Damned for Spurning the Blind Eye

leak kid IIOne of the people who rang Bill Leak on the day The Australian published the so-called infamous ‘Indigenous Parenting’ cartoon was Colin Dillon — Australia’s first Aboriginal policeman, and the first policeman to blow the whistle on police corruption during Bjelke-Petersen era before the Fitzgerald Inquiry.

Colin rang to support Bill for his depiction of Indigenous parental irresponsibility, one truth-teller to another truth-teller. As a young policeman stationed in Far North Queensland in the late 1960s and 1970s, Colin witnessed first-hand the problem of Indigenous child abuse and neglect — problems that have only grown worse in the intervening years, as the welfare, the grog, the drugs, and the violence wreaked havoc in many Indigenous communities around the country.

Colin and Bill became friends after meeting at The Centre for Independent Studies’ Consilium conference in 2016. I have always wondered whether Bill had Colin in mind when he drew the Aboriginal policemen in who is handing the delinquent son back to the deadbeat father.

The care that Leak took to avoid any suggestion of promoting a crude racist stereotype was proof of his real purpose: drawing attention to a major social problem — namely, the maltreatment suffered by Indigenous children at up to 10 times the rate of non-Indigenous children.

But this was not good enough for the Twitter trolls, who have been out in force since the news of Leak’s fatal heart attack broke last Friday, celebrating his death and repeating the baseless claim that he was a vile racist. Leak’s supposed ‘racism’ became the subject of prolonged attention when the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, used Facebook and Twitter to solicit for make-work complaints  (like some shonky ambulance-chasing lawyer) which led to Leak being persued for ‘hate speech’ under Section 18C of the Race Discrimination Act.

leak cartoon

The tributes paid to Leak have rightly stressed his place in the pantheon of champions of free speech. However, the true measure of his genius is the way Leak always used — and never abused — his right to free speech as a means to the ends of generating compelling insights into whatever aspect of the nation’s affairs came under his pen. This is the tragedy of the Section 18C fiasco over the ‘Indigenous Parenting’ cartoon: it put the focus on Leak’s right to say what he did, rather than on the brilliant insight he provided into the ‘wicked’ problem of parental dysfunction and child abuse.

The irony of Leak’s persecution under 18C is that the issue of parenting has been at the centre of the revisionist debate about Indigenous affairs sparked by the writings of Noel Pearson. It was Pearson who, in the early 2000s, first put the spotlight on this issue by drawing attention to the breakdown of social norms in Indigenous communities, especially with respect to family life and the proper care of children.

But the cartoon wasn’t simply telling us what we already knew about this problem. Leak’s target was the simplistic response to incidents such as the Don Dale Detention Centre scandal in the Northern Territory. Recall, if you will, how the ABC omitted all but the barest details of purported victim Dylan Voller’s long and extraordinarily violent criminal history, skipped over the delinquent’s threat to self harm and extended no sympathy to the guards on whom he spat and flung excrement. That left only visually shocking, out-of-context CCTV footage as the hook on which Four Corners hung its claims of endemic abuse, but it was enough to spur a clamouring of the simple-minded. Within hours Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had launched a Royal Commission — an inquiry whose only useful contribution so far has been to highlight how the national broadcaster plays fast and loose with the truth.

Many commentators had naively suggested that the solution to the high numbers of Indigenous youths incarcerated in the juvenile justice system would be to see their parents exercise greater responsibility for the care and welfare of their children. This may sound like common sense. But Leak accurately skewered this ‘solution’ by suggesting its futility: in the cartoon, the Aboriginal policeman asks the Aboriginal father to teach his son about personal responsibility, but the man doesn’t even know the boy’s name.

This portrait of parental negligence rings true to those familiar with the unbelievably squalid world of child protection. The chief problem in dysfunctional families — be they Indigenous or non-Indigenous — in which children suffer serious abuse and neglect is the inability of parents to prioritise the needs of children. Substance abuse, mental health, or domestic violence mean such parents are fundamentally incapable of fulfilling basic parental obligations to children; ensuring  children attend school each day well-rested, fed, clean, and appropriately clothed.

This degree of behavioural chaos may be difficult for ordinary Australians to fathom. But a key measure of parental dysfunction is the fact that increasing numbers of parents are incapable of managing the daily routine of getting their kids to school, to the point that truancy has emerged as a major national problem in recent years.

