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Byron Shire
February 5, 2023

Vandalising the fabric of society

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Recently I read that a section of our local playground was seriously damaged by vandalism. I felt very sad because it was a favourite area for my grandchildren. I didn’t feel angry with those who did it however. I’ve worked in youth services with many young people who didn’t have pushbikes, their families didn’t have cars so they were stuck in violent neighbourhoods with no escape.

The school system failed them but TAFE used to do a great job of engaging them in education. However under recent governments TAFE is almost completely destroyed, funding for support services has been vandalised and some young people have no job opportunities and no hope for the future.

If I looked around and saw that I had nothing and other people had everything simply because of where they were born or their race I would feel angry at the injustice of society. I would feel condemned and outcast by a society that shows no care for me and obviously prefers me out of sight and out of mind. I might want to show how angry I feel and rage against the cold and heartless society that is shutting me out.

As politicians and rich people continue to focus on increasing the inequality in this country we might see more rage from the hopeless and forgotten poor. Please let’s think again.


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  1. I once hired an Aboriginal woman who performed brilliantly because she had the self respect and decency not to fall into the trap of the whining victim syndrome. Was a credit to herself and country and despite having a less than brilliant upbringing she knew the difference between right and wrong. In stark contrast to the above post where “its always someone else,s fault”. TAFE in your argument is irrelevant. Read the papers, where are all the Apprenticeships? Gone to China every one ( sorry PPM). TAFE is irrelevant in teaching trades when there are none. Blame Globalisation if you will but at the end of the day you still have to make the choice and decide between right and wrong. No, those vandals are at fault, they did to that park what you do to society, no different, equally culpable in permitting their mindless stupidity.

  2. “TAFE is irrelevant in teaching trades when there are none” – so who builds and fixes our houses and buildings – I’ve been looking for a cheap Chinese tradie for years but I cannot find any! Of course a lot of manufacturing has gone to China and increasingly to South Asia, but those jobs, many of which were taken by “new Australian” have been replaced by service jobs. As we have become increasingly professional about the way we do hose service sector jobs the TAFE sector has stepped in to provide the training. Tehre are some appalling rip off providers in the TAFE sector, but our public colleges and many of the private ones too are providing world class training. And if we managed it the way we have the universities, we would be training those Chinese and other overseas trades people in our quality TAFE institutions generating even more work for skilled people.
    I note also in your post you use the example of an aboriginal and you appear to be implying that some aboriginals fall into some sort of “whining victim syndrome”. The danger of that sort of commentary is that it suggests that any aboriginal who raises issues of discrimination is seen as a “whiner”. I worked for one of, if not the largest employers of aboriginals, on Australia, and it was managed by aboriginals. Most of the aboriginals I worked with were like your friend, hard working people who were proud of their aboriginal heritage, and like many Australians, they were in the main quiet achievers. But I have also met and worked with aboriginals who were strongly activist, and without them we would never have made the changes we have done to improve the rights and lives of indigenous people. We know there are still a lot of problems in the indigenous community and so they and we still need those “whining” activists who tell us plainly when and why aboriginals still are victims of discrimination.

  3. Lengthily argued Petrus, you must have more spare time than me!. I scan the papers, local and national and I have not seen an advertisement for an Apprentice of any description for years. There are organisations that handle Apprentices with using Adverts but I,m willing to bet those people who build and fix your houses will be well into their 40,s. Nothing you state refutes my claim. I lectured part time at TAFE ( while I worked full time) for a decade and whilst there were some excellent Lecturers some were unemployable. About the same ratio I guess as the general population. Are we talking discrimination by Govts or people. At the Federal Govt level every man, woman and child of Aboriginal descent had twice as much spent on them as an “other race” man, woman and child.Where is the discrimination then?. You should read as a matter of urgency Jacinta Prices dissertation at the “Centre for Independent Studies” of late. The problem is from within, Its dry rot Petrus not a bushfire.


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