Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser says an audit of the NT intervention is needed before proper consultation about its continuation can take place.
Source:
AAP
27 Jun 2011 - 4:24 PM  UPDATED 25 Feb 2015 - 11:01 AM

Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser says the Gillard government's latest report on the Northern Territory intervention provides no adequate measure of what has been achieved in Aboriginal communities.

Mr Fraser on Monday said the absence of details in the paper, relating to the successes and failures of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) would impede and prevent proper consultation.

"To talk sensibly about the future we need a full and proper audit of what has happened over the last four years of a paternal and Canberra-centric process," he said in a statement.

"How can the government embark on consultations for the years ahead when it is not prepared to lay out the facts of what has happened over the last four years?"

Prime Minister Julia Gillard last Wednesday released the discussion paper, titled Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory, saying her government would consult Aborigines about what aspects of the NTER should be continued, amended or stopped when legislation and funding expires mid next year.

Consultations are scheduled to begin in the NT on Tuesday.

She said significant progress had been made since the legislation was controversially introduced by the Howard government four years ago, but that more needed to be done.

Mr Fraser said the document admitted the conditions of Aborigines in the Northern Territory were worse than anywhere else in the country.

"That one admission makes it all the more urgent to have the facts fully on the table," he said, adding that the report provided no adequate measure of reductions in child abuse or improvements in life expectancy.

Mr Fraser questioned why the federal government had begun consultations in "unseemly haste".

"A 28-page document written only in English is incapable of being fully understood and absorbed by Aboriginal communities in the time the government has allegedly made available.

"Previous discussions have been designed to persuade Aboriginal communities to accept that which has been pre-determined by the government.

"The discussions must treat Aboriginal communities as full partners."