Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Burned-out boomer ex-Lefties in Central Australia

By her own admission, Alice Springs-based Crown prosecutor Nanette Rogers long ago burned-out as a white do-gooder (to use the pejorative term for an idealistic white Lefty in an Indigenous-sector job). She did so after three years or so of struggling against the odds:

TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Nanette Rogers has been Crown Prosecutor in Alice Springs for more than 12 years . . . When you came to central Australia more than 15 years ago, you began your work, your career as a defender. You've moved on to become a prosecutor. Did that happen because of a particular case, or did it happen because of what you saw over a period of time?

NANETTE ROGERS: It was an accumulated effect. I ended up getting sick of acting for violent Aboriginal men and putting up the same old excuses when I was appearing for them . . .

Fine, up to a point: I’ve been to Alice Springs (once, in 1994), and couldn’t hack three hours in the place, much less three years. But where Rogers started to go badly wrong was in not getting out twelve years ago.

Instead, she seems to have spent much these twelve years hatching copious amounts of shit – aka feminist empowerment claptrap – with a view to being able to smear it all at once, one day, over her chosen target, Indigenous Central Australian men. And yesterday her shit finally came in, via a “dossier” released exclusively to ABC’s “Lateline”.

Some such men are indeed criminals of shocking depravity, or cowardice (I prefer the latter term). And everyone, surely, wants these men's behaviour to absolutely prevented in future, and for past perpetrators to be punished (and rehabilitated, if possible).

As to how “Girlpower”-style self-actualisation for Indigenous females is going to actually prevent child rape, I really have no idea. It may, after the event, assist the prosecution is building up its evidentiary case – but equally it may also just up the ante in a loosely-styled men-vs-women gender war.

What *should* be done is less Girlpower/gender-agendas and more tweaking of the evidentiary rules in cases of intra-Indigenous child rape. Here, I’m not suggesting the incorporation of customary Indigenous criminal law into Australian law, which is a large and controversial topic and not one I think is worth going into for present purposes. Instead, all that needs to be done, IMO, is a relaxation of evidentiary rules, in particular to allow, within reason, written witness statements to stand in court, without the witness being required to be examined and then cross-examined on their statement.

There are genuine cultural and personal-safety reasons for Indigenous Australians thinking that doing their legal duty ends with providing a witness statement. It is presumptuous of Rogers to think them remiss in this respect, and it is either irresponsible or foolhardy for her to embark on a mono-gendered campaign to change this mindset.

But that’s burned-out boomers for you – they can’t stop compulsively smearing-around their own faeces. Last night's "Lateline" featured the first “dossier” I can recall since the infamous WMD-dossier that served as a pretext for the Iraq war. You be the judge of which of the two is flimsier.

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