UN concerned over NT Intervention
NT Government Homelands / Outstations Policy
Bilingual Education in the Northern Territory
NT Intervention ‘Consultations’
Demise of CDEP (Community Development Employment Projects)
Other NT Intervention articles


United Nations Economic and Social Council:
Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights: Australia
[download document] http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cescr/docs/AdvanceVersions/E-C12-AUS-CO-4.doc
22 May 09: “15.  The Committee remains concerned that some
of the Northern Territory Intervention measures adopted by
the State party in response to the 2007 Little Children are
Sacred report, are inconsistent with the Covenant rights,
in particular with the principle of non-discrimination, and
have a negative impact on the realisation of the rights of
indigenous peoples. The Committee notes with regret that
the Northern Territory Intervention measures were adopted
without sufficient and adequate consultation with the
indigenous peoples concerned. (art.2.2)
The Committee recommends that the State party:
a) address the human rights violations identified in the
2007 Little Children are sacred report bearing in mind the
recommendations of the 2008 report of the Northern Territory
Intervention Response Review board in this regard;
b) conduct formal consultations with the indigenous peoples
concerned regarding the operation and impact of the
Northern Territory Intervention;
c) establish a national indigenous representative body with
adequate resources; and d) ratify ILO Convention No. 169
concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent
Countries (1989).
33. … The Committee recommends that:
a) the State party strengthen its efforts to guarantee the
indigenous peoples’ rights under articles 1 and 15 to enjoy
their identity and culture, including through the
preservation of their traditional languages;
b) consider improving the Maintenance of Indigenous
Languages and Records Program;
c) preserve and promote bilingual education at schools; … ”

Human Rights Law Resource Centre:
ICESCR: NGO Reports for UN Committee on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights Review of Australia (May 2009)


– Speech

Rollback the Intervention:
Yananymul Mununggurr Homelands speech 20.06.09
ACTU speech Homelands Policy
[scroll down page] http://rollbacktheintervention.wordpress.com/
20 Jun 09: “There are some common misconceptions about
homelands that are often repeated in the media and by
politicians, that I want to clear up. Some of these seem to
underpin A Working Future. … ” Yananymul Mununggurr,
Chief Executive Officer, Laynhapuy Homelands Association
[click on link and scroll down page to read 7 myths
associated with homelands]

– Opinion

National Indigenous Times:
NIT Forum: Working future and outstations: Sure to fail?
25 Jun 09: “The Northern Territory government’s recent
policy announcement undermines the outstations movement and
represents a step back to a dark era, writes PROF JON
ALTMAN*. In the early 1970s, something extraordinary
happened in the Northern Territory. Aboriginal people
started to migrate out of government settlements and
missions to live back on their traditional lands. This
decentralisation was called the outstations movement.”

– News

WSWS: Australia:
Labor moves to shut down remote Aboriginal settlements
27 Jun 09: “The federal and Northern Territory (NT) Labor
governments last month unveiled a series of free-market
measures that will deepen the poverty and suffering in
indigenous communities. Working Future, announced by the NT
government on May 20, seeks, under the auspices of the
federal government’s NT intervention, to force the
estimated 10,000 Aboriginal people living in some 580
remote “homeland” settlements into 20 special settlements
or so-called “economic hubs”. The homeland communities have
been defined as “non-viable”.”

WAtoday: Homelands policy ‘may cause more abuse’
24 Jun 09: “Forcing Aboriginal people to move off their
homelands could jeopardise the indigenous art industry and
increase child sexual abuse, an academic [Jon Altman,
director of the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy
Research (CAEPR)] says. The Northern Territory government
hopes to turn 20 towns into regional hubs under its
controversial new homelands policy, announced last month.”

ABC: Cost concerns over outstations policy
24 Jun 09: “An academic [Jon Altman] who has visited and
researched living conditions in Northern Territory
outstations for the past 30 years says it may be cheaper to
continue providing education services to them rather than
moving the people to larger hubs.”

ABC: Outstation policy changes ‘unacceptable’
24 Jun 09: “The Barkly Shire Council says it will lobby the
Northern Territory Government not to introduce its
“unacceptable” proposed changes to outstation policy. …
There are 89 small communities within the Barkly and the
council is directly responsible for maintaining 26 of

ABC: Outstations inquiry a step closer
23 Jun 09: “The Northern Territory Opposition has indicated
it would be willing to support an inquiry into the funding
of remote communities proposed by the independent Marion

– Radio

(Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association)
26 Jun 09 [Includes comments about homelands]

– Background

WGAR News:
Northern Territory Government’s new Homelands policy (4 Jun 09):

WGAR News:
Marion Scrymgour resigns from Labor Party (6 Jun 09):

WGAR News: Marion Scrymgour (12 Jun 09):
[scroll down page]

