People watch Sunrise for three things: the mysterious, ineffable Cash Cow; the pleasantly uninteresting comedic stylings of David ‘Kochie’ Koch; and having things like doing another Stolen Generation broached as a Coke / Pepsi, ‘which do you prefer’ discussion.
Yep, nothing makes for some light-hearted morning viewing like a panel of three white people discussing whether or not Indigenous kids should be placed in the homes of “WHITE families” (bizarre emphasis theirs):
Pictured: A weird time to bust out an emoji.
This discussion was sparked by an article posted by the Courier Mail under the headline “‘Let white families adopt abused Aboriginal children’“. The single quotes there are important because they are seemingly paraphrasing the words of Nationals MP David Gillespie. From the article:
WHITE families should be allowed to adopt abused Aboriginal children to save them from rape, assault and neglect, federal children’s minister David Gillespie has declared.
Slamming the rate of Aboriginal kids suffering sexually transmitted diseases as “mind-blowing”, Dr Gillepsie said: “If a child is being raped we can’t just say it’s OK on cultural grounds.”
In a landmark move, Dr Gillespie, the Assistant Minister for Children and Families, said he wants to relax rules requiring Aboriginal kids to be placed with relatives or other indigenous families.
Gillespie is referring to government guidelines that suggest that Indigenous children have placement prioritised in the following order: first “within family and kinship networks“, secondly “non-related carers in the child’s community“, and, thirdly, “carers in another Aboriginal community“. If this is not possible, children can be “placed with non-Indigenous carers as a last resort“, on the proviso that “they are able to maintain the child’s connections to their family, community and cultural identity“. This is a deliberate attempt to discourage the forced removals of the past, but only acts as a set of guidelines, not legal requirements.
The weird part here is that Gillespie at no point specified they should go to ‘white’ families, and while the headline and lede sums up his position as such, his office has denied repeatedly today that that was the case. When we contacted the author of the article for comment, she replied that he had not either:
[T]o clarify – he didn’t say that only white families should be able to adopt abused children. He said he wants to relax the existing rules that require children to be placed in other Aboriginal families, so that children can be fostered or adopted into non-Aboriginal families as well.
While this is strictly conjecture, it would seem likely that an overzealous editor decided that ‘non-Indigenous’ is interchangeable with ‘white’ for the purposes of making a very zesty headline – which obviously worked, because Sunrise ran with it entirely uncritically. This adds a wonderful layer of racism to our already think racism soup, combining a cheap ploy to subtly appeal to racist fans of Sunrise with the Courier Mail’s bizarre implication that, if children are not being placed with Indigenous families, they must then logically go to white ones. It might seem like the country is white as well, but it’s not quite that clean cut.
This country is an absolutely nonsense place sometimes.Image: Facebook / Sunrise