is significant child abuse and neglect, pure and simple, and it is time to for the authorities to strictly apply child protection laws in these communities, rather than being in denial about what is happening through being brainwashed by the hyperbole of the Left.

Over time, it is obvious more houses need to be built in remote communities, and more money will need to be invested in health, education and training in these communities, but that is something to work on over time. As for now, we must focus on the injustices that Aboriginal children experience in their own homes.

We would not want our own children to battle for a shower with 29 other inhabitants, fight over crumbs in something resembling a kitchen, or be at a heightened risk of sexual abuse. So we can’t let it happen any longer in northern Australia.

The serious abusers and the neglectful should have their kids removed immediately - under laws that apply to us all.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

17 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

James McConvill is a Melbourne lawyer. The opinions expressed are his personal views only, and were written in the
spirit of academic freedom when James was employed as a university lecturer.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by James McConvill

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of James McConvill
Article Tools
Comment 17 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy