Friday, September 14, 2007

They're Coming For The Children

Children of drug-and-alcohol addicted parents would be adopted out, and addicted children under 18 forced into rehab, if extremist conservatives like Liberal MP Bronwyn Bishop had their way.

Wait, my mistake. Did I write alcohol addicted parents? Okay, that was wrong. Bishop only wants drug-addicted parents to have their children taken away from them.

Liberal MPs on a House of Representatives committee inquiry into illicit drug use have called for a hardline approach to drug policy, including dumping the Government's "harm minimisation policy".

Naturally. Everybody knows that the hardline approach to drug policies always work a charm. Look at how few drug addicts there are in the US, for example, where only tens of millions of people are hooked on pills, cocaine, heroin and ice.

The committee recommends adoption be established as the "default" care option for children aged five and under, where child protection authorities had identified illicit drug use by the parents.

It also recommends amending legislation to allow for children up to 18 years to be placed in mandatory treatment if they are addicted to illicit drugs.

Labor MPs on the committee, in a dissenting report, raised concerns about how the inquiry had been conducted.

Some witnesses had experienced "outright hostility because their expert views did not accord with the personal beliefs or political aims of those questioning them", they said.

Outright hostility from extremists like Bishop? Accused of letting her "personal beliefs or political aims" get in the way of accurately assessing expert opinion? Tell me it's not true. I refuse to believe that.

It should come as no surprise that alcohol abuse wasn't considered anywhere near as dangerous, by conservatives in this parliamentary committee, as all those evil illegal drugs.

So why the focus on only seizing the abused or neglected children of smack junkies or ice freaks? Because most of them are poor and can't afford lawyers to fight back. Rich junkies can afford nannies to make sure their babies' nappies aren't crawling with cockroaches, or that 3 year old Tanya isn't undernourished.

And also because there's only a few thousand families where children are placed directly in harm's way by the use of those drugs by their parents.

If you start talking about alcohol, then the abuse and neglect figures rocket up to hundreds of thousands of families. Tearing apart the culture of abuse spawned by alcohol would mean deconstructing and rewriting the entire fabric of Australian society, where white middle class families, per capita, utterly outrank those of poor Aboriginal families for loading up on booze and beating ten kinds of hell out of their kids.

There's a problem with drug-addicted parents mistreating their children, of course there is, but it's typical of conservatives like Bishop to only focus on the smallest sliver of a far bigger problem. Naturally, the conservative tabloid media and talk back radio will praise politicians like Bishop for taking a "tough stance" and a "zero tolerance" approach to illegal drugs, while filling advertising space flogging the drug of choice for child-beating, kid-abusing mums and dads - alcohol.

Hell, drinking half a case of beer and punching your eight year old son the entire length of the hallway is an Australian tradition. It's how you turn wimpy little boys into real men, apparently.