04/04/09: AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS UN DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES Friday April 3 Parliament House Canberra

Contents:
Background
Media Releases
Opinion
Radio Interviews
News
Related Newsletters

BACKGROUND:

WGAR News: Australia to endorse UN Indigenous Rights Declaration (2 Apr 09):
http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/wgar-news-australia-endorse-un-indigenous-rights-declaration-2-apr-09

National Indigenous Times: Rudd government endorses
UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
http://www.nit.com.au/story.aspx?id=17427
3 Apr 09: “The Rudd government has officially endorsed the
landmark United Nations Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples, reversing the position of the previous
government and fulfilling a key election promise. Minister
for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin delivered a statement
in support of the document at Parliament House this morning,
saying that the move was a step forward in “re-setting” the
relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous
Australians.”

Australian Government:
The Hon Jenny Macklin MP – Minister for Families, Housing,
Community Services and Indigenous Affairs:
Speech: Statement on the United Nations Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples
http://www.jennymacklin.fahcsia.gov.au/internet/jennymacklin.nsf/content/un_declaration_03apr09.htm
3 April 2009

MEDIA RELEASES:

Greens: UN Declaration must be enacted in law
http://rachel-siewert.greensmps.org.au/content/media-release/un-declaration-must-be-enacted-law-greens
3 Apr 09 at 10:17am: “The Australian Greens have welcomed
the Government’s support for the United Nations’
Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, saying it
is about time. “The Government promised to support this
Declaration and I’m pleased they have finally done so. The
real test is whether they now make their policies
consistent with the Declaration” said Australian Greens
Senator Rachel Siewert. “The blatantly discriminatory
suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act in the Northern
Territory Intervention must be reversed as a matter of
priority. … ”

Darwin Aboriginal Rights Coalition:
Australia supports the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights:
Aboriginal people want action as well as words
http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/australia-supports-un-declaration-indigenous-rights-aboriginal-people-want-action-well-words
3 Apr 09 at 9:41 am: “The Darwin Aboriginal Rights Coalition
welcomes the decision of the Australian Government to
uphold its election commitment to “support” the United
Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples is difficult to ignore. … However, the glaring
hypocrisy between this symbolic recognition of Indigenous
rights whilst continuing with explicitly racist policies
such as the NT Intervention, makes this historical occasion
almost impossible to celebrate.”

Stop The Intervention Collective Sydney (STICS):
The Facade of Indigenous Rights as Rudd’s Racism Devastates Nation-wide
http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/fa-ade-indigenous-rights-rudd-s-racism-devastates-nation-wide
3 Apr 09 at 7:48 am: “The Rudd Government is set to sign
the UN Declaration on Rights for Indigenous Peoples today
despite its domestic regime of coercive assimilation and
dispossession enforced through policies such as the
Northern Territory Intervention. “The NT Intervention
contravenes 25 of the 46 articles of the UN Declaration on
Rights for Indigenous Peoples. The Racial Discrimination
Act 1975 remains suspended and Aboriginal communities
remain under the control of an explicitly racist
government”, said Barbara Shaw, Aboriginal rights activist
from Mt Nancy Town Camp, Alice Springs.”

Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC):
United we stand – Support for United Nations Indigenous
Rights Declaration a watershed moment for Australia
http://www.humanrights.gov.au/about/media/media_releases/2009/21_09.html
3 Apr 09 at 12:01 am: “Commissioner Calma said the
statement being made in Canberra this morning by the
federal government in support of the Declaration
substantially adds to the foundations for a new partnership
between the federal government, Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander peoples and the wider community. …
Commissioner Calma said the strength of the Declaration was
that it provided a set of internationally endorsed
objective standards to guide the relationship with
Indigenous peoples, and to promote actions that respected
and protected Indigenous cultures.”

OPINION:

CNW Group: United Nations Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples – Canada Stands Even More Apart
http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/April2009/03/c7319.html
3 Apr 09: “The Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and
Labrador (AFNQL) is thrilled at the decision of the
Australian government to  join the 143 countries that
supported the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples. With this additional support to the new
international instrument of Human Rights, Canada finds
itself in an even more isolated position, being one of the
only three States to not endorse it (with New Zealand and
the United States).”

frogblog –
a political blog from the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand:
Declaration of Indigenous Rights Down Under
http://blog.greens.org.nz/2009/04/02/declaration-of-indigenous-rights-down-under/
2 Apr 09: “On Tuesday I got to ask my first proper Question
in the House. … Will the Government follow the lead of
Australia and change their position to support the United
Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People? The
Prime Minister did a good imitation of saying nothing
definite and implying that the Declaration was more or less
just an aspirational text. He said they would watch to see
what caveats’ the Aussies put on supporting the Declaration
before they made a decision. … ” Catherine Delahunty

See:
New Zealand Parliament:
5. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
– Government Position
http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Debates/QOA/3/7/6/49HansQ_20090331_00000311-5-Declaration-on-the-Rights-of-Indigenous.htm

RADIO INTERVIEWS:

ABC The World Today:
Indigenous Minister dismisses Fed Govt’s symbolic act
http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2008/s2534521.htm
3 Apr 09: ” … the Federal Government today announced its
support for the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous
Rights. … Some in human rights groups say it’s
significant and could improve relations between Indigenous
and non-Indigenous Australians. But an Indigenous Territory
Government minister [Alison Anderson] says it will go
largely unnoticed by the thousands of Indigenous people in
her electorate, many of whom lack even the most basic human
rights.”
[Includes interviews with Matthew Storey and Alison Anderson]

NEWS:

SBS: Thumbs up for indigenous declaration
http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1014233/Thumbs-up-for-indigenous-declaration
3 Apr 09: “Canberra has officially endorsed the UN
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, reversing a
Howard Government vote on it. … Ms Davis, director of the
Indigenous Law Centre at the University of New South Wales,
said it would be used by Aboriginal people in negotiations
with local and state governments, as well as in the courts.
“Politically and legally it will be used a lot.” ”

ABC: Aust adopts UN Indigenous declaration
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/04/03/2534210.htm
3 Apr 09: “Indigenous leader Professor Mick Dodson said the
next step was to now meet the standards set out in the
declaration. … Human rights lawyer George Newhouse backed
the Government’s decision, but cast doubt over its impact.”

news.com.au:
Mick Dodson praises reversal on UN Indigenous Rights Declaration
http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25283906-29277,00.html
3 Apr 09: “AUSTRALIAN of the Year Mick Dodson has
congratulated the government for supporting a UN
declaration on the rights of indigenous people, saying it’s
another piece in the jigsaw puzzle of reconciliation.”

NIT: Action on Indigenous health must follow UN Declaratin: Calma
http://www.nit.com.au/breakingNews/story.aspx?id=17431
3 Apr 09: “The federal government’s decision to endorse the
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples must be backed by a renewed commitment to improve
Aboriginal health, a senior Indigenous leader says. Good
health is a basic human right enshrined in the Declaration,
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice
Commissioner Tom Calma says.”

ABC: Calma hopes for unconditional Indigenous declaration support
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/04/03/2533771.htm
3 Apr 09: “Indigenous leader Tom Calma says anything less
than full Government backing of a United Nations
declaration on Indigenous rights would be a disappointment.”

Age: Indigenous rights a step closer
http://www.theage.com.au/national/indigenous-rights-a-step-closer-20090402-9l5v.html
3 Apr 09: “SUPPORT for a UN declaration on the rights of
indigenous people is an important step in reconciliation
despite it having no legal impact on policy, according to
the Aboriginal Social Justice Commissioner. … Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom
Calma said that although no part of the declaration could
be enforced in Australian law, it was a “giant step”.”

NIT: UN Declaration won’t elevate Aboriginal customary law: expert
http://www.nit.com.au/breakingNews/story.aspx?id=17432
3 Apr 09: “A legal expert [Megan Davis, director,
Indigenous Law Centre, Uni NSW] has dismissed coalition
concerns the Rudd government’s move to endorse a UN
declaration on indigenous rights will elevate customary law
above domestic law.”

NIT: Nurses call on Labor to reinstate RDA
http://www.nit.com.au/breakingNews/story.aspx?id=17429
3 Apr 09: “Australia’s nurses have joined calls for the
Rudd government to reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act
in the Northern Territory on national Close the Gap Day.
The Racial Discrimination Act was suspended by the Howard
government to allow the commonwealth to roll out the more
controversial aspects of the intervention into remote
Aboriginal communities. … Ms Kearney [Australian Nursing
Federation secretary] said Labor’s move to support the UN
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples conflicted
with its policy of maintaining the suspension.”

Epoch Times:
Praise and Criticism for Govt’s New Stance on Indigenous Charter
http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/14731/
2 Apr 09: “The Rudd government has been both praised and
condemned as hypocritical for officially endorsing a United
Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous people.
Senior indigenous leaders, … said the government had
taken another significant step towards true reconciliation.
But others said the endorsement smacked of hypocrisy and
would make little difference to Aborigines while the
intervention in indigenous Northern Territory communities
continued.”

NIT: New Zealand watching Australia’s stance on UN Declaration
http://www.nit.com.au/news/story.aspx?id=17426
1 Apr 09: “New Zealand may follow Australia’s lead in
endorsing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples, the country’s Prime Minister has said. … New
Zealand Prime Minister John Key today told the country’s
parliament that it would consider how Australia endorses
the document. “We will look at the way the Australian
government interprets the declaration and see whether its
interpretation may be applicable in New Zealand,” Mr Key
said.”

RELATED NEWSLETTERS:

WGAR News: Australia to endorse UN Indigenous Rights Declaration (2 Apr 09):
http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/wgar-news-australia-endorse-un-indigenous-rights-declaration-2-apr-09

WGAR News: Media monitoring of the NT Intervention (31 Mar 09):
http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/wgar-news-media-monitoring-northern-territory-intervention-31-mar-09

WGAR News: Global focus on Australia’s racism (27 Mar 09):
http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/wgar-news-global-focus-australias-racism-27-mar-09

WGAR News: Aboriginal Australia appeals to President Obama (24 Mar 09):
http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/wgar-news-aboriginal-australia-appeals-president-obama-24-mar-09

WGAR News: UN, Australia and Aboriginal Rights (18 Mar 09):
http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/wgar-news-media-monitoring-un-australia-and-aboriginal-rights-18-mar-09

WGAR News: Surrendering Land Rights for Housing (cont.) (13 Mar 09):
http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/surrendering-land-rights-housing-expanding-nt-intervention-continued-13-mar-09

WGAR News: Closing the Gap Report Card (cont.) (10 Mar 09):
http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/wgar-news-media-monitoring-closing-gap-report-card-continued-10-mar-09

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