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In June 2007, the federal government staged a significant legal and political intervention in the Northern Territory. This is known as the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER), or more colloquially as the NT Intervention. The catalyst for these measures was the release of Report of the Northern Territory Board of Inquiry into the Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse, titled Ampe Akelyernemane Meke Mekarle: 'Little Children are Sacred'.
The Australian Government announced the NTER and moved to adopt new legislation, suspend the Racial Discrimination Act and initiate programs to 'protect Indigenous women and children in the Northern Territory.'
Question 1: How do you understand the concepts of disadvantage, empowerment and participation in the context of the NTER and the situations it seeks to address?
Question 2: What social theory would you bring to this context in order to develop a deeper understanding of the issues here and what potential community development approaches or interventions (if any) would you consider appropriate?
Question 3: How do you interpret and/or characterise the role of the state in the NTER? Is it plausible to argue that as the state is responsible for the welfare of its citizens, in such a 'crisis' it has a responsibility to act with decisive haste to ensure the welfare of its most vulnerable citizens? What might be the arguments in support of this position? How might you assess this case from a community development perspective?
Question 4: What do community workers need to understand in order to work at the interface between Indigenous communities and social, legal and political institutions?
Question 5: In light of your study in this unit identify some of the major challenges for community development work today? How is it possible to address or manage such challenges?
Question 6: In an age of neoliberalism, globalization and austerity are the ideologies and ideal practices of community development either unrealistic and/or ineffective? Discuss with reference to a particular issue or sector. (Case studies or examples are always valuable).
QUESTIONS FOR MASTERS OF SOCIAL WORK STUDENTS
Question 7: Individuals live and embody the effects of the contemporary social and political world. Social workers are therefore ideally placed to gain intimate knowledge about these effects on individuals, their families and communities. Drawing on your reading from this unit discuss how social workers might bring something unique to the practice of community development, or how might social work practice be enhanced through the adoption of
community development principles and practices.
Question 8: If it is individuals who carry the trauma and the scars of history and politics attention to individuals is imperative to any humane social or community practice. In what ways is the division between individual work and community work a misunderstanding of both social work and community development?
Question 9: Community Development has a long history as a field of practice within social work, yet in the current context the culture of social work is increasingly that of individualised practice or casework. Briefly consider why this may be the case and citing example(s) from practice if
desired or appropriate, outline the strengths, limitations and potential for community development as effective social work practice.
In the year 2007, the Federal government of Australia had imposed a new intervention in the Northern Territory region of the country. This new intervention was known as the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER). It was imposed for defending the rights and protection of aboriginal children from sexual abuse. The main motivation of NTER was – 'Little Children are Sacred.' However, there were many shortcomings in the imposition of this law and some major legislations in the intervention were missing.
Answer 1: Concepts of Disadvantage, Empowerment, and Participation in the Context of NTER
The NTER intervention was a very bold intervention, which was not designed according to the well begin of the aboriginal people living in the Northern Territory of Australia. The Howard government announced the $587 million package for providing some major facilities via NTER. Following 9 measures were taken into consideration for the NTER: —
- A provision for the deployment of additional police force in the affected communities
- Prohibition of the consumption of alcohol and other drugs
- Prohibition of watching and showing pornographic material
- Acquisition of the township, which was held under the provision of the Native Title Act, 1993, through the 5 years lease with compensation
- Funding by the commonwealth for providing community services
- Suspension of any kind of permit to control the access to some aboriginal communities
- Quarantining some portion of welfare benefits in the designated communities and depriving all benefits for those who are neglecting their children
- Abolition of the Community Development Employment Projects
- Removal of customary law and cultural practices
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