16/02/2010: PROTEST HOUSE AT THE ALYAWARR PEOPLE’S WALK-OFF CAMP WGAR website: http://wgar.info/

Protest House at the Alyawarr people’s walk-off camp
Racial Discrimination Act – New legislation
Other NT Intervention Articles


– Background

Intervention walk-off’s Blog: http://interventionwalkoff.wordpress.com/

– Articles

The Northern Myth: Kevin Rudd’s “clanging gong” rings
hollow at the Ampilitawatja walk-off camp
15 Feb 10: “I got up early yesterday morning to drive 300
kilometres – most of it over rough roads muddy and puddled
by recent storms – from Alice Springs to the Ampilitawatja
walk off camp, where a ceremony would be held to hand-over
a house recently donated to the walk-off campers by a
generous donor and good “friend in the south”. Lots of
other friends of the walk-off camp – from the north, south,
east and west – also made the long, hot trek out to the
walk-off camp to celebrate the occasion … ” Bob Gosford
[Includes impressive photos!]

Solidarity: Black and white unite to build protest house
Feb 10: “A “protest house” built at the walk-off camp
established by the Alyawarr people, is set to be opened on
February 14. It will coincide with national demonstrations
against the NT Intervention. Many Alyawarr walked off their
community at Ampilatwatja, 350kms northeast of Alice
Springs, in July last year. They set up camp outside the
boundaries of the “prescribed area” established by the
Intervention. The strong stand at Ampilatwatja has become
an important focal point for the national campaign. … ”
Paddy Gibson

Green Left:
Our Common Cause: A brilliant showcase of solidarity
14 Feb 10: “In October, when Ampilatwatja walk-off
spokesperson Richard Downs toured the eastern states with
Yuendumu elder Uncle Harry Nelson, … They also made a
very specific appeal for solidarity: for trade unionists
with the appropriate skills and qualifications to travel to
Ampilatwatja to help build a house. This is something the
government had failed to do, despite housing being promised
to NT Aboriginal communities in exchange for the rights
that the intervention took from them.” Tony Iltis

Age: ‘Outcast’ Aborigines stage red desert walk-out
13 Feb 10: “Sixty-eight years later Mr [Banjo] Morton has
led another walk-off, this time from Ampilatwatja, a
settlement in central Australia’s red desert country, …
But three kilometres away at Honeymoon Bore volunteers this
week poured a concrete slab, and a $25,000 kit home donated
by an Adelaide company arrived by truck and was expected to
be erected in time for a traditional smoking ceremony
opening tomorrow.” Lindsay Murdoch

Green Left:
NT protest house: union solidarity with Aboriginal struggle
12 Feb 10: “On February 14, the house was launched with
traditional Alyawarr songs and dancing as well as speakers
including MUA Sydney branch secretary Paul McAleer. A bus
load of Anangu from the APY lands in South Australia joined
the celebrations. Elder Banjo Morton told GLW: “That’s the
way we wanted it with the unions helping us. All different
people working here together, helping us with the
walk-off.”” Emma Murphy, Ampilatwatja

Socialist Alternative:
Unions help build a house of Aboriginal resistance
12 Feb 10: “A house being built at a protest camp against
the NT Intervention will be publicly opened on Sunday 14
February at Honeymoon Bore, near Ampilatwatja. … Trade
unions from around the country have come in behind the
walk-off. Representatives from the CFMEU, AMWU, AWU, LHMU
and Unions NT have sent volunteers to help build the house,
with donated materials.”

– Slideshow of construction of Alyawarr Protest House

Picasa Web Albums – Tim – Walk Off Project
“Laying a concrete slab for the protest house being by the
Alyawarr people of central Australia as part of a protest
against the federal government’s intervention program.”

