Reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA)
NT Intervention articles
Other Aboriginal articles


– Urgent Action

Amnesty International Australia – Working to Protect Human Rights:
No conditions, no excuses Mr Rudd
14 Oct 09: “Suspending the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA)
allows racially discriminatory actions to occur – and this
is exactly what happened in the roll out of the Northern
Territory Intervention. … The Federal Government has
promised to take steps to reinstate the RDA as soon as next
week. However, the Government is proposing to designate
some discriminatory practices, such as welfare quarantining,
as a ‘special measure’ to allow them to continue. Such
‘special measures’ would defeat the purpose and the spirit
of the reinstatement of the RDA. It is important that the
reinstatement of the RDA should contain no loopholes to
allow racial discrimination to continue. Call on the
Federal Government now to reinstate the RDA in full… no
conditions, no excuses! … Take action now – Send a letter
to the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, by clicking on the ACT
NOW button on right-hand side of this page.”

– News

ABC: Amnesty demands changes to intervention
19 Oct 09: “Amnesty International is calling for people to
write to the Prime Minister to demand immediate changes to
the Northern Territory intervention in Aboriginal
communities. The Federal Government has promised to
reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act, but says it will
keep welfare quarantining in remote communities.”

SMH: Aboriginal intervention plan rebadged to meet race
discrimination laws
18 Oct 09: “THE Federal Government’s intervention into
indigenous communities will be rebadged as a positive
measure as part of its plan to make the policy comply with
anti-discrimination laws. Legislation reinstating the
Racial Discrimination Act is expected to be introduced into
Parliament as soon as this week.” Stephanie Peatling

National Indigenous Times:
Rudd govt should rework or scrap intervention: QC
15 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.”


– Background on the Northern Territory Intervention

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Northern Territory National Emergency Response


– Activities

Rollback the Intervention: Support
Oct 2009: “Current work (October 2009) [by IRAG –
Intervention Rollback Action Group] includes informing and
supporting Alice Springs town camp residents in their
efforts to get the federal government to listen to their
concerns about the proposed takeover of their land and
homes. These efforts have also been supported by the Human
Rights Law Resource Centre who have helped lodge court
cases in the Federal Court in Melbourne. IRAG is also
working on helping residents put in submissions to the
government about their concerns regarding Minister
Macklin’s threat of compulsory acquisition of their town
camps if they don’t sign over their land for 40 + 40 years.
… A campaign is continuing to pressure the government to
keep its pre-election promise to reinstate the Racial
Discrimination Act.”

– Events

Rollback the Intervention:
[Alice Springs] Assimilation and the Intervention Community Forum
“Wednesday 21st October
Andy McNeill Room 7-10pm
[Alice Springs Town Council]
Speakers include:
Richard Downs, Alyawarr Elder from Ampilatwatja
The Ampilatwatja walkoff and East Coast speakout
Barbara Shaw, Mount Nancy resident
Campaigning against the Intervention
Chris Graham, editor National Indigenous Times
On Racism
and more on the night!
BBQ on Town Council Lawns from 6pm.
Speakers will start from 7pm All welcome!
evening organised by IRAG
[IRAG – Intervention Rollback Action Group

Stop the Intervention: Ampilatwatja Walk-off Info
Report on Ampilatwatja speaking tour
Oct 09: “The recent visit to Sydney of Richard Downs,
spokesperson for the Ampilatwatja walk-off in the Northern
Territory and Harry Nelson from Yuendumu (NT) was a great
success. The strong stand taken by the community at
Ampilatwatja and the clear leadership shown by Richard and
Harry galvanised profound support for the fight against the
Intervention. Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney has
been able to more seriously engage with a range of
progressive organisations and the campaign is building
momentum within the trade union movement. Following some
significant contributions from unions and individual
supporters, enough money has been raised to sink a bore to
supply water for the walk-off camp.”

Socialist Alternative:
Tour builds solidarity for Aboriginal walk-off
Oct 09: “In July, Aboriginal people walked off the
government-controlled community of Ampilatwatja in the
Northern Territory. Protesting against years of racism and
government neglect, the people of Ampilatwatja (pronounced
“umblud-witch”) have established a permanent protest camp,
vowing not to return to a life under government control.
Now, a speaking tour down the east coast of Australia has
started to galvanise union and community support for the
protest, and for other Aboriginal communities resisting the
Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER, or Northern
Territory Intervention).” Jerome Small

Green Left: ‘Stop toxic racism!’
19 Oct 09: “MELBOURNE — “The government wants the land
because there’s uranium underneath it!” Aboriginal activist
Robbie Thorpe told a vibrant October 16 rally protesting
against the NT intervention. He was referring to the
compulsory acquisition of Aboriginal land, one of the
intervention’s policies. “Racism has reared its ugly red
face.” Aboriginal people and supporters called on the
federal government and Aboriginal affairs minister Jenny
Macklin to halt the intervention and reinstate the Racial
Discrimination Act.”

Green Left: NT intervention: ‘a land grab’
19 Oct 09: “The Ampilawatja walk-off national speaking tour
is spreading the word about life under the Northern
Territory intervention and the Aboriginal elders who have
walked off their community in opposition.”

– Photo

Sydney Indymedia: Richard Downs portrait
19 Oct 09

– Interview

Socialist Alternative: Interview with Aboriginal activists
Richard Downs and Harry Nelson
Oct 09: “On Friday 16 October, Richard Downs and Harry
Nelson addressed a packed public meeting of 240 people at
the MAYSAR Aboriginal gym in Fitzroy, Melbourne. After the
meeting Richard Downs spoke to Christine Brown from the
Nunga Wangga show on Radio Adelaide, and Ford D from
Socialist Alternative magazine. …
Christine Brown: Can you tell us what led you to walking off
your community? …
Ford D: In your opinion what is exactly behind the
Intervention? Why are they doing this?”

– Opinion

National Indigenous Times:
Margin Notes: Why Jenny Macklin earned an Ernie
15 Oct 09: “EVA COX* nominated the Minister for Indigenous
Affairs in the annual Ernies. Here she explains why the NT
intervention is both racist and sexist. Once a year, Sydney
feminists gather for the annual Ernies’ awards dinner,
named after a deeply sexist trade unionist and run by a
group of feminist politicians.” Dr Eva Cox, a prominent
Australian feminist and a lecturer at the University of
Technology, Sydney

– Radio

CAAMA Radio news
(Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association):
19 Oct 09: “Federal Government is reportedly wanting to
promote the Intervention as a positive thing.”

Indigenous radio station 98.9FM Brisbane
Let’s Talk – Indigenous presented talkback:
13 Oct 09: “Glen Dooley – Karen Dorante spoke with North
Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) Principal
Legal Officer, Glen Dooley. They spoke about diversion
programs in Communities, Indigenous kids in court,
incarceration of Indigenous people, Northern Territory
Intervention, legal system and the legal education DVD.”
Listen to this interview on-line:

– News

Green Left: Racism begets violence in Alice Springs
19 Oct 09: “Five Alice Springs men have been charged for
the July 25 bashing of Aboriginal man … The killing is
part of a spate of racist violence that has plagued Alice
Springs over recent months. … The rise in racist violence
comes in the context of federal government policies that
clearly discriminate against Aboriginal people – the NT

SMH: All-in communities will be death of the Yolngu, elder says
17 Oct 09: ” Ancestral homelands are a life force, Lindsay
Murdoch reports. Gawirrin Gumana is deeply troubled.
Sitting in a wheelchair with his Order of Australia
insignia around his neck, the most senior traditional
leader in Arnhem Land warns that white men’s politics
threaten his Yolngu people’s future.”


– Activities

What’s Working: Aboriginal women have answers themselves
2009: “Having white people tell you what to do once again
is repeating history. By taking control of our own land the
government is taking control of our heart and spirit
Mitch, an Eastern Arrente woman from the Engawala community …
Below are some stories of the many programs that are
working in education, health, the law and other areas. … ”

– Opinion

National Indigenous Times:
The Pointed View: More wrongs than rights
15 Oct 09: “There was a lot of hope in the ALP’s national
human rights consultations, but once again the losers are
Indigenous people, writes PROF LARISSA BEHRENDT*. After a
nation-wide consultation process, the National Human Rights
Consultation Committee has produced its report. It
recommends that there be a Charter of Rights for Australia.
But what does it say on the rights of Indigenous people?”
Larissa Behrendt, a Professor of Law at the University of
Technology Sydney

– TV

Coming Up

ABC1 TV: Message Stick – Maralinga: The Anangu Story: Part One
“6:00pm Friday, 23 Oct 2009 … 50 years ago secret atomic
tests were carried out at a place called Maralinga in South
Australia. The traditional Aboriginal communities were to
be moved but somehow they were covered in radioactive
fallout. Part 1 of 2.”

See this related link: ‘Britain must compensate Aboriginal
people for radioactive fallout’
[scroll down page] http://antarsa.auspics.org.au/

– News

National Indigenous Times:
Rights debate heats up as report handed down
15 Oct 09: “A report into the findings of nationwide human
rights consultations has found overwhelming support for a
Human Rights Act in Australia. It also found that the
protection of Indigenous rights is still a central concern.
The National Human Rights Consultation Report, outlines the
findings of The National Human Rights Consultation
Committee, which was commissioned by the federal government
in December last year to determine which human rights
should be protected and promoted in Australia.”
Madelaine Sealey

National Indigenous Times:
Abbott views ‘outdated’: CLC
15 Oct 09: “One of Australia’s most powerful Aboriginal
land councils has lashed out at opposition spokesman on
Indigenous affairs Tony Abbott, accusing him of holding
“outdated and purely ideological” views. Mr Abbott said
that he was going to investigate whether the Central Land
Council (CLC) should be broken up into a set of smaller

National Indigenous Times:
School rise not due to welfare reforms: Sarra
15 Oct 09: “Tough welfare reforms in Cape York are making
it harder, not easier, to get kids to attend school,
despite attendance almost doubling in one community, a
leading Indigenous educator says. Dr Chris Sarra accused
the Family Responsibilities Commission (FRC) of taking
undue credit for the jump in attendance from 37 to 63 per
cent at Aurukun in the past year.”

National Indigenous Times:
Black jail rate jumps due to sentencing, report says
15 Oct 09: “An increase in the number of juveniles and
Indigenous people sent to jail in NSW is being attributed
to tougher sentencing in courts, not an increase in crime.
The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research has
released research showing the adult Indigenous imprisonment
rate rose 48 per cent between 2001 and 2008.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: