120629 – Avaaz.org community petitions: Putting Australia to the human rights test

Contents:
* Avaaz.org community petitions:
Putting Australia to the human rights test
* Congress letter to Parliamentary Human Rights Committee
* Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights:
Chair’s Statement to the House of Representatives
* Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service calls for
human rights scrutiny on income management national rollout
* ‘concerned Australians’:
Stronger Futures or human rights: will FAHCSIA remain closed?
* ACM Sydney: The ACM endorses requests to send Stronger Futures
for scrutiny by Parliamentary Human Rights Committee
* UnitingJustice: Human rights check is a vital step towards
dignity for Indigenous Australians
* CRA: CRA urges for an examination of Stronger Futures
legislation’s compatibility with human rights
* Emilija Beljic, St Vincent de Paul Society:
Who’s afraid of human rights?
* Greens Rachel Siewert: Human rights examination of parenting
and intervention laws is an important step
* WGAR considers Stronger Futures legislation should face
Human Rights scrutiny
* Human Rights Scutiny News
* Australian: NT Aborignal groups urge customary law rethink
* More ‘Stronger Futures’ Legislation related articles
* Background to ‘Stronger Futures’ new NT Intervention laws
* Background to the Northern Territory (NT) Intervention

* AVAAZ.ORG COMMUNITY PETITIONS:
PUTTING AUSTRALIA TO THE HUMAN RIGHTS TEST

– Petition

Avaaz.org community petitions:
Putting Australia to the human rights test
http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Indigenous_Human_Rights
22 Jun 12: “To Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin
We urge you to allow the Parliamentary Committee on Humans
Rights to examine control measures proposed in the the
Stronger Futures Bill.
The legislation will impose control over Aboriginal
communities in the NT for the next ten years and only by
subjecting the measures to the scrutiny of the Parliamentary
Committee will you ensure that the Government’s policies
comply with international human rights standards.”

* CONGRESS LETTER TO PARLIAMENTARY HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE:

– Letter

National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples:
Congress letter to Parliamentary Human Rights Committee
http://nationalcongress.com.au/congress-letter-to-parliamentary-human-rights-committee-released/
20 Jun 12: “The Chairman of the Joint Committee on Human
Rights, Labor MP Harry Jenkins has told parliament that the
Committee had received correspondence from Congress asking
the Committee to examine the Stronger Futures bills for
compatibility with human rights under Section 7(a) of the
Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act (2011).
Read the full text of the Congress letter here:
http://nationalcongress.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/CongressStatementtoParlJtCteeonHumanRights.pdf
Congress also has an ongoing electronic letter campaign
calling for the bills to be properly scrutinised to ensure
that they comply with Australian human rights standards.
Check it out at this link:
http://congressmob.good.do/stoplisten/bnmb/ .”

– Related News

Macklin must justify human rights: groups
newsTracker: http://tracker.org.au/2012/06/macklin-must-justify-human-rights-groups/
9 News: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8486592
20 Jun 12: “NATIONAL: A parliamentary committee has
demanded the government justify any human rights
limitations an extension of the Northern Territory
intervention imposes on remote Aboriginal communities.
Chairman of the joint committee on human rights, Labor MP
Harry Jenkins, on Wednesday told parliament that members
had received correspondence from the National Congress of
Australia’s First Peoples asking them to examine the
Stronger Futures bills now before the Senate. The committee
was working out how it would respond to the request, he
said. … ”

See:

Background to National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples
Last updated: 5 May 2012
http://indymedia.org.au/2012/05/05/background-to-the-national-congress-of-australia%E2%80%99s-first-peoples

* PARLIAMENTARY JOINT COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS:
CHAIR’S STATEMENT TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

– Statement

Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights:
Chair’s Statement to the House of Representatives
http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=humanrights_ctte/statement/statement_200612.pdf
20 Jun 12: “On behalf of the Parliamentary Joint Committee
on Human Rights I supply the House with a report on the
committee’s action. Members will recall that the committee
is established under the Human Rights (Parliamentary
Scrutiny) Act 2011 and was appointed in March this year.
The committee has been established as part of a concerted
effort to enhance the understanding of, and respect for,
human rights issues and to ensure the appropriate recognition
of human rights in the legislative process. …
The second piece of correspondence is from the National
Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and asks the
committee to examine the Stronger Futures in the Northern
Territory Bills. … ”

– Index

Senate Committees:
Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights
http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=humanrights_ctte/index.htm
“* About the Committee
* Committee Membership
* Committee Activity
* Statement by the Chair on behalf of the committee made in
the House of Representatives on 20 June 2012.

* VICTORIAN ABORIGINAL LEGAL SERVICE CALLS FOR
HUMAN RIGHTS SCRUTINY ON INCOME MANAGEMENT NATIONAL ROLLOUT:

– Media Release

Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service calls for
human rights scrutiny on income management national rollout
http://vals.org.au/news/post/media-release-victorian-aboriginal-legal-service-calls-for-human-rights-scrutiny-on-income-management-national-rollout1/
18 Jun 12: “The Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS)
has called on Attorney-General Nicola Roxon to refer the
Stronger Futures and Social Security Legislation Amendment
Bills to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights.
With both Bills expected to pass through the Senate today,
VALS CEO, Wayne Muir, is concerned that without the
Committee’s application of human rights scrutiny to these
Bills, the measures contained within them are destined to
fail Government and the community.
“Today represents a missed opportunity for Government to
display strong commitment to human rights in Australia. VALS
has joined others in calling on the Attorney-General to
utilise her powers of referral to the Committee. Those calls
have gone unanswered,’ said Mr Muir.
In correspondence with the Attorney-General, Mr Muir has also noted the lack of evidence warranting the nation-wide rollout of income management. … ”

* ‘CONCERNED AUSTRALIANS’:
STRONGER FUTURES OR HUMAN RIGHTS: WILL FAHCSIA REMAIN CLOSED?

– Media Release

‘concerned Australians’:
Stronger Futures or human rights: will FAHCSIA remain closed?
Faith Doing Justice: http://www.faithdoingjustice.com.au/docs/2012/06/FDJStronger22Jun12.pdf
ISX: http://www.isx.org.au/forums/read.php?18,10018
22 Jun 12: “The National Congress of Australia’s First
Peoples has requested the proposed Stronger Futures
legislation package be examined by the newly created
Parliamentary Joint committee on Human Rights.
Harry Jenkins MP, former speaker of the House and Chair of
the committee on Human Rights described the role of the
committee, “to examine and report to Parliament on the
compatibility of bills and legislative instruments with
Austrlalia’s human rights obligations under seven core human
rights treaties specified in section three of the Act. The
committee is able to examine existing legislation and conduct
broad inquiries into matters relating to human rights as
referred to it by the Attorney-General.”
Two days ago Mr Jenkins advised the Parliament the “…
committee would like to afford the Minister [Jenny Macklin]
the opportunity to provide her assessment of the policy
objectives of the [Stronger Futures] bills against
Australia’s human rights obligations and clarify for the
committee the justification for any limitations on rights
that the bills will impose.” … ”

– Related Audio Interview

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association:
Michelle Harris from Concerened Australians
http://caama.com.au/michelle-harris-from-concerened-australians
28 Jun 12: “The Senate is due to vote on the Stronger
Futures in the Northern Territory Bill any day now. The
Stronger Futures legislation has been labeled by many as a
continuation in the Northern Territory intervention and a
large number of people have been expressing concern about
the Stronger Futures Bill… with a loud voice calling for
the Bill to be examined by the newly created Parliamentary
Joint Committee on Human Rights. The National Congress of
Australia’s First Peoples has requested this formally in a
letter to the human rights committee…and the committee’s
chair Harry Jenkins raised this letter and the request with
Ms Macklin last week.”

* ACM SYDNEY:
THE ACM ENDORSES REQUESTS TO SEND STRONGER FUTURES FOR
SCRUTINY BY PARLIAMENTARY HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE

– News

ACM Sydney:
The ACM endorses requests to send Stronger Futures for
scrutiny by Parliamentary Human Rights Committee
http://acmsydney.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/the-acm-endorses-requests-to-send-stronger-futures-for-scrutiny-by-parliamentary-human-rights-committee/
20 Jun 12: “The Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, Sydney
Archdiocese, congratulates the Parliamentary Committee on
Human Rights for questioning the compatibility of the
Stronger Futures Bills with Human Rights. The Committee was
established in March this year to examine legislation to
ensure that it is compatible with Human Rights and to report
to Parliament. In a statement made to Parliament today,
Chair, Harry Jenkins MP said that the Human Rights
Committee has received a written request from the National
Congress of Australia’s First Peoples to examine the
Stronger Futures Bills.”

* UNITINGJUSTICE:
HUMAN RIGHTS CHECK IS A VITAL STEP TOWARDS
DIGNITY FOR INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS

– News

UnitingJustice:
Human rights check is a vital step towards
dignity for Indigenous Australians
http://www.unitingjustice.org.au/justice-for-indigenous-australians/news/item/862-human-rights-check-is-a-vital-step-towards-dignity-for-indigenous-australians
20 Jun 12: “The Uniting Church in Australia has welcomed the
call by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights to
investigate the proposed Stronger Futures legislation. The
National Director of UnitingJustice, Rev. Elenie Poulos,
said that without amendment the legislation risks damaging
another generation of the First Peoples and fails to uphold
their rights. “The Stronger Futures legislation will see the
discriminatory measures of the Intervention extended by up
to a decade,” said Rev. Poulos.”

* CRA: CRA URGES FOR AN EXAMINATION OF STRONGER FUTURES
LEGISLATION’S COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

– News

Catholic Religious Australia:
CRA urges for an examination of Stronger Futures
legislation’s compatibility with human rights
http://catholicreligiousaustralia.org/index.php/2012/79-website/content/news-a-views/680-cra-urges-for-an-examination-of-stronger-futures-legislation-compatibility-with-human-rights-obligation
22 Jun 12: “Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) supports the
call of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights to
investigate whether the proposed Stronger Futures
legislation complies with Australia’s obligation to human
rights. The CRA’s justice network on 21 June released the
following statement:
“Catholic Religious Australia joins with the many other
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Church and community
groups in asking the Federal Government to listen to and
take heed of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights.
It is questioning the compatibility of the Stronger Futures
Bills with Human Rights.” … ”

* EMILIJA BELJIC, ST VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY:
WHO’S AFRAID OF HUMAN RIGHTS?

– Analysis / Opinion

ABC The Drum Opinion: Who’s afraid of human rights?
http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4093582.html
27 Jun 12: “Human rights form part of the democratic
process and serve to strengthen a democracy, demanding
transparency in the legislative process and calling into
account elected representatives when their political
judgement falls short of expectations demanded by their
citizens. … Some days later a second group, the National
Congress of Australia’s First People, called on the
committee to establish an inquiry into Stronger Futures
legislation currently before the Senate. … It’s a sign of
a robust democracy when civil society is given the
opportunity to question draft legislation … ”
Emilija Beljic, National Research Officer at
St Vincent de Paul Society National Council office