– Photos at opening of Alyawarr Protest House

The Northern Myth: Kevin Rudd’s “clanging gong” rings
hollow at the Ampilitawatja walk-off camp. By Bob Gosford
15 Feb 10


– Background

WGAR News: New NT Intervention laws that extend welfare quarantining (12 Feb 10)

– Opinion

On Line Opinion:
Discrimination as usual for Australia’s Indigenous policy
15 Feb 10: “The Government says that Bills now before the
Parliament fulfill its promise to reinstate the Racial
Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) so that the Northern
Territory Emergency Response complies with Australia’s
human rights treaty obligations. However, in reality,
passage of these Bills would deliver business as usual:
discrimination, disempowerment and disappointment.”
Robyn Seth-Purdie

SMH: Checks and balance awry in welfare rework
13 Feb 10: “The federal government’s commitment to
‘evidence-based policy’ falls short when it comes to
payments management. … It is not overly dramatic to say
the government is setting about the biggest overhaul of the
social security system since it began. At first glance the
changes look like little more than a tinkering with the
intervention into indigenous communities in the Northern
Territory. … ” Stephanie Peatling

Green Left: Macklin’s cynical Aboriginal policy
13 Feb 10: “Minister for Aboriginal affairs Jenny Macklin
will move in March to restore the Racial Discrimination Act
(RDA) in the Northern Territory. But the move has been
described by Aboriginal advocates as a cynical ploy. …
Macklin’s change will mean that the RDA would be restored
in December and income management would be rolled-out to
other welfare recipients in the NT … The government plans
to extend welfare management to welfare recipients in the
rest of Australia over time.” Peter Robson

SMH: Far-reaching welfare reform quarantined from evidence
13 Feb 10: “No friends, no money, and no support in high
places. Australians reliant on welfare payments – we once
called it social security – have not a speck of political
clout. They are easy targets for a government hell-bent on
showing its tough side, and getting out of a bind.”

Crikey: Failure to restore Racial Discrimination Act means
double jeopardy for Aboriginal people
12 Feb 10: “The legislation to change the basic social
security system is attracting some very interesting
tensions. The Government has nastily linked a range of
legislation that has different constituencies and the
conflicts are emerging. The Government has surpassed itself
in political trickiness and manipulation by trying to play
various groups against each other.” Eva Cox

Solidarity: New laws will entrench Intervention’s racism
Feb 10: “The changes will do nothing to end the racist
measures of the Northern Territory Intervention. Worse, the
delay in the reinstatement of the RDA allows the government
enough time to force communities to sign over their land on
40-year leases, without the risk of court challenges. This
will provide the government with a much greater scope to
control the lives of the people in these communities.”
Ben Dharmendra

– News

ABC: Welfare quarantining under Senate spotlight
15 Feb 10: “A Senate inquiry into proposed changes to
social welfare will sit in Darwin today. Government
legislation aimed at making income management compulsory
for many people on welfare benefits has been introduced to
Parliament. … Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, who is on
the committee, says there have been about 30 submissions
to the Senate. “Virtually all of the submissions are
opposed to legislative changes,” she said.”

See submissions to the Senate Inquiry:

ABC: Welfare quarantine changes ‘still discriminate’
15 Feb 10: “Today, a Senate committee sitting in Darwin
heard from the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency.
It believes the proposed changes to welfare quarantining
could still conflict with the Racial Discrimination Act
because Aboriginal communities could be disproportionately

ABC: Abbott criticises welfare reforms
14 Feb 10: “Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has
criticised the Government’s moves to make welfare
quarantining measures comply with the Racial Discrimination
Act. Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin has
introduced legislation that will make income management
compulsory for disadvantaged people.”

Age: Banker lashes welfare controls
11 Feb 10: “GOVERNMENT moves to expand ”welfare
quarantining” across the country are paternalism gone mad,
Australia’s most senior indigenous banker says. As Prime
Minister Kevin Rudd releases a progress report on his
”close the gap” targets today, NAB’s senior manager of
community finance, Glen Brennan, said indigenous people
needed more power to control their finances, not less.”

