‘Lifestyle Choice’: Tony Abbott Stands by Controversial Comments Despite Indigenous Leader Backlash

Latika Bourke, Sydney Morning Herald, May 11, 2015

An unrepentant Tony Abbott is refusing to apologise for saying taxpayers should not be expected to fund the “lifestyle choices” of Australians living in remote communities, despite a backlash from indigenous leaders.

The Prime Minister made the comments on Tuesday while backing a West Australian government plan to close up to 150 remote Aboriginal communities.

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has described the comments as “unbelievably racist” and the opposition is demanding an apology.

Speaking on Sydney radio station 2GB on Wednesday, Mr Abbott told host Alan Jones he was just being “realistic” and “stating a general principle”.

“If you or I chose to live in a very remote place, to what extent is the taxpayer obliged to subsidise our services and, I think, this is a very real question,” the Prime Minister said.

“It is incredibly difficult for the kids to go to school, if there’s only half a dozen of them, and getting teachers there is all but impossible.

“Similarly, it’s very difficult for the adults to get a proper job if there’s no employment within hundreds of miles and this is where we have to be a little bit realistic,” he said.

But Mr Abbott’s own chief adviser on indigenous affairs, Warren Mundine, told Fairfax Media the Prime Minister’s comments were wrong.

“That is a complete misconception of what it is and he’s wrong in that regard,” Mr Mundine said. “It is not about a lifestyle, it is not like retiring and moving for a sea change. It is about thousands of years’ connection, their religious beliefs and the essence of who they are.”

Mr Mundine said native title laws were also an impediment to people moving out of indigenous communities because it would make it more difficult to prove their connection to the land.

He also said there were ways to overcome educational barriers, including sending children to regional boarding schools during the week.

Mr Mundine said he was frustrated by the Prime Minister’s gaffes in the area of indigenous affairs because, of all the prime ministers and politicians he had worked with, he found Mr Abbott to be the one most genuinely committed to real change for indigenous Australians.

“[Mr Abbott and John Howard] seem to be men trapped in their time but that’s not to say that [Mr Abbott’s] not one of the most generous and committed prime ministers in this area,” Mr Mundine said.

Federal opposition indigenous affairs spokesman Shayne Neumann has demanded a public apology to all Australians for the “deeply disturbing and highly offensive” comments.

“This is a Prime Minister who doesn’t understand the importance of these people to their connectivity to their land,” he told AAP.

Mr Neumann said the self-declared prime minister for indigenous affairs had form in this area, referring to Mr Abbott’s claim that Australia was unsettled before British “foreign investment”.

“He has trashed his reputation, he doesn’t deserve that title.”

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  • antiquesunlight

    In other words, the abos want to have their cake and eat it too. Right on, Abbott. If they want to live out in the middle of nowhere, that’s their problem.

    • bilderbuster

      They should be encouraged to live out in the middle of nowhere and left alone.

  • Jason Lewis

    Congrats Austrailia for having a leader who tells the truth and doesnt back track when the media gets on him. Wish we had more of those here.

    • Michael Robert Ryan

      Australia is a much less P.C. place than the U.S. or U.K.

  • IstvanIN

    The Aboriginal people should have a territory or state that is exclusively theirs. The rest of Australia should belong to the descendents of the people who built Australia, people of the various British Isles ethnicities. Other European peoples if they completely assimilate to Anglo-Australian culture and swear allegiance to the Crown. Everyone else should go.

    • Ari Lipschitz, DDS

      Yea well so should Americans of European descent but that ain’t comin’ down the pike tomorrow either.

      • Seniorsquadldr

        So should the so called “Native Americans” head back to Asia. They are not native to the landmass now called, the United States of America. To say nothing about the Jews, who do not belong here either, What say you Mr. Lipschitz?

      • Mangosteen, $1000 chair

        America was inhabited by whites, the Solutreans and Azgens. All of the American Indian tribes have stories about the whites they drove off, killed, or just “disappeared”. So really, it belongs to us.

        • El Baga Doucha Libtard

          It would belong to us anyway, by virtue of the noble right of conquest (but I get your point).

          • Mangosteen, $1000 chair

            Manifest destiny!

    • George Moriarty

      Huge areas of Australia are already under Aboriginal control and (mis)management. generally non-Aboriginals are denied access to Aboriginal areas and reserves. Further huge areas were given back to Aboriginals under our recent left leaning labour governments. This includes the famous Central Australian tourist icon of Ayres Rock. (PC name Uluru) Access and photography are now restricted.
      Aboriginal land councils have large land holdings near our capital cities, no they don’t seem to want to have a special connection with the land, spiritual or otherwise, most of it is just a waste dump and or fire hazard and they want to sell it to capitalise on our insane property prices.
      Then, every time a development is proposed, be it a mine, a building, dam or road the Aboriginals (and/or white sympathisers) suddenly realize the area is a sacred site and halt the development often permanently.
      Most people in Australia are totally sick and tired of the “Aboriginal Industry” including land rights.

