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42 responses to “Guest Post: Attack on Aboriginal Community in Broome”

  1. HeathG

    Is there actually any evidence yet that the offenders were white? None of the above stories mention the offenders do they?

    Still, I’m surprised it hasn’t been a bigger news story.

  2. zorronsky

    From earlier reading I assumed that the bomb was a heavy duty firework, still dangerous as the injuries prove, I would hope that the perpetrators are found and dealt with tho’ I don’t think it helps to run a lynch party style media beat up prior to the full facts being known.

  3. Graham Bell

    Why the hell did they do that? Their targets are our fellow Australians. Were the perpetrators trying to emulate the cowardly Bali bombers?

    The gutless wonders might have thought they were attacking an isolated group of Aborigines. Wrong!!! These scum attacked each and every one of us Australians, regardless of where we live, regardless of our colour or creed, regardless of who we are.

    As for the news media …. what else can you expect from them? I’m disgusted with them!

  4. Joe Blow

    And at times people on this site are even more vile. There is zero evidence yet that this was thrown by a white person and it wasn’t a bomb but ‘believed to be a firecracker’. Probably a stupid prank rather than an ‘attack’. What a weird mentality the poster has.

  5. zoot

    “Stupid prank”? I’ll stay well away from you on April 1.

  6. Katz

    The police report indicates that this explosive was stronger than an ordinary firework.

    Moreover, the police report indicates that this explosive device was “shot”, not thrown, from a car.

    How can Joe Blow know that this was a “prank”? Prima facie, this act was intended to inflict GBH.

  7. Chris

    Moreover, the police report indicates that this explosive device was “shot”, not thrown, from a car.

    There’s quite a difference in tone between the Guardian article and the ABC. The latter had me more thinking RPG than firework.

    I guess there’s different explosive strengths that fireworks can come in, and even then they can be modified. But there’s a big difference between a firework being thrown from a car and “shot”. Given its not that easy to buy them these days (even in the ACT) I wonder where they’re coming from. Though they’re not that hard to make – used to do it myself as a kid.

    Although I can’t find articles at the moment, this is I think the 3rd report of fireworks allegedly used as a weapon (not just an accident) I’ve heard of in the last few months. The others were in suburban areas of major cities and involved fairly young people (eg high school age or a bit older).

    How can Joe Blow know that this was a “prank”? Prima facie, this act was intended to inflict GBH.

    Impossible to tell from what has been reported, but the police are quoted as saying:

    “There’s a number of areas we’re looking at and one of them is quite simply that it’s a prank that’s gone seriously wrong.”

    I think people do underestimate just how much damage commercial fireworks can do, even those sold to the general public. Just visit Canberra during fireworks weekend to see the mayhem first hand.

  8. Marian Rumens

    Two things. 1 The media are far too busy trying to elect Tony Abbott to worry about bombs in the One Mile Community. 2. Whoever reported it should have included the words ‘terrorist attack’. That would have got their attention. I sincerely hope the victims make a full recovery and that the police find and arrest the perpetrators What a shocking incident.

  9. Iain Hall

    The racist assumptions in this piece are totally vile and so sadly common from the far left.
    It is far more likely that this is a crime committed by an indigenous person with a grudge against the injured indigenous individuals.
    Lets all just wait to find out what actually happened before any claims of a racial motive for this horrid crime.

  10. Moz of Yarramulla

    I’m thinking a shark bomb or something similar rather than what most people think of as a firecracker. But yes, if this had happened in Punchbowl it’d be all over the news. Just to pick a suburb where someone was shot in the recent past as an example.

    I wonder how much is the remoteness, because it’s unlikely there’s much in the way of TV crews in Broome and it’s not really something the locals will be trying to publicise. The tourist industry (which is almost all Broome has) is notoriously not keen on spreading tales of violence and mayhem. Which means the local media are going to be doing the tweet-sized press release and leaving it at that.

    (expert speculation thanks to a day spent in Broome 10 years ago :))

  11. mila

    Both the incident and the lack of press coverage are disgracefull.

    Reconciliation is still a very long way off.

  12. amortiser

    Reconciliation is still a very long way off.

    There is absolutely nothing in those press reports that indicates that this was a racially motivated attack.

