Can Australia actually do this? (Ban sale booze/porn in aboriginal lands)

I’m pretty naive, but this sounds blatantly racist to me.
Am I missing something? How does such a thing set with other (white) australian people?
If this is too hot for the SDMB, go ahead and close it.

They certainly couldn’t do it in the US with our indiginous population. Our Native Americans have a long history of alcohol abuse…which has only brough upon more AA and other recovery outlets to those areas. But a ban on alcohol? How is Howard justifying that?

In parts of the US it used to be illegal to sell whiskey to Indians. I still have an original arrest warrant from where my great-uncle was arrested for selling whiskey to them. Said Indians are named, date and time listed, etc.
This was in Miami, Florida, in the 1920’s.

Yes, I think that he (or strictly speaking the Federal Parliament) can do that. The Federal Parliament can legislate generally for the Northern Territory, and it can legislate with respect to any race, so he could do it for the indigenous peoples of northern Queensland and northern Western Australia too.

It used to be:

but the words about “the aboriginal race” were taken out in a referendum in 1967, firstly because it discriminated against Aboriginal people, and secondly so that the Commonwealth could pass laws helping Aboriginal people.

However, 51 (xxvi) was put in there back in 1901 for other reasons: so that the Commonwealth could discriminate against non-Europeans, e.g., with the White Australian policy. It’s left in there (with the decision in 1967) so that the Commonwealth can have equal opportunity laws with respect to race, but there’s nothing to stop it being used again to discriminate against a race.

(And of course, Mr Howard would argue that he’s not discriminating against Aboriginal people, but just trying to help them).

Are you sure he wasn’t just arrested for selling whiskey, period? 1920’s was the Prohibition era.

It certainly does seem racist to me. There are some dry areas in Alaska now, due to similar problems with Alaskan natives, but those laws take in everyone, not just people of one race.

Until recently Barrow had what they call a “bone dry” law, meaning booze was completely illegal and that you couldn’t even possess it, but now they allow limited import for private use on a license basis. I think they call that a “damp” law up there.

You could take the word “aboriginal” out of that story and put the word “native” in its place, and it would be an accurate story about Canada’s Native Indians. There is a massive problem with unemployment, drinking, drugging, abuse, poverty, lack of education, crime and generational welfare in Canada’s Native population. Nobody knows the solutions to it, though; I don’t think anyone thinks outlawing alcohol sales to Natives is going to fix it, and I don’t think our government would do that because it is blatantly racist. The problems are much more complicated than simply not drinking (although that is a good first step, and there are dry reservations in Canada where I believe the Natives themselves have chosen that no alcohol be allowed).

From my reading of the article, it seems that they are forbidding the sale of alcohol in a specific region, and limiting what can be purchased with welfare benefits. These aren’t particularly controversial legislative steps. After all, the cash welfare benefits could be provided as in-kind food, clothing and housing benefits instead. Extending the concept of welfare entitlement to “walking-around money” seems like a bit of a stretch. I didn’t see any provision where they would be carding people for their race if they purchased alcohol or porn with cash in other regions of Australia.

Now, politically, it is a controversial step, since it is somewhat unmistakeably directed at the aboriginal racial group. Whether this is acceptable or not depends, to me, on whether you buy the “state of emergency” and “breakdown of civil society” rhetoric the politicians are using.

I agree, the OP link is a bit fuzzy about whether these rules will apply to the territory and everyone who resides on it, as opposed to only the aboriginals in the territory. As I read it, it is about the land, but the demographics of the territory will mean that the impact will be overwhelmingly on aboriginals.

Quite sure. The charge is written as “Selling whiskey to Indians, in violation of public law …blah-blah-blah.” It then names several Indians, both male and female, as the purchasers. Maybe selling to Indians was a bigger deal than just selling whiskey in general, I don’t know as that was a little before my time.

The papers have been passed down as an oddity/keepsake. I don’t think it would be so interesting if the charge had been simple bootlegging. Making wine and whiskey was the major family enterprise during that time period. Legend has it that Miami’s Chief of Police was a major customer.

It does go on, but that’s pretty specific.
We have “dry” areas in the US too, but they’re not outwardly racist. Not now. Some Indian casinos here in CA don’t even serve liquor. How nice, IMO.
But these guys are targeting a symptom of a problem that the white population is at least partly responsible for.
There’s a pervasive idea here that Native Americans have an exclusve thing in their brains that causes them to be more strongly affected by alcohol. True or not, I wonder if the same idea dwells in the mind of the non-native population of Australia.

This morning’s papers provide mixed views about the Commonwealth’s power to implement the legislation that it is proposing. An article in *The Age * suggests that the Commonwealth definitely does have the power:

Source: *The Age * Friday 22 June 2007

But *The Australian * carries an article suggesting that any new legislation would not survive a challenge under the *Racial Discrimination Act * 1975 (Cth):

Source: *The Australian * Friday 22 June 2007

“This” being what? :confused: Yes, you are missing a few select cut and paste paragraphs to let us in on what has you excited.

The ban on alcohol will apply to the area, not just the aboriginals in the area. There is similiar systems in place for rural aboriginal communities in Queensland (one of the states of Australia).

As you say however, due to the demographics of the areas to be affected the bans will largely affect only aboriginals.

I don’t have any info to hand whether the alcohol bans in Queensland do their intended job or not, so I’m not sure how effective this will be for the Northern Territory.

There was one high profile case recently, where a bottle of wine was brought in on a plane chartered by a state government minister to one of the ‘dry’ communities in Queensland. The washup of it was that one of the ministers aides took the rap for accidentially :dubious: bringing the bottle on board.

From the article:

Well, yes, let’s ban booze and porn. But unemployment? Poverty? That couldn’t possibly be the bigger problem.

Excited? I’d have to c/p the entire article. I did provide a link, though. Sorry, but I think this is too compiicated for a few paragraphs, since the whole article is germane.
I actually tried to condense, but my post wound up being nearly as long as the article and more confusing.

Alcohol sales are banned on the Navajo nation in the US. I believe that the law was passed by the people of the reservation and not by the greater US government.

Yes, there are quite a few areas in the US where the sale and/or possession of alcohol is banned or restricted. But by the local populace, not the feds.
And a specific race isn’t targeted, as in the prime minister’s own words, this one is.
He was very specific, as a matter of fact.

There are already dry communities in the Northern Territory, although I believe these are community imposed restrictions.

From my reading of the article, the ban would be imposed on areas of land. So white people who happened to be there wouldn’t be able to drink either. That doesn’t make it any less racist though as the intent is clear.

I don’t see this working at any rate, unless the ban was imposed over the entire state. All that happens when an aboriginal community becomes dry is that those who wish to drink move to the larger towns of Alice, Katherine, and Darwin and drink there. The problem becomes more visible, a greater proportion of Aborigines are seen to have problems and racial stereotyping increases.

Ultimately, alcohol abuse is not cured by banning alcohol anymore than drug abuse is cured by banning drugs. Large numbers of these people need help, but I have no idea how to do it and I don’t think anyone else does either.

I did hear of a proposal a couple of days ago that wouold involve family welfare payments being tied to the family maintaining some basic responsibilities such as sending their kids to school, feeding them, not abusing alcohol, etc. If a family was found not to be living up to its responsibilities they would be given help in the form of education on parenting, access to alcohol rehab centres and so on. Additionally, control of their welfare payments would be taken away. They’d still get the money but it would be controlled by someone else who would make sure it was spent on appropriate things. Once they showed they were taking more responsibility, financial control would be returned to them.

It is filled with flaws but is a more complete solution than simply banning drink and porn. It can also be applied to all families on welfare, thereby avoiding the racism tag.

Yes, this idea is present in Australia. I’m not sure just how widespread it is as I tend to avoid the topic with other people (I prefer not to see my otherwise rational friends’ prejudice exposed, or worse, find myself agreeing with them :frowning: .)

How do they define aborigine.?If they are half can they drink. !/4. Who draws a line.?