A possie in Aussie

January 28, 2009

Cash for violence

Filed under: Integration — Nayano @ 12:37 pm
Tags: , ,

The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship has just announced grants of up to $150,000 for projects in areas where racial intolerance is identified. (Other grants of up to $5000, with a much simpler application process will also be available.) This program will replace “living in harmony”, after an internal review found the need for a stronger focus on racial tolerance. The news release from DIAC quotes the Cronulla riots as an example of problems that could be targeted. ‘Matching up needs: anti-racism campaign takes diverse approach’

The right-wing Andrew Bolt not surprisingly has a somewhat biased view of the Diverse Australia Program, and gives the fact that we have very little racism to support his view that it is more money wasted. I have a different take: I am disappointed that it appears that we must wait for racial intolerance to appear before being able to access funds to do something about it. (And it appears to be on the increase – see my post of yesterday, End racist violence: ban Australia day? ).

Mr.  Bolt does make a good point, however, when he asks

“Has anyone ever bothered to discover if they actually do any practical good at all? I mean, what are the chances of this working?”

Indeed, seen this way, the grants are ‘cash for violence’.

But he may be surprised to learn that the economic rationalists are to blame for the deficiency of adequate answers to his question. DIAC grants are heavily audited, and grantees have to undergo an onerous process of acquittal – but that acquittal is designed to satisfy accountants who want ‘proof’ that the funds have been spent as they were allocated, but with no regard at all to judging real life outcomes, or if they do ‘practical good’.

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