It was 4am on Saturday21st April. The busy streets of Kings Cross in Sydney were full of the usual crowds out for a good night.
What happened next would be the talk of Sydney for the next week.
I won’t go into all the details, as I’m sure most of you know them already.
The short story is a carload of teenagers in a stolen car were driving down Bayswater Rd, the main street of Kings Cross, however, not only were they driving down the street, but also down the crowded footpath, hitting pedestrians. The end result of this chaos was that the police opened fire on the vehicle, seriously wounding the driver and front seat passenger, almost killing the driver in fact, then dragging the other passengers from the vehicle and arresting them, using what video footage shows to be rather excessive force. Adding to the controversy, the almost fatally wounded driver was 14 years old, and indigenous.
There has been a lot of talk of blame since, which is’ I suppose expected considering the circumstances. However, it is expected that those in positions of authority would not point the finger of blame, police and politicians would wait until investigations were undertaken before laying blame upon someone.
Enter NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell.
Understandably concerned that gun crime, and deaths by firearms have dramatically increased since the Coalition Government in NSW came into power in March 2011, Barry wanted to cover some ass….
As an interesting sidenote to this, the new Qld Premier, Campbell Newman said yesterday that now there is a Coalition govt in Qld there will be no soft approach, and indicating that bikie gangs should be worried. Quite the opposite it seems…. The Robina Shopping Centre shooting in Qld, and the drastic escalation in gun crime in NSW seem to show that the Coalition are not up to the task in either state, and that those who commit these crimes are relishing the new Coalition governments.
Anyway, Barry O’Farrell, keen to defuse the situation and calm things down, politely told the public on national TV, “I as a parent, know where my 14 year old is. Before we seek to blame police, we’ve got to look at ourselves.”
Here is a link to the ABC’s 7 30 report on the saga, including Barry’s words of wisdom.
I have never seen a Premier lay the blame for the crime of a child at the feet of parents before, and for bloody good reason too.
For Barry O’Farrell to compare his 14 year old to these kids is just downright insulting. To then point the finger of blame at the parents, based on that insulting comparison is an absolute disgrace.
I am sure that Barry’s 14 year old living in Sydney’s leafy North Shore has so much in common with the 14 year old indigenous boy from Mt Druitt. Their living environments must be so similar….
I am also sure, that Barry’s child would have a similar group of friends as well. After all, it is remarkable how occasionally attending a public school in one of Sydney’s poorest suburbs will result in a child having a similar circle of friends to that of a child attending a posh private school in Sydney’s North Shore. Not only would their friends have been remarkably similar, but I’m more than sure that Barry’s child would also face the same peer group pressures daily.
Of course financially there would be a lot in common between the O’Farrell household, and the likely housing commission home of the 14 year old shot by police. I am sure Barry O’Farrell’s receives a similar amount of pocket money, or allowance each week. I’m sure that the 14 year old driving the car faced a tough decision between stealing a car for a joyride, and going to a cafe and then to the movies with his friends.
Does Barry O’Farrell live in the same world as the rest of us? I wonder….
I do not know the details of the 14 year old driver’s family. I don’t believe his name has even been released yet. I do however know a little about the area where this boy was from, and also a little about the struggles many of the families in the area face.
Barry, I am sure many of the parents in the area would love to know where their 14 year old child is 24hrs a day, but it is safe to say this is often difficult.
Many of these children come from broken homes and live with a single parent. This single parent, often a victim of domestic violence struggles to feed the family either on welfare payments or often working a graveyard shift in a dead end job.
Forced to leave their children alone, unable to afford a babysitter, they head off to work all night in a service station so you can put fuel in your luxury car at 1am on your way to pick your child up from their friend’s house. Maybe they work in an all night bottle shop so you won’t run out of wine at your dinner party…
Maybe they just clean your office Barry, scrubbing your toilet while you get a good nights sleep on silk sheets.
Maybe the people living out in Sydney’s Western Suburbs should contact their Minister and register a complaint. It must be comforting for those on struggle street to know that there is a Government Minister who understands them, cares about their concerns, and is not going to judge them.
The only problem is, the Minister For Western Sydney is none other than Barry O’Farrell himself.
I am not sure which award Barry O’Farrell is trying to win with his comments, Father Of The Year, or Asshole Of The Year…. Either way, the state, and certainly the people in the Western Suburbs deserve better.
Luckily the week finished with some words of wisdom from Labors’ deputy leader Linda Burney. Her interview on 7 30 showed that it is possible to discuss this issue sensibly and realistically, without all the spin and finger pointing.
I hope the Minister was taking note.Follow @madwixxy