Media Releases & Statements

VIDEO (includes transcript):

ABC 7.30 Report:
NT Labor majority under threat over outstations
1 Jun 09: “In the Northern Territory the Labor Government’s
one-seat majority is under threat. Marion Scrymgour is
threatening to move to the cross benches because she
disagrees with Labor’s policies on outstations on Aboriginal
lands. The outstation movement began 30 years ago, as
commonwealth governments encouraged Aboriginal people in
the Northern Territory to move from large settlements back
to their traditional homelands.”
[Includes comments by Paul Henderson, Marion Scrymgour,
Jon Altman, Alison Anderson, Eddie Hardy, Dr Karmananda
Saraswati & Dr Paul Burgess]


ANTaR: Remote homelands rethink urgently needed in the
Northern Territory
2 Jun 09: “ANTaR (Australians for Native Title and
Reconciliation) today urged the Australian and Northern
Territory governments to urgently reconsider their remote
Indigenous community strategy in the wake of criticisms by
NT Labor MLA, Marion Scrymgour. “When a senior member of
the NT Government holds such serious concerns for her
party’s policies, it’s time to go back to the drawing
board”, ANTaR spokesperson, David Cooper, said. “The NT
Government’s “Working Futures” response to its review of
outstations (homelands) policy, formalises the status quo
of chronic under-resourcing of services to homelands,
envisaging the slow death by neglect of these unique and
under-valued communities. Families should not be forced to
move away from established communities on their traditional
lands in order to access basic services.” … “The current
policy is profoundly disempowering, discriminatory and
assimilationist”, David Cooper concluded.”

“Our total destruction as a distinct and identifiable race”
by Michael Anderson
26 May 09: “Nothing has changed. The overwhelming success
of the 1967 Referendum shocked the then Prime Minister,
Harold Holt, and his Cabinet. In a confidential Cabinet
Minute dated ‘Sydney 2nd July 1968 Decision 314’, the
Cabinet referred to its first objective which Aboriginal
policy it serves. The conclusion was:
‘… it declared firmly that the ultimate objective would
continue to be assimilation – a single Australian community.
While recognizing that it will take generations for the
Aboriginals to become fully assimilated into the Australian
community, the Cabinet’s position that it will hold
patiently and purposefully to this aim.’
… One would think that if this Rudd Labor government
pursues its current policy, by forcefully removing people
from their homelands and out stations to the proposed 20
town centres, all they will do is make the same mistakes
yet again – another offense against Aboriginal people. The
people who will be impacted by this current policy have
nothing but a nightmare and extreme trauma to look forward

Laynhapuy Homelands Association:
No future for Yolngu living on homelands
21 May 09: “The Northern Territory government’s A Working
Future policy has left most Yolngu living on traditional
lands without one. Speaking on behalf of the Laynhapuy
Homelands Association, Ms Yananymul Mununggurr said the new
policy has shown the NT government has either refused, or
is unable, to fully understand the cultural significance of
homelands. “Just days after the release of a ground breaking
report outlining the major health benefits to Yolngu living
on country, the NT government announces a policy that
relegates our homelands to third world conditions, if not
extinction. We see this as a major betrayal of the trust of
our people,” Ms Mununggurr said. … “The decision not to
fund new housing for our homelands condemns Yolngu to
further overcrowding, declining living conditions and
ultimately the extinguishment of our traditional culture.
How does that fit with the recent Rudd Labor Government’s
signing of the UN Rights of Indigenous Peoples?” ”

Statement from Dr Gawirrin Gumana AO
21 May 09: “We want to stay on our own land. We have our
culture, we have our law, we have our land rights, we have
our painting and carving, we have our stories from our old
people, not only my people, but everyone, all Dhuwa and
Yirritja, we are not making this up. I want you to listen
to me Government. I know you have got the money to help our
Homelands. But you also know there is money to be made from
Aboriginal land. You should trust me, and you should help
us to live here, on our land, for my people.”