      • stonepillow

        Much as in the Middle East where you have the “Holy City” of Najah the “Holy” city of Qom. Something which is going to spread to the U.S. once the Black Victim Industry realizes the potential. Police will be banned from making arrests on the “Holy Avenue” of Amsterdam or inside the “Holy” theater of Apollo.

      • Mangosteen, $1000 chair

        So if I go to Australia I can’t even see Ayers Rock?? That’s nuts!

        • George Moriarty

          Ayres Rock is too important to allow it to be put completely off limits and it does have full tourist facilities nearby including transportation links. The Aboriginal elders do have some restrictions on photography and most areas near the base of the rock are off-limits. They are also trying to stop people climbing the rock.
          Some other parts of the nearby McDonnell ranges are completely off-limits to hikers and trekkers. It’s not good.

  • Luca D.

    Imagine this being said in America:

    “If you or I chose to live a ghetto lifestyle, to what extent is the taxpayer obliged to subsidize our services and, I think, this is a very real question”.

    “It is incredibly difficult for the kids to go to school, if there’s only half a dozen of them with an IQ geater than their shoe size and getting good teachers to stay in a ghetto school is all but impossible.

    “Similarly, it’s very difficult for the adults to get a proper job if they are lazy, alcoholics with criminal tendencies and entitlement mentalities and this is where we have to be a little bit realistic”.

  • disqus_Xz3UA6obwj

    “It is not about a lifestyle, it is not like retiring and moving for a sea change. It is about thousands of years’ connection, their religious beliefs and the essence of who they are.”

    Is the essence of who they are, parasites? If they have lived that way for thousands of years then why do they need the white man to provide for them now?

    • George Moriarty

      See my other comment, basically they don’t need the white man if they live their traditional lifestyle in the outback where they do own huge areas of Australia. The main problems are on the coast, near the cities or in agricultural areas where they have been displaced over the past two centuries. Again, quite simply they can not adjust to a non-nomadic lifestyle..

      • Michael Robert Ryan

        basically they don’t need the white man if they live their traditional
        lifestyle in the outback where they do own huge areas of Australia.

        AIUI, that’s exactly what they were mostly doing until, in the 1970s, some stupid idiot lefties in the government decided to start sending them welfare checks in an attempt to solve various non-existent problems. Of course, the law of unintended consequences kicked in and after they found out they could get free money from the government, it completely destroyed their traditional way of life (hey, why plod around in the desert all day digging grubs out of rotten tree stumps when you can just sit by the mailbox drinking beer all day waiting for the checks to come in.)

    • bilderbuster

      They don’t need the White man. Only the White man’s gasoline to huff.

    • Light from the East

      In fact, without white men’s intervention, their religious beliefs and the essence of their identities are more likely to be preserved and therefore they are more able to trace back their thousands of years connection, in the name of multiculturalism.

  • dd121

    Wish we had a few leaders like him.

  • IstvanIN

    Another darkie who can not speak the King’s English: a West Australian government
    It should say “West Australia” government, the name of the state is West Australia, not “West Australian”.

    • John Smith

      Commonwealth-origin folks tend to do stuff like that. They say things like “Californian Government” all the time in the media.

      • Alexandra1973

        Yeah, but that’s California.

  • George Moriarty

    Put quite simply Aboriginals like white man’s social welfare, mining royalties, free medicals, free education (mainly taken advantage of by part Aboriginals). But they truly hate the white man.

    • LHathaway

      A lot of people around the globe like the idea of America, they just don’t like Americans. White Americans, anyway. All other kinds are ‘victims’ of some sort they sympathize with. Heck, their ‘plight’ is probably the reason they don’t really like Americans.

    • JohnnySmoggins

      Throw in a whole lot of booze and you’ve just described the condition of natives in Canada as well.

      • George Moriarty

        As for the booze (and petrol sniffing also) this is another big issue. Aboriginal access to alcohol has been a disaster since it was first permitted in the 1960s. More recently alcohol has been banned from many Aboriginal settlements but guess what, this has been branded as racist!

    • Alexandra1973

      “You can give them a free house in town but it will be trashed in very
      quick time, all their extended family will be there, often 20 people
      with only one often non-functioning lavatory. The untended yard will be
      full of derelict cars, stray dogs and rubbish.”

      Sounds like Section 8 housing here in America.

