The Philistine

The Handy Malleability of Malinformation

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have the worst health statistics, compared to the general population of their country, of any indigenous peoples in the world. From 2015 to 2017 (the most recent period for which indigenous life tables have been calculated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics), indigenous life expectancy at birth was 71.6 years for males and 75.6 years for females. That represents a life expectancy gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians of 8.6 years for men and 7.8 years for women (there being no non-binary people when it comes to health statistics). These gaps are almost certainly a legacy of colonialism: after all, the ABS is one of the few government departments that does not “pay its respects to Indigenous Elders past, present and future” or “acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia”. The organisation is, by implication, racist—and its statistics are just one more example of the continuing violence of colonialism.

Salvatore ‘The Philistine’ Babones appears in every Quadrant.
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Don’t blame the statistics; blame the statistician. If the woke new world has taught us one thing, it is that maths is racist, and the white supremacists at the ABS have published some indigenous numbers that would turn a Greens senator red. For example, it turns out that the life expectancy gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians narrowed by nearly one-quarter between 2005–07 and 2015–17. That’s pretty impressive for a period when indigenous Australians lacked a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament and executive government. Unbeknownst to the members of the First Nations National Constitutional Convention who met at Ayers Rock in 2017 to decry the “torment of our powerlessness” in their “Statement from the Heart”, their torment was in fact demonstrably declining. And their numbers were rapidly increasing.

The neocolonialist bigots at the ABS (all right, maybe that’s going too far) tell us that Australia’s indigenous population increased by 73 per cent between the 2011 and 2021 censuses, implying a compound annual population growth rate of 5.6 per cent. Assuming that rates of Aboriginal migration to Australia are quite low (the Love and Thoms cases notwithstanding), this implies a rate of natural increase that is substantially higher than that of any United Nations member state. If current trends continue, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population of Australia will overtake that of Australia as a whole within eighty years—at which point, everyone will be indigenous (and then some). That’s true even after accounting for Labor’s post-election decision to boost immigration after all. Big Australia will not be multicultural. It will be indigenous.

In short, official statistics show that things are finally looking up for indigenous Australians. And if we learned anything from Jacinda Ardern (Harvard Kennedy School Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow, Hauser Leader in the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership, Knight Tech Governance Leadership Fellow at the Harvard Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, and former Supreme Leader of New Zealand), we learned that the government should always be our “single source of truth”. If you can’t trust a structurally racist government statistical bureaucracy, who can you trust?

As every Quadrant reader knows, there are lies, damned lies and statistics—or to use the present-day terms of art: misinformation, disinformation and malinformation. In this new dispensation, an honest mistake is mere misinformation. An intentional untruth is damned misinformation. And the most nefarious information of all—the kind for which Quadrant is infamous—is malinformation: true facts that have the capacity to cause harm. Malinformation like that contained in the Hunter Biden laptop, the transsexual Nashville Christian school shooter’s manifesto, and the January 6 Capitol security camera footage, is real, and all too dangerous for prime time. Or even the overnight slot. Such sources of malinformation are not news at all. Merely acknowledging their existence is a form of hate speech. Hate speech that happens to be true, but in the new dispensation, truth is no defence.

Thus when the racists at the Australian Institute of Criminology (inexplicably: also no acknowledgment of country) released the 2021-22 Deaths in Custody report, the highly-cited chart demonstrating that the rate of indigenous deaths in custody has long been roughly half the rate for non-indigenous Australians was removed from the website. It’s still there in the PDF report, page 17 (Figure 3), but without the precise numbers (which might accidentally be cited by the ABC). The relevant statistics are now buried on pages 51 and 52 in Appendix Table D5—far out of reach of even the most intrepid television news intern. Oh, and the new chart includes contextualising information to make it clear that although the rate of indigenous deaths in custody is much lower than that for non-indigenous Australians (malinformation), the rate of indigenous deaths relative to their overall concentration in the Australian population remains higher (ben-information? eu-information? Ardern-information?).

Also gone from the 2021-22 report is the chart showing that the single largest cause of indigenous deaths in custody is … crashing your car while attempting to avoid police custody. In other words: joy rides gone wrong. In the era of Black Lives Matter, this is definitely malinformation. No one should know that had indigenous Australians peacefully obeyed police orders to halt their stolen vehicles last year, the rate of indigenous deaths in “custody” would have been less than one-third the non-indigenous rate. Among indigenous people who die in actual custody (prison), most die of natural causes (more malinformation). It must be noted, sadly, that several indigenous prisoners commit suicide almost every year—albeit at a rate roughly half that of non-indigenous prisoners. Kudos to the Klansmen at the AIC for letting that dangerous fact slip through.

