In For The Short Haul

Some of Mal Broughs’ positions have been difficult to understand. Contradictory even. I won’t speculate on motivations because it’s pointless, but it useful to understand the philosophical underpinnings of a particular approach. The emphasis on short term measures has been perplexing, as most of the problems are chronic. The Minister has rejected or ignored several long-term proposals. There was the letter from the NT Governments Chief Minister, Claire Martin, last June suggesting a combined Federal/Territory approach with “intensive intervention” in the areas of “alcohol abuse, overcrowded housing, law and order, governance and welfare reform“. John Howard thought that this was not good enough for such an “urgent problem” so he did nothing for another 1 year and 7 days, just to prove the point.

Then there was Mal Brough’s 2nd dismissal of Claire Martin on their first meeting after the June 22nd press conference. Martin again suggested the intensive long-term approach. Brough dismissed this as “having an agenda“,

(Her) agenda was not to work out how we are going to save the children right now.

And he went on to say,

We reiterated that the commonwealth Government is here for the long haul…

Which is rather strange given the approach to funding a Child Protection service in the NT. It was funded for its first 6 months and applied to the relevant Commonwealth department for on-going funding, but was rejected. Brough was critical of the NT for only providing 6 months funding,

First and foremost, we actually want to see the Territory Government also pick up the ball here and not pay go-away money to people for six months.

A six-month commitment is just “go-away money“? Does that apply to bringing in Federal Police for 6 months?

Mal Brough is actually a big fan of the 6 month plan, despite his criticims of the NT Government. Apparantly it’s part of his philosophy (if you can call it that). Thanks to Andrew Bartlett for the link to this article . Now I find Broughs approach is quite understandable,

They’re complex issues, but I don’t think they have complex answers.

All that is required is to marshal your forces then surge towards the objective and soon enough it will be ‘mission accomplished’. A military approach to chronic social problems is not going to work. Let’s hope Mal starts doing some listening.


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