Outlook sunny, with mixed opinions for Mildred and friends
阳光下,米尔德丽德与其朋友的观点却大相径庭

A STERN message greets visitors to a small town in one of outback Australia’s most isolated regions: “Warning. Prescribed Area. No Liquor. No Pornography.” The whitewashed buildings of Hermannsburg, in the red desert west of Alice Springs, date from its founding as a Lutheran mission in 1877. The sign is a much more recent addition. Mildred Inkamala, an aboriginal elder, points out a spot along the Finke River where an 18-year-old indigenous youth, high from sniffing petrol, raped and drowned a young girl.

到澳大利亚内陆最偏远地区一个小镇的拜访者常常被严肃警告:“警告。划定区域。禁止酒精。禁止情色活动。”赫曼斯堡位于爱丽丝泉城西部红色沙漠地带,当地石灰建筑可以追溯到1877年路德教团理事会的成立。但这些警示也是近期才出现的。当地土著老人米尔德丽德(Mildred Inkamala)给我们指出了芬克河沿岸的一个地点,在那里一名18岁当地青年,因为吸汽油变得兴奋,强奸并溺死了一名年轻女孩。

Three years ago a report on the sexual abuse of children among indigenous communities in the Northern Territory shocked Australia. Aborigines comprise about a quarter of the territory’s population, compared with 2% of Australia as a whole. The conservative government of the time, led by John Howard, announced the “Northern Territory Emergency Response”. Better known as “the intervention”, it imposed federal control over Hermannsburg and 72 other settlements.

三年前一篇关于澳大利亚北部本土居民儿童性侵犯的报导震惊了澳大利亚。土著居民占有北部四分之一的人口,而仅是澳大利亚总人口的2%。当时由霍华德领导的保守党政府宣布了“北部突发事件应对案”,还有一个名称可能更有名,“干预案”,条例中规定对包括赫曼斯堡在内的73个定居点实行联邦管制。

The Australian government began controlling how residents of the “prescribed communities” spend their share of public monies: half their income from welfare payments is quarantined for necessities such as food and children’s clothes. As the intervention marks its third anniversary about 17,000 people are now on “income-management”, a twelvefold increase since 2007. The current Labor government, led by Kevin Rudd, is preparing to roll back the intervention’s most controversial element, which suspended laws against racial discrimination. But it also plans to broaden its provision of income-management. From July it will apply to all of the territory’s welfare recipients, regardless of race.

澳大利亚政府开始在划定区域管理人们公共费用的使用:他们来自福利性收入的一半将充公用于购买食物,儿童衣服等必需品。干预案已实施有3年了,目前有17,000人接受“收入管理”,这个数目自2007年起已经提高了12倍。当前有凯文.拉德领导的工党政府正准备中止干预案中最受争议的条款,因为该条款暂停了反对种族歧视的法律。但是该政府同时计划扩大收入管理的款项。从7月开始它将这个干预案遍及北部所有福利受益人,不管种族。

Human-rights activists are unimpressed. They view the intervention as a return to the official paternalism that prevailed before the aborigines won their long battle for land rights 35 years ago. Alastair Nicholson, a former judge, calls the Rudd government’s changes a “cynical attempt to perpetuate racial discrimination”. Among aborigines on the front lines however, opinion varies.更多信息请访问:http://www.24en.com/

人权活动家却不能接受。他们认为这种干预制度是家长式制度的回归, 35年前土著人获得土地权利,而之前家长式制度十分风行。一名前法官阿拉斯泰尔•尼可尔森称拉德政府的改变是“加深种族歧视的一次愤世嫉俗般的尝试”。然而最利益攸关的土著人观点却各不相同。

The contrast is most vivid in a fringe of 18 settlements around Alice Springs known as the town camps. Once places where desert aborigines came looking for work, they degenerated into pools of despair. Alcoholic binges, wife-beating, rape and murder were common. Late last year the federal government struck a deal with the Tangentyere Council, an indigenous body which controls the camps. The council granted 40-year leases to the federal government in exchange for A$100m ($92.6m) to clean up the town camps and build new houses.

反差最大的是爱丽丝泉城附近的18个定居点,称之为镇营。这些地方曾是沙漠土著人寻求工作的地方,现在却是一潭绝望的死水。酗酒,殴打妻子,强奸和谋杀十分普遍。去年下半年联邦政府与控制镇营的当地机构Tangentyere委员会签订了一项协议。该委员会将40年管理租期以1亿澳元(9260万美元)的价格售予联邦政府,联邦政府将清理镇营,建设新的房子。

William Tilmouth, the council’s director, still thinks the “government knows best” approach stinks of the notorious century of Australian policy that created the “stolen generations”. Mr Tilmouth himself was one of those mixed-race children who were forcibly separated from their parents, ostensibly for their own good. He thinks the intervention should be ended.

委员会主席威廉.提尔茅斯仍然认为这种“政府最了解”策略污染了澳大利亚政策臭名昭著的世纪,产生出“被偷走的一代”。提尔茅斯显示自己本身就是混血儿,被强制与父母分离,美其名曰为他们好。他认为干预需要制止。

Its proponents, however, point to the shaming statistic that aborigines on average die almost 11 years younger than other Australians. Ms Inkamala, for one, is a supporter of the intervention. A reformed alcoholic herself, she has a job and manages her own income. She has watched as Hermannsburg’s primary-school attendance rate almost doubled, to 80%, since it started. The community’s income-managed women, she reckons, have more money to spend on their children’s welfare. Andrea Mason, the head of a local women’s group, says income-management has stopped abusive men “humbugging” household money to spend on booze, drugs and gambling. Far from calling for it to end, she wants it extended outside the territory.

然而该干预案的支持者却指出,羞耻的数据表明土著人人均寿命比其他澳大利亚人少11年。茵卡玛拉就是其中一位支持者。作为一名戒酒成功者,她有一份工作,并自己管理收入。她观察到赫曼斯堡的小学入学率自办学来几乎翻倍,到达80%。她认为该社区的收入受管妇女花在他们孩子福利上的钱变得更多。安德里亚.梅森是当地一个妇女组织的领导人,她称,收入管理有效制止了有虐待倾向的男人欺诈家用积蓄去喝酒,嗑药和赌博。所以她非但不呼吁干预案终止,还希望能发展到北部以外的区域。