All things considered, the most effective way to reduce the rate of indigenous deaths in custody may be simply to parole prisoners when they get sick. They’re going to die anyway; why have them die in prison? May as well let Medicare take the blame. Enterprising justice ministers, take note: online access to Quadrant policy advice is well worth the online subscription price of just $98 a year. Or go all-in on a print subscription, and you’ll get your policy prescriptions on the first of every month, delivered straight to your home or office. At $118 a year, the combined print-and-digital subscription is designed “for avid readers of leading ideas from Australia’s brightest”. Subscribe now, and Keith will throw in two pages a month of exceptional American philistinism at no extra charge.

The great thing about the term “malinformation” is that it is so very malleable. Misinformation and disinformation can be fact-checked; malinformation can only be values-checked. Thus although the 73 per cent increase in Australia’s indigenous population over the last decade is eu-information in the hands of the mainstream media, it is malinformation in the hands of the Philistine. The eu-narrative promoted by the ABC, SBS, the Conversation and the ABS itself is that increasing social acceptance of indigenous Australians and the prospect of being “recognised” by a constitutional “voice” have reduced the fear associated with coming out as indigenous. The corresponding mal-narrative that the rapid increase in people self-identifying as indigenous is spurious and driven primarily by the new white (and Asian?) fashion for discovering Aboriginal roots is found only in Quadrant.

In its article analysing the boom in indigenous self-identification, the ABS offers eight distinct arguments in favour of the eu-narrative. It does not deign (dare?) to mention the mal-narrative. Yet the circumstantial mal-evidence is overwhelming: the new indigenous people live mainly in the capital city suburbs and rarely speak indigenous languages. In greater Sydney, only 479 indigenous people report speaking indigenous languages at home, while 61,814 primarily speak English at home and 1716 indigenous Sydneysiders report that they primarily communicate in a foreign language (neither English nor indigenous). That’s right: far more indigenous people in Sydney speak foreign languages at home with their families than speak indigenous languages. Statistics for Melbourne tell a similar story.

An important corollary of the mal-thesis that an increasing number of essentially non-indigenous people are rushing to claim indigenous status (we’re looking at you, Bruce Pascoe) is that indigenous health statistics would show rapid improvement—as indeed they have. With careful research, it might be possible to tease out and cordon off this effect, but the peer review system does not admit the (mal-) possibility that indigenous self-identification could be anything other than genuine. That assumption may lead to an incorrect conclusion that the indigenous health gap is disappearing, but such conclusions are themselves malinformation, and thus unlikely to be reported. Every right-thinking person knows that indigenous health can only be improved by indigenous sovereignty. A racist might point out that life expectancy in sovereign Papua New Guinea is only sixty-six years, but that’s malinformation, and can safely be ignored.

19 thoughts on “The Handy Malleability of Malinformation

  • doconnell says:

    Dame Jacinda please!

  • Michael says:

    Well done Salavatore!

    • Salvatore Babones says:

      Thank you!

      • ianl says:

        Wonderful mockery, Salvatore B.

        Can’t be eu-mockery (our ABC can’t spell that) so it must be mal-mockery. And joy rides going wrong is most definitely due to the racism of Mercedes (or even Porsche) because the MSM only report involvement of those vehicle types.

  • Lonsdale says:

    I was born in Australia. My parents were born in Australia. Am I not legally an “indigenous” Australian?

    • Farnswort says:

      As the late John Hirst observed:
      “Only in Australia was the settler population then defined as non-indigenous – there are not non-indigenous Americans or non-indigenous New Zealanders. ‘Non-indigenous’ implies a people without roots in this place; it elides the fact that settlers have been here for eight generations, that they have formed a distinctive polity and are not indigenous to anywhere else; they regard Australia as their home. On the other side it elides the fact that most Aborigines are descendants of settlers and the original indigenous population. The formulation in fact casts modern Australia as if it were 1788: one group has just stepped off the boat and confronts the traditional owners of the country.”
      Source: Sense and Nonsense in Australian History, 2005

    • STD says:

      Na, you’ve got indigeneity (pronounced in- dije-nay-ity.

  • pgang says:

    Nice 🙂

    There were some really juicy mal-stats in there too, that I wasn’t previously mal-aware of.

  • Ken Seton says:

    Brilliant Salvatore. Not to downplay the others … but worth the month’s subscription.

  • Paul.Harrison says:

    I am positively mal-adjusted to miss-speak. It seems to me that many of we, the people of this fair and lovely land, are being dis-anglesized and suffer a serious mal-ady as a result. One wonders if, in the midst of all the un-speak, one stands to the danger of being un-identified by the application of a dogma in tune with a fatwa via the method described by Orwell, bless his little heart. Un-life them, I say, for the barbarians are at the gates of our polity and we must bear arms in defence of our precious, very Australian, idea.

  • Katzenjammer says:

    But why no mention of Indigenous LGBTQIA2s+ statistics.

  • lbloveday says:

    Coming soon (18 July).
    I hope someone (or more) watches and reports.

  • lbloveday says:

    Steve Waterson wrote in The Weekend Australian, 8/7/23:

    Where I grew up, in the whiter-than-white north of England, some families were in their fourth generation of unemployment, their survival entirely dependent on welfare handouts.
    Their impotent lack of purpose, of self-respect, led to shame and resentment that festered into criminality, drug and alcohol abuse, and then violence, inside and outside the home. It was contagious and vicious, and its spread continues today, MIRRORING THE DEVASTATION WROUGHT ON MANY ABORIGINAL COMMUNITIES. (my emphasis).

  • rosross says:

    Or as the modelling maxim goes – garbage in/garbage out.

    The fact is, if the numbers crunched were solely the tiny minority of Australians who register aboriginal ancestry who are struggling it would indicate that the vast majority are doing fine and they are doing fine because they are assimilated into the modern world and have been for generations.

    Our of the 900,000 who register, most of whom are wannabe’s or abolites, there is a small minority who are still struggling because they are not assimilated into the modern world and are welfare-dependent as others have said.

    The largest aboriginal community is 750 people in WA. I remember some time back when hysteria broke out because WA was closing down some communities, which it seemed, had 2-3 people living in them which is not even a family, let alone a community so 750 people may be huge or just above average. Who would know given the propensity for wandering around and about with such tribal/clan cultures.

    It is estimated that 1% of those who register aboriginal ancestry are fully aboriginal. That is around 10,000. If we guess that those half aboriginal might be twice or three times that number, we can conclude that those living in communities might number somewhere from 40-60,000, maybe. The accurate data is well buried away from nosy searches and I do not profess to present it here. This is the most I could find in a quick search.

    But, if the biggest community is 750 and we take the average at say, 500, and I admit maths has never been my strong point, and there are estimated to be 500 different groups then we have living in communities somewhere from 20,000 to maybe 40,000 and these are the only ones to whom the stats of longevity, disease and poor outcomes apply in the main. If those outcomes were applied to say 50,000 Australians with aboriginal ancestry and not the 900,000 who register, it would make a huge difference. Which of course is why it is not done.

    Most of those who register aboriginal ancestry are so minimally aboriginal in ancestry they are not and they should never have been allowed to register in the first place. They registered because they benefit bigtime in terms of money, support and unearned advancements in academia, sport, the arts, well, in anything and everything actually. They are the ones who ride on the backs of the poor buggers trapped in violent communities, pinned like moths on some metaphorical board as part of a fantasy of traditional life.

    Cut the abolites out of the picture and everything changes.

    • vickisanderson says:

      You are right, Ros. The remaining full blood Aborigines suffer considerable ill health, due to alcohol abuse and extremely poor diet, supplied courtesy of the all purpose stores in the communities. The rate of kidney disease has been very bad, particularly amongst the old people.

      We live most of us our life on a rural property in NSW, but our TV reception comes via Imparja which broadcasts from Alice Springs. Consequently we receive public health notifications which are specifically designed for indigenous communities. They are real “eye-openers”, and we wish that city Australians could see them. Warnings and advice are regularly given for venereal diseases that were pretty much eliminated from cosmopolitan Australian cities a very long time ago. Footballers are enlisted to give children advice to wash their faces regularly to prevent Trachoma – something that we thought was wiped out a long time ago. But the “institutionalisation” of indigenous communities is no more illustrated than in the info commercials which advise the locals to “leave some water in a dish for your dogs”, turn off running taps, and tell the authorities if your shower is leaking!

  • vickisanderson says:

    Sometimes it is only irony that is left to us. And so it seems, with the ridiculous and disguised statistics in respect to incarceration deaths and general life span of Australian Aborigines.

    And Salvatore is right – the very largesse being given to address Aboriginal disadvantage is positively inviting identification as an Aborigine. Surely voters can see the absurdity of all of this.

  • mazziepudding says:

    It used to be taught that the colonizers wiped out all Tasmanian Aborigines, with Truganina the last of them.
    Now there are 30,000 plus people identifying as Aboriginal in Tasmania. How is it so?

  • lbloveday says:

    Greg Sheridan (The Australian 11/7/2023) on the Australian citizenship booklet, which those seeking to become Australian citizens must study and regurgitate.
    In a publication of nearly 90 pages, festooned with photos of people and symbols the authors think praiseworthy – chiefly Indigenous Australians – and with a truly weird account of our history, there isn’t a single acknowledgment of the positive contribution of Christians and Christianity.

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