    Broome is a remote location so its not particularly unusual that such a matter would go relatively unreported. There are far more serious crimes that occur in remote communities that get no press. In fact the level of murder and violence on remote aboriginal communities is so common that it goes virtually unreported. These are Australians like the rest of us but little is done to protect them.

    This is much more of a problem than some unfounded speculation of a racist inspired attack sad as it is that some people were injured.

  13. John D

    Lived on Groote Eylandt for 8 yrs. Wife was ABC country correspondent for most of the time.
    The news that did get published outside of Groote tended to be a mix of news about long strikes and occasional bits of Aboriginal news.
    What really pissed me off was the way that Aboriginal news tended to be about the negative. For example, articles would appear from time to time about the number of Groote Eylandt Aborigines who had been to jail.
    What didn’t get reported were some of the enterprising things that the Groote Eylandt did of their own volition. For example, they ran major cultural festivals each year that involved Aborigines from across the north of Aus. Gear was organized, the RAAF mobilized to move equipment etc., etc. Tremendous festivals with no violence.
    Angurugu, the main aboriginal town managed to win a tidy town competition one year. The council decided that they wanted to do it and they did it. The before and after were truly amazing.
    I am not sure whether the Broome incident we are talking about in this post deserves major reporting or not. What I would really like to see in the national media is more positive stories about the Aboriginal success stories.
    Ask yourself what effect the endless media reports about Aboriginal failure must have on young Aborigines who watch TV news and read the newspapers.

  14. zoot

    In fact the level of murder and violence on remote aboriginal communities is so common that it goes virtually unreported.

    You have evidence for this assertion?

  15. John D

    Zoot: I lived on Groote from 1972 to 1980. Aboriginal population at the time was about 1500. It was the only place that my wife and I have ever lived where we knew people who had murdered or been murdered. Part of the problem is that the men fought with spears and other weapons rather than their hands. Part of the problem was traditional obligation. Part of the problem was booze.
    There was one year when we knew at least three people who had been killed.
    Under these circumstances a spearing was not particularly newsworthy.

  16. zoot

    John, that indicates that Groote in that year had an intentional homicide rate 200 times the Australian norm.
    Call me old fashioned, but that sounds newsworthy to me.

  17. jules

    What John D said at 13, X 5.

    The scale of the problem he talks about is immense. Its improved a little in the last 10 years, but still the default angle for indigenous stories, that aren’t about sport, is dysfunction and problems of all sorts. The need for intervention, action etc etc etc

    Even the sport stories are framed as an escape, and an example to a struggling people. (Not struggling people, who are individuals.) Arts stories are the same. Even that bloke from Yothu Yindi who recently died. He dragged his people up. Probably from the gutter. Most likely against their will. And … well you know – if force is necessary then who are we to argue with evolution.

    Its hard not to judge Australia’s attitude toward aboriginal people as anything other than barbaric. It shouldn’t be surprising. Look at how we react to foreigners looking for help or, shock horror, the pm being a woman.
    (A woman!!! Hows she gonna kick anyone with an oversize boot?)

    Love the accusations of vile racism above. Don’t know why racism suddenly becomes vile when someone thinks its aimed at white people.

    We all know its far more likely that indigenous people will try and blow each other up cos they have grudges. Everyone knows that.

    Bloody savages.

  18. Iain Hall

    I suspect that you are one of those lefties who thinks that only whitefellas can be racist don’t you?

  19. Linda

    Iain Hall enough with your nonsense about reverse racism and reverse sexism. You are too offensive for words.

  20. Graham Bell

    Folks: I was lucky enough to be on a “notorious” Aboriginal community when I saw the transformation that came over everyone when bitumen was laid on the streets and the dust menace no longer afflicted every household. News media interest: zero, nil, zilch.

    Same community had a higher proportion of blokes who had given the grog away than any other community I had ever seen. News media interest: zero, nil, zilch.

    Why is it that the usual response by DC TV to good news stories about Aborigines is that Living Black or NITV might be interested but that it wouldn’t interest “their” viewers? Maybe DC TV should be called the Apartheid Channels. Last time I looked, Aborigines were not only fellow Australians, they were the First Australians too, so why wouldn’t good news stories about them be of great interest all the other Australians?

  21. jules

    Anyone can be racist. BFD. I think everyone is. Its only people who make efforts to empathise and to understand their own prejudices that actually curb their racism.

    I find it interesting the way anything that might be seen as criticising people of European descent suddenly makes that racism vile. As if its worse than other sorts of racism, presumably against “lesser races”. While the reality is that you’re not part of a dominant culture with power over people copping racism is nothing. Its like Blues supporters criticising Queensland after yet another State of Origin loss – it doesn’t cause any harm. It doesn’t have the practical effect of making peoples lives worse than they already are.

    But if you are part of the dominant culture you can say things like “It was far more likely this was carried out by indigenous individuals with a grudge” then say “lets wait till we find out what really happened” and probably keep a straight face. Despite the lack of evidence and flying in the face of hundreds of years of hardcore violence by white people against black people. Then think you’re not being racist. Maybe you don’t even realise you are.

    Maybe you’re just being lazy, and letting ingrained, robotic cultural presumptions do your actual thinking for you. Doesn’t really matter to me. That sort of lazy robotic thinking might actually interfere with the victims of this crime getting actual justice, but that probably doesn’t matter to you.

    Personally I do think its a sign of a racist to use florid adjectives to try and make crimes seem worse when associated when particular cultural groups.

    How many times do you call white on white violence “horrid’ Iain?

  22. Graham Bell

    Iain Hall @ 18 and Linda @ 19:
    There’s no such thing as “reverse racism” – there is only racism, no matter who commits it.

    And …. no matter who committed this bombing and why they did it, it is still an attack against ALL Australians.

  23. Graham Bell

    Jules @21: Eloquently expressed.

  24. Linda

    Hi Graham

    You sound like you might actually support Iain Hall’s view that racism goes both ways and that there is no qualitative difference. Sorry if that’s not the case and I have mis-read you.

    I don’t care if an Aboriginal person hates or resents white folks; that’s not racism. It’s just a rational response to oppression. It’s not a manifestation of attitudes held by members of a dominant class in order to justify the existing social order.

  25. Luxxe

    It seems the press can’t win. If they had sensationalised the attack, before knowing the facts, they would have been caned on this board. They’re being caned now for not sensationalising. Rather important to wait for the facts. And Linda @24, your self-hatred is both extremely tragic for you and, depending on whether you actually have dealings with Indigenous Australia, potentially very damaging. Indigenous Australians have no more right to express race hatred than any other Australians. There is a great deal of “self-oppression” and internecine oppression and murderous violence in Aboriginal communities.

  26. jules

    Actually the press coverage of this incident seems reasonable and balanced. Although i get where the Op is coming from, I think they may be over reacting a bit.

    Luxxe unless you’re a blackfella you have no business saying anything about how “Aboriginal Australians” should act and what rights they do and don’t have. Until we deal with the legal and ethical results of the invasion and colonisation then white people telling aboriginals whats appropriate is more of the same.

    There’s a great deal of savage violence in all Australian communities, most of it is fueled by alcohol and indigenous communities are no different.

    There is a great deal of violence in indigenous communities as a result of colonisation too. Putting aboriginal people with a long history of conflict together on missions or in communities where there isn’t the room and they don’t have the home territories they once had, coupled with ignorance about the differences between those pre invasion communities, and the fact that some may have been at war when they were all stuck together in places like Roebourne or Palm Island was stupid and its never been addressed or dealt with.

    Add alcohol and hundreds of years of violent oppression into the mix and we have a real recipe for actual disaster.

    The only solutions are respect, consultation and genuine attempts to economically empower aboriginal communities on their own terms. That includes recognition of aboriginal legal systems and some legal pluralism where appropriate.

    BTW Linda is right that a natural response to oppression is anger and hatred. It may not be healthy for individuals but is a natural biological response to an injury that needs healing. People who don’t understand that have probably never been oppressed, and … well good luck to them. Thats how things should be.

  27. Luxxe

    Jules, on just what basis do you say that I have no right to comment on Indigenous Australia? You are saying that only Indigenous Australians have the right? Not Jenny Macklin? Not Ted Egan? Not any number of non-Indigenous Australians who have worked closely with communities? Not the taxpayer? No public servants, no government reps? You are talking absolute nonsense, sorry. Making excuses about the violence does Aboriginal communities a disservice. Blaming the colonial era just doesn’t wash any more. Take responsibility, address the violence. Stop listening to the victimhood proponents, and listen to leaders like Mundine, Price, and Pearson. I happen to believe that Indigenous Australia has a great future and people like you would have them wallow in dysfunction.

  28. jules

    Luxxe if you believe that about me you’re an idiot. Perhaps you should re read what i wrote, especially the second last para @ 26.

    I’m not making excuses, i’m describing what has lead to this situation. If you don’t understand a situation you can’t deal with it effectively.

    I assume you are not a blackfella given your comments – so what are you doing about violence and dysfunction in non indigenous communities? Ever spent time in an A & E on the weekend? Perhaps you should shut up then put up.

    You’re welcome to comment on Indigenous Australia if you want. If you start pontificating on how indigenous people should feel about everyday oppression that still happens, or bang on about who has what right then you’re a jerk. The only right you have to call justifiable anger “race hatred” is the same right all narrow minded jerks have.

    That is the right to make an asshat of yourself.

  29. Luxxe

    Well Jules, not sure just how someone a “jerk” and an “asshat” contributes to the conversation. But do goad away. Oh, and don’t base your comments on assumptions.

  30. Linda

    [email protected] “Take responsibility, address the violence.”

    Women have been saying this to all men for quite some time now. It has nothing to do with ethnicity or culture.

  31. Casey

    Luxxe I don’t know where Linda expressed self hatred. The views being expressed here are hardly new.

    Jules Anyone can be racist.

    Anyone can make a racist statement or express their prejudices, I suppose. But it takes personal or institutional power to give racism its force. This is something the dominant group has and the minority groups, like Aboriginals, don’t.

    It has been my experience, Jules, that whiteness and the power it has accrued does not like to be outed. It wants to always be acknowledged whilst remaining invisible. That way its power remains unquestioned.

    Until we deal with the legal and ethical results of the invasion and colonisation then white people telling aboriginals whats appropriate is more of the same.

    This is a reasonable statement. This is what reconciliation is about. I think it will take many years for the Aboriginal peoples affected by the policies and practices of a rapacious imperial project, to recover from invasion and colonisation. Trauma is intergenerational. We know it is from the many studies done on Holocaust survivors and their descendants, and most certainly can be carried down generations until acknowledgement of the trauma takes place and a kind of healing is effected.

    I might add there is also the idea of perpetrator trauma to consider – where the descendants of the offending group (in this case the descendants of the colonisers – white Australians) also carry a defensiveness about the past and enact evasions about the trauma of the victim group and the initial violence done to them. This group too, needs a kind of reckoning and acknowledgement and an owning up. The way perpetrator trauma is expressed in in the melancholic. And there is a kind of melancholic feel to the Australian past. A sense of ghosts and things. This is why the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission occurred. This was the meaning of the Bringing them Home Inquiry and the National Apology. To try and deal with that trauma caused by the initial acts of destruction and violence.

    It’s about respect. Not paternalism right? Paternalism is something that Pearson leans towards, some people might say.

  32. Luxxe

    Casey up to a point – but you’ll find that, only two generations on, there’s a powerful movement among the descendants of Nazi holocaust survivors NOT to wreck their lives by succumbing to victimhood. Indigenous Australia has the tools it needs, and the funding, to pick up its game. I would think it’s likely that people who encourage a victim mentality are very damaging, and holding Indigenous Australia right back. But I’ll leave that to Price, Mundine and Pearson’s commentary.

  33. Casey

    Well Luxxe, what I am saying is that the dominant group – that is non Aboriginal Australians could do a few things to acknowledge the past. That is, to own up to our own shit before we tell people how to handle their shit.

    One example: How many war memorials to white soldiers in the World Wars? How many war memorials to Indigenous warriors in defence of their lands?

    We should incorporate a people’s loss into the national history story, we should acknowledge that loss occurred and that people were brave. Of course it would involve a loss on behalf of the dominant culture to do that. An acknowledgement that land was actually illegally taken.