CAAMA Radio AM News
(Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association):
3 Jun 09

(Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association):
2 Jun 09


Age: Homelands essential for indigenous Australians
3 Jun 09: “Aboriginal elder Bob Randall preaches a doctrine
of connection to the land that he says is essential if his
people are to prosper. … “It’s just happened again,” he
says of the Northern Territory’s moves to discourage people
from developing outstations – or “homelands” with ancestral
connections – and instead concentrating services in larger
settlements. The plan has caused much distress in territory
communities, he says, and anger that once again there has
not been consultation with people on the ground.”
Jo Chandler

Friends of Bilingual Learning:
Letter to the editor (NT News), June 3, 2009
3 Jun 09: “I wish to acknowledge Marion Scrymgour’s efforts
to do what she believes is right as a senior Indigenous
politician. As she has a cow of a job, I respect her
tenacity, and her courage in speaking out despite
ill-health and other recent worries. … However, the fact
is that on October 14, 2008, as the former Minister for
Education and Training, she put a heavy burden on
Indigenous teachers in remote schools, by imposing a
one-size-fits-all, top-down requirement that they could only
teach through English in the morning. … It is my hope that
Ms Scrymgour will ask the current Education Minister to find
the time to lift this unwelcome burden … ”
(Dr) Brian Devlin, Associate Professor, Bilingual Education
& Applied Linguistics, Charles Darwin University

Crikey Blogs: How Scrymgour and homelands might undo NT Labor
2 Jun 09: “Scrymgour was responsible for developing the NT
government policy on homelands and remote community
development and commissioned a discussion paper and a team,
led by Pat Dodson, to take submissions and conduct
community consultation. Dodson’s “Community Engagement
Report” was given to the NT government in January and was
publicly released late last month. … The recommendations
in Dodson’s report have been effectively ignored … ”
Bob Gosford

On Line Opinion: Aboriginal assimilation: the Hub of the matter
29 May 09: “At one level the suggestion is that white
“saviours” intervene in the lives of Aboriginal people to
“protect” them from the ravages of other whites. But it
can’t have escaped the notice of such “saviours” that
removing Aboriginal people from their traditional lands
opens the way for other whites to lay claim to recently
vacated Aboriginal land. … Rudd is just the last of the
colonisers who have waged a relentless race war for 220
years against the Indigenous owners of this country. The
Labor Party in Canberra and in Darwin won’t stop foisting
their ill-thought through plans on Aboriginal people until
the last Aboriginal person gives up their last claim to
land or separate identity.” John Tomlinson, visiting
scholar at QUT

Crikey Blogs: The NT Intervention, “Working Future” and the
myth of evidence-based policy in the NT
28 May 09: “What these examples show is that Governments
have a responsibility to ensure that when they develop and
implement policies, particularly where those policies
affect Aboriginal people living in remote circumstances,
they have a responsibility to firmly ground the policy
development in sound evidence and qualitative, social
science research.” Bob Gosford

SMH: No movement on the outstations
26 May 09: “During the past 30 years, a growing body of
research has indicated that life at outstations is better –
in health outcomes, livelihood options, and social cohesion,
even housing conditions – than at larger townships, despite
neglect. In present parlance, prospects for “closing the
gap” might be more likely at outstations.” Jon Altman,
director of the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy
Research at the Australian National University

Crikey: Assimilation, another word for ‘bridging the gap’
26 May 09: “Establishment of carefully selected “Growth
Towns” is not going to change the entrenched status quo nor
coloniser attitude. Yes, we would all like to move beyond
the current Intervention – indeed we would like to move
beyond colonisation. We would like to move on from failed
policies (past and present) and we would like to see fair
distribution of resources, future growth, some transparency
even in the successful delivery of services – but relocating
Aboriginal people and blaming them for failure of past
government policies, is not the way to do it.”
Sue Jean Stanton

Crikey Blogs: The NT Government’s “Growth towns”
– the desperation of a failed government in a failed state
22 May 09: ” … the NT Government has released Working
Future – Remote Service Delivery, a plan that envisages a
utopian future of jobs, education and prosperity for
Aboriginal people living in remote communities. …
Anderson’s utopian “Growth Towns” will come at a
substantial cost to the many small homeland communities –
small remote hamlets nestled in the heartland of
traditional Aboriginal lands – that will be effectively
de-funded by the NT Government.” Bob Gosford


Northern Territory News:
Tears and remorse as Marion repents
4 Jun 09: “RENEGADE backbencher Marion Scrymgour yesterday
walked into caucus, burst into tears and apologised to her
Labor colleagues for threatening to leave the party.”

Koori Mail: Scrymgour backs down
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/
3 Jun 09: “Rebel backbencher Marion Scrymgour has backed
down on threats to quit Northern Territory Labor, although
it’s unclear what steps the government took to appease her.
The former deputy chief minister dropped a political
bombshell earlier this week when she indicated she would
stand as an independent – and cost Labor its one-seat
majority – over its controversial homelands policy.”

