The Intervention in the Northen Territory
Very little is heard in southern states about the Intervention initiated by the Howard Government (said to respond to reports of pedophilia in Aboriginal communities) that resulted in suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act and other measures. The Rudd Labor Government promised much, and was expected to repeal the Howard Government measures. Promises were made concerning housing and education.
In order to hear directly from people of the Northern Territory, a meeting was held on Wednesday 19th May, ‘in converation with two significant Aboriginal Elders.
Additional reports were offered on the impact on bi-lingual education, the failure to provide adequate resources for chools, and the failure to constuct housing. Also, the impact on communities of the controls on spending by Aborigianl people.
I found that the meeting was startling in its uncovering of the failure of government promises, and the virtual silence concerning the Aboriginal communities ‘down south’. Movements for ‘Reconcilitation’ and justice for Aboriginal Islander peoples are more urgent than ever. I wonder how we can impress upon the Labor Government that they must make indigenous policy top of their agenda!
Below is the notice of the meeting that was held last night.
Below that are some links.
A petition directed to the secretary of ‘the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’ (CERD) at the United Nations is also being circulated, available on-line:
20 May 2010
A Conversation with Aboriginal Elders from the Northern Territory
Facilitated by Jeff McMullen, Former ABC foreign correspondent; prize-winning Four Corners documentary film-maker; best-selling author
The Panel will be discussing the NT Intervention and invites you to suggest topics
to be included. Please pass on your suggestions when you register
A book voicing Elders’ concerns has also been launched:
“This Is What We Said”
- a book that details what Aboriginal people affected by the Intervention really want.
The launch included:
Speaker: Christine Fejo-King
Chair of the National Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Social Workers Association and a Larrakia woman
At: Co-op Bookshop
Australian National University.
On: Thursday 11 February 2010 at 5:30p.m.
This book is the outcome of a report called
“Will They Be Heard?” launched last November
by the Hon. Malcolm Fraser.
anu at coop-bookshop.com.au or (02) 6249 6244
A PRES RELEASE CONCERNING SENATE ACTION:
Senate to Debate Racist Legislation
QUOTE; (10th May 2010): On Wednesday morning, hiding behind the post-budget hype, Senators will debate the legislation that will re-instate, what will ultimately be, a restricted Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) into the Northern Territory
A delegation of Australian Aboriginal representatives attended the Indigenous Peoples Organisation (IPO) Meeting at the United Nations in New York less than two weeks ago. Their media release states, “… we use this occasion to stridently and unequivocally repeat our call on behalf of the Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islander Peoples that the Australian Government reinstate immediately, and without any further procrastination, review or qualification, the Racial Discrimination Act 1975….
On Wednesday the Senate is scheduled to debate the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform and Reinstatement of Racial Discrimination Act) Bill 2009.
‘concerned Australians’ believes the Government is misleading the public by implying that the Act, when re-instated, will have the capacity to protect Aboriginal people from racist measures. At the same moment as the Act is re-instated, the new legislation introduced will have the effect of restricting the powers of the RDA.