* GREENS RACHEL SIEWERT:
HUMAN RIGHTS EXAMINATION OF PARENTING AND
INTERVENTION LAWS IS AN IMPORTANT STEP

– Media Release

Greens Rachel Siewert:
Human rights examination of parenting and
intervention laws is an important step
http://rachel-siewert.greensmps.org.au/content/media-releases/human-rights-examination-parenting-and-intervention-laws-important-step
20 Jun 12: ” … Senator Siewert has also welcomed news that
the joint committee has asked Minister Jenny Macklin to
advise them on the compatibility of the Stronger Futures
legislation with Australia’s human rights obligations.
“Widespread concerns have been raised about the Intervention
and the consultation processes that have been undertaken as
part of Stronger Futures.
“This is especially true in regards to programs such as
income management and SEAM, which could have discriminatory
impacts on Aboriginal people.
“The Attorney General has the capacity to ask the Joint
Committee on Human Rights to examine the Stronger Futures
package and the Greens have written to Ms Roxon asking for
this to occur, a process we regard as essential,” Senator
Siewert concluded.”

* WGAR CONSIDERS STRONGER FUTURES LEGISLATION SHOULD FACE
HUMAN RIGHT SCRUTINY

– Media Release

WGAR considers Stronger Futures legislation should face
Human Rights scrutiny
WGAR: https://wgar.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/120622-working-group-for-aboriginal-rights-considers-stronger-futures-legislation-should-face-human-rights-scrutiny/
Indymedia Australia: http://indymedia.org.au/2012/06/22/wgar-considers-stronger-futures-legislation-should-face-human-rights-scrutiny
22 Jun 12: ” … The Working Group for Aboriginal Rights
condemns the Northern Territory (NT) Intervention and its
proposed extension for ten years and expansion into other
parts of Australia, through the proposed ‘Stronger Futures’
legislation.
The Working Group for Aboriginal Rights urges the Australian
government to fully accept and respect the sovereign rights
of Aboriginal Nations and Peoples and to cease their
paternalistic actions towards Aboriginal people, who have
successfully survived climatic and social change over
millennia. Aboriginal people are capable of running their
own lives and communities, but it is the lack of
self-determination and the governments’ ruthless attempts
to assimilate Aboriginal Peoples into ‘one Australia’,
which is really the cause of the perceived ‘problem’. …
We urge that there is scrutiny of the Stronger Futures
bills in order to bring them in line with the international
Human Rights covenants and the UN Declaration on the Rights
of Indigenous Peoples.”

* HUMAN RIGHTS SCRUTINY NEWS:

– Audio

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association:
CAAMA Radio Online News 26.06.12
http://caama.com.au/caama-radio-online-news-26-06-12
26 Jun 12: “An Australian human rights campaigner has
strengthened the call for the Stronger Futures Bill to be
examined against Australia’s human rights obligations…
warning if the Government does not comply with the request
for this to happen, Australia can only be viewed in a
negative way internationally.”

– News

Australian:
Extension of Libs’ intervention ‘vital for education’
http://m.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/indigenous/extension-of-libs-intervention-vital-for-education/story-fn9hm1pm-1226411576870
29 Jun 12: “JENNY Macklin has denied that the government
has a sinister desire to not subject its 10-year extension
of the radical Northern Territory intervention to further
scrutiny, arguing it does not breach Australia’s human
rights obligations. … Deni Langman, a traditional owner
of Uluru, wrote to all senators last night, pleading with
them to vote against the bill. “I wonder how you will tell
your grandchildren these atrocities you did to the first
nations’ people. If you will tell the truth to them. If you
will finally say you are sorry for what you did, and mean
it,” he wrote.”

Sky News: Day of mourning for cont NT intervention
http://www.skynews.com.au/national/article.aspx?id=766004&vId=
29 Jun 12: “National Congress of Australia’s First People
spokeswoman Jody Broun was disappointed the government did
not allow a parliamentary committee to subject the laws to
a human rights test.”

newsTracker: Roxon rejects Stronger Futures human rights test
http://tracker.org.au/2012/06/roxon-rejects-stronger-futures-human-rights-test/
28 Jun 12: “NATIONAL: Attorney General Nicola Roxon will
not refer the Gillard government’s Stronger Futures bills
to a parliamentary committee on human rights. … The laws,
extending for a decade the NT intervention into Aboriginal
communities begun under the Howard government, have been
challenged by the United Nations High Commissioner for
Human Rights, Amnesty International and Indigenous leaders
who wanted a human rights test. Last week, a parliamentary
human rights committee asked Ms Macklin to assess the
policy objectives in light of Australia’s human rights
obligations.”

Australian: Anger over NT intervention scrutiny
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/indigenous/anger-over-nt-intervention-scrutiny/story-fn9hm1pm-1226411276563
28 Jun 12: “ATTORNEY-GENERAL Nicola Roxon has refused to
subject Labor’s 10-year extension of the radical Northern
Territory intervention to her own, newly-created human
rights parliamentary committee, angering the Greens and
indigenous groups. … “I have considered your request but
believe on balance that I should not refer the Stronger
Futures legislation to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on
Human Rights,” she [Nicola Roxon] writes.” Patricia Karvelas

SBS World News: Macklin defends NT intervention
http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1663950/Macklin-defends-NT-intervention
28 Jun 12: “Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin
insists laws to extend the federal government’s
intervention in the Northern Territory do not breach
Australia’s human rights obligations. … The laws,
extending for a decade the NT intervention into Aboriginal
communities begun under the Howard government, have been
challenged by the United Nations High Commissioner for
Human Rights, Amnesty International and indigenous leaders
who wanted a human rights test.”

* AUSTRALIAN: NT ABORIGINAL GROUPS URGE CUSTOMARY LAW RETHINK

– News

Australian: NT Aborignal groups urge customary law rethink
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/indigenous/nt-aborignal-groups-urge-customary-law-rethink/story-fn9hm1pm-1226408275529
25 Jun 12: “THE Aboriginal Peak Organisations of the NT
(APO NT) have urged the Gillard government to urgently
reconsider the customary law provisions contained in the
bill to extend the Northern Territory intervention by 10
years, which limit consideration of matters of customary
law in relation to bail hearings and sentencing of
Aboriginal people before the courts. APO has produced a
briefing paper on customary law which argues that customary
law has never been a defence to violent crimes and is
rarely relied upon in court proceedings.” Patricia Karvelas

* MORE ‘STRONGER FUTURES’ LEGISLATION RELATED ARTICLES:

– Audio Interview

SBS Living Black:
The Northern Territory Intervention Does Not Meet
Legislative Requirements
By Marc Tong
http://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/aboriginal/highlight/page/id/221272/t/The-Northern-Territory-Intervention-Does-Not-Meet-Legislative-Requirements/in/english
25 Jun 12: “In 2007, 73 Aboriginal communities in the
Northern Territory were forced into Income Management that
continues to this day. The decision allows Centrelink to
retain and manage 50-70 per cent of a person’s welfare
payments. While many Aboriginal and non-Indigenous
organisations have continued to campaign against Income
Management, the government still refuses to budge. Now, the
Commonwealth Ombudsman has found many decisions and
processes that place and keep thousands of Aboriginal
people on Income Management, did not meet legislative
requirements.”

– Video

ABC 7.30: Income management expansion gets mixed response
http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2012/s3534360.htm
27 Jun 12: “From next week so called income management will
be rolled out to five suburban centres across Australia.
It’s a controversial program that quarantines up to 70 per
cent of welfare payments to some people. It first started
in the Northern Territory intervention. The money can then
only be used at approved stores for clothes, food, health
and household items. Critics claim it stigmatises those in
the program but a voluntary version of the scheme running
in Western Australia is making some big inroads.”

* BACKGROUND TO ‘STRONGER FUTURES’ NEW NT INTERVENTION LAWS:

Last updated: 22 June 2012

http://indymedia.org.au/2012/04/22/background-to-stronger-futures-new-nt-intervention-laws

* BACKGROUND TO THE NORTHERN TERRITORY (NT) INTERVENTION:

Last updated: 24 May 2012

http://indymedia.org.au/2012/04/22/background-to-the-northern-territory-nt-intervention

– – –

Advertisements

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: