12/02/09: NORTHERN TERRITORY INTERVENTION: COMPLAINT TO UN, CONVERGENCE, HIGH COURT

This newsletter:
http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/nt-intervention-complaint-un-convergence-high-court-12-feb-09

Contents:
Complaint to UN
Canberra Convergence
High Court
Intervention Opinion
Intervention News
Other News re NT

COMPLAINT TO UN:

Opinion:

SMH: Rudd must act if race complaint upheld
http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/rudd-must-act-if-race-complaint-upheld-20090209-8280.html?skin=text-only
10 Feb 09: “There is little in the eyes of the international
community more serious than a nation being found to have
racist laws and policies. This was the claim made last week
against Australia by 20 Aborigines. Their complaint to the
United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination about the Northern Territory intervention
has a strong prospect of success. If this proves correct,
enormous pressure will be put on the Rudd Government to
reform the intervention.” George Williams, Anthony Mason
professor of law at the University of NSW

Crikey: An intervention intervention: Rudd dobbed into the UN
http://www.crikey.com.au/Politics/20090206-Alright-Who-dobbed-to-the-UN-.html
6 Feb 09: “It took almost three years for the Howard
government to get a “please explain” from the United
Nations on its treatment of Aboriginal people. Kevin Rudd’s
administration looks like achieving it less than two.
Earlier this week, a group of human rights lawyers lodged a
complaint against the Northern Territory intervention with
the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination. It’s a comprehensive document. … ”
Chris Graham, Editor of The National Indigenous Times

Crikey: From Alice to Canberra: the gang behind the UN complaint
http://www.crikey.com.au/Politics/20090206-The-NT-Intervention-goes-to-Geneva.html
6 Feb 09: “Barbara Shaw and a group of friends from the NT
chucked their money together, hired a small bus and set off
to Canberra to make their voices heard about the NT
Intervention, reports Bob Gosford.”

CANBERRA CONVERGENCE:

Open Letter:

Open letter to Jenny Macklin MP regarding the Northern Territory Intervention
from the Prescribed Area People’s Alliance delegation to Canberra
http://bushtelegraph.wordpress.com/2008/11/25/the-struggle-for-human-rights-events-in-brisbane/#comment-6295
3 Feb 09: “Enough is enough. You talk about ‘closing the
gap’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. But we
want to close the Gap our way, on our terms- not like past
assimilation policies. Self-determination has been
shattered and abused by the government. They change laws
every year, every time they come into power. …
We demand:
– Repeal of the Northern Territory Intervention laws
– Immediate reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act
and the NT Anti-Discrimination Act
– That you organise a series of day long meetings across
the NT before March 21, 2009 to come and listen to all
Aboriginal woman who want to meet with you.
– Funding for housing and essential services for all
communities without having to sign leases
– Provide us with a list of all of your advisors on the
Intervention
– Provide access to all evidence provided to you from
advisors regarding the NT Intervention
– Immediately remove all Government Business Managers and
resource properly funded Aboriginal community councils
– Endorse and implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous People
– Stop the promotion of genocide. By the UN Genocide
Convention, one definition of genocide is; Conditions of
life set to destroy the group in whole or in part.”

News:

NIT: Hundreds turn out to protest a year of failed ALP pledges
http://www.nit.com.au/news/story.aspx?id=17048
5 Feb 09: “As federal politicians flocked to Capital Hill
for the first parliamentary session of the year on Tuesday,
hundreds of activists – black and white – gathered on the
lawns in front of Parliament House to protest the Northern
Territory intervention. It’s been almost a year since the
last ‘Convergence on Canberra’, staged a day before Prime
Minister Kevin Rudd fulfilled one of his first election
promises – an apology to the Stolen Generations. But the
protesters who gathered on Tuesday sent a clear message
that the Rudd government had still not delivered on the
rest of its promises, particularly in relation to the NT
intervention.”

NIT: Arnhem clans back protesters, send PM a letter
http://www.nit.com.au/story.aspx?id=16989
5 Feb 09: “Aboriginal people from a remote corner of Arnhem
Land have sent a letter to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd,
calling on him to stop the intervention and “lay to rest
the ghosts of the past”. Activists and Indigenous people
from the Northern Territory this week converged on Canberra
to mark the start of the parliamentary year with a string
of protests against the controversial intervention,
launched by the Howard government. … In a letter from
Arnhem Land’s Yolngu people, made public by Laynhapuy
Homelands on Wednesday, the clans came out in support of the
protest action.”

