Attempts to restrict Aboriginal languages in NT schools
Indigenous Gap Widens
Leaked documents concerning NT Intervention
Other NT Intervention articles
Other Aboriginal Articles


– Memo

Friends of Bilingual Learning:
Alternative Q and A memo re English Policy
by Greg Dickson
[download memo]
9 Jul 09: “Dear Mr Barnes,
I have recently attended the Bilingual Education Symposium
in Canberra, hosted by AIATSIS, and read their Research
Discussion Paper, “Gaps in Australia’s Indigenous Language
Policy: dismantling bilingual education in the Northern
I have utilised the question and answer format of your
recent memo to outline some messages stemming from the
Symposium and Research Paper that your Department may also
seek to address in order to deliver informed,
evidence-based, ethical policy that will enhance outcomes
for remote Indigenous students and their communities. … ”

– News Features

National Indigenous Times:
News Feature:
In a word, Northern Territory bilingual axeing was wrong
9 Jul 09: “A host of Indigenous and non-Indigenous experts
have called on the government to reverse its decision to
dismantle bilingual education in remote Aboriginal
communities. The call came from Canberra late last month at
a forum hosted by the Australian Institute for Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). Community
members and experts from around the nation attending the
symposium on June 26 voiced their concerns and discussed
evidence-based research in the field.” Madelaine Sealey

National Indigenous Times:
News Feature: Experts ‘shocked’ by bilingual scrap
9 Jul 09: “A new report has expressed shock at government
failure to acknowledge national and international studies
which show that bilingual education in remote Aboriginal
communities leads to better literacy outcomes for
Indigenous students. The researchers of a new discussion
paper which focuses on the dismantling of bilingual
education in the Northern Territory told a forum in
Canberra recently they were not surprised some of the first
people to express their concern to ministers were English
teachers. Jane Simpson, a linguistics lecturer at the
University of Sydney and one of the authors of the paper
told the forum they were stunned by the NT decision last
year.” Madelaine Sealey

National Indigenous Times:
News Feature: No regrets over bilingual scrapping
9 Jul 09: “Northern Territory independent, Marion Scrymgour
does not regret her decision while a minister in the NT
government to scrap bilingual education in remote
Aboriginal communities, saying that evidence supporting
bilingual education is not applicable to remote Aboriginal
schools. The former NT Minister for Education introduced
the policy early last year, which requires that lessons be
taught in English for the first four hours of every school
day.” Madelaine Sealey

– Speech

National Indigenous Times:
NIT Forum: These are our children, our community
9 Jul 09: “The key to building healthy, happy, resilient
children lies in bilingual education, writes TOM CALMA*.
The title of this presentation: “They are our children,
this is our community” is a quote from Yolngu parents and
community members – spoken in response to the government
policy aimed at dismantling bilingual education. “They are
our children, this is our community” is a powerful
statement of self-determination – as well as a commitment
to take responsibility for the health and well-being of the
next generation, and, in fact, all generations of people in
the community.” Tom Calma, Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Human Rights Commission

– Background

For up-to-date info on the issue, see:

Friends of Bilingual Learning – Discussion Group
“Supporters of Bilingual & Multilingual education,
living and learning in the Northern Territory.
Recognising the importance of language in
human development, identity and wellbeing.”

For background on the issue, see:

WGAR News:
Restrictions on Aboriginal Languages in NT schools (20 Nov 08)

WGAR News:
NT Aboriginal Languages Policy (25 Nov 08)

WGAR News:
Restrictions on NT Bilingual Education (30 Nov 08)

WGAR News:
Restrictions on Aboriginal Languages in NT schools (4 Dec 08)

WGAR News:
Restrictions on NT Bilingual Education (15 Dec 08)

WGAR News:
NT Aboriginal languages restrictions delayed one year (18 Dec 08)

WGAR News:
Attempts to phase out Bilingual Education in the NT (23 Jun 09)

WGAR News:
Bilingual Education in the Northern Territory (30 Jun 09)
[scroll down page] http://wgar.info/2009/07/01/300609-united-nations-concerned-over-northern-territory-intervention/

WGAR News:
Bilingual Education in the Northern Territory (6 Jul 09)
[scroll down page] http://perth.indymedia.org/index.php?action=newswire&parentview=144662

WGAR News:
Bilingual Education in the Northern Territory (12 Jul 09)
[scroll down page] http://perth.indymedia.org/index.php?action=newswire&parentview=144730


– Background

WGAR News: Indigenous Gap Widens (6 Jul 09)

WGAR News: Indigenous Gap Widens (12 Jul 09)
[scroll down page] http://perth.indymedia.org/index.php?action=newswire&parentview=144730

– Opinion

National Indigenous Times:
The Box Seat: Dream on Galarrwuy, dream on
9 Jul 09: “The gap has become a gulf and will remain so
until government puts power in the hands of Aboriginal
Australia. But, writes BRIAN JOHNSTONE*, that has always
been a pipe dream. Who could possibly be surprised by the
depressing picture painted by the latest report on
Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage from the Productivity
Commission?” Brian Johnstone, Walkley Award winning journalist

National Indigenous Times:
The Pointed View: Labor lacks the delivery
9 Jul 09: ” ‘Redoubling and trebling’ efforts to close the
gap is all very well, writes PROF LARISSA BEHRENDT* but not
if you’re pushing the failed policies of the past. … This
intervention – and Aboriginal policy in general under Rudd
– has embraced the same ideologies that haven’t worked
before: mainstreaming, assimilation, shared responsibility,
mutual obligation. And in doing so, the government has
failed to build a relationship of trust with most Aboriginal
communities.” Larissa Behrendt, Professor of Law,
University of Technology, Sydney

National Indigenous Times:
Blackcurrent: Lost in a sea of d-words
9 Jul 09: “AMY MCQUIRE laments that Australian governments
keep swimming in circles when it comes to Indigenous
affairs. … The Rudd government says it is going to ‘reset
the relationship’ with Indigenous Australians, but its
insistence on the NT intervention; on compulsorily
acquiring the Alice Springs town camps; on linking welfare
quarantines to school attendance; on refusing to boost
Aboriginal legal aid wile incarceration rates sky-rocket; on
refusing to provide reparations to the Stolen Generations;
on scrapping CDEP regionally; on linking housing reform to
land tenure while opposing against it in Opposition; on
axing bilingual education; on refusing to properly support
the homelands and outstations; shows that Mr Rudd is not
being truthful when he says he will ‘double’ or ‘treble’
his government’s efforts.” Amy McQuire, current National
NAIDOC Young Apprentice of the Year

– News

Age: Indigenous gap not closing
14 Jul 09: “INDIGENOUS students have made no educational
progress in almost a decade and initiatives to bridge the
gap have made little difference, a report shows. More than
a third of Australian indigenous students do not meet the
basic proficiency levels in maths, reading and science
considered necessary to face the challenges of life beyond
school. This represented a gap of around two years between
indigenous and non-indigenous students, the Australian
Council for Education Research found.”


– Background

WGAR News:
Leaked documents concerning NT Intervention (12 Jul 09)
[scroll down page] http://perth.indymedia.org/index.php?action=newswire&parentview=144730

– Special report

National Indigenous Times:
The Big Read: Ticking all the boxes
9 Jul 09: “Leaked documents reveal Rudd government’s deceit
on NT intervention consultations and town camp land grab.”
Chris Graham

– News

National Indigenous Times:
PM should censure Macklin over consultations: ALRM
9 Jul 09: “Jenny Macklin has no right to act as Indigenous
affairs minister and should be censured, the head of the
South Australian-based Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement
(ALRM) has said amid revelations that Ms Macklin had
deceived Aboriginal communities over the NT intervention


– Background to Northern Territory Intervention

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Stop the Intervention website:

Rollback the Intervention website:

Working Group for Aboriginal Rights website:
[see WGAR NT Intervention e-newsletter archive]

– Opinion

National Indigenous Times:
Ringy’s Ramblings: Time to say the hardest word…again
9 Jul 09: “The ever-helpful GRAHAM RING* has prepared a
draft text for the Prime Minister for another sorely needed
apology. Some of the words may seem familiar…. the same
man [the Prime Minister] continues to pursue a raft of
pernicious policies in the Northern Territory which offend
many of the fundamental principles cited in his earlier
apology. Fine sentiments about how “the injustices of the
past must never happen again” and that sort of thing. The
true ugliness of the NT intervention will eventually become
better understood. When that happens, another apology will
be necessary. And thus, another speech.”
Graham Ring, based in Darwin

– News

ABC Alice Springs: Welfare quarantining ‘is degrading us’
14 Jul 09: “An Aboriginal woman has told a workshop on the
future of the federal intervention in the Northern
Territory that she has been made to feel ashamed because of
welfare quarantining. … Elaine Peckham lives on a
homeland west of Alice Springs and says she has half of her
disability pension quarantined. She says welfare
quarantining should be made voluntary.”

Age: NT council slams town camps plan
11 Jul 09: “THE embattled Tangentyere Council has strongly
criticised Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin’s
decision to seize control of the Alice Springs town camps,
claiming the move was unjustified. Executive director
William Tilmouth said the council had been an effective,
responsible and transparent manager.”

National Indigenous Times:
CDEP scrap will have dire impact on Cape, mayors say
9 Jul 09: “A delegation of Queensland Aboriginal community
leaders were in Canberra late last month to voice their
concerns over the planned abolition of Community
Development and Employment Programs (CDEP), saying there
will be dire social consequences as a result. Community
leaders from far north Queensland communities met with the
federal minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin to
discuss the government’s plan to scrap CDEP by June 30.
They urged the government to reconsider its decision.”
Madelaine Sealey


– Opinion

National Indigenous Times:
Editorial: Deafening silence
9 Jul 09: “A fortnight ago, the federal government helped
launch a paper entitled Bridges and Barriers: Addressing
Indigenous Incarceration and Health. It was prepared by the
National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee (NIDAC) and
calls for new efforts to improve Indigenous health, and
thereby reduce Indigenous incarceration. Prime Minister
Kevin Rudd, Indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin,
health minister Nicola Roxon and Attorney General Robert
McClelland all gave the event a wide berth. Which is not
all that surprising when you consider it was the Rudd
government that this year (and last) slashed Aboriginal
legal aid funding despite promising prior to the election
to “strengthen funding to Aboriginal Legal Aid agencies”.”
Chris Graham, editor

National Indigenous Times:
BLACK&WHITE: A matter of criminal neglect
9 Jul 09: “In Darwin, GRAHAM RING has a yarn with NT
Criminal Lawyers Association president, John Lawrence,
about the unconscionable rate of Indigenous incarceration
in the Northern Territory. … “Eighty percent of the
criminal list and eighty percent of the jail population
will be Indigenous,” says Lawrence of the situation in the

– News

ABC: Marchers condemn Indigenous policies
10 Jul 09: “A public event in Darwin to mark NAIDOC week
has heard criticism of both the Commonwealth and the
Northern Territory Governments’ approach to Indigenous
affairs. About 300 people marched through Darwin city
streets with some holding placards calling for compensation
for the Stolen Generations.”

Age: Anti-nuclear protesters take on BHP
9 Jul 09: “ABOUT 150 protesters, including traditional
landowners, rallied yesterday outside BHP Billiton’s
Melbourne headquarters calling on Australia’s largest miner
to cease mining uranium in South Australia. The protesters,
largely made up of members of the annual Students of
Sustainability conference, then marched to the office of
Resources Minister Martin Ferguson to call on him to block
plans for a nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory.”


  1. […] See: WGAR News: Attempts to restrict Aboriginal languages in Northern Territory schools (15 Jul 09)http://wgar.info/150709-attempts-to-restrict-aboriginal-languages-in-northern-territory-schools/ […]

  2. […] WGAR News:Attempts to restrict Aboriginal languages in NT schools (15 Jul 09)http://wgar.info/150709-attempts-to-restrict-aboriginal-languages-in-northern-territory-schools/ […]

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