WGAR website: http://wgar.info/

NT Intervention articles
Other Aboriginal articles


– Background on the Northern Territory Intervention

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Northern Territory National Emergency Response


– Media Releases & Statements

Council of Churches of Western Australia:
Statement on Reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act NT
[scroll down page] http://www.socialpolicyconnections.com.au/Portals/3/docs/church%20statements%20re%20racial%20discrimination%20NT-1.pdf
9 Oct 09: “The Executive of the Council of Churches of
Western Australia (CCWA) welcomes the move of the Federal
Government to reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act in
the Northern Territory, and calls for the Federal
Government to go further to review all Aboriginal policies
to ensure that they are in line with Australia’s
international obligations, especially those now involved
with the Northern Territory Intervention.”

Australian government accused of disempowering Aboriginal peoples
8 Oct 09: ” … In a statement issued today Richard Downs
accuses the Australian government of disempowering
Aboriginal peoples: “The NT Emergency Response (NTER)
measures have disempowered Aboriginal people. The
suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act has taken away
our rights. It has taken away our land rights, our
ownership and control. We have no say in the running of our
communities or lands. There is no self-determination. We
are taking our message to the Australian public to let them
know exactly what is happening under the NTER. We need to
get rid of the racial discrimination policies that are
imposed by the federal government!” “

Australia must honour its obligations under International Law
[download the document] http://www.socialpolicyconnections.com.au/Portals/3/docs/Julian%20Burnside%20QC%206%20October%202009.doc
7 Oct 09: “In April this year Australia joined 144 other
countries in giving public support to the Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In conjunction with this,
the government announced its intention to reinstate the
Racial Discrimination Act in the Northern Territory during
the spring sitting of Parliament. … Australia has given
its very public support to the Declaration of the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples. It is essential that the directions
provided by Professor Anaya be given serious attention, as
government strives to implement new legislation that will
fully comply with its international obligations.
Julian Burnside AO QC”

Intervention walkoff’s Blog:
Statements – Appeal to our Church leaders:
28 Sep 09: “Our fathers you came to us in our peoples need
in last 200 years, our needs now are much greater, our
cultures, traditions and custom, are holding on by a single
strand. Return to us once again and walk with us as one
people, share with us our journey to stand against racist
policies that create divisions. Richard Downs, Spokesperson
for Alyawarr people”

Victorian Council of Churches:
A Statement from the Executive of the Victorian Council of Churches
“The Executive of the Victorian Council of Churches (VCC)
calls upon the Federal Government to take the opportunity
provided by the reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination
Act to review all Aboriginal policies to ensure that they
are in line with Australia’s international obligations. UN
Special Rapporteur Professor James Anaya has pointed out
that the Northern Territory Intervention, in its current
form and in its delivery, “is incompatible with Australia’s
obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Racial Discrimination and the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Australia is a
party to both treaties. The intervention is also
incompatible with the Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples, which Australia supports”.”

National Council of Churches in Australia NATSIEC:
Media Statement – NATSIEC supports Special Rapporteur’s findings
[scroll down page] http://www.socialpolicyconnections.com.au/Portals/3/docs/church%20statements%20re%20racial%20discrimination%20NT-1.pdf
31 Aug 09: “The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Ecumenical Commission (NATSIEC) has welcomed the
statement by the UN’s Special Rapporteur on his recent
visit to Australia. Graeme Mundine, Executive Secretary of
NATSIEC, said that Professor Anaya had visited Australia at
the invitation of the Federal Government and during his
short visit had talked to a wide range of Indigenous and
non-Indigenous people. Mr Mundine described the remarks by
Professor Anaya as insightful, but also expressed concern at
comments rejecting Anaya’s statement.”

Media Release by the Uniting Church:
Territory Intervention highlighted for UN Rapporteur
[scroll down page] http://www.socialpolicyconnections.com.au/Portals/3/docs/church%20statements%20re%20racial%20discrimination%20NT-1.pdf
20 Aug 09: “The Uniting Church in Australia has taken its
vehement opposition to the Northern Territory Emergency
Response to the United Nations. The Uniting Church has
written to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the
Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of
Indigenous People, currently visiting Australia, to draw
his attention to the concerns being expressed by Indigenous
members of the Uniting Church.”

