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Black Shame

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« on: December 05, 2008, 04:55:34 am »
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Black shame
May 21, 2006
Reporter :Graham Davis
Producer : Thea Dikeos

Horrific stories emerging this week about child abuse in indigenous communities in the Northern Territory have prompted the federal minister to call a national summit of state and territory leaders to address the crisis. But the issue has degenerated into a public slanging match between the Minister, Mal Brough, and the Northern Territory Chief Minister, Clare Martin, who's accused him of grandstanding and says the crisis has been grossly exaggerated. In our cover story this week, Brough and Martin go toe to toe over allegations that even babies in indigenous communities are routinely abused by sexual predators. We also look back over many years of Sunday investigations into the horrific violence in Aboriginal communities to ask why nothing has been done. And we examine the sorry record of successive indigenous affairs ministers who come to the portfolio with high ideals and leave bitter and disillusioned. Mal Brough — a former military officer — says he too may fail but is determine to "have a go" to try to resolve Australia's most intractable problem …


GRAHAM DAVIS: It's a typical night in too many parts of indigenous Australia. Amid the ever present squalor, first comes the alcohol and other substance abuse, then the violence. As always, it's the weak who suffer at the hands of the strong. Mostly women at the hands of men, but not always.

What's really startling is that none of this is new — in fact we shot these pictures seven years ago.But what stunned the nation this week is what the cameras don't capture and, in any event, we can't show. That amid the deprivation and degradation of aboriginal communities is depravity of the worst kind.

LATELINE, NANETTE ROGERS, CROWN PROSECUTOR, ALICE SPRINGS: When the mother returned from town, where she'd be drinking, the child was crying and the other children indicated that the offender had taken her away some time before and it was then that the bleeding and so on was noticed in her nappy.

GRAHAM DAVIS: When Nanette Rogers, the Alice Springs crown prosecutor, unburdened herself about indigenous child abuse this week, the catharsis spilled over into the living rooms of middle Australia.

LATELINE, NANETTE ROGERS, CROWN PROSECUTOR, ALICE SPRINGS: In normal behaviour we expect people to be say murdered or sexually assaulted or maybe stabbed but not on a constant basis, not in relation to horrible offences committed on really small children, it's beyond most peoples' comprehension and range of human experience.

GRAHAM DAVIS: The detail Rogers outlined was shockingly graphic, so much so that given our own time slot, we're prevented by law from allowing it to reach young ears. But the injuries speak for themselves.
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