Rudd's report card a tale of highs and lows

    Research output: Other contribution

    Abstract

    THE review of the Northern Territory Emergency Response a year after it was introduced by the Howard government provides an opportunity to review Kevin Rudd's approach to indigenous issues. While Rudd scores an A for keeping his election promises, he gets an F for communication.

    Before he was elected, the then leader of federal Labor promised to continue Howard's intervention. As Prime Minister he extended Howard's blanket approach, supporting laws that discriminate according to race, rather than behaviour. He extended welfare quarantining to an additional 13 communities, and he fulfilled promises to reintroduce a slightly amended permit system — which extended exemptions to certain government agents, and to journalists — and to reinstate the Community Development Employment Program, which had been extended in the early stages of his incumbency.

    Though he had committed his Government to endorsing the United Nation's Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Kevin Rudd chose to postpone this rather than dilute the NT Emergency Response through pulling it back within the provisions of the Racial Discrimination Act — something that would have to be done before he could endorse the declaration, since the emergency response breaches around half of its 46 articles.

    Now that the review board's report has been submitted, Rudd could bring the emergency response back into line with the act, which would free him to pursue his promise regarding the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    So, our Prime Minister gets an A for keeping his election promises. Unfortunately, he is not doing so well in the core subject of communication. Though he put in some effort at the beginning, through the establishment of an indigenous reference group for the intervention, the Prime Minister has failed in communication.

    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherThe Melbourne Age
    Number of pages1
    Place of PublicationMelbourne
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2008

    Keywords

    • Northern Territory Emergency Intervention
    • social justice
    • racial discrimination
    • remote Aboriginal communities

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