– Events

Intervention walkoff’s Blog: Speaking Tour – Brisbane
“Brisbane – Saturday 17th October, 1.30pm, Kurlipa Hall,
174 Boundary Street, West End
With Reverend Aunty Alex Gater, Aboriginal Women For Change
Brisbane – Monday 19th October, 1pm, Room 214,
Gordon Greenwood Building (32), University of Queensland.”

Stop the Intervention: Speaking tour
Ampilatwatja walk-off against NT Intervention;
6 – 20 October 2009
[scroll down page] http://stoptheintervention.org/

– Video

Intervention walkoff’s Blog – Video:
[scroll down page] http://interventionwalkoff.wordpress.com/video/
“October 7, 2009 Ampilatwatja speaking tour forum at UTS, Sydney.
The NT Intervention in Crisis, Why Jenny Macklin must resign
… Speech by Chris Graham, Editor National Indigenous Times
… Speech by Richard Downs”

– Speeches

Stop the Intervention: Ampilatwatja Walk-off
Oct 09: “Richard Downs’ Speech”

Social Policy Connections: Legal profession statements October 2009
Oct 09: “This is an edited extract of the Archbishop Daniel
Mannix Memorial Lecture delivered on Tuesday by Alastair
Nicholson, former chief justice of the Family Court of
Australia. … A formal treaty with indigenous people might
be the catalyst for more meaningful engagement, which the
intervention has not achieved, says Alastair Nicholson. … “

– Radio & Audio

(Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association):
14 Oct 09: “* Tasmanian Aboriginal rights campaigner arrested at a protest. …
* A visiting senior human rights lawyer says Tangentyere
town camp residents must be provided with an opportunity to
participate with decision making of their own lives.”

ABC Radio National: Late Night Live: Ampilatwatja Protest
13 Oct 09: “A conversation about the protest by elders and
others from the Ampilatwatja community in central Australia.
Three months ago over a hundred people walked out of the
small community and refused to go back until the federal
government responded to their complaints about the lack of
consultation and restrictions placed on them under the
Northern Territory Emergency Response.
Guest: Richard Downs, Spokesman for the Ampilatwatja
community protest.
Presenter: Phillip Adams
Story Researcher and Producer: Chris Bullock”

(Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association):
13 Oct 09: “Unresolved issues with an Utopia community store.”

CAAMA Radio Morning News
(Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association):
12 Oct 09: “The Fed. Government has once again critisiced
after delaying action in dealing with housing needs for
Indigenous Australia.”

CAAMA Radio News
(Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association):
9 Oct 09: “Federal Opposition Indigenous Affairs
spokesperson Tony Abbott says he can understand why people
are disappointed with the Emergency response.”

CAAMA Radio Morning News
(Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association):
8 Oct 09: “A leading Australian Human Rights lawyer says
Labour needs rework or scrap racist [elements of the NT

Intervention walkoff’s Blog – Audio:
2 Oct 09: “Richard Downs speaking in Sydney at the start of
the Ampilatwatja walk off east coast speaking tour”

– Opinion

On Line Opinion: The Northern Territory In(ter)vasion
14 Oct 09: “The saga of the Intervention will continue
until Prime Minister Rudd appoints a competent Minister for
Indigenous Affairs who can relate to Aborigines in a way
which respects their dignity, listens to what it is they
have to say, and upholds their rights to have the same
protection against racial discrimination as other
Australians. Such a Minister might even try to act in ways
which are compatible with the United Nations Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
John Tomlinson, a visiting scholar at QUT

Solidarity: It’s time to unite
Oct 09: “In July Aboriginal elders from the Ampilatwatja
community began a walk-off protest against the
Intervention. Solidarity spoke to Richard Downs, one of the
protest leaders. Where has the idea of the walk-off come
from? In the 1940s a few of our Alyawarr elders, now in
their mid-80s, were involved in a walk-off from Lake Nash
station. They were standing up to get the same rights as
the white people.”

Solidarity: Intervention fuels racist violence in Alice Springs
Oct 09: ” … The blame for increasing racism lies at the
feet of the federal government. Barbara Shaw, a resident of
Mt Nancy town camp and spokesperson for the Intervention
Rollback Action Group says, “We’ve got racial tensions in
this town because of the NT Intervention. They suspended
the Racial Discrimination Act to roll out a policy which
treats Aboriginal people as second-class citizens. This
opened the door for more racism from the general
community”.” Lauren Mellor

Green Left: NT walk-off: solidarity needed
10 Oct 09: “On October 9, 100 people gathered at the
Manning Clark Centre at the Australian National University,
to hear about the Northern Territory intervention and the
inspiring Alyawarra people’s walk-off at Ampilatwatja in
the NT. The speakers were Harry Nelson from Yuendumu, NT,
walk-off spokesperson Richard Downs, and Michael Anderson,
founder of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra.”
Lara Pullin, Canberra

Green Left:
NT walk-off: Indigenous community defies racist intervention
10 Oct 09: “In early October, Green Left Weekly visited the
Alyawarr people’s walk-off camp, three hours north-east of
Alice Springs. … Ampilatwatja, part of around 300 square
kilometres handed back to the Alyawarra people in 1976, is
one of the communities compulsorily acquired under the
intervention. Elders at the walk-off camp told GLW they
felt shame and anger at the discriminatory measures of the
intervention.” Peter Robson & Emma Murphy

Arena: Contracting Out Indigenous Futures
Sep 09: “Noel Pearson and Peter Sutton both take an
assimilationist turn writes Geoff Sharp … Noel Pearson,
as Indigenous activist and intellectual, has consolidated
his national prominence of late; some even suggest that he
is on course to emulate Obama by moving on to seek election
as a federal parliamentary figure. … ”
Geoff Sharp, General Editor of Arena Publications

– Discussion Paper

CAEPR – Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research:
Ideology, Evidence and Competing Principles in Australian
Indigenous Affairs:
From Brough to Rudd via Pearson and the NTER
William Sanders – Discussion Paper 289 / 2009
13 Oct 09: “Abstract: This paper tracks the recent rise of
ideology and evidence discourse as a way of describing good
and bad Indigenous affairs policy. Expressing
dissatisfaction with this discourse, it suggests a slightly
more complex analytic way of thinking about Indigenous
affairs involving three competing principles; equality,
choice and guardianship. … ” William Sanders

– News

National Indigenous Times:
Indigenous demountable housing to be put on Christmas Island
16 Oct 09: “Plans to relocate demountable housing from
Alice Springs to Christmas Island have sparked a barrage of
criticism, with the Rudd government accused of pilfering
from impoverished Aboriginal people. The dongas will be
used to provide housing as well as recreational and office
facilities at the rapidly filling detention facility.”

Australian: Mal Brough says use dongas in Northern
Territory to house asylum-seekers
16 Oct 09: “FORMER federal indigenous affairs minister Mal
Brough says demountable buildings being sent to house
asylum-seekers should be used to ease the accommodation
crisis in indigenous communities, despite claims they fail
to meet national guidelines.”

ABC: Alice’s unused demountables rile Brough
15 Oct 09: “Former federal Indigenous affairs minister, Mal
Brough, says it is appalling that demountables sitting in
Alice Springs for three years have not been used as
emergency accommodation in the town. … The organisation
managing town camps in Alice Springs says demountables are
not suitable for housing Aboriginal people.”

Australian: Asylum housing ‘not pilfered’
15 Oct 09: “DEMOUNTABLES previously used to house
asylum-seekers in Woomera are on the way to Christmas
Island detention centre amid claims the Rudd government is
“pilfering” crisis accommodation intended for indigenous

ABC: Indigenous Australians ‘making way’ for asylum seekers
15 Oct 09: “The Federal Opposition has criticised the
Government’s decision to send demountable buildings to
Christmas Island to house extra asylum seekers.”

ABC: Town camp residents ‘denied investment say’
14 Oct 09: “A human rights lawyer says a $100 million
investment in Alice Springs town camps will not achieve the
Federal Government’s aims unless residents have a greater
say in how and where new houses are built. Ben Schockman is
representing town camp residents opposed to a 40-year-lease
deal signed between the camp housing associations and the
Government earlier this year.”

Australian: Indigenous housing to go to boat people
14 Oct 09: “THE Rudd Government has been accused of
pilfering from Aborigines over claims it plans to relocate
demountable housing from Alice Springs to Christmas Island.”

St Marys Star: ‘This is 2009, not the 1700s’
13 Oct 09: “TREGEAR was the sixth stop in Richard Downs’
national speaking tour on the Northern Territory
intervention. A big turnout packed Wundunarrkoo Hall on
Sunday to hear one man’s views on the restrictions
Aborigines face in remote Northern Territory communities.
… it’s the removal of Aboriginal land rights that has
angered communities the most.”

ABC: Leader of an Aboriginal protest group arrested
13 Oct 09: “The spokesperson for Tasmania’s Aboriginal
centre has been arrested during a vocal protest outside a
community cabinet meeting in Hobart. … Indigenous
protesters have gathered outside, holding banners and
waving aboriginal flags. They are angry about the Federal
Government’s quarantining of welfare payments for
Aborigines in the Northern Territory.”

ABC: Call for Army to hasten remote housing
13 Oct 09: “The independent Member for MacDonnell says the
Northern Territory Government must start considering
radical initiatives to get houses built in remote
Indigenous communities. Alison Anderson deserted Labor over
concerns the Strategic Indigenous Housing and
Infrastructure Program would deliver less than half the
promised houses.”

Impunuty Watch: Oceania: Australian Aboriginal Leader and
Advocates Criticize NT Intervention
12 Oct 09: “Aboriginal elder Richard Downs, along with
various political and legal adversaries, has accused the
Australian government of racism against the aboriginal
people. Downs criticizes the NT Emergency Response (NTER)
measures, stating that the measures have disempowered
Aboriginal people.”
Cindy Trinh, Impunity Watch Reporter, Oceania

ABC: Community store issues causing ‘division’
12 Oct 09: “The president of the Barkly Shire, Rosalie
Kunoth-Monks, says a delay in resolving issues at a
community store is causing division in the Utopia homelands.”

SMH: Government considers tracing welfare money
11 Oct 09: “PEOPLE who receive family assistance payments
or welfare could have their purchases tracked via barcodes
as part of a new income-management system being explored by
the Federal Government. Spending would be controlled by
making welfare and other payments available through
Eftpos-style cards that could allow recipients to buy only
products such as food, clothing and household goods.”

National Indigenous Times:
Intervention undoes 50 years of progress: Aboriginal elder
9 Oct 09: “The Northern Territory intervention is a racist
policy that undoes fifty years of progress, Aboriginal
elder Richard Downs says. Mr Downs is on a speaking tour to
rally support for a protest camp set up outside the
Ampilatwatja community in the NT. Residents of the camp say
they won’t move back into the community until the
intervention measures are lifted.”

ABC: Indigenous housing ‘beset by delays’
9 Oct 09: “The Federal Opposition has criticised the
Government for delaying action in dealing with housing
needs for Indigenous Australia. A report this week has
revealed that 11,000 homes are needed just to meet extreme
needs. The Opposition’s Indigenous affairs spokesman, Tony
Abbott, has just been on a tour of central Australia and
says the Federal Government’s remote Indigenous housing
program for the NT is beset by delays.”

Brisbane Times: Australia close to a charter of rights
8 Oct 09: “If Australia had a humans right act the Northern
Territory intervention would have been struck down, the
author of a government report recommending such a charter
says. Similarly, tough anti-terror laws allowing for
detention without charge, and the locking up of asylum
seekers’ children, may also have been scuttled, according to
National Human Rights Consultation committee chair Frank

National Indigenous Times:
Racist intervention measures must be dumped or reworked: lawyer
7 Oct 09: “A leading human rights lawyer says the federal
government must rework or scrap racist elements of the
intervention program in remote Indigenous communities and
honour Australia’s obligations under international law.
Labor is moving to reinstate the legislation that allowed
some of the more controversial measures to be rolled out.
But Julian Burnside, QC, said Australia would fail as a
signatory to a number of UN conventions and violate its own
laws, unless there are changes to the intervention’s
“overtly discriminatory” measures.”

National Indigenous Times:
Royal commission needed into Indigenous housing: CLP
7 Oct 09: “A Country Liberal MLA is calling for a Royal
Commission into Indigenous housing in the Northern
Territory. Opposition Indigenous affairs spokesman Adam
Giles says Aboriginal people in remote communities are
living in dilapidated, unsafe homes which they have no hope
of ever owning or improving.”

National Indigenous Times:
Cop shops prove Labor committed to NT intervention: Macklin
7 Oct 09: “The Rudd government is to spend $50 million over
three years building five new police stations in remote
Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. Labor has
been accused of killing off the federal intervention into
remote communities after axing the role of operational
head. But on Tuesday Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny
Macklin said the push to build more cop shops proved the
commonwealth was committed to strengthening the


– Media Release

ANTaR: Rights Report a good start but Indigenous rights
left in the “too hard” basket
13 Oct 09: “ANTaR today welcomed the release of the report
of the National Human Rights Consultation. “We welcome the
dawning of a human rights culture and legal framework in
Australia which this report represents,” ANTaR President,
Dr Janet Hunt, said today. “However it appears that the
distinctive rights of Australia’s First Peoples have been
left in the too hard basket. Yet the Report itself makes
clear that the consultations, especially those with many
Indigenous participants, clearly indicated that these rights
need protection.”

– Special email bulletin

ANTaR SA: Special email bulletin — ‘Britain must compensate
Aboriginal people for radioactive fallout’
[scroll down page] http://antarsa.auspics.org.au/
“ANTaR SA and ALRM have re-issued this statement on 24
August 2009 (pdf 88kb), with some amendments to the
statement initially circulated on 6 August. Some
inaccuracies in the statement have been pointed out to us,
in relation to the references to compensation and Maralinga
Tjarutja – we are seeking to clarify these points. We
apologise for any misunderstanding caused. ANTaR SA and
ALRM are re-issuing the statement because the core issue
remains – the radioactive fallout from the 1950s British
atomic tests went to many places in Australia, and all
Aboriginal people ought to have access to pursuing
compensation for damages from this fallout.”

– Scientific Report

Alyawarr speakers from Ampilatwatja, Fiona Walsh and
Josie Douglas. 2009.
Angka Akatyerr-akert: A Desert raisin report,
Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre, Alice Springs.

– Opinion

Solidarity: Punitive welfare won’t improve education
Oct 09: “Conservative Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson has
used recent school attendance figures to trumpet the
success of the punitive Family Responsibilities Commission
(FRC). The FRC, designed by Pearson’s Cape York Institute,
began operating in four Cape York Aboriginal communities in
2008. It has the power to quarantine welfare payments in
response to problems such as child school attendance.”
Paddy Gibson

– Radio

Indigenous radio station 98.9FM Brisbane
Let’s Talk – Indigenous presented talkback:
6 Oct 09: “Tiga Bayles spoke with Chris Graham, Editor of
The National Indigenous Times.”
Listen to this interview on-line:

– News

National Indigenous Times:
Aboriginal rights need to be acknowledged: ANTaR
14 Oct 09: “Australia might be one step closer to adopting
a charter of human rights, but activists say it must
acknowledge Aboriginal people as the nation’s first people
if it wants to end racism. … Australia is currently the
only western democracy without a legislated charter of
rights, and Dr Hunt [president of the Australians for Native
Title and Reconciliation (ANTAR)] said action was long

National Indigenous Times:
Garret remains tight-lipped on future of Uluru rock climb
9 Oct 09: “Federal Environment Minster Peter Garrett
remains tight-lipped about the future of the Uluru rock
climb, more than 20 years after he sang at its base about
Aboriginal land rights.”

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