NT Indigenous elder calls for ‘blackfella and whitefella’ to help end bush towns’ youth crime spree
An Indigenous elder has made an impassioned plea for greater cooperation between black and white communities to tackle juvenile delinquency in the Northern Territory, saying the current way of punishing criminals just isn’t working.
In the touching video, which went viral on social media and garnered dozens of positive comments, a resident named Manuel is seen in front of a wrecked car teetering on rocks and left outside a servo in Alice Springs.
The city is experiencing a crime spree that tourism heads say is scaring visitors away, with locals desperately calling for more law and order in the face of ‘crisis levels’ of anti-social behaviour.
“I’m here in Alice Springs, and look what I’ve seen,” he said, pointing at the car.
“This is not good and it is happening all over the (Northern) Territory.
‘Someone has to take responsibility.’
The man (pictured) made an impassioned video calling for more cooperation between black and white communities
Tourists have urged the Northern Territory government to take action to improve the situation in the town, with attacks over alcohol rising by 20 per cent over the past year.
Domestic violence rates are also up 22 percent, with car thefts and home burglaries also rising significantly.
Mr Dean said if whoever crashed the car doesn’t get into trouble, they’ll just do it again, with existing penalties that don’t stop would-be criminals.
“Whitefella law, the police and the prison don’t work and don’t teach young people anything,” he claimed.
“They come out and they still do the same thing over and over again.”
Instead, Mr Dean said the solution lies within the Aboriginal community.
“When I lived in the bush, when I was young, I got in trouble from the elders if I did something wrong,” he said.
“But now it’s different, because we all live in the city and people don’t listen to their elders, they’re not connected to the culture… so things have to change.
Mr Dean said teenagers should not be locked up in prison but instead should learn better lessons by spending time in their communities.
“They should be out of the bush, connected to the land and learning the culture and (Aboriginal) ceremony from their elders,” he suggested.
He called on the elders to “step forward and do things and make it work,” adding, “We can’t wait for the whites. We’ll arrange it ourselves. Blackfella to do the action.’
Once things improve, he said, ‘the territory will be good for everyone and not the shame of Australia.
‘There are more tourists coming from all over the world, people feel safe.’
The man used a crashed, wrecked and abandoned car used as a symbol of juvenile delinquency in the Northern Territory
NT Police Chief Craig Laidler admitted the recent statistics were worrying, agreeing with Mr Dean that help is needed to prevent young offenders from breaking the law in the first place.
“Really for me, I’d like to see that early intervention where they don’t cross our path,” he told the ABC.
Danial Rochford, the CEO of Tourism Central Australia, agreed, saying: ‘The ultimate definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.’
He said current methods of stopping crime just don’t work, revealing that a tourist was recently beaten by a coward while innocently prowling the city’s information center.
In his video, Mr Dean went on to say that society should ‘give Aboriginal people a purpose, something to work towards’, which would ‘make our family, our community, stronger’.
He said that while making changes is hard, “doing nothing will be even harder.”
“We have to work together, blackfella and whitefella,” he added.
He also addressed politicians, saying that they ‘have to listen, because the current ways of tackling juvenile delinquency and disengagement are not working.
“The more energy we put into it now, the money invested in listening to the Aboriginal people will save money and lives in the future,” he added.
‘Enough is enough. We can’t look back, we have to look forward.’
A crashed car teeters on rocks after being left outside a petrol station in the Northern Territory
The eldest said he wants a better future for his children and grandchildren and everyone’s children.
He ended his powerful speech by thanking those who had taken the time to listen,
“Spread the message everyone, whether you’re whitefella or blackfella, everyone needs to listen and demand change.”
Mr Dean received a very positive response on social media, with many thoughtful comments.
One poster said, “There is definitely a division between children and land.
“I’ve tried to get one of our elders to take my kids out and tell them their story, but it’s impossible.”
Another concurred, saying, “Everyone in the awake brigade should listen to this elderly gentleman. Well said, old chap.’
“This should be played to all politicians and government officials, local, state and national. He’s looking forward to it,” said another man.