MDFF 10 March 2018

Continuing our Dispatch on the Vagaries of Justice from last week (Originally posted 15 Sep 2011)

Recently in Alice Springs an Alyawarr man spent two months in gaol (he was arrested at Alice Springs Hospital maternity ward whilst visiting his wife and newly born daughter), and received a two year suspended sentence.  He is not allowed to return to his community until his wife’s 16th Birthday.
The judge’s sentencing remarks included the following:  “Because of the remoteness and your traditional lifestyle, concepts such as ages are irrelevant to you.  Your day-to-day life has centred around the traditional hunting and gathering of bush tucker for the community.  You spend most of your time in the company of your grandfather who is now in his 90s, and who is an important traditional elder in the community.  In terms of modern day society you are extremely unsophisticated and you are one of those increasingly rare persons in a remote Aboriginal community who did not know that having sexual intercourse with this child was wrong according to Northern Territory law.  No one had explained to you the concept of your age and the age of the child.
Your family and the family of the child were also unaware that it was wrong for the pair of you to engage in sexual intercourse.  The victim has told me in her victim impact statement the following about her belief and about you, and I quote what she has to say: ‘I didn’t think it was wrong and was happy to be with him.  In our law it’s okay.  He’s been good to me.  He looks after me.  Our families are happy that we are together, even though I am young, because they know he is a good man and will look after me. ….The lack of knowledge by everyone concerned in this case about the law of the Northern Territory in connection with sexual intercourse with children under the age of 16 ….While it may be increasingly rare, there are sections of our community who do not have this knowledge and understanding.  It is a sad indictment, indeed, of our community as a whole that we have not been able to educate everyone in our remote communities about these matters… (my emphasis) We don’t need no thought control…
This Justicia from a society that in 1789 sentenced 10 year old Mary Wade to hang.  The sentence was not carried out, instead Mary was transported to Australia.  By today’s standards, all of the Convicts sent to Australia had only committed trivial crimes.  The serious crimes, such as rape, murder, or impersonating an Egyptian, were punished with the death penalty.


Mary Wade was 14 years old when she gave birth to the first of 21 children.

The legal age of consent in many Latin American countries is 14.

Romeo wooed Juliet when she was 14 years old.

The ‘victim’ in the Alice Springs court case was 14 years old when the Alyawarr man committed his heinous crime, because he hadn’t been properly ‘educated’.
Just as well no Warlpiri or Alyawarr person has impersonated an Egyptian.
This judgement has very little to do with ‘Justicia’ and everything to do with ‘Dogma’, Assimilationist Dogma that is.  Being subjected to Assimilationist Dogma is something many remote Aboriginal Australians would be quite happy to live without.  They are not given that opportunity. They have no choice.

Justicia, Tierra y Libertád….

También Respeto y Dignidád….

PS- Have I mentioned it before? Centrelink’s motto: “Giving you Choices” ¡Que pavada!