GLW: Stop the intervention! Human rights for all!
http://www.greenleft.org.au/2009/782/40286
7 Feb 09: “Canberra was the site of an historic four days
of Aboriginal rights activism in Australia. From January 31
to February 3, hundreds of Aboriginal activists and their
supporters converged on the Aboriginal Tent Embassy for
workshops, a large public meeting and culminating in a
protest on the first sitting day of parliament. … Taking
place 12 months after PM Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Stolen
Generations, a focus of the four days was the Labor
government’s continuation of racist policies of the previous
government — most notably the NT “intervention”.”

Photos:

Perth Indymedia: PICTURES: NT Intervention Rally, 3rd Feb, Canberra by InterventioNoMore
http://perth.indymedia.org/index.php?action=newswire&parentview=138995
5 Feb 09: “Hundreds of people converged on the lawns
outside Parliament House on Tuesday protesting the racist
NT Intervention, Rudd’s failure to reinstate the RDA
(Racial Discrimination Act) and cuts to CDEP (Community
Development and Employment Projects). People walked from
the Aboriginal Tent Embassy at Old Parliament up to
Parliament House chanting “Always Was, Always Will Be,
Aboriginal Land”. On the lawns of Parliament speakers
expressed their outrage and told their stories of how the
NT Intervention impacted on them.”

Compilation by STICS:

Stop the Intervention: Canberra Convergence 09
http://stoptheintervention.org/canberra-convergence-09

HIGH COURT:

News:

Deccan Chronicle – India: Clashes over Aboriginal land ruling in Canberra
http://www.deccanchronicle.com/international/clashes-over-aboriginal-land-ruling-canberra-306
3 Feb 09: “Australian protesters clashed with the police in
the high court in the national capital Canberra after a
land rights challenge by Aborigines was dismissed on Monday.
… The case stemmed from an intervention programme to
tackle social problems in which the government took control
of township leases in outback towns of the remote Northern
Territory. … Australia’s original inhabitants, Aborigines
were marginalised after the first British settlers arrived
in 1788.”

Opinion:

Canberra Times Editorial: ‘Equal’ treatment can be inequitable
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/opinion/editorial/general/equal-treatment-can-be-inequitable/1428239.aspx
9 Feb 09: “The departure, last Monday, of one of the High
Court’s most remarkable judges, Michael Kirby, somewhat
overshadowed some of his last judgments, one of which
caused visible annoyance to the Chief Justice, Bob French.
The case involved the Commonwealth’s intervention into
Aboriginal affairs in the Northern Territory in the dying
days of the former Howard government.”

ABC Unleashed: The ‘activist’ judge
http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2481213.htm
4 Feb 09: “On the basis of constitutional and international
human rights law, Justice Kirby argued against abolishing
or reducing property rights without ensuring, through
positive legal measures of protection, that those affected
are included in the decision making. Far from being
outlandish, one of the main concerns with the Northern
Territory Intervention was precisely this; a lack of
consultation with Indigenous Australians in the development
and implementation of an intervention which deprived people
of their rights.” Phoebe Knowles and Emily Howie

INTERVENTION OPINION:

Sydney Indymedia: Statement on the NT intervention from
indigenous man [a Yolngu man from North East Arnhem Land]
http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/statement-nt-intervention-indigenous-man
11 Feb 09: “With all the tragedy currently occupying the
media and our thoughts, it’s easy to forget that the
intervention into indigenous communities in the NT
instigated by the Howard government goes on unimpeded. This
intervention has been continued by the Rudd government, the
NT Racial Discrimination Act remains disabled, indigenous
people have lost the right to their own land, they continue
to be refused access to welfare survival money and they are
suffering as a result. … ”

Solidarity: Plan to spread intervention
http://www.solidarity.net.au/11/plan-to-spread-intervention/
Jan 09: “There are worrying signs from the Council of
Australian Governments (COAG) that policy measures
associated with the NT intervention will soon be imposed on
Indigenous communities around the country. … The Rudd
government has taken up with renewed vigour the Howard
government’s agenda of assimiliation. We need to push back
the racims of the intervention to head off the attacks on
Aboriginal rights and self determination that are brewing
across Australia.” Paddy Gibson

