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Labor admits it is 'roll back' on Indigenous affairs.

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THE HON. DR SHARMAN STONE MP Shadow Minister for Environment, Heritage and the Arts Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Federal Member for Murray


Tuesday, 25 March 2008

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Labor admits it is ‘roll back’ on indigenous affairs

Shadow Minister for Environment, Heritage, the Arts and Indigenous Affairs, Dr Sharman Stone, was stunned to hear Labor backbencher Daryl Melham admit in Parliament today that Labor’s Northern Territory Intervention measures were to be ‘rolled back’.

Dr Stone said Mr Melham’s comments were offensive to all Australians who have insisted that the sexual abuse of indigenous children be seriously addressed.

“Daryl Melham says Labor is ‘rolling back’ the Howard Government’s changes which allowed ordinary access to the public places and shops in Northern Territory indigenous towns, and which banned pornography in the prescribed indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.

“The Northern Territory inquiry, Little Children are Sacred, reported that rampant access to seriously degrading pornography was being used to groom children for sex. Children had become so desensitised to this material, that they thought sex with children and violent sex was normal

human behaviour. In the overcrowded housing with little privacy, pornography was continually seen by the youngest children and teenagers.

“The Rudd Labor Government has decided that pornography on subscription television will now not be banned unless it exceeds 35 per cent of the content over seven days or the community asks for it to be banned.

There is no more heinous crime in human society than child sexual abuse. I am appalled and saddened that Labor has decided to allow a main source of pornography into these communities to continue.

“I am also concerned that the re-instatement of the permit system will once again shut down scrutiny in these communities Walkley Award winning journalist Paul Toohey has handed back his award in protest against the Government’s decision to once again ‘lock up’ these communities.

“There was already evidence that the Howard Government’s Emergency Response was making life safer for women and children in the Northern Territory prescribed areas. The Labor Government should not ‘roll back’ and so weaken this response”, Dr Stone said.