WGAR News: Marion Scrymgour / Homelands (19 Jun 09):
[scroll down page]


– AIATSIS Research Discussion Paper

[AIATSIS: Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Studies]

Gaps in Australia’s Indigenous Language Policy:
Dismantling bilingual education in the Northern Territory
Jane Simpson, Jo Caffery and Patrick McConvell
“Abstract: Young children learn best when taught through
their mother tongue. This commonsense principle has been
supported by decades of research on bilingual education for
children who don’t speak the dominant language. The research
has also shown that there are positive effects on children’s
cognitive development if they are encouraged to become
strong bilinguals. For Indigenous communities, bilingual
education has been highly valued not only because it helps
children maintain Indigenous languages, but also because it
provides an honoured place for Indigenous languages in the
curriculum and an honoured place for Indigenous teachers.
… [abstract continues, see link]”

– Media Releases

Central Land Council:
Bilingual report highlights flaws in government policy making
28 Jun 09: “The Central Land Council says a report by the
Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Studies highlights the flawed methods successive
Federal and Territory governments have used to make policy
and the detrimental consequences those decisions have had on
Aboriginal people. Central Land Council director David Ross
said the AIATSIS report finds that the Northern Territory
Government’s decision to dismantle bilingual education
ignored national and international evidence of the value of
bilingual education and the language rights of Aboriginal
people. He said the Territory Government not only decided to
dismiss those issues, but failed to produce any research or
evidence that supported its actions.”

Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education:
Bilingual Education Symposium to debate the role of
bilingual education in the NT
26 Jun 09: “The future role and value of bilingual
education in Northern Territory Indigenous communities is
the focus of a Bilingual Education Symposium being held in
Canberra today, which is being attended by some of the
Northern Territory’s leading Indigenous bilingual educators
and academics from around Australia. … Batchelor
Institute Pro Vice-Chancellor Faculty of Education, Arts
and Social Sciences, Professor Claire Kilgariff says the
Institute supports a wide range of bilingual education
programs through the Institute’s Centre for Australian
Languages and Linguistics (CALL) and at a research level.”

– Interviews

Crikey Blogs: The Northern Myth:
Miliwanga Sandy –
language is our culture, our life, our identity
25 Jun 09: “This is my long-time friend Miliwanga Sandy,
who lives at the Wugularr (formerly Beswick) township 100
or so kilometres outside of Katherine in the NT. … ”
Bob Gosford in the NT
“TNM – The NT Education Minister said that “If people want
their children to speak their language they should do it at
their home.”
MS – No, thats not right. Our languages should be in all
all different places – in Centrelink, in all Government
agencies, like the Hospital, and Legal Aid and in the
school, in the shop – that both-way teaching.”

Crikey Blogs: The Northern Myth:
Miliwanga Sandy Interview Part 2:
“This is our country…and we shouldn’t be treated like slaves!”
25 Jun 09: “MS: Another thing is that I think that taking
away the Racial Discrimination Act was a very cruel thing –
we are all human and shouldn’t be treated as slaves. We’ve
lived here longer than anyone – this is our country and we
should have the freedom and the right to be treated properly
– by any person – but we are fighting against them for
taking that law away from us – we sent a letter to the
United Nations – and they agree with us that we should have
those rights and freedoms back – particularly that Racial
Discrimination Act.”

– Opinion

Friends of Bilingual Learning: 10 suggestions
[download document] http://foblmail.googlegroups.com/web/10+suggestions.doc?gda=_8o9FEQAAACvCLB-PR_omkP4jQl0EsFcvR9fEGWf-xrVh7W2a8brz1_dv_Aw2IjhPE9inti2jWxV6u9SiETdg0Q2ffAyHU-dzc4BZkLnSFWX59nr5BxGqA
28 Jun 09: “10 points outlining what I would have done
instead of issuing that four-hour decree, had I been
Minister for Education and Training on October 14, 2008. …
1. I would have announced a realistic time frame for
bringing the academic achievement of remote Indigenous
students up to par on the national basic skills tests
2. I would have directed the Department (NT DEET) to provide
me with a meaningful and accurate analysis of performance
and attendance data for bilingual and non-bilingual schools
over the 2001-2008 period. …
3. I would have honoured binding agreements with individual
school councils. …
4. I would have diagnosed the problem of poor student
results more fairly and I hope more correctly by pointing
out that access-disadvantaged students contend with a
multitude of problems …
5. I would have consulted with the people concerned, before
I announced a decision. …
6. I would have mandated TESL training for bush teachers as
a condition of their continuing service and required that
assistant teachers obtain a Certificate 4 in Education
Support(Indigenous). …
7. I would have reiterated the recommendations of the
Indigenous Education Strategic Plan (2006-2009),
particularly those which called for strengthening existing
bilingual programs. …
8. I would have called for an alliance of agencies and
professional associations to work with the department by
suggesting ways to focus the reform effort. …
9. I would have sought ways to calibrate access
disadvantage more accurately so that the level of support
to remote schools can be linked more explicitly to
performance. …
10. Rather than flouting it, I would have abided by the UN
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples … ”
Brian Devlin, Sydney airport

