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


By Graham Ring - posted Thursday, 24 August 2006

Mal Brough approached his appointment to the Indigenous Affairs portfolio with all the zeal of a wild-west lawman intent on “cleaning up the town”.

He began shooting from the hip on day one, and now it appears that he has more than one bullet lodged firmly in his foot.

The stewardship of Indigenous Affairs has passed from a minister who seemed to have only a passing interest in Aboriginal issues, to one who generates ideas like a Catherine-wheel.


For readers unfamiliar with fireworks, the Catherine-wheel rotates as it burns, shooting out sparks in all directions, and producing merriment, consternation and the occasional bushfire.

Brough is the minister who had the Indigenous violence summit without inviting Indigenous leaders.

The same one who is currently monstering Mutitjulu, instead of sitting down with the leaders of this troubled community to help them sort things out.

He’s the bloke intent on nobbling the big Northern Territory land councils.

The minister is looking increasingly accident-prone as he lurches between ill-considered utterances and half-baked ideas for economic miracles.

Witness the million dollar mistake: in late June, Brough made the incredible claim that a million dollars in cash from the sale of illicit substances had been found in just one remote community.


It wasn’t true, of course, and the minister eventually retreated from this excited outburst, saying that he had “failed to check his facts”.

But it beggars belief that someone who has now visited quite a number of these communities could imagine that there might be a million dollars in cash lying around. Where would it be kept? In a biscuit tin in the town clerk’s office? Secreted away in the exhaust pipe of a rusting car-body?

It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the minister really has no feel for this stuff.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. All

First published in the National Indigenous Times on August 10, 2006, Issue 111.

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

26 posts so far.

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

About the Author

Graham Ring is an award-winning writer and a fortnightly National Indigenous Times columnist. He is based in Alice Springs.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Graham Ring

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

Photo of Graham Ring
Article Tools
Comment 26 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy