27/02/09: NORTHERN TERRITORY INTERVENTION: COMPLAINT TO THE UNITED NATIONS

Contents:
Complaint to UN
Two Week Intervention Experiment in Sydney
National Apology – One Year On
Alcohol Laws
Welfare Trials
Housing & Leases
CDEP
Intervention Opinion
Intervention News

COMPLAINT TO UN:

Opinion:

NIT: The Big Read: A world of trouble
http://www.nit.com.au/story.aspx?id=17165
19 Feb 09: “A group of Aboriginal residents affected by the
Northern Territory intervention have joined forces with a
legal team to take Australia to the United Nations. CHRIS
GRAHAM reports on Australia’s latest embarrassment on the
world stage. … Labor has also promised it would reinstate
the Racial Discrimination Act as part of the NT
intervention by the Spring 2009 sitting of parliament…
about a year after the report was handed down, and almost
two years since Rudd took office. It’s all come too little
too late for a group of Northern Territory residents
affected by the intervention. They have teamed up with a
group of lawyers from Sydney and formulated a complaint to
the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination.” Chris Graham

NIT: The Big Read: A detailed complaint – what’s in the UN action
http://www.nit.com.au/news/story.aspx?id=17163
19 Feb 09: “The specific objections to the NT intervention
measures contained in the UN complaint are:
* Exclusion of the Racial Discrimination Act from the NT
intervention legislation …
* Compulsory income management …
* Compulsory acquisition of Aboriginal land …
* Powers over Aboriginal community councils …
* Removal of consideration of Aboriginal customary law: …
* Coercive powers of the government Task Force …
* Abolition of Community Development Employment Projects … ”

NIT Forum: Another policy to be sorry for
http://www.nit.com.au/opinion/story.aspx?id=17122
19 Feb 09: “So deeply frustrated are a group of senior
Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory with the
indignity imposed by the Northern Territory intervention
and their inability to be heard, that they have requested
‘urgent action’ from the United Nations Committee for the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination (‘CERD’). Their
request to CERD is not a complicated one. The complainants
simply ask that the Racial Discrimination Act be reinstated
and, importantly, that the Australian Government enter into
discussions with the Aboriginal people of the Northern
Territory to develop solutions that comply with its
international obligations.” Alison Vivian

NIT: Your Say: International focus on the Northern Territory Intervention
http://www.nit.com.au/opinion/story.aspx?id=17119
19 Feb 09: “Let’s petition the South African Government to
ban the upcoming Australian’s Cricket Tour.” Trevor Robinson

TWO WEEK INTERVENTION EXPERIMENT IN SYDNEY:

New Matilda: Two Week Intervention
http://newmatilda.com/tag/scott-mitchell
Feb 09: “The Northern Territory Intervention is taking
place out of sight of the majority of the population. What
would happen if similar restrictions were imposed on
someone [Scott Mitchell] living in Sydney’s inner-city
suburb of Newtown?”

NATIONAL APOLOGY – ONE YEAR ON:

Media Release:

Intervention Rollback Action Group (IRAG):
Prime Minister fails first year’s test
http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/intervention-rollback-action-group-irag-prime-minister-fails-first-year-s-test
27 Feb 09: “The Intervention Rollback Action Group, based
in Alice Springs and working closely with the Prescribed
Area People’s Alliance, says Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s
report 12 months after the National Apology to the Stolen
Generations is nothing but rhetoric and a repetition of the
same stock phrases that the government has been using for a
year. “The gap is widening, not closing,” says Barbara Shaw
from Mt Nancy Town Camp. “Life is harder now for me and
many others living under the Northern Territory
Intervention.  Rudd is using information being fed to him
by Jenny Macklin, and her evidence about what is working is
flawed.” ”

Opinion:

NIT: The Pointed View: Sorry a year on
http://www.nit.com.au/opinion/story.aspx?id=17127
19 Feb 09: “The national apology was an historic day.
However with the Racial Discrimination Act still suspended
in the NT, Prof LARISSA BEHRENDT* says while we should
celebrate the sorry, we must not forget the challenges
ahead. … The third issue that highlights how much still
needs to be done in achieving social justice for Aboriginal
people in a post-apology Australia are aspects of the
Northern Territory intervention.”

NIT Forum: Another policy to be sorry for
http://www.nit.com.au/opinion/story.aspx?id=17122
19 Feb 09: “Quoting the national apology in defence of the
intervention… now that’s irony, writes ALISON VIVIAN*.
… The irony of Jenny Macklin, the Minister for Families,
Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs invoking
the national apology made to the Stolen Generations when
announcing the continuation of the Northern Territory
Intervention is particularly poignant.”

ALCOHOL LAWS:

Opinion:

Age: Editorial: Alcohol curbs alone won’t end indigenous abuse
http://www.theage.com.au/news/opinion/editorial/alcohol-curbs-alone-wont-end-indigenous-abuse/2009/02/25/1235237734449.html?page=fullpage
26 Feb 09: “But restricting the supply of alcohol, whether
through outright bans on takeaway alcohol in some towns, or
limitations on the hours during which it can be bought, is
only one part of the solution. There needs to be a more
comprehensive management plan that involves a range of
interventions and includes reducing the motivation for
excessive drinking, education about alcohol’s dangers and
consequences, more consistent liquor laws, improved housing
and policing and better provision of welfare services such
as detox and rehab programs. As has been shown, involuntary
restrictions on the supply of alcohol will only result in
those who want to drink moving elsewhere. This is not an
effective or sustainable strategy in the long term.”

News:

Age: NT may tighten drink laws
http://www.theage.com.au/national/nt-may-tighten-drink-laws-20090225-8hyb.html
26 Feb 09: “THE Northern Territory Government is
considering tougher restrictions on alcohol to stop drunken
violence that a Supreme Court judge says is devastating
indigenous families.”

Australian: Tennant Creek awash with drunken violence, says Northern Territory judge
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,25099656-2702,00.html?from=public_rss
24 Feb 09: “TENNANT Creek is awash with drunken violence
and in need of alcohol restrictions, says a Northern
Territory judge.”

WELFARE TRIALS:

Media Release:

Greens: Time for a different approach to school truancy
http://rachel-siewert.greensmps.org.au/content/media-release/time-a-different-approach-school-truancy-greens
17 Feb 09: “The Australian Greens today called on Federal
Minister Jenny Macklin to cancel punitive truancy welfare
trials in the Northern Territory, following indications
that the Western Australian Government might not go ahead
with trials in selected suburbs of Perth. “I welcome WA
Child Protection Minister Robyn McSweeney’s comments this
week that her Government would not support the trial
because they are concerned it could increase crime and
leave children hungry,” Australian Greens Senator Rachel
Siewert said.”

Radio Interview:

ABC AM: Income management to roll out across the Kimberley
http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2008/s2499527.htm
24 Feb 09: “The Federal Government is rolling out an income
management scheme across the Kimberley after successful
trials elsewhere in Western Australia. The scheme allows
Centrelink to quarantine welfare payments, to ensure that
parents are spending money on their children and not on
drugs or alcohol. As David Weber reports, the majority of
people on the scheme have signed up voluntarily.”

News:

ABC: Territory teachers fear attacks under welfare trial
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/02/23/2498698.htm
23 Feb 09: “A Northern Territory teacher says a new trial
cutting welfare payments for indigenous parents with truant
children could lead to attacks on education staff. … The
teacher, who can’t give her name because she’s signed a
public service gag order, has told the ABC she’s worried if
teachers report truancy, they’ll be blamed for the dole
docking and face attacks by angry parents.”

HOUSING & LEASES:

News:

NIT: Communities will not be rushed on leases: CLC
http://www.nit.com.au/news/story.aspx?id=17141
19 Feb 09: “One of Australia’s most powerful Aboriginal
land councils says Indigenous people will not be rushed
into signing land lease agreements, despite hopes it could
provide a much-needed boost to the economy. The Rudd and
Northern Territory governments want remote communities to
surrender some control of their land for up to 80 years in
exchange for new houses and repairs. The Central Land
Council (CLC) on Monday said it was unfair to pressure
Aboriginal communities to abandon their own interests.”

SMH: NT Aborigines waiting for new houses
http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/nt-aborigines-waiting-for-new-houses-20090224-8gpm.html
24 Feb 09: “Not a single house has been built in the 18
months since the Northern Territory government announced
its $286 million plan to tackle Aboriginal disadvantage.
… The federal government has been negotiating new 40-year
lease deals with the communities, which only receive their
chunk of the $637 million set aside for housing once they
have signed over partial control over their land.”

CDEP:

Media Release:

Greens: Time for a real revolution in Aboriginal education and employment
http://rachel-siewert.greensmps.org.au/content/media-release/time-a-real-revolution-aboriginal-education-and-employment-greens
18 Feb 09: “The Australian Greens today called for a
renewed push in Aboriginal education and employment. …
“At the same time as radical improvement is needed in
schools, there also needs to be a change of focus in
employment areas. “There is growing concern about the
ill-thought cancellation of the Community Development
Employment Program (CDEP) scheme as of 1 July which will
see the transfer of workers from that scheme onto
Newstart,” said Senator Siewert. “It makes no sense, at a
time of rising unemployment, to be moving Aboriginal people
out of CDEP jobs, where they are gainfully employed
building infrastructure or delivering community services,
and onto the dole queue.” ”

News:

NIT: CDEP rethink needed in tough times: Greens
http://www.nit.com.au/news/story.aspx?id=17154
19 Feb 09: “The Rudd government should reconsider its
decision to move urban and regional Aboriginal people off
Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) in the
wake of the economic crisis and rising unemployment, the
Australian Greens have said. … Reinstating a reformed
CDEP in the NT prescribed communities was an ALP election
promise.”

INTERVENTION OPINION:

Radio Interview:

Indigenous radio station 98.9FM
Let’s Talk – Australia’s only Indigenous presented talkback:
http://989fm.com.au/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29
23 Feb 09: “Karen Dorante spoke with Professor of Law &
Director of Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of
Learning at UTS in Sydney, Larissa Behrendt.”
[includes discussion of the Racial Discrimination Act and
the extension of the Northern Territory intervention]
Listen to this interview on-line:
http://www.989fm.com.au/podcasting/get.php?web=98fm-podcast-2009-02-23-72671.mp3

Opinion:

Solidarity: NT health worker: ‘We demand back our rights’
http://www.solidarity.net.au/issue-12-feb/nt-health-worker-we-demand-back-our-rights/
Feb 09: “In the last 18 months Sunrise Health service has
seen the disturbing evidence of a decline in health of the
people in all ten remote communities that it services. We
have seen increasing anaemia rates, an increase in the
presentation by young girls in the third trimester of
pregnancy and tragically, youth suicides. Under the
intervention government has failed to engage with our
people. The evidence of community-based successes has been
ignored in favour of a top-down bureaucratic response that
is doomed to failure.” Irene Fisher, Jawoyn woman & chief
executive of Sunrise Health in Katherine

Stop the Intervention: And the Intervention goes on…
http://stoptheintervention.org/facts/your-voice/keri-james-wgar
Feb 09: “Almost two years of the Northern Territory
Emergency Response – the “Intervention”, has turned
racially discriminatory legislation (shocking and alarming;
implemented with Army tanks and Riot squads; a departure
from equality), into what now seems an established status
quo that the Australian public is ready to forget. The
affected communities themselves are far from forgetting,
this month presenting a 60 page formal complaint before the
United Nations.” Keri James, Canberra Working Group for
Aboriginal Rights

NIT Forum: A racist intervention
http://www.nit.com.au/opinion/story.aspx?id=17121
19 Feb 09: “Aboriginal Territorians were left with no
alternative but to go to the United Nations, writes PROF
JON ALTMAN*. Justice Kirby, long-standing champion for
human rights, retired from the High Court on February 2,
2009. In his last judgement, he provided the sole
dissenting point of view in the case Wurridjul and Others v
The Commonwealth of Australia. This case challenged the
constitutional validity of the Commonwealth’s compulsory
acquisition of traditional owners’ freehold land in
Maningrida, central Arnhem Land, a prescribed Aboriginal
community, under the Commonwealth’s Northern Territory
Emergency Response (NTER) legislation.”

Australian: Intervention a failure on the ground
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25064107-5015664,00.html
17 Feb 09: “BARACK Obama’s inauguration speech reminds us
how far the US has come from the stain of segregation and
racial discrimination. How insulting, more than 40 years
after racist laws were repealed in the US, that the
Northern Territory intervention laws have had the effect of
forcing Aboriginal Australians into segregated queues in
Centrelink and in some supermarkets and shops in the NT.”
George Newhouse

INTERVENTION NEWS:

Solidarity: Convergence strengthens anti-Intervention campaign
http://www.solidarity.net.au/issue-12-feb/convergence-strengthens-anti-intervention-campaign/
Feb 09: “Held at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, the Canberra
Convergence was set to coincide with the opening of Federal
Parliament for 2009. The Convergence brought together
Indigenous rights activists and union members from around
the country. A strong delegation from NT communities
fighting the Intervention was joined by representatives
from Aboriginal communities facing similar attacks in other
states.” Jasmine Ali

ABC: Indigenous group says gap is still a gulf
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/02/25/2500736.htm
25 Feb 09: “A Darwin Aboriginal corporation, Larrakia
Nation, says there is little evidence so far that the
Closing the Gap initiative is working in the Northern
Territory. … Ms Jackson says there has been a 30 per cent
increase in people needing to use the services her
community organisation [Larrakia Nation] provides since the
Federal Government’s intervention began.”

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