– News

National Indigenous Times:
No evidence to back scrapping bilingual education: report
29 Jun 09: “There’s no evidence to suggest scrapping
bilingual education in the Northern Territory will result
in better outcomes for Aboriginal students, a new report
has found. The report says the NT government policy
undermines the rights of Indigenous people and is seen by
many as a direct attack on culture and tradition. … some
of Australia’s leading bilingual educators and academics
have called on the government to abandon its position
entirely at a symposium organised by the Australian
Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
(AIATSIS) in Canberra on Friday.”

ABC: Report blasts bilingual policy changes
26 Jun 09: “A new report on bilingual education for
Indigenous students has reignited debate on whether the
Northern Territory should change its policy. Under the
Territory Government’s controversial changes to bilingual
education, all students will learn in English only for the
first four hours of the day from next year. … Indigenous
leaders are calling for the policy to be immediately

ABC: Bilingual schools plan blasted
26 Jun 09: “A group of researchers and Aboriginal community
leaders is challenging the Northern Territory Government to
change its plan to force bilingual schools to teach in
English for four hours a day. The group has compiled a
report, being released in Canberra today, which criticises
the policy. … Beswick Indigenous community leader
Miliwanga Sandy hopes the Territory’s Education Minister,
Paul Henderson, will read the report. She says encouraging
bilingual education would make it easier for Aboriginal
children to learn English.”

– Background

For up-to-date info on the issue, see:

Friends of Bilingual Learning – Google Group
“Supporters of Bilingual & Multilingual education,
living and learning in the Northern Territory.
Recognising the importance of language in
human development, identity and wellbeing.”

For background on the issue, see:

WGAR News:
Restrictions on Aboriginal Languages in NT schools (20 Nov 08)

WGAR News:
NT Aboriginal Languages Policy (25 Nov 08)

WGAR News:
Restrictions on NT Bilingual Education (30 Nov 08)

WGAR News:
Restrictions on Aboriginal Languages in NT schools (4 Dec 08)

WGAR News:
Restrictions on NT Bilingual Education (15 Dec 08)

WGAR News:
NT Aboriginal languages restrictions delayed one year (18 Dec 08)

WGAR News:
Attempts to phase out Bilingual Education in the NT (23 Jun 09)


– Background

Future Directions for the Northern Territory Emergency Response
“From June to September 2009, the Australian Government
will be consulting with Indigenous people in the Northern
Territory about future directions for the Northern
Territory Emergency Response (NTER). In its interim
response to the NTER Review, the Government said it would
introduce legislation into the Parliament in October 2009
to remove the provisions in the current NTER Acts that
exclude the operation of the Racial Discrimination Act
1975 (RDA).”

Community visits/meetings schedule:

WGAR News: NT Intervention Consultations (19 Jun 09):
[scroll down page] http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/wgar-news-nt-intervention-two-years-19-jun-09

WGAR News: NT Intervention ‘Consultations’ (23 Jun 09):
[scroll down page] http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/wgar-news-attempts-phase-out-bilingual-education-northern-territory-23-jun-09

– Opinion

National Indigenous Times:
The Pointed View: Making out a special measure, Macklin-style
25 Jun 09: “Just because a law erodes a human right doesn’t
make it ‘special’ write PROF LARISSA BEHRENDT and ALISON
VIVIAN. … putting aside the fact that the Racial
Discrimination Act has been suspended so that the Minister
can act with impunity, any argument that the compulsory
acquisition of the Alice Springs Aboriginal town camps is a
special measure is unsupportable.”

Crikey: Where is the consultation with the community on
Income Management?
18 Jun 09: “For some, Income Management in the Northern
Territory has been a useful tool which protects vulnerable
individuals. But there are others who have found IM to be
demeaning and extreme” [by Michele Harris OAM]

– News

National Indigenous Times:
RDA talks begin
25 Jun 09: “Consultations were expected to begin in remote
Northern Territory communities last week over the federal
government’s commitment to re-instate the Racial
Discrimination Act (RDA). … “If people see the benefits
of compulsory income management, then we will certainly be
taking that very seriously,” she [Indigenous Affairs
Minister Jenny Macklin] said. “My personal view is that
compulsory income management can be seen as a special
measure under the RDA.” ”

National Indigenous Times:
Calma calls on Rudd govt to “get it right” on intervention
25 Jun 09: “ABORIGINAL and Torres Strait Islander
Commissioner Tom Calma has urged the government to “get it
right” when considering the future of the Northern
Territory intervention. Mr Calma praised the government on
its recent decision to re-instate the Racial Discrimination
Act (RDA) in October but warned that any attempts to make
compulsory income and alcohol management strategies should
be completely understood by the communities. Mr Calma said
that open and genuine consultations must be central to
federal government consultations in the 73 prescribed
communities affected by the intervention.”


– Background

WGAR News:
Demise of CDEP (Community Development Employment Projects)
(23 Jun 09):
[scroll down page] http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/wgar-news-attempts-phase-out-bilingual-education-northern-territory-23-jun-09

– News

ABC Darwin: ‘Absolute bedlam’: Scrymgour slams CDEP changes
29 Jun 09: “Changes to a major employment scheme have
created “absolute bedlam” in many remote Aboriginal
communities, the independent Member for Arafura, Marion
Scrymgour, says. On Wednesday, Community Development
Employment Project staff will be put on Work for the Dole,
where they are not paid top-up wages, and lose other
full-time employee entitlements.”

Northern Territory News:
Scrymgour slams ALP for cutting dole scheme
29 Jun 09: “NEW Independent MP Marion Scrymgour yesterday
criticised the federal Labor government for phasing out
work-for-the-dole schemes. She said communities had been
told to prepare for Community Development Employment
Program funding to be whittled away over the next three

ABC Darwin: NT Govt ‘held to ransom’: Scrymgour
26 Jun 09: “Ms Scrymgour, who walked out on the Labor Party
last month over its stance on remote Indigenous
communities, says the Territory Government needs to lobby
its federal counterpart over changes to the Community
Development Employment Projects program. … The
independent politician says once people are moved from jobs
onto welfare they will lose all incentive to work.”


– Video

Vimeo: Talking Strong: Maurie Japarta Ryan Speech
28 Jun 09: “Maurie Japarta Ryan Speech to Stop the NT
Intervention Rally – Two Years On. Belmore Park, Sydney,
Australia. 20 June 2009”

– Speech

Stop the Intervention:
2009 Juanita Nielson Memorial Lecture:
Indigenous people and human rights: a litmus test for
social policy by Professor Larissa Behrendt
1 Jun 09: “It is a great honour to deliver this lecture
that pays tribute to the life and work of Juanita Nielson.
… The aspects of her legacy I want to pay tribute to this
evening is her sense of community and her determination to
be unwavered in working on what she believed was the
community good.”

– Opinion

National Indigenous Times:
The Boxed Seat: A pox on all their houses
25 Jun 09: “Whitefellas were ripping off black land in
1835, and they’re still doing it today, writes BRIAN
JOHNSTONE*. … I found myself wondering if much had really
changed since 1835 while reading a recent speech in the
federal parliament on Minister Macklin’s attempt to assume
Commonwealth and Territory control by compulsorily
acquiring the squalid town camps in Alice Springs. I
readily concede the blankets, tomahawks and flour pale in
the face of the $125 million dollar carrot Macklin is
currently waving in front of Tangentyere Council and the
town camp associations. But why, one continues to wonder,
are they being asked to dilute their land rights while being
publicly vilified in the process?”

National Indigenous Times:
Editorial: Intervention still a racist joke
25 Jun 09: “Two years on from the intervention’s
announcement, Aboriginal people are still waiting to be
delivered the vital services that could justify this
expensive and ideologically driven election stunt. And a
lot of evidence actually points to the intervention having
negative consequences for Aboriginal people. This racist
intervention has always been a joke. But it never was a
funny one.” Chris Graham, Editor

Crikey: Is Macklin ignoring her own legal advice on town
camps acquisition?
16 Jun 09: “No other Australian is asked to surrender land
rights to secure basic services, write Alison Vivian and
Larissa Behrendt.”

– Radio

(Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association)
23 Jun 09 [Includes comments by Maurie Ryan & Tom Calma]

– News

National Indigenous Times:
Intervention policies most dramatic since Stolen Gen
25 Jun 09: “The controversial Northern Territory
intervention is the most dramatic policy change since the
thinking that gave birth to the Stolen Generations,
prominent Australian journalist Jeff McMullen says. And he
says Australians have an obligation to be informed of the
repercussions of the intervention, … ”

National Indigenous Times:
Deceased brought out to sign dodgy petition: CLC
25 Jun 09: “THE NT Opposition’s only Aboriginal MLA this
month tabled a petition signed by about 450 people from the
Aboriginal community of Hermannsburg. The only problem was,
some of the people are dead. The petition accuses the
Central Land Council (CLC) of blocking key developments in
the community, situated west of Alice Springs, and calls
for direct negotiation with the federal government over its
own affairs.”

Northern Territory News:
Sex party uses porn to inflame racist ban
25 Jun 09: “A NEW political party wants to lift the
Territory’s porn ban and bring X-