Koori Mail: AMSANT supports NTER reform bill
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
11 Feb 10: “THE Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance
Northern Territory (AMSANT) has called on all political
parties to pass proposed federal legislation to reform the
NT Emergency Response. AMSANT Chairperson Stephanie Bell
says the bill, which seeks to introduce compulsory income
management for welfare recipients nationwide, isn’t
perfect but deserves support because it would restore
Indigenous rights under the Racial Discrimination Act.”

Koori Mail: Mounting criticism over welfare plan
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
10 Feb 10: “CRITICISM is mounting over Federal Government
plans to reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act in
Aboriginal communities under the Northern Territory
intervention, by extending compulsory income quarantining
to all Australian welfare recipients.”


– Background to the Northern Territory (NT) Intervention

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Northern Territory National Emergency Response

IRAG (Intervention Rollback Action Group):

STICS (Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney):

Intervention walk-off’s Blog:

WGAR (Working Group for Aboriginal Rights):

– Opinion

Solidarity: Town camp takeover sets back Aboriginal control
Feb 10: “After four years of struggle, the federal
government has finally secured 40-year leases over the
Aboriginal town camps in Alice Springs, represented by the
Tangentyere Council. The takeover push started before the
Intervention, when Liberal Minister Mal Brough announced
that no new houses would be built in the camps until
99-year leases were signed by Tangentyere. Despite a
desperate need for resources, town campers consistently
refused to sign away their land. … ” Paddy Gibson

– News

ABC: Indigenous camps ‘crying out for transport’
14 Feb 10: “An Alice Springs town camp resident says people
in remote Indigenous communities are finding it difficult
to get transport because of the changeover from councils to
shires. Barbara Shaw says when local Aboriginal councils
controlled council assets, including vehicles, local
communities had access to them to get to medical
appointments and for other transport needs.”

Income card failing to prevent `humbug’ in Tiwi Islands
13 Feb 10: “INCOME-QUARANTINING was supposed to stop young
Aboriginal people hassling their elders for money, but on
the Tiwi Islands, just north of Darwin, residents say
there is still “too much humbug”.”

Croakey: The latest on the Australian Crime Commission’s
invasion of medical records and patient privacy
12 Feb 10: “It’s taken some of Australia’s finest legal
minds, but after two years of deliberation the result is
clear-cut. The Australian Crime Commission — the
clandestine organisation set up to do battle with organised
crime — can legally seize the medical records of Aboriginal
children and adults in the NT.”

ABC: Expectations too high: Indigenous housing boss
11 Feb 10: “Remote community residents cannot expect major
upgrades to their homes when they are refurbished, the
manager of an Aboriginal housing program says. The
executive director of the Strategic Indigenous Housing and
Infrastructure Program, Andrew Kirkman, says an average of
$75,000 will be spent on each of the 2,500 houses due for

Koori Mail: Houses at last
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
10 Feb 10: “THE largest Indigenous housing program ever
undertaken in Australia has finally delivered its first
houses. The remote community of Wadeye, south-west of
Darwin, is celebrating the completion of two three-bedroom
houses under the Strategic Indigenous Housing and
Infrastructure Projects (SIHIP) program. And more are set
to follow, with a number of slabs poured and electricity
and sewerage connected.”

National Indigenous Times:
Commonwealth strikes deal to takeover Ilpeye Ilpeye
4 Feb 10: “The Rudd government took steps on Monday to
compulsorily acquire the Alice Springs town camp of Ilpeye
Ilpeye, utilising legislation under the Northern Territory
Emergency Intervention, while cutting a deal with
traditional owners who will receive “just terms”
compensation under the new deal.”

– Radio

Indigenous radio station 98.9FM Brisbane
Let’s Talk – Indigenous presented talkback:
11 Feb 10: “Blair McFarland – Karen Dorante spoke with
Blair McFarland from the Central Australian Youth Link Up
Service (CAYLUS). They spoke about the Northern Territory
Intervention and Indigenous Health Issues.”
Listen to this interview on-line:

– – –

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: