Is Vinnies’ Intervention blast true to pledge?



How much accurate and relevant information is needed to start a protest campaign? The ratio is in indirect proportion to the distance from what is being protested about: The further you are away from the action, the less you need to know – and get away with it.


At least that’s what is suggested by the “Six years of the NT Intervention is six years too long” campaign by the St Vincent de Paul Society, ACOSS and the National Welfare Rights Network (NWRN).


In reply to a media release from them the Alice Springs News Online submitted questions (printed here in Italics). We received no reply from any of the three (Vinnies CEO John Falzon, via a spokesperson, explicitly said “no comment”), except that NWRN’s Gerard Thomas referred us to the University of New South Wales document “Evaluating New Income Management in the Northern Territory: First Evaluation Report of the Social Policy Research Centre”. We’ll call it “the report”.


It is a year old, has 352 pages including 77 tables and 37 figures, makes scant reference to the horrors of abuse, malnutrition and other neglect evoked by the “Little Children are Sacred” report to which the Intervention was a response, and is broadly misinterpreted by the protesting trio, at least so far as a reading of the conclusion chapter reveals.


They say the Intervention should be dumped in part because “compulsory income management punishes people who are already doing it amongst the toughest” and “should be replaced with a genuinely voluntary scheme”.


We asked: Scanning the last 40 years, which “genuinely voluntary scheme” has worked to protect women and children, and stopped rampant violence and catastrophic alcohol abuse?


The report found no clear evidence of the value of income management.


Who was being surveyed? What percentage of respondents were women and children in bush and town camp communities?


Each person subject to income management in the Northern Territory costs between $6,600 and $7,900 in remote areas, and $4,600 in the five trial sites.


Would assistance with the administration of income management not be a worthy task for [your three organisations]?


More than half a billion has been spent so far. The nearly $100 million per year would be better spent in partnership with Aboriginal people on programs that actually work in their communities.


How should that money be “better spent”? Give examples of initiatives, please.


For too long, the absence of real jobs and basic community infrastructure has been a blight on the social and economic life of many communities in the NT.


There is a chronic shortage of labour in Central Australia. There is no involuntary unemployment here. Please comment.


Compulsory income management unfairly and wrongly assumes that just because a person receives an income support payment, they can’t manage their own affairs.


Are you saying there is not pervasive evidence that welfare money is, to an unacceptable degree, used to buy alcohol, [and has been] for decades? 


[Income management] should only be implemented as a part of an economic and social development plan negotiated with communities.


Have you examined the power men have over women and children in bush and town camp communities, and if so, what did you find? What conclusions have you drawn, if any, about the opportunities women would have to exercise informed consent free from undue influence about accepting income management if it was optional?


Alas, no response to any of these questions.


The trio’s apparent view that income management should be axed if the majority is against it deserves comment. The report acknowledges that for an unspecified number of people “income management is experienced as restrictive and frustrating, making their lives more difficult and complicated, and in some cases limiting their ability to fully engage in community life. Many in this group also find income management disempowering”.


The best answer to that, of course is: “Don’t put up with it. Get a job.”


But more tragically, there is the notion that the third of those surveyed who find in income management protection against hunger and violence, should be thrown to the wolves just because they don’t represent a majority.


Says the report: “People subject to [income management] expressed a diversity of views about the measure. When asked whether the program had made things better for them, 36 per cent of Indigenous people on compulsory forms of income management reported it was better, 26 per cent that there was no difference, and 27 per cent that it had made things worse.”


This result is not reflected fairly in the trio’s tirade. A few weeks of first-hand research in a town camp or a remote community could well change their views.

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26 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Leigh Childs
    Posted July 15, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    As regards the mob who run the Vinnies organisation/s … they are a bunch of blokes who would have precious little experience of women’s powerlessness but a lot of experience of running bureaucracies and maintaining their own power and the status quo. End of story.

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  2. Interested observer
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 6:26 am

    The idea that men make decisions on where the resources of the community go is simply untrue, it had some credibility more than a decade ago but not now.
    I would say that neither gender have much of a say in the allocation of community resources, this is partly because Canberra decides these things and Shires have far too much control now for this to happen.
    On the other hand there are far more programs and organisations promoting the interests of women than men, for example Waltja Tjutanki Palyapayi works primarily for women, where is the equivalent for men?
    Canberra is very much in support of Aboriginal women and will fund pretty much anything in their name but when it comes to men the sort of prejudice seen in these comments comes to the fore. Perhaps if Aboriginal men were more supported we wouldn’t need IM?

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  3. Interested observer
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    So the ‘evidence’ that IM is effective is anecdotal evidence that Aboriginal people have started to shop at Coles and Woolies? Against it, our prisons are bursting at the seams and despite that there are clear statistically validated trends showing that alcohol related crime has not diminished since IM. If Dave Price’s relative really was saved by IM that is wonderful but an anomaly. The cost of IM per person since it started in the Territory is about $30,000. There is no clear statistical evidence to support that expenditure, though obviously IM is an article of faith for some.

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  4. Leigh Childs
    Posted July 9, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Who’s exaggerating the impact of IM. Open your eyes Interested Observer. ONLY since IM came into force have there been Aboriginal people shopping in Coles and Woolies.
    Just because Aboriginal women are feisty … and I have no doubt that there are lots of strong, articulate,wise, generous, loving and good women out there, I have met quite a few, they are Culturally not powerful.
    Meaning that in the pecking order they are not at the top. They do not make decisions on where the resources of the community go. If they did have that power I reckon communities would be better, healthier and safer places to be. (But that thought is pure conjecture.)

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  5. Paul Parker
    Posted July 8, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Is income management helping people to rent houses for themselves and their children?
    Is enough housing under construction to house those known to need housing – permanent and short term?
    Until people housed with reduced strain of “visitor” long term overcrowding, it will remain difficult to assist people.

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  6. Bob Durnan
    Posted July 8, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Interested observer (Posted July 8, 2013 at 5:42 am) is very concerned about accuracy when it comes to Leigh Childs’ observations (Posted July 7, 2013 at 8:45 pm), but does not display the same concern for exactness re detail when it comes to his/her own assertions.
    IO is right to question the validity of making conclusions based on flimsy evidence, but is wrong to imply that Aboriginal women don’t often have a problem with male relatives demanding money. They may not be “powerless”, IO, but Aboriginal women as a whole do experience violent attacks by men at 45 times the rate experienced by other women in Central Australia.
    We all know “Aboriginal women … best described as feisty and well versed in the art of hiding money and denying it when they want to, including to close relatives”.
    However most of us also know many Aboriginal women who don’t have these attributes, or who at times experience such aggressive demands by drunks that their feistiness no longer counts for a lot during a violent encounter with a stronger and uninhibited aggressor.
    This factor means that many women regard the handing over of some danger money on demand is the better part of valour, for fear of what might happen later that night when the demander is soaked.
    Let’s not minimize the vulnerability of Aboriginal women by characterising them as more powerful than they are in order to underplay the benefits of IM.

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  7. Interested observer
    Posted July 8, 2013 at 5:42 am

    “Three Aboriginal ladies shopping in our supermarkets shake their heads (with eyes lowered) and deny money to a humbugging gentleman.”
    Without knowing the relationship between them this is meaningless, it seems to suggest that Aboriginal women have to hand over their money to any man and they don’t and nor are they powerless.
    The Aboriginal women I know are best described as feisty and well versed in the art of hiding money and denying it when they want to, including to close relatives.
    I’m not denying that money that should be spent on food is sometimes spent on grog but let’s not characterise all Aboriginal women as powerless in order to exaggerate the benefits of IM.

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  8. Bob Durnan
    Posted July 8, 2013 at 12:26 am

    ‘Interested observer’ (Posted July 7, 2013 at 8:21 am) and (Posted July 7, 2013 at 7:50 pm) still doesn’t seem to get the main issues and the main factors in evaluating their current state.
    IM was not designed to make people stop drinking altogether.
    IM was designed to reduce the amount of binge drinking, and reduce the amount of family budgets being spent on grog, on average; and thus pave the way for many children to grow up to be more emotionally resilient, more healthy and better educated.
    IM is most likely helping to achieve these aims (but it’s hard to be sure without release by the NTG of the relevant up-to-date data on alcohol-related hospital admissions per head of population, school attendance by age group, alcohol sales per head of population, alcohol-related court trial results etc).
    Nobody is saying that grog-related violent incidents are not still too common.
    Nobody is saying that IM is likely to cause individuals to completely give up drinking grog.
    It is largely irrelevant whether any welfare recipient drinkers are volunteering IM as an explanation for their behavior.
    What is relevant is exactly how people are behaving in a number of specific areas, and what the overall outcomes are, for the population as a whole, and for children in particular; not in absolute terms, but analysed to decipher what the expected rates would have been had IM not been introduced. This can’t be ascertained by reference to anecdotal evidence, and probably requires some new detailed research.

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  9. Bob Durnan
    Posted July 8, 2013 at 12:13 am

    ‘Interested observer’ is not being very factual about the costs of IM. From memory, IM applied to about 16,000 people when it was first introduced (most of them in the 2007/08 year, not 2009/10). It was also said to be costing about $4000 per person to introduce.
    It now covers a few thousand more people in the NT, as it has been extended to apply to many people receiving welfare payments (of all ethnic backgrounds) outside the 73 Aboriginal communities that were proscribed under Mal Brough’s 2007 NTER legislation. (Some of those originally on IM, such as some pension recipients, are no longer on it, as a result of changes to the 2007 legislation).
    For argument’s sake, if we said that there have been 20,000 people on IM, at a cost of $4000 per person per year for the five years since it was introduced, then the total expenditure would come to about $80m per year, or about $400m since 2008, in the NT. (In fact, the average number on it would have been less, but the amount that it costs to induct people into IM during the first year is more than $4000, so these two factors would at least partly cancel each other out).
    A lot of money, but not the $1 billion repeatedly mentioned by ‘Interested observer’.

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  10. Leigh Childs
    Posted July 7, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    I would like to ask “interested observer” if he / she has asked any Aboriginal women about IM ? I have seen with my own eyes three Aboriginal ladies shopping in our supermarkets shake their heads (with eyes lowered) and deny money to a humbugging gentleman.
    The only way they could do this was to have no actual cash on them, just their Basic cards.
    These women had fresh fruit and veggies and other foodstuffs in their trollies, presumably for their family to eat.
    If they had had only cash on them their money would have gone to the gentleman. One can only guess what he would spend it on … fresh fruit and veggies!
    And I don’t think that IM was ever intended to reform alcoholics, it was bought in to allow otherwise powerless women to have a chance of using their Welfare money for the welfare of their families.

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  11. Interested observer
    Posted July 7, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Interesting questions but the outcomes of a very large expenditure on income management is what counts. I don’t think we have to wait for further evaluation, we just have to look at the harm reduction aim of income management and then examine our alcohol related offending stats / domestic violence / incarceration / recidivism and as well take in the anecdotal evidence that is everywhere we look and read. And keep in mind that income management is not a new, immature program, it started in 2009/10.
    [ED – I take it that’s a “no” to the specific information I asked for.]

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  12. Interested observer
    Posted July 7, 2013 at 8:21 am

    The description of drinkers and their drinking at Ali Curung in Kieran Finnane’s memorable story is not a record of an unusual event (expect for the death). The local name for the nearby hotel at Wauchope is ‘paradise’ and that says it all. In the scheme of things the logistics of getting to the turnoff from Ali Curung as the first leg of the journey to ‘paradise’ is considered a far greater obstacle for drinkers than income management – some drinkers walk all the way. To my mind it is remarkable that anyone thought income management would work for long.
    I know a few drinkers at Ali Curung and elsewhere and also the odd one who has stopped drinking, neither group mention income management, the ones who have given up drink say that many of their relatives were killed by the grog and they faced a choice to keep drinking and die or stop and live.
    They stopped and never had another drink, they separated themselves from the drinkers and became respected though somewhat isolated figures in the community. They took responsibility for their drinking and Income management had nothing to do with this process.
    I worry that the massive sums of money behind Income Management and other programs on Aboriginal communities suggest that there must be positive outcomes … how can you spend a billion dollars or make a ‘major investment’ and not get a good result? I say ‘very easily’.
    [ED – Hi Interested Observer: You appear to be suggesting that the administration of Income Management costs a billion dollars. Please advise who is spending that billion dollars, for what specific purposes and in what period(s), and the Alice Springs News Online will make enquiries with Centrelink and other Federal Government agencies.]

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  13. Bob Durnan
    Posted July 6, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Interested Observer (Posted July 6, 2013 at 7:57 am): last but not least, I would make this comment.
    I don’t think anybody is saying that there aren’t still considerable problems, even where IM is working relatively well.
    A major investment has been made in enabling the coming generation to have a much better chance of living longer, more autonomous, more effective and more fulfilling lives.
    This extensive child-focussed project is being carried out through the NT Emergency Response and Stronger Futures programs, and aims to provide remote children with more stable family and community environments, greater emotional security, better health and education, better housing and greater safety during their formative years.
    The important issues are these: all things being equal (i.e. adjusted for changed demographics), are there relatively fewer problems than before in most remote communities, and would there be more problems without IM? Are children generally experiencing better childhoods, and heading towards a better future?
    I think even people like yourself would have to agree that the answers to these three questions are, on balance, “yes”.
    The issue then becomes one of the relative costs and benefits of retaining or abandoning IM.
    Once again, the answer relies on a thorough evidence-based evaluation. It would be foolish to demand that IM should be abolished before such an evaluation is carried out.

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  14. Bob Durnan
    Posted July 6, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Interested Observer (Posted July 6, 2013 at 7:57 am) also claims “book up, which is rampant at Ali Curung and many other communities, allows people to obtain goods on credit, sell their cards and buy grog and later pay off their debts when they or a relative receives other income.”
    This puzzles me.
    Where is the alleged demand for Basics Cards coming from? I suspect that Interested Observer is grossly exaggerating this phenomenon.
    I am pretty sure that all retailers licensed to take Basics Cards are not permitted to provide “book-up” to their Basics Card customers.
    Likewise shops managed by Outback Stores are not permitted to provide “book-up”.
    Perhaps if Interested Observer knows about stores at Ali Curung or other communities that are breaking their contracts with the government and Outback Stores by providing book-up Interested Observer should notify FAHCSIA about the situation so these problems can be stopped.

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  15. Interested observer
    Posted July 6, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    So we spend a billion dollars to reduce the availability of money to buy grog, to reduce the binging, to make people a bit less drunk for some of the time, but only when other non managed money is not available. Income management is a puny weapon to bring to bear against the grog culture and the resourcefulness of drunks, especially those who can call upon the resources of many relatives. Let’s support the victims, the single mothers, the poor who can’t afford grog, let’s spend a billion dollars building 2000 houses with all the positive flow on effects for Territorians.

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  16. Bob Durnan
    Posted July 6, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Interested Observer (Posted July 6, 2013 at 7:57 am): Note that some of the drinkers in the Ali Curung turn-off debacle were earning private income. One of them was on a very good salary. IM does not affect these peoples’ ability to purchase grog.
    People on IM still have 50% of their income that they are free to spend as they wish. And of course, there are ways to rort the system, and some of these may well be becoming more widespread.
    Nonetheless the important point is that during the period of IM, alcohol consumption, homicides and serious injuries to women all went down in Central Australia, according to the findings of the NDRI research; most recent figures show even suicide in Central Australia has dropped; and average life expectancy amongst Aboriginal people has risen substantially.
    I don’t think it would be a good idea to drop IM without first undertaking a thorough evaluation of the differing claims about its effectiveness and outcomes.

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  17. Bob Durnan
    Posted July 6, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Interested Observer (Posted July 6, 2013 at 1:06 pm): why assume that the only issue is whether somebody who may be an addict has given up alcohol or not?
    If there is less opportunity to drink, less money available to spend on grog, and most of your drinking buddies have less resources to help obtain alcohol to share with you as well, chances are you will be less drunk a lot of the time than you were previously; plus you will be chucking in (out of your IM money) for your kids’ clothes and your family’s food.
    Would that not be a better outcome for those around you who are trying to get on with their work, training education etc in a more responsible manner than you?

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  18. Interested observer
    Posted July 6, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Alcohol addiction is a powerful and ferocious foe, an alcoholic will do anything to feed his addiction. If someone has given up grog they have done so because they wanted to, if they haven’t given it up it is because they have decided not to – this has nothing to do with income management.

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  19. Bev
    Posted July 6, 2013 at 9:48 am

    There is no one answer to alcohol and drug abuse. I was the wife of an alcoholic who died here in Alice Springs. His problem stemmed from low self esteem cause by family and others saying that they were better than us and caused by alcohol being constantly available in his life. However because he was an alcoholic I got blamed for it and had thousands taken from me and my children by those who thought that because I went to a club I was an alcoholic too. I am not.
    My husband’s problems were also caused by physical problems probably because he was a prem baby at a time when prem babies did not always survive.
    Centrelink works for some because it takes away the need to control their own behaviour – keeping adults at a level of a primary school child, which teaches the youngsters to follow suit and does not allow them to mature.
    The teachings for everyone including Aboriginals needs to be that they take responsibility for their own behaviour and assistance needs to be provided to help achieve this. Saying the Aboriginals are the only true Australians is not assisting anything. They apparently only migrated here like others.
    As for get a job, I have had several – unfortunately I got pushed out of them so that so of the town’s favorites could get a job. I am now on Centrelink not because I want to be but because of the previous mentioned circumstances I have to be.

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  20. Bev
    Posted July 6, 2013 at 9:12 am

    There is no one answer to alcohol and drug abuse. I was the wife of an alcoholic who died here in Alice Springs. His problem stemmed from low self esteem cause by family and others saying that they were better than us and caused by alcohol being constantly available in his life. However, because he was an alcoholic, I got blamed for it and had thousands taken from me and my children by those who thought that because I went to a club I was an alcoholic too. I am not.
    My husband’s problems were also caused by physical problems probably because he was a prem baby at a time when prem babies did not always survive.
    Centrelink works for some because it takes away the need to control their own behaviour – keeping adults at a level of a primary school child, which teaches the youngsters to follow suit and does not allow them to mature.
    The teachings for everyone including Aboriginals needs to be one responsibility for their own behaviour and assistance provided to help achieve this. Saying the Aboriginals are the only true Australians is not assisting anything.

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  21. Interested observer
    Posted July 6, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Anyone who retains faith in income management should read Kieran Finnane’s poignant story on a death at the Ali Curung turnoff. Ali Curung has income management and yet a group of residents were able to fund an extended binge of drunkenness that ended in a tragic death.
    The fact is that income management has become less and less effective over time. A market for basic cards has become well established, book up, which is rampant at Ali Curung and many other communities, allows people to obtain goods on credit, sell their cards and buy grog and later pay off their debts when they or a relative receives other income.
    Welfare is just one of many income sources, cash is flowing from painting, royalties etc just as before.
    A billion dollars and counting for income management? This is an outrageously wasteful expenditure for meager results that are steadily declining over time.

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  22. Bob Durnan
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    I have to agree with Dave Price (Posted July 5, 2013 at 1:02 pm): while Vinnie’s may provide a great line in op shopping for poor people who need clothes etc, they are truly woodenheaded when it comes to understanding the benefits of the Income Management services provided by Centrelink.
    Extensive research commissioned by FAHCSIA in 2011 found that hundreds of randomly selected people in remote central Australian communities (including many men) were overwhelmingly appreciative of Centrelink and Income Management (IM).
    Most people on IM to whom I have spoken support it. Some don’t, and there are some difficulties associated with its restrictions (especially for people who travel outside Central Australia), but its benefits, as outlined by Dave, seem to far outweigh its problems. This is illustrated by the many people in WA and SA (on the APY Lands) who have taken it on voluntarily.
    Voluntary IM is better than no IM, but the benefits of compulsory IM are far greater: it means that the very people who happen to be the people least likely to volunteer for IM, and who generally happen to be the people who often cause the most unreasonable and destructive “demand sharing” (i.e. humbugging) problems to their families, are made to participate in IM, and this provides the biggest benefits to the family: their most recalcitrant, child neglecting, money wasting, drug / grog bingeing members are obliged to contribute at least half of their welfare income to the expenses of their kids and family / household, thus alleviating a degree of the poverty that is, collectively, holding them back.
    When The National Welfare Rights Network says “For too long, the absence of real jobs and basic community infrastructure has been a blight on the social and economic life of many communities in the NT”, they are being obtuse and evasive.
    Of course it is true that more real jobs and infrastructure are needed in many remote communities, but the NWRN’s statement is beside the point: without a stable base of a majority of healthy reasonably sober families (the conditions that Income Management is, in many families, helping to achieve), it has been proven, over decades now, that for many people accessible education and training will not be completed at the necessary levels, available jobs will not be retained, and existing infrastructure will not be respected or used by sufficient numbers of people to sustain beneficial change.
    The NWRN, Vinnies and ACOSS position is hopelessly theoretical and naively economistic; it amounts to what Marx called “crude materialism” – the idea that you only need to get the economic and social settings right, and true self-determination, liberation and wellbeing will follow.
    In fact, people living in advanced industrial and information-based societies need to get reasonably educated, healthy and employed before they can begin to exercise true self-determination and enjoy wellbeing in any realistic sense.
    Given the dire levels of social and educational dysfunction and ill-health to which many communities sank under the old arrangements (which are still madly idealised by IM’s critics), they are very unlikely to get to some form of liberation without first starting with measures like IM and other measures provided under the Stronger Futures framework.

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  23. Dave Price
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    My brother in law told me that income management has saved his life. I have had dozens such comments come to me from those close to me, the ones who aren’t surveyed by the critics of IM. Is there any mention in the report of “demand/share”, a perfectly logical economic strategy to sustain life in one of the world’s harshest and driest environments for tens of millennia and an economic disaster when it becomes “humbug” in the contemporary cash economy.
    I have directly experienced it for over three decades and have earned the nickname “woodenhead” because I have refused to fund the addictions of my affinal kin during that time.
    It is the biggest single cause of Aboriginal poverty yet is never mentioned by the commentators.
    IM is the only decent protection from its depredations yet proposed by a government. And what influence did Clare Martin have on ACOSS while she was the CEO? It was her refusal / inability to react to the Little Children are Scared Report in any meaningful way that triggered the NTER.
    I have always supported Vinnies and similar organisations in the past, now I am disgusted by their inability or unwillingness to analyse the problems of remote Aboriginal Australia with any depth or honesty.

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  24. Dotson
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 1:57 am

    “The hell with it! There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue. There’s just stuff people do. It’s all part of the same thing.” John Steinbeck’s Casey from the Grapes of Wrath.

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  25. Paul Parker
    Posted July 3, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Agree mostly with Erwin Chlanda’s comments. Disagree getting a job is the answer, mostly as few jobs where many live.
    Agree mostly with comments by St Vincent de Paul Society, ACOSS and the National Welfare Rights Network (NWRN). Disagree with their solution of shut down the Intervention programs.
    Main disagreement with both is pro/anti-Interventionists is their lack of reasonableness.
    The Intervention was a knee-jerk response after a long period during which organizations and governments, particularly Commonwealth, ignored problems clearly developing in communities.
    Reasonable is acceptance people with particular problems do require treatment.
    Unreasonable is widening roles for same departments whose failures to act caused the Intervention. Particularly where these departments act as prosecutor, judge and executioner … is not appropriate same departments build themselves up to deal with problems their inaction created after long avoided admitting problems existed while refusing to address them.
    Those departments acted, still act, on political instructions, so politicians are also guilty here.
    Real need is to avoid repeat of similar political and departmental mistakes.
    Not everyone has problems requiring Intervention.
    Enable anyone wishing to apply for Intervention style management if they wish by written agreement.
    Reasonable written agreements courts regularly recognize, strengthen, enforce; also overturn where unreasonable.
    Politicians need ensure legislation enables solutions devised for the Intervention may be applied by Courts when Courts feel they are appropriate.
    Courts enable targets of Intervention to defend themselves, to persuade Court they need not be Intervened upon.
    Courts require disputed attempts to apply Intervention to be proven before deciding whether to issue Intervention Orders.
    Courts enable appeals to such Intervention Orders.
    Court Intervention Orders can involve participation in detoxification and education programs.
    Failing to comply with Court Orders remains a serious matter.
    Court resolution of Intervention Orders require openness to ensure justice is done.
    Everyone, even the guilty, are entitled to justice.

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  26. Interested observer
    Posted July 3, 2013 at 10:52 am

    So a billion dollars has been spent on an intervention that makes things better for about a third and worse for about a third. Vinnies arguments may not be sound but that should not obscure the conclusion that this is very poor value for money. Just imagine how a billion dollar could be spent to genuinely improve the lives of the working poor, single mothers, the homeless or refugees.

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