Bill rides and bus, why Today’s Brooke Boney is the most important person on Australian television and how China is shooting itself in the foot.
But most importantly, we get to meet Brooke Boney.
Boney is the new entertainment reporter on the Today Show.
This is an essentially important role – it means most of you will never see Richard Wilkins again.
So we can grateful for that.
How many people have had to put up with this in the morning? (Get a bucket … you’ve been warned.)
Yesterday, Brooke Boney weighed into the debate over Australia Day.
"This is the best country in the world no doubt. But I can't separate the 26th of January from the fact that my brothers are more likely to go to jail than they are to go to school" says @BoneyBrooke, a proud Gamilaroi woman. #9Today pic.twitter.com/fJRzobPeTG
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) January 16, 2019
It was an emotionally charged comment – and factually problematic.
This is the key section:
I can’t separate the 26th of January from the fact that my brothers are more likely to go to jail than they are to go to school. Or that my little sisters and my mum are more likely to be beaten and raped than anyone else’s sisters or mum.
And that started from that day. So for me, that’s a difficult day and I don’t want to celebrate it… That’s the day it changed for us. That’s the beginning of what some people would say is the end. That’s the turning point.
And that is rubbish.
This is a deeply concerning diatribe because it shifts the blame for Indigenous violence and incarceration away from the perpetrators.
This is where it is concerning. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Family, Domestic and sexual violence in Australia 2018 report endorses blame shifting (page 88):
Factors that increase the risk of family violence in Indigenous communities include (Bartels 2010; Bryant & Willis 2008; Bryant 2009):
- social stressors such as poor housing and overcrowding, financial difficulties, low education,low income, and high unemployment
- high levels of individual, family and community discord
- living in a remote location and having poor access to services (such as a police presence)
- prior childhood experience of violence and abuse
- high levels of alcohol misuse and illicit drug use
- fbreathyounger age (14–15, reaching a peak during the mid-20s and early 30s)
- removal of natural family
- poor physical and mental health
- disability.As in all populations, some individuals, families and communities are more likely to be victims of family violence than others. It is important to identify those at increased risk, and the circumstancesthat increase the risk, to develop and deliver effective and culturally appropriate preventivestrategies, targeted programs and services.
It is remarkable – but not surprising – that indicators other than Indigeneity are found to be responsible.
Yet the rates are so skewed in favour in Indigeneity, they are hard to forget (page 93):
Indigenous offender rates are higher than non-Indigenous rates
The ABS recorded crime data also contains information about those committing offences related to family violence, with data for Indigenous offenders available for New South Wales, the NorthernTerritory and the Australian Capital Territory only.
According to the ABS Recorded crime—offenders 2015–16 data collection (ABS 2017c), for offences related to family violence, Indigenous offenders comprised:
- 2 in 10 offenders (18%, or 4,100 offenders) in New South Wales
- 9 in 10 offenders (89%, or 2,500) in the Northern Territory
- 1 in 9 offenders (11%, or 66) in the Australian Capital Territory.
Compared with the non-Indigenous rate, the Indigenous offender rate in 2015–16 was:
- 8 times as high in New South Wales (2,328 offenders per 100,000 people compared with 281 per 100,000
- 21 times as high in the Northern Territory (4,264 offenders per 100,000 people compared with 202 per 100,000)
- 7 times as high in the Australian Capital Territory (1,189 offenders per 100,000 people comparedwith 165 per 100,000) (ABS 2017c).
Surely poverty would more likely be associated with property crimes than assault against a family member?
Shifting the blame is all-too common
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience both far higher rates and more severe forms of family violence compared to other women.
It is important to acknowledge that family violence is not a traditional aspect of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander cultures.
From an Aboriginal perspective, the experience of family violence must be understood in the historical context of white settlement and colonisation and their resulting (and continuing) impacts: cultural dispossession, breakdown of community kinship systems and Aboriginal law, systemic racism and vilification, social and economic exclusion, entrenched poverty, problematic substance use, inherited grief and trauma, and loss of traditional roles and status (Aboriginal Affairs Victoria 2008).
Or this from the federal government’s Closing the Gap Clearing House (page 3):
[Aboriginal disadvantage] is a consequence of the historical and continuing impact of colonialism and dispossession, which has left many (Aboriginals) impoverished, marginalised, discriminated against, in a state of poor physical and mental health, and with inequitable access to necessary public and private services.
So that’s why they bash their women 32 times more often than the rest of the Australian community?
Of course, that is pure bunkum.
Evidence suggests a long history of black-on-black violence, dating back thousands of years:
Paleopathologist Stephen Webb in 1995 published his analysis of 4500 individuals’ bones from mainland Australia going back 50,000 years. (Priceless bone collections at the time were being officially handed over to Aboriginal communities for re-burial, which stopped follow-up studies). Webb found highly disproportionate rates of injuries and fractures to women’s skulls, with the injuries suggesting deliberate attack and often attacks from behind, perhaps in domestic squabbles. In the tropics, for example, female head-injury frequency was about 20-33%, versus 6.5-26% for males.
The most extreme results were on the south coast, from Swanport and Adelaide, with female cranial trauma rates as high as 40-44% — two to four times the rate of male cranial trauma. In desert and south coast areas, 5-6% of female skulls had three separate head injuries, and 11-12% had two injuries.
Webb could not rule out women-on-women attacks but thought them less probable. The high rate of injuries to female heads was the reverse of results from studies of other peoples. His findings, according to anthropologist Peter Sutton, confirm that serious armed assaults were common in Australia over thousands of years prior to conquest.
The difference between the conclusion of Webb and the government reports is evidence. Webb has hard evidence; the government reports, which must be politically correct, rely on supposition.
We all need to ask this question: how can we solve the problem if no one admits there is a problem? And the perpetrators may actually be the victims?