Thursday, July 05, 2007

Mr Howard, Mr Brough and Australia's Aborigines -4: NORFORCE

Graphic: NORFORCE'S operational Territory in red.

On 28 June I ran a post referring in part to the story of NORFORCE, the Australian Army unit deployed to support the Government's Northern Territory intervention. I did so because no one seemed to have noticed the significance.

Just to refresh your memory. NORFORCE is an elite Army Reserve Unit whose role is to provide reconnaissance services in the Northern Territory and the Kimberley Region of WA.

The unit has two distinctive features. First, it is the NT's premier local military unit. Secondly, it is 60 per cent indigenous drawing many of its soldiers from the areas affected by the intervention. In this sense, it is a powerful force for Aboriginal advancement.

Now you would think that all this would make its role a matter of interest. But at the time I wrote I knew of no-one who had spotted the significance.

I have not attempted to quantify all the blog posts written about the intervention since it began, but it must run in the thousands. But I decided to do a check on posts discussing NORFORCES's role, excluding those that just mentioned the name in passing. I found:

  • July 4: a comment on the Permaculture discussion forum.
  • June 30: a comment by Kev on the Road to Surfdom.

Note that I am excluding passing references. Note, too, that Google blog search is imperfect. Even so, it is a remarkable result.

I am left with this feeling, that everybody is so busy imposing their own views that they have not bothered to stand back and look at the facts.

Perhaps I am wrong. I would be interested in your comments.

A later PS

Since the Iraq War we are all used to the idea of embedded reporters. How about an embedded reporter that can report on the NORFORCE experience?


Anonymous said...

Point well made, Jim. At least anyone reading my page on the subject will be able to catch up as the link to you there, being a search, automatically updates to your latest -- so thanks for your perspective.

Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks for this Neil. Very grateful for this as well as the general support.