Child abuse and neglect is a complex problem, one that cannot be solved by simply instructing parents to take responsibility for children. The so-called ‘solution’ is simply begging the real problem. It amounts to expecting responsible behavioural norms that are innate and internalised among functional parents to be, somehow, externally imposed on fundamentally inept and inadequate parents.

This is also the reason so many well-intentioned ‘family support’ programs for ‘struggling’ parents fail to work — and why many dysfunctional parents stay dysfunctional, no matter the assistance provided them. This accounts for why so many Australian children have to be removed from their parents and currently live in foster and other kinds of state care: more than 45,000 children nationally, 15,000 of whom are Indigenous.

Leak’s portrayal of Indigenous parental irresponsibility was hardly overdrawn. Likewise, and more importantly, his portrayal of how difficult it is to get dysfunctional parents to exercise proper responsibility for the welfare of children was anything but a crude stereotype: it was a telling depiction of the wickedly complex problems that lie at the heart of the child protection dilemmas we face.

The cartoon wasn’t racist: it simply told the truth about child abuse and parental dysfunction. It remains a monument not only to Bill Leak’s fearless integrity as a political commentator, but also to his genius for producing profound insights into our social and cultural problems.

Jeremy Sammut is a Senior Research Fellow at The Centre for Independent Studies

37 thoughts on “Damned for Spurning the Blind Eye

  • Rob Brighton says:

    It is worthwhile to remind oneself of what “shooting the messenger means”, not for the one on the business end of the gun but its holder.


  • ian.macdougall says:

    Colin witnessed first-hand the problem of Indigenous child abuse and neglect — problems that have only grown worse in the intervening years, as the welfare, the grog, the drugs, and the violence wreaked havoc in many Indigenous communities around the country.

    Arching over all of that is the historic disruption: the loss of the Aborigines’ 45,000 years (plus) nomadic lifestyle, which had seen them develop amazing survival skills for living in the Australian bush. European settlement and land grabs of ‘terra nullius’ rendered continuation of that impossible, and ‘clearing off’ and massacres of the tribes (mainly of the male members) persuaded the survivors to decamp to the fringes of the towns and cities to live as best they could, commonly on rubbish dumps, and at least till the 1950s. Female Aborigines could satisfy the sexual needs of the young unmarried white men, and purchase protection that way, resulting in the modern phenomenon of nearly all those identifying as ‘Aboriginal’ and living south of the Tropic of Capricorn having some white ancestry.
    The ‘drover’s boy’(!) was legion. Thus Aboriginal women were also affected, but not nearly so badly as the menfolk.
    This broke the father-to-son transmission of bushcraft, resulting in the sorts of demoralised male Aboriginal fringe-dwellers ironically caricatured by Bill Leak.

    • Jody says:

      You’d think the Australian aboriginals were the first such people dispossessed because of colonization. There’s the American and Canadian indians. I think they fare better than their Australian counterparts, having fought hard to resist their white colonizers. Then there is the entire nation of India which withstood British colonization and which is now gradually moving forward economically despite the burden of overpopulation.

      All of this is supremely ironic because of the colonization of Europe by aliens which has occurred with their consent. I have a feeling there would have been these types in the aboriginal tribes too; the trusting type who said, “No; put down your spears – they mean no harm”.

      • ian.macdougall says:

        You’d think the Australian aboriginals were the first such people dispossessed because of colonization.

        No. I wouldn’t.

      • rosross says:

        Those indegenous in Canada and the US living in ‘remote’ communities suffer similar problems. Those who have integrated and assimilated are the most successful in all nations.

        India was never really colonised. It was created by the English who cobbled together a heap of kingdoms. India would not have existed as it does without British colonial rule.

        The British never sent settlers to India in the way they did to Africa and Australia.

        Having lived in India, for quite some years, I also know that the endemic corruption and self-serving incompetence has destroyed much of the solid foundation which the British left. But they manage to keep the railways running which helps.

    • bemartin39@bigpond.com says:

      So, then, by regurgitating the done-to-death scenario of how colonisation – an inevitable and unavoidable historical and anthropological occurrence – is the root cause of all evil and thereby reinforcing the inviolable sainthood and victimhood of Aborigines, all problems will be solved?

      • ian.macdougall says:

        ….the root cause of all evil and thereby reinforcing the inviolable sainthood and victimhood of Aborigines….

        That is an interpretation you make, Bill, and a conclusion you draw. I said no such thing.
        I am only concerned with how the modern reality came about. And as for “done to death”, you can say that about the history of anyone and anything. The Nazi Holocaust: hasn’t that been likewise “done to death”?
        Fact is, the Aborigines went through a Holocaust of their own. That, I submit, affects their perception of themselves and of the multicultural society they now live in to a profound extent.
        Dismiss it if you wish, but that is their reality.
        There is an apartheid in the Australian bush, and it comes from the Aborigines, who want as little to do with white society as they can manage.