  • Tarczan

    Is someone stopping these darkies from walking out into the desert and adopting their primitive lifestyle? It seems they want the whites to subsidize them.

    You can livestream 2gb pretty easy.

    • George Moriarty

      Note, Alan Jones at Radio 2GB is very outspoken and likes to say things the way they are. He is not PC and calls a spade a spade. He has a big radio audience and politicians ignore him at their own peril!

  • carriewhite64

    “Mr Mundine said native title laws were also an impediment to people moving out of indigenous communities because it would make it more difficult to prove their connection to the land.”He is not saying that they have to move, just that the government cannot support them in remote locations. They have a choice. Tony Abbott is not being unreasonable.

    • George Moriarty

      Mr Mundine is talking in “Double Speak” at it’s worst.
      Note also, Mr Mundine as far as I know is not a full blood Aboriginal and his comment about sending Aboriginal kids to boarding schools is beyond ridiculous.

      • carriewhite64

        Yes, can you imagine the reaction of the Aboriginal community to this idea if Abbott had proposed it?

  • JohnEngelman

    It takes at least a thousand years to adjust genetically to agriculture, and another thousand to adjust to civilization. Australian Aborigines who chose to maintain their traditional way of life should be encouraged to do so if it is possible for them to do so.

    • LHathaway

      hehe, I’m not sure, but I may be glad you’ve decided to hang out with us. You can pull off some pretty good insults when you want to. And we have taken sides, haven’t we?

      • JohnEngelman

        I can take an insult, but I rarely deliver one.

        • LHathaway

          ‘It takes thousands of years to adjust to civilization – Aboriginals should be encouraged take the time to make that adjustment’

          It surely sounded like one of the best insults I’ve ever read on these pages! And this is a message board where half the comments may be intended as a grave insult. I’m sorry if I read you incorrectly. I’m glad you’re here, regardless.

          • JohnEngelman

            It should not be regarded as racially derogatory to tell the truth about innate racial differences.

          • George Moriarty

            How true, the Aboriginals are just that, totally different to us or most other races on this planet. They have survived at subsistence level in the world’s most hostile natural environment and in that regard it is not for us to say they are inferior to us.
            But, the Aboriginal race was here when whites first came and all attempts at assimilation have been met with failure and hostility. Modern Australia is a fact of history and sadly Aboriginals are not really part of this nation. Spending billions on them has not helped them and I really don’t think anyone has any real workable answers to this dilemma, and there will not be any answers until someone is prepared to be honest about the often massive differences between races..

          • JohnEngelman

            The Australian Aborigines are a paleolithic people. As such they resemble the San Bushmen of southern Africa. The San Bushmen are the oldest race in existence. When our ancestors left Africa 60,000 years ago, they resembled the San Bushmen.

            I feel concern for the Australian Aborigines and the San Bushmen. However, I do not see their problems as human rights issues. I see their problems as akin to those faced by endangered animal species. We have an obligation to take care of these races. They cannot survive without our help.

            By studying the Australian Aborigines and the San Bushmen we can learn about our own ancestors, and consequently, about ourselves.

          • MikeofAges

            So you think people exist to be studied. The problem is, they think they exist to watch television, have hot and cold running water, eat supermarket food, and wear western style mass produced clothing. They want to then practice their aboriginal lifestyle as a full-time hobby financed by us. Either that or move to the city and be provided public housing. Get with it Jack, I mean John.

          • JohnEngelman

            You took their land. Now take care of them.

          • MikeofAges

            Changing the subject again. I merely was pointing out that people develop autonomous desires within the context they find themselves in.

          • Lexonaut

            I don’t recall the name of the book but it made an interesting (though not entirely convincing) case that modern man — a fusion of Neanderthal and I-forget-what — is actually somewhere between 200,000 and 600,000 years old, and that what happened 60,000 years ago was migration back into Africa, not out of it.

          • JohnEngelman

            Anyone can write a book, or an article, or post something on the internet that makes unfounded assertions. The informed consensus is that modern humans appeared 100,000 years ago in Africa. These probably resembled the San Bushmen. 60,000 years ago one hundred to several hundred of them crossed the Sinai Peninsula, and began to populate Asia.

            The informed consensus is based on fossil evidence and DNA evidence.

          • Lexonaut

            “The informed consensus is based on fossil evidence and DNA evidence.”

            So was this book, which contained hundreds of citations and dozens of photographs. Let me see whether I still have it …

            … No, but the title will come to me sometime. When it does I’ll post it.

          • JohnEngelman

            Look at the citations and see if they are of credible sources. I have looked at books that made implausible claims that were documented by obscure authors and publications I have never heard of.

          • MikeofAges

            And they apparently have some ways of knowledge which were critical to their survival under paleolithic conditions. Some of their attributed powers might exist only in the realm of urban legend. Others might be real. Somebody who knows something first hand ought to weigh in. Whatever these people seem like in the eyes of modern cosmopolitan man, they lived for a long time in a harsh world.

    • JohnnySmoggins

      Sure but the problem is that it’s always on whitey’s dime.

      • John Smith

        How much does living naked and spearing your dinner cost?

  • Mangosteen, $1000 chair

    They lived just fine out there for thousands of years without whitey funding them, why can’t they continue doing it? Maybe send them some alcohol and gas to huff, let the problem take care of itself!

    • John Smith

      They wouldn’t even notice that we’re here and can go right on spearing ‘roos and goannas.

  • Mangosteen, $1000 chair

    Abos in the wild….is it like Gorillas in the Mist? We need a documentary!

    • Lexonaut

      I do parody song lyrics for fun, sometimes. Let me see what I can do, sung to the tune of “Strangers in the Night” …

      Abos in the wild … exchanging lances
      Chanting without end … at native dances
      Sharing roasted roo … before the night was through.

      I could go on but I’m not going to.

  • UncleSham

    You’re supposed to give them casinos.

  • IKUredux

    They managed to exist before the Europeans got there. They can manage now, without the Europeans help. I say “Carry on, you ugliest people on the face of the Earth”.

  • yodaddy51

    Never seen a abos in the flesh,but what I have seen of them they are the most horrid creatures on earth. even worse than Negroes

    • Mangosteen, $1000 chair

      They are monstrous. Uglier than blacks, and have a weird ashy black color, instead of the more mahogany Africans. I can’t remember what site but some “Abos” were complaining about something and they were all “whites” with miniscule amounts of Abo blood, but you could tell. All fat, lumpy, with the misshapen features and broad nose. Apparently that blood is really strong, and not in a good way, of course.

      Can you imagine a creature uglier and dumber than an African black? They sleep in the middle of the road, literally SLEEP there. Too dumb to know not to sleep in the middle of a road! It boggles the mind!

      • Lexonaut

        Anthropologist Richard Leaky believed that Aborigines are actually Australopithecus still among us. Others believe that blacks are Homo Erectus still among us.

    • George Moriarty

      No, different is the word. I will also make the comment that I have never seen such love between mother and child as there is in Aboriginal society. Different, yes, they give the young child a puppy (often from a wild native dog) to keep the child warm on a bitterly cold winters night.
      The males, very fierce warriors with surprisingly sophisticated stone age weapons. Had a family friend who was a government nurse in the West Autralian outback, she had to treat plenty of spear wounds.

      • jambi19

        Spear wound? You are joking right? I have studied cases of field amputations documented from 17th century European physicians performed on soldiers in the battlefield. “Different”is not the word. “Inferior” is the word. Here we have another comment from a western academic, folks. Another social construct known as “moral relativism”. In this case, “the noble savage” theme often salivated over by the intellectual deficient, disengenuous and bloviating left wing ivory tower bleeding hearts. To equate stone age sophistication with 21st century western man is not only insulting; the notion itself makes me laugh out loud. I can say I have witnessed my own western mother expressing more love for her child by her teaching her son literacy, not living in a cave, and not allowing rediculous superstitions (such as a camera flash stealing my soul) to take root in my mind.

        • George Moriarty

          A long time ago in a different Australia we had a realistic view of our Aboriginal people, do a Google search for Witchetty’s Tribe Comic, Images. Note the cartoonist lived in the outback and truly loved Aboriginal culture. His work is now regarded as non-PC.

  • Light from the East

    “It is not about a lifestyle, it is not like retiring and moving for a sea change. It is about thousands of years’ connection, their religious beliefs and the essence of who they are.”

    If Mr Abbott has a deep understanding of “multiculturalism”, he could reply Australian leftists with “If so, without using taxpayers’ money, leaving them alone, their culture will continue to thrive without the influence of capitalism, systematic racism, and white Australians’ privilege. Because of this, their culture is preserved. It will guarantee our successful multiculturalism policy.”

  • InitialSegment

    So how easy is it for Americans to emigrate to Australia? Just want to keep my options open in case the US goes full Marxist. . .

  • Kit Ingoldby

    The only people shrieking about this are people who would never, ever vote for him anyway. If he has the balls to not back down then it will do him nothing but good.

  • Lexonaut

    “It is about thousands of years’ connection, their religious beliefs and the essence of who they are.”

    Well then … Respect for tradition being so important, I suggest that the Aborigines be happy to be supported by whites the same way they were thousands of years ago.

  • johnnyb

    tony abbot for potus 2016