ABC: Rebel MP backs down on walkout threat
3 Jun 09: “After two days of division within the Labor
Party over outstations funding, the Chief Minister, Paul
Henderson, and the Member for Arafura, Marion Scrymgour,
are again standing shoulder to shoulder.”

National Indigenous Times:
NT govt may reconsider controversial Homelands policy
3 Jun 09: “The Northern Territory government will consider
changing its controversial homelands policy after an
Indigenous backbencher threatened to quit the Labor Party
over its treatment of Aboriginal people. … But NT Chief
Minister Paul Henderson on Tuesday played down any threat
to his government, saying he was “absolutely confident” it
would see out its term. “We’ll work through those issues,
and certainly the issues that she wants to raise in regards
to the specifics of the policy, I’m happy to have a
conversation about that,” he said. “And if we need to make
changes, I’m happy to consider them.” ”

Northern Territory News:
Scrymgour threatens to sink labor
3 Jun 09: “REBEL backbencher Marion Scrymgour has given the
Labor Government one week to change its homeland policy or
she will leave the party and sit in Parliament as an

National Indigenous Times:
Scrymgour threatens to cross floor on outstations policy
2 Jun 09: “One of the Northern Territory government’s
Aboriginal MLAs Marion Scrymgour has accused her own party
of “lying to” and “insulting” Aboriginal people, and has
threatened to jeopardise Labor’s precarious hold on

Koori Mail: Scrymgour stands by threat
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/
2 Jun 09: “FORMER Northern Territory deputy chief minister
Marion Scrymgour is standing by a threat to desert Labor
over its recently announced homelands policy, saying she
will not be part of a government that imposes a ‘top-down
process’ on Aboriginal people. This would jeopardise
Labor’s one-seat majority and would effectively give Ms
Scrymgour and independent Gerry Wood the balance of power.”

Northern Territory News:
Government hangs on Scrymgour quit threat
2 Jun 09: “This is not the first time Ms Scrymgour has
spoken out against her own government. Ms Scrymgour opposed
the Federal Government’s 99-year leases on remote
communities and has spoken out against the federal

ABC: Outstations threat shows ‘factional divide’
2 Jun 09: “The Northern Territory Opposition says Marion
Scrymgour’s threat to move to the cross benches because she
disagrees with the Government’s new remote communities
policy shows there is a factional divide within the party.”

ABC: Scrymgour won’t rule out leaving Labor
2 Jun 09: “Northern Territory Government backbencher Marion
Scrymgour has not ruled out leaving the Labor Party and
standing as an independent at the next election. Ms
Scrymgour is opposed to the Government’s plan to freeze
funding to existing outstations.”

ABC: Consultation key to outstations policy: Snowdon
2 Jun 09: “The federal Labor Member for Lingiari, Warren
Snowdon, says the Northern Territory Government should
consult more on its policy of refusing to increase funding
to remote Aboriginal communities.”

ABC: Labor to consider renegade’s demands
2 Jun 09: “The Northern Territory Chief Minister, Paul
Henderson, says he will consider changes to Labor’s
outstations policy to appease renegade MP, Marion

ABC: Killing us softly: Dodson slams outstations plan
2 Jun 09: “The Indigenous leader Pat Dodson has heavily
criticised the Northern Territory Government’s
controversial new policy on remote Aboriginal communities,
describing it as a “die on the vine” plan that will “slowly
but surely” kill Indigenous culture.”

ABC: Indigenous health linked to land care
26 May 09: “Indigenous Australians who are involved in
caring for the land increase their likelihood of being
healthy and happy, a new study suggests. The study,
published recently in the Medical Journal of Australia,
examined the link between the health of Indigenous people
in an Arnhem Land community and ‘caring for country’
practices. ‘Caring for country’ includes hunting and
gathering, as well as management practices, ceremony and
art that relate to protecting land and sea.”

ABC: NSW Aboriginal leader campaigns against
Federal Government policies
26 May 09: “An Aboriginal leader from Goodooga in
north-west New South Wales is launching an international
campaign against the Federal Government’s Aboriginal
policies. Michael Anderson objects to what he claims is the
Rudd Government’s plan for people from isolated communities
to live in major centres to access services, in return for
90-year leases on their homelands.”

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