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ABC News Breakfast -

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(generated from captions) You're watching ABC News

Breakfast. The Federal Minister

who oversaw the Northern Territory intervention has angrily dismissed criticism by

the United Nations. Mal Brough

says the intervention was

necessary to improve the necessary to improve the

welfare of indigenous children

but the UN's sperm rapporteur

on indigenous rights

The United Nations's special

rapporteur on indigenous rights

comments -

These stigmatise already

stigmatised communities. The

emergency response is

incompatible with Australia's

obligations under the Convention of the elimination obligations under the

of all forms of racial

discrimination. I get very

pontificating about human annoyed when I hear people

rights when today there will be

children sitting out there in abject squalor with diseases

they don't have to have, with

inadequate education, poor

nutrition and poor access to

het health and we have some

nice ti about human rights

legislation. For more the Opposition's indigenous Opposition's indigenous affairs

spokesperson Tony Abbott joins

us now. Good morning. Good

morning. Is there any part of

the UN criticism that you

accept as valid? I think this

is the kind of nonsense we're

used to from these Arm chair

critics. Has he been out there?

Has he got his hands dirty? He

has gone out there. Has he

lived through talked to the people who have

lived through the situation

before the intervention and

after the intervention? Sure,

things aren't perfect there

now, but they're a lot better

than they were. There is a

safety which wasn't there

before, there's food on the

table that wasn't there before.

There has been some check on

the rivers of grog that was

flowing into these places

before. Nothin' perfect in this

veil of tear, Virginia, but the intervention is something which really has been good for our intervention is something which

country and been good for the

Aboriginal communities of the

Territory. What about the

quarantining of people's wages

who haven't necessarily done

the wrong thing? Joe, it's

obviously a tough measure, but

if you are fair dinkum you're

spending at least 50% of your

welfare income on the

necessities of life. If there

are any concerns about the

impact of this measure and the

racial discrim name Act why

don't we extend it more

broadly? I think that would be

the way to solve the problem,

not to drop the measure. The

Racial Discrimination Act has

been one of the vexatious points, the UN has called for

that to be reinstated, the

Government has said it will. Do you think anything bad will

flow from the fact the Act is

reinstated? I think the fear is

going to be that an army of publicly funded publicly funded human rights

lawyers will now be pouring

over the intervention

challenging different aspects

of it in court. As I said, if

there is an anxiety about

different treatment of Aboriginal people in the Territory from people every

where, why not extend the welfare quarantining measure

more generally. We've heard

from the sosht social from the sosht social justice

Commissioner for a new body to represent Aboriginal ien

islanders at a national level.

Is there a need for any such

body? I think that the National

indigenous Council was doing a

good job. I think that the new

body that he is proposing is a

very unsatisfactory blend of

the worst feet use, if you look

the - - of the worse features of

the old ATSIC and the old NIC.

If you're going to elect a

body, you've got to give it

something worth while to do. If

it's only gonna be a policy

advisory body why go to the

time and trouble of electing

it? I have to say, it seems to

me like a very Canberra

perspective. I think the

Canberra Aboriginal perspective

can be just as out of touch with the

with the reel real world,

particularly the remote world

as the Canberra white fella

perspect ive. What do you mean

by that and is there really no

good you see in the proposals

by Tom Calma? I don't see the

point of going to the time age

trouble of electing a body like

this. Until it's got teeth? Unless it's got real

power. We saw what happened power. We saw what happened

with ATSIC, it did have real

problem, over spending over

programs and it didn't work

very well. Having just come

back from 10 days in remote

Aurukun, what is needed in

these places is not more

pontificate ing in Canberra but practical improvements on the

ground. Keeping the grog out,

getting the kids to school,

encouraging a work culture, and ideally finding

ideally finding real jobs in

the economic mainstream that

Aboriginal people can hold. How

do you have that national body

with the powers of implement

aings ensure it doesn't go down

the same path that ATSIC did? I

think we just don't go down

this path at all. Warren

Mundine, the former President

of the Lane and a - of the

Labor Party and a very

impressive indigenous leader and a great

and a great Australian he says

why can't Aboriginal people be

represented through the

Parliament the way

others... You're just picking

with people that agree with you

because Mick Dodson likes this

idea. It doesn't surprise me.

Sg one view is superior than

the other, is it? I think I'm

entitled to say that my view is

not unsupported in Aboriginal

there was this Australia. For many many years

there was this view of self

management, and a culture of

welfare, it's failed

lamentably, and I think Mick

for all his many fine

qualities, is still living in

the past. I think people like

Noel Pearson and Warren Mundine

have seen beyond all of that, have seen beyond all of that,

as Noel Pearson keeps saying,

our right to take

responsibility enand as Noel

Pearson and others keep saying,

what is so moral about the

alcohol, the welfare poison,

the squalor that our people

have been living in There's in

need for a national

representative body at all? I

would be would think that a better path

would be something resembling

the former National Indigenous

Council which comprised very

distinguished Australians,

headed up by Sue Gordon, Warren

Mundine was on that body for a

while. I think a body such as

that is more than capable of

giving the government effective advice about indigenous

policy. You say you're - you

were at ar awe cun. What did

you do there for 10 days you do there for 10 days and

what did you see at Aurukun? I

had two roles the first to be

part of the truancy patrol in

the morning. Rounding up kids

to get them to school. Essentially that's

right. And to be going around

with. So local elders on this

task was really quite

inspiring. Because they're

tough on each other. The elder who I was

who I was with mostly, it is a

real passion with her, to get these kids to school, because

that is the foundation of a

better life for the people in

Aurukun. That was the morning's

task. Then in the afternoon I

was mostly in the classroom

helping with remedial reading

programs. Attend ABC at after -

attend ance at Aurukun still has attend ance at Aurukun still has

long way to go but it's up from

about 30% last year to about

70% now. I think if the pubs

stay shut, if the family

responsibilities Commission

keeps doing its job, if the

case managers stay in place

there's in reason why we can't

get attendance up to 80%, 90%

and beyond. What did you learn

from these past couple of weeks

about the passion of about the passion of people in

places like Aurukun to make

improvements? Two things. I was

lucky enough to sit in on the

family Responsibilities

Commission hearing, and it was

interest ing that the local

Commissioners were taking a

lead in talking to the people

about the need to get their act

together. It wasn't white fellas fellas justice, sure, there was

a magistrate there presiding,

but the local Commissioners

were playing a very active part

in trying to make sure that

people took their spoints

seriously - their

responsibilities seriously. The

other point is I think for the

first time in a generation,

people who are familiar, very

familiar with these communities

are optimistic that finally the corner might have been turned. Very quickly and

finally to return to nasty cut finally to return to nasty cut

throat politics. Oh... must

we?! John Alexander is

apparently considering standing

in the seat of Bradfield, he

has joined the Liberal Party.

Do you like the idea of him

Taking on that seat. Look, he

is a fine man. I don't know him

personally but I admire his

sporting achievements. I hope

that we have a very large and

talented field. I certainly talented field. I certainly

think that it's good to have

someone like him there. But

there are already some pretty

good people who've put their