Just in case you had any doubts about my opinion on the cessation of CDEP, the quarantining of welfare payments, the loosening of the permit system and the prohibitionist restrictions on alcohol sales and consumption, here’s another bit of evidence for my theory¹ that it’s all designed to make living in communities so unviable that people have no choice but to move to towns, thereby freeing up the land for the more lucrative activities such as resource extraction and waste sequestration – mining and dumping.

The small community of Wallace Rockhole is about 100km west of Alice Springs, and the people there were due to have their welfare payments quarantined as of today. However, nothing at all – not even their unquarantined half – has come through yet.

They will have to drive to the nearest Centrelink to go through all the new loops to receive their money. The main problem is that, typical for a remote community, there’s probably no more than one functional vehicle per 50 people.

“It just means a big headache, big trouble for the people who are looking for food, so it may even mean that people start packing up and leaving the community.” (ABC News)

The mass exodus of people from communities may have been just what Howard and Brough wanted, or, it would appear that way from the observed effects of the intervention and the way in which both Howard and Brough so frequently pat themselves on the back for such a monumental failure of policy. Andrew Bartlett has more on this, relating to Howard’s speech at the Liberal Party election campaign launch yesterday. I might just quote a bit:

It is a curious and (presumably) unintended irony to offer to “preserve the special place in the affections and history of our nation” of Indigenous Australians whilst at the same time indicating that the only way they can share in our nation’s bounty is to become “part of the mainstream”.

Presumably unintended indeed.


¹Well, as a matter of fact, Jane Simpson publicly enunciated this theory at the Indigenous Languages Conference in Tandanya (Adelaide) a couple of months ago, so it’s really her theory.