Solidarity: Discontent with intervention policies widening
http://www.solidarity.net.au/11/discontent-with-intervention-policies-widening/
Jan 09: “The intervention is more than a policy about what
happens within 78 “prescribed communities”. It is a radical
new ideology that combines a fierce new push for
assimilation of Aboriginal people with a rapid pro-market
economic agenda. Through the intervention the government is
trying to bury the ideas of Aboriginal self-determination
and meaningful land rights.” Jean Parker

Wall Street Journal: ‘Tough Love’ in the Outback:
Australia’s Push to Help Aborigines Is Upending Tribal
Customs — And Giving Women an Unlikely Boost
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123214753161791813.html
17 Jan 09: “Australia’s government has proclaimed the
upsurge of violence, child abuse and alcoholism among
Aborigines a national emergency. It is responding with
controversial new policies that critics decried as racist,
such as restricting welfare payments to Aborigines but not
to whites or other Australians. Those policies, however, are
starting to show early results, the government says. They
are also shaking up the Aborigines’ ancient social
structure. In Yuendumu, for example, the policies have
unleashed a nascent feminist movement which is threatening
to erode the vast powers of male tribal elders.” Yaroslav
Trofimov

INTERVENTION NEWS:

GLW: Rudd’s apology: one year on, a sorry record
http://www.greenleft.org.au/2009/782/40297
7 Feb 09: ” “Rudd is dangling the carrot of hope before us
and it is a lie”, said Les Coe at the Aboriginal
convergence in Canberra on February 3, at which 500 people
protested the continuation of racist Howard-era policies by
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. The convergence coincided with
the first day of parliament and called for the abolition of
racist policies, in particular for the abolition of the
Northern Territory intervention — a policy that, among
other discriminatory practises, “quarantines” 50% of
Aboriginal people’s welfare payments in “prescribed”
communities in the NT.”

OTHER NEWS RE NT:

NIT: Marion Scrymgour quits NT cabinet
http://www.nit.com.au/news/story.aspx?id=17056
10 Feb 09: “Australia’s highest ranked Aboriginal
politician has quit the Northern Territory cabinet, saying
her battle with depression means she can’t continue as
deputy chief minister. … Ms Scrymgour said she had been
suffering from post-traumatic stress depression, along with
other medical issues, since the death of her elderly
father. … Ms Scrymgour denied her decision to retire to
the backbench was prompted by a cabinet reshuffle last week,
in which she was stripped of the high-profile education
portfolio.”

Age: Marion Scrymgour quits cabinet
http://www.theage.com.au/national/marion-scrymgour-quits-cabinet-20090209-82e3.html?skin=text-only
10 Feb 09: “MARION Scrymgour, the highest-ranked Aboriginal
leader in any Australian government, has quit as deputy
leader and senior minister in the Northern Territory Labor
Government. … For 18 months, Ms Scrymgour had faced
sustained criticism over her handling of the education
portfolio, including low school attendance rates in remote
indigenous schools. Indigenous educators had attacked her
instruction that children be taught in English for the first
four hours of every day in bilingual schools.”

ABC: Indigenous politician Scrymgour stands down
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/02/09/2486524.htm
9 Feb 09: “Australia’s highest-ranked Indigenous
politician, Marion Scrymgour, has announced she is standing
down from all ministerial duties for health reasons. Ms
Scrymgour will remain the Member for Arafura, but will no
longer be in charge of any portfolio. … Ms Scrymgour has
been embroiled in controversy in recent months in her
former role as Education Minister, over the departure of the
head of the Territory Education Department and her policies
on bilingual education.”

Business Spectator: New cabinet for Northern Territory
http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/New-cabinet-for-Northern-Territory-P53T3?opendocument&src=rss
10 Feb 09: “Northern Territory Chief Minister Paul
Henderson has announced a new-look cabinet after his deputy
Marion Scrymgour quit cabinet. … Member for Macdonnell
Alison Anderson has taken over indigenous policy.”

Australian: Minister quits to deal with illness
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,25032719-2702,00.html?from=public_rss
10 Feb 09: “A TEARFUL and drawn Marion Scrymgour has
resigned as the Northern Territory’s deputy chief minister
and attorney-general, saying she was seriously ill and
would need long and intensive treatment.”

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