Daily Archives: August 20, 2009

More on safer computing

It would appear to be like “safe sex” – not 100% reliable, but far better than nothing if you have good condoms.

Yahoo7 drew attention this afternoon to the top 100 infected sites based on number of threats detected by Norton Safe Web as of August 2009. They only offer the top 30 on that page, and so far as I can tell I have never been to any of them.

Why I have so interested in such things lately you may see from Multicultural Surry Hills, and How to Kill a Toshiba and Watching TV again: Jack Mundey; scary computer stuff.

What firewall do you use? Have a look at Proactive Security Challenge and look for yours in the list. You may get a shock. The ACER I am now using since the Toshiba was eaten by malware now has Outpost Firewall Free 2009 in place of the Windows one. The ACER also came packaged with McAfee Internet Security 2009 which according to the Proactive Challenge has a security rating of 2/10 and scored 12%!


Posted by on August 20, 2009 in awful warnings, computers, web stuff, www


Framing discussion of Indigenous issues in Australia

Some have a problem with the word “indigenous” – I don’t. To me it is clear that a rabbit, though the current rabbits are “native”, is not indigenous; a kangaroo is. Similarly except for a small part of my DNA inheritance I am a native of Australia but not indigenous. The word “native” derives from Latin “natus” = “born [in]”.

Another framing issue for me is this. In the Gospel of John there is a very theological statement attributed to Jesus: “before Abraham was, I Am.” Now consider our Australian Aboriginal people: before Abraham was, they were – and had been for some 35,000 years. Reflect on that. This is not to deny that there is a complex story behind these first settlers, when they came, whether there were several waves of incomers, and so on. Anthropologists and archaeologists are still working on that.

The ever forthright Patrick Dodson has an opinion piece in today’s Sydney Morning Herald. Patrick Dodson is himself a substantial figure in the story of Indigenous policy and politics in the past twenty or thirty years. Referring to framing theory himself, Dodson writes:

…Progress was made in this endeavour during the early years of the decade of reconciliation but at the final hurdle the nation turned its back on reconciling its past.

Instead, a new Australian story has been forged. The persistent inequity and deprivation of the colonised exist in a historical vacuum.

Community dysfunction is now understood as the fault of the colonised and their persistent cultural practices, rather than as a result of violent dispossession, brutal colonisation and authoritarian state intervention.

The nation has been told that indigenous disadvantage is also the result of four decades of failed government policies designed and perpetrated by progressive liberalism and romantics who believe in the integrity of indigenous culture and its place in modern Australia.

And those who have dared to tell the story of dispossession, exclusion and injustice – now apparently dated and short-lived in the manufacture of Australian history with its accompanying policy prescriptions for restitution and national reconciliation – are condemned for entrenching victimhood and dependence.

The relationship between indigenous people and the nation state is framed by two opposing forces. On the one hand there is an aggressive polemic, often masquerading as scholarship, which portrays traditional culture and the structures that protect and support Aboriginal society as reasons for chronic disadvantage and impediments to closing the gap.

On the other hand, there is the reality of contemporary indigenous nations throughout Australia whose people want liberation from material deprivation, sickness and social disorder, but at the same time to defend what is most important to them – their culture and identity.

Our inability to reconcile or mediate these two opposing views reduces debate in indigenous affairs to a scramble for the moral high ground, leaving most of the population confused and disengaged. As a result, we are a nation trapped by our history and paralysed by our failure to imagine any relationship with first peoples other than assimilation, whatever its guise…

Look, I do go along with this up to a point – and that point is that Dodson is also being driven by an urge to dichotomise. I suspect – and I offer the thought tentatively – that we need to see these stories as aspects of current and past reality, not as opposing forces, even if admitting the tension between them. I can’t help feeling that driving a wedge between so they are seen as in conflict rather than in tension is likely to lead to some unfortunate decisions affecting the desired outcome – a better position over-all for Indigenous Australians.

Dodson goes on to commend Australian Dialogue and his own work as founding director of the Indigenous Policy and Dialogue Research Unit at the University of NSW. I am sure both are and will be valuable to us all.