    I think it’s a bit rich for a whole culture which has this thing called common law, a form of legal magic, to usurp other people’s land and then tell them how they are to pick themselves up. I mean, hahahahahahaha.

    This is something even Noel Pearson acknowledged when he noted that the Mabo court case (and the white law which worked on all our behalfs) was prepared to find for terra nullius (another convenient legal magic which they conjured up retrospectively to explain an illegal land grab back in the day) but then completely avoided the issue on sovereignty which would of course have paved the way for a treaty.

    I mean, God forbid we non Aboriginals should state the bleeding obvious before we go lecturing other folks on how to fix up the issues we non Aboriginals created in the first place in the brutal acquisition of their land.

  34. Jacques de Molay

    Luxxe @ 32,

    Could your comments be any more offensive?

    ‘Succuming to victimhood’ sounds like something you’d see over at Catallaxy. I think the Stormfront-esque comments might be more appreciated over there.

  35. Casey

    Yes Luxxe, I must ask: What do you mean by “succumbing to victimhood” in relation to Holocaust survivors and their descendants?

  36. Luxxe

    Read Cathy Caruth et al.

  37. Casey

    That’s exactly who I have read. Now where did she talk about “sucumbing to victimhood”. I have the books here. Reference?

  38. Linda

    Luxxe, I note that you have stopped referencing violence, why would that be?

  39. John D

    We are being racist when we make decisions and judgements on the basis of a person’s race instead of what the person is actually like. We are being racist when won’t consider an Aborigine for a job because they are Aboriginal. We are also being racist when we say things like “Aboriginality is a genuine qualification” instead of listing the knowledge and experience the job actually requires.
    We can also be racist when we make excuses for people on the basis of race, culture, history etc. The excuses can be an indirect way of putting others down: “Those people won’t amount to much because…” Or “Its not worth putting the effort into educating Aborigines because their culture etc. means that they will never use it.
    The coal miners daughter I am married to points out from time to time that many of the things said about Aborigines used to be said about coal miners.

  40. jules

    Luxxe @ 32 – its not about victimnhood. Thats bullshit – the sort of thing the perpetrators of crimes say to avoid the consequences of their actions.

    Standing up isn’t being a victim.

    Neither is saying “You did the wrong thing. You need to acknowledge that, then we can have a civilised conversation about how you’re gonna pay for your crime.”

    In fact thats the opposite of victimhood.

    Saying sorry was the beginning of that acknowledgement, so thats where its at right now.

    I know indigenous australians who run businesses, are respected academics, great sportspeople and renowned musos. Outstanding artists, amazing community workers and god knows what else. these people aren’t victims. they are outstanding in their fields and they deserve to be acknowledged.

    They don’t need to “lift their game” – and you suggesting they do is insulting and demeaning. They are part of their communites and their cultures and they are proud of it. Stop speaking in “self help for business success” seminar circle jerk cliches.

  41. jules

    Casey @ 31 – you’re right about the institutional power that is needed for racism to be a really harmful thing. Thats what i was trying to express with that state of origin comment.

    It has been my experience, Jules, that whiteness and the power it has accrued does not like to be outed. It wants to always be acknowledged whilst remaining invisible. That way its power remains unquestioned.

    Yeah. Totally. Its a sort of feedback loop, and standing up to it can short circuit it. Or provoke unreasoned vitriol, the sort of spittle chinned inanity Andrew Bolt specialises in. I guess its kind understandable (- perhaps predictable is a better term,) cos the first step toward losing power is having it challenged.

    This is what reconciliation is about.

    Reconciliation is all about dealing with the consequences of our past actions. With our collective karma as a nation. There’s generations of unpaid wages, for example, and inter generational poverty with all the added disadvantage and danger that brings as a consequence. Those unpaid wages contributed to our national wealth. And especially to some individuals wealth.

    The least we could do is acknowledge that happened and take steps to make sure it never does again.

    I imagine there are many similarities between race and gender issues in this country. It certainly seems that way, tho I wouldn’t understand the gender issues as viscerally as the race ones.

  42. Graham Bell

    Folks: I’m glad I was too busy to take a further part in this thread; my own limited personal experience might have clouded the issue. 🙂