        • rosross says:

          Every human being is descended from those who have experienced holocaust. It is part of the human experience.

          And while the Nazis are most often mentioned the fact is, they were not the first, not the worst and not the last.

          The English colonisation of Australia, by comparison with others was relatively benign. The many colonisations of the United Kingdom were vastly more brutal but the British managed to make their way through.

          There is not apartheid, for anyone who understands what the word means, in the bush, and all Aboriginal cultures today are a mixture of many societies, including ‘white’ which just means Anglo-European.

          There are few, if any full-blood Aborigines and most are of very mixed race indeed.

        • Egil Nordang says:

          “There is an apartheid in the Australian bush, and it comes from the Aborigines, who want as little to do with white society as they can manage.”
          Would it not be a good thing, Ian, if an Aboriginal tribe in the bush somewhere could go the full apartheid distance and not venture past the free money outlets?
          Just live in peace and harmony, as they did in the pre poisoned past, on the vast expanses of bush
          Wouldn’t it be nice…?

          • ian.macdougall says:

            First, there was no way that the Aborigines were going to hold this continent any longer than they did, given the amount of European exploration going on in the region. Sooner rather than later, they would have been invaded. And as I have often said before, if you can’t defend it, you don’t own it.
            And they all probably regard ‘free money’ as somewhat short of compensation for the country they have lost.

            Just live in peace and harmony, as they did in the pre poisoned past, on the vast expanses of bush.

            What on Earth have you been smoking?
            A study of traditional Aboriginal weaponry is apposite in this regard. There was plenty of Aboriginal-on-Aboriginal warfare before Captain Cook arrived.

          • rosross says:


            A little research would not go astray. The few hundred Aboriginal tribes on the continent when the English arrived, did not share a common language and were generally at war with each other.

            Young men would kidnap and rape women from other tribes. One presumed if they fancied them enough, they kept them. This practice was probably necessary given that the old men were given ‘wives’ as babies and most of the young women were committed and therefore not available to the young men.

            Like other nomadic hunter-gatherer societies, although not all tribes were as nomadic, infanticide was common, the aged and sick were left to die if they could not keep up, and for some reason, levels of brutality by men toward women were some of the worst the English had ever seen. More recent archaeological research into skeletons, showing high levels of head trauma in Aboriginal women, validates these observations by the English and later colonists.

            Not all tribes practised cannibalism, but many did, including of their own children, so what trauma that might have meant for mothers and older children can only be imagined.

            Utopia it was not. Life in the more fertile areas would have been most pleasant, but, as a group of tribes who had been in one place for somewhere between a thousand years or ten thousand years – higher figures remain conjecture – evolution was very slow. And the earliest reports of Aborigines, from European sailors, centuries before the English arrived and then by the English and later colonists, was of often struggling people.

        • bemartin39@bigpond.com says:

          Likening the colonisation of Australia to a systematic, industrial scale extermination of an entire race of people is bizarre and grossly disrespectful of the victims of the Holocaust.

          • rosross says:

            @ Bill Martin.

            Which holocaust? All of them? The Nazis were not the first, worst or tragically the last to commit acts of genocide.

            There was never by the way any systematic attempt to exterminate Aborigines. Who by the way are not a race but part of a racial grouping.

            Governments and missionaries went out of their way to protect and preserve and particularly tried to keep the Anglo/European/Asian men away from the women. Generally they failed but that was because of the nature of Aboriginal culture. And anyway, Aborigines had been mixing with Macassans, New Guineans, Indians, Pacific Islanders and no doubt more in centuries past so seeking to preserve them as they were was a tad pointless.

        • PT says:

          You said EXACTLY that Ian. Full on plastic paddle gumpf. For one, when aboriginal skeletons were allowed to be studied, it showed that nearly half of female skeletons (before colonisation) showed signs of extreme abuse. Old school aboriginal culture (in many regions at any rate) was a heavily male dominated culture. Still is where it’s strong. Trying to push this off to “colonisation” is a cop out!

    • rosross says:


      you need to include in that the fact there was never an official Government policy of genocide, although by all means if you have a source to that, let us see it, and massacres took place on both sides with Aborigines slaughtering men, women and children and being slaughtered in retaliation.

      No doubt there were instances of colonists killing Aborigines for little or no reason but it was not policy and it was not common. As with all such situations the more colonists arrived, the more clashes there were.

      Aborigines were English subjects, for right or wrong, from the time the English took the continent and subject to English law. When they stole or killed, they were treated the same as anyone else. Although, having said that, as time progressed more and more allowances were made for cultural habits and Aboriginal men killing their wives were given much lighter sentences. The British, however, did take it badly when settlers were slaughtered.

      As to Aboriginal women having sex with foreigners. Given the Indian, Macassan etc., mix of DNA, that had clearly happened before. No doubt some male settlers acted badly, but another factor which played a large part, and perhaps explains the earlier intermixing, was that Aboriginal Elders were given wives as babies and perhaps had too many to handle when they grew up, but, were known to make them available for sex, where profits could be had.

      In addition, given the shocking violence toward women in Aboriginal culture, noted in the first reports from the time the English arrived, perhaps more than one Aboriginal woman was happy to take up with a non-Aboriginal man to improve her life and lot.

      And long before the 1950’s many part-Aborigines, were integrated into the broader community. I suggest you do a bit more research and perhaps across a broader spectrum.

      • ian.macdougall says:

        …the fact there was never an official Government policy of genocide…

        Neither was there any “official government policy” of treating the killing of Aborigines as murder. The hanging of a few whites for the 1838 Myall Creek massacre caused such public outrage and fury that such trials and executions never happened again, though the killing of Aborigines certainly kept going on.

        PS: Sorry to have mentioned Webdiary. And I have been working from memory of my time as a commenter at that site; not doing searches on you of any kind.

        • rosross says:

          @ Ian,

          There certainly was an official Government policy regarding the killing of Aborigines – it was called English law.

          No-one disputes there were instances of violence from settlers against Aborigines, but most dispute that Aborigines also committed shocking acts of murder, and at times, cannibalism, and often violence from settlers was in retribution. That doesn’t make it right by our standards of law today, but no doubt mitigating factors played a part in the past.

          The key issue is that despite hyperbolic claims there was never a policy of genocide toward Aborigines, in fact, quite the opposite although States varied on their approaches. Neither was there anywhere near the level of violence Indians experienced during the colonisation of North America. Then again, American Indians were greater in number and more advanced than Aborigines and a more serious threat. And the colonisation of North America took place from the 16th century onwards, and one can readily assume that by the time the English arrived in Australia in the late 18th century, they had evolved a little more themselves and become more enlightened.

          The English policy prior to setting up the colony was to befriend, learn from and assist the Aborigines. That remained a constant through the English rule to 1901 and Australian rule onwards. Colonisations always involve a clash of cultures and Australia was no different.

          Aborigines had mitigating factors in that they were defending their land, but that reality was acknowledged at the time. As English subjects and then from 1901, Australian citizens, they had rights in law.

          And because English law, ultimately, took into account cultural differences, Aborigines, men mostly, were treated very leniently for murdering or severely injuring their women, as indeed were the women for committing infanticide.

          I wasn’t fussed about the mention of Webdiary, it just seems irrelevant to this thread, and bizarre given how long ago it was. It must be at least a decade. I could not remember the names of anyone involved so if you remember mine, I must have made an impact, for good or ill.

        • PT says:

          Er Ian, that shows it WAS illegal. So who is “to blame”?

          • ian.macdougall says:

            Well, killing an Aborigine, even one trying to prevent you from ‘taking up’ a sheep or cattle run was definitely illegal, in the same sense that dropping a lolly wrapper in a public thoroughfare is illegal today. The real question is: were those who did it brought to trial over it, or convicted over it?
            Given particularly that in the 19th C, the testimony of a heathen Aboriginal was not accepted as evidence (because how could it be properly sworn on the Bible by a heathen?) nobody much got convicted. And between 1788 and 1851 (the start of the gold rushes) the Aboriginal population of the continent crashed, from introduced disease and deliberate extermination.
            As I recall, those responsible for the Myall Creek massacre of 1838 were convicts, and so were widely seen when hung for it as getting their just deserts. But who but a barbarian would hang a man for ‘clearing off’ the local blacks from the run he fancied for his own? The clearances in Britain provided the type specimen of this practice.
            I recommend Bain Attwood and SG Foster, Frontier Conflict – the Australian Experience (2003) on this topic.

  • rosross says:

    Once a system sacrifices truth in the name of an agenda, as has academia in most of its manifestations, and has the Aboriginal industry, then continued decline is inevitable.

    The rewriting of Australian history in general and Aboriginal history in particular, to confect a fantasy of the noble savage, living in a Utopia, free from the developments and advances of the ‘then modern’ world, has created a web of lies which only serve to further imprison those few indigenous Australians who are still struggling.

    Clearly some, probably most, have broken free, but the net holds particularly tightly to some and only truth can set them free.

    And it is truth about Aboriginal life prior to 1788 and to varying degrees beyond the arrival of the English, which provides, or could provide a key to understanding factors which might be at work in dysfunctional Aboriginal culture today. There is a lot of talk about inter-generational trauma, supposedly sourced in the impact of colonisation on Aborigines. But, beyond the fact that inter-generational trauma would logically affect all human beings to lesser and greater degrees, is the reality that all forms of trauma would have the potential to do harm inter-generationally. Equally, as an aside, the positive aspects of past generations would also be handed on, again, to lesser and greater degrees, which, perhaps, is why only a minority of indigenous continue to struggle.

    But, to return to the impact, if it exists, of past traumas on current generations, surely all traumas have to be acknowledged and explored if we are to gain insight into why people are as they are today and do what they do. Certainly traumas associated with colonisation, could impact people today.

    But equally, so could traumas associated with Aboriginal culture prior to 1788 affect people today. Many of the problems now involve neglect of children, failure of parenting and abuse of children.

    What impact might a culture of infanticide and cannibalism of their own children have on people? Would or could this diminish connections and bonding between parent and child? Would or could it lead to more casual (neglectful) modes of parenting? Could the trauma experienced by a mother who sees her baby killed, or, indeed kills it herself, and feeds the corpse to another sickly child be passed on?

    Could a child witnessing such deaths disconnect from parents, feeling fearful and unable to trust them? Could practices of leaving to die, or killing, and even eating the aged and sick, create levels of trauma in some people, adults and children alike?

    When we deny, repress, or hide a truth it does not go away – it becomes stronger. The Shadow-effect is real for all of us, and it contributes, unconsciously, to cultural practices which ‘feed’ or ‘assuage’ it.

    If we are to take into account possible inter-generational trauma because of colonisation, then we must also take into account all possible sources of trauma present in the various Aboriginal societies and that means truth must triumph over lies.

    • bemartin39@bigpond.com says:

      You are sticking your neck way out, rosross, by mentioning fragments of the revolting aspects of Aboriginal “culture”. Remember, truth is no defence under 18c.

    • ian.macdougall says:

      rosross (ex Webdiary?): greetings.
      Aboriginal ‘firestick farming’, (vide the work of Gurdip Singh, ANU) may have originated as early as 110,000 BP. If that is the lower date for Aboriginal arrival, it means that ‘dysfunctional’ or otherwise, they in their Tasmanian, Murrayan and Carpentarian manifestations, survived here for a bloody long time before Captain Cook arrived.

      • rosross says:

        You seem to be labouring under a misapprehension or perhaps a projection that I am saying Aborigines in 1788 were dysfunctional. I am not. The primitive nature of some of their practices was common in most nomadic-hunter gatherer societies, although cannibalism of their own children seems to be something particular to Aborigines, as far as we know at this point, while cannibalism in general was very common. As was leaving the aged and sick to die. Needs must.

        ‘Firestick farming’ is a delusional euphemism invented in the modern age.

        How long Aborigines have been here is all a guessing game and pretty irrelevant. There is only one race, the human race and we all started in the same place and, no doubt as part of human evolution, began to move out, invade, occupy, colonise. All of us.

        Using fire to kill or scare out game – lazy hunting really – has been common in many parts of the world. I have lived in four African countries and know the part it played in those societies. However, by 1788 they had advanced further than Aborigines had done.

        The issue is not that they survived on this island continent for so long before the modern world intervened, but that as a less developed culture – and that is neither right or wrong, it just is – they were never going to defeat and drive out the English. Not all tribes wanted to.

        Just as I am no more Australian because I can trace my ancestry back on some sides for four generations in Australia, neither are indigenous more Australian because they can trace it back as far – English records make that possible – and guess that some of their ancestors were here for longer.

        Even in 1788 Aborigines were a mix of Indian (thought to have arrived about 4,000 years ago), Macassan, New Guinean, Pacific Islander and more. Of the few hundred tribes most did not share a language and were as divided as Europeans were many thousands of years earlier.

        The Britons survived very well before the Romans arrived. So what? As did Saxons, Angles, Jutes and others before the Vikings. As did they all before the Normans. So what?

        One can surmise that perhaps Aboriginal practices of infanticide kept numbers small, the lack of children in tribes, commented on by the English from the beginning, and it was this ‘culling’ process which enabled them to survive before the English arrived.

        Nomadic hunter-gatherers left the old and sick to die to protect themselves and infanticide, particularly with twins, was practised for similar reasons. It wasn’t right or wrong, it was just the way of it.

        Trying to retrofit the past with attitudes of the present is a fool’s game.

        • ian.macdougall says:

          NB: ‘Firestick farming’ is not a “delusional euphemism [whatever such might be] invented in the modern age.” It is a term proposed by the Late Prof Rhys Jones of the ANU to explain in a nutshell the Aboriginal practice of burning off in the bush. Many have adopted it.
          The first Europeans to arrive were amazed at its extent, and saw Australia as ‘the land of fire’. (See W. Gammage, ‘The Biggest Estate on Earth.’)

          • rosross says:

            Firestick and farming is oxymoronic. Burning the bush is not farming. Whoever proposed the term it does not make it sensible or correct.

            Africans also burned off the land for the same reason – to kill or scare out game. When Africans developed enough to keep herds of animals, they came to believe, that burning would bring green shoots, which it usually does and this helped them to feed their stock. The madness is they still do it even though they do not keep stock.

            Please provide sources to the first Europeans commenting on the burning and the evidence that it amounted to some sort of farming?

            Australia was once covered in rainforest and pockets still remain, but most of it was destroyed by the Aboriginal practice of burning for easy hunting. To be fair, lightning strikes also played a part but the Aboriginal taste for fire, again, to be fair, common in many primitive peoples, played a larger part and led to the dominance of the fire-loving eucalypt, dooming the rain forest forever.

            And just because many adopted such beliefs does not make them right. Many people once believed women could not be educated; slavery was necessary for the economy; child labour was good for society; corporal punishment was beneficial for children; lobotomies were good for sexually active women….. a common belief does not necessarily make sense or serve an intelligent purpose.

      • rosross says:

        @ Ian MacDougall,

        Your reference to Webdiary, gone many years ago, makes me think you have been doing a search on me. That’s fine. I don’t mind but I am not sure what you seek to prove by it. I have no idea who you are or where else you have written on this or any other topic in the past, what, 15 years, and neither do I care.

        If our paths have crossed elsewhere, or on Webdiary, I don’t recall it. Sorry.

        • en passant says:

          The MacD is a ‘Bot’. He is not real. Just a viral troll sent to plague society, so don’t spend too much time on it as the hydro and wind that drives it will fail soon enough.
          At that point I relish tho opportunity to write its eulogy.

    • exuberan says:

      One word is missing from your excellent article Rosross, ‘Alcohol’

      • rosross says:

        @ exuberan,

        I am not quite sure I understand the reference to alcohol. Some Aboriginal tribes did have ways of making alcohol and consumption certainly increased for many when the English arrived, but, to be fair, high alcohol intake was common even amongst the colonists in the 18th and 19th centuries. Given the brutality of life, hardly surprising.

        • exuberan says:

          Rosross, I have read that the sophistication of a civiliastion can be guaged or judged by the extent to which they developed Alcoholic drinks. My understanding is that the Australian Aboriginal peoples had very little exposure to Alcohol prior to 1788. As such they had very little tolerance for drink. I have worked alongside Aboriginal people in the North West. It was frightening to see the effect on some of these people after only a moderate drink. Agression and violence usually followed. So my point is this: In 1788 Europeans arrived with a 2000 year old tolerance of Alcohol and introduced it to people with zero tolerance. We have been living with the consequences ever since. A simialr event happened with the Ameriacan Indigenous poeples.

  • mburke@pcug.org.au says:

    Jody, you seem to be doing precisely as you accuse others of doing.

  • Keith Kennelly says:


    Why are you always so bitter and angry?

    • ian.macdougall says:

      Australia was once covered in rainforest and pockets still remain, but most of it was destroyed by the Aboriginal practice of burning for easy hunting.

      True. The rainforest retreated into moist gullies in the coastal ranges, according to Singh’s work. Pyrophytic species: Eucalypts (900 indistinctly differentiated species) and Acacias (around 1,000 species) moved in andlargely took over the whole continent.
      The Aboriginal estate was in course replaced by the European one, increasingly dominated by introduced pasture species and the animals feeding thereon.
      But the transition was not peaceful, and no amount of wishing it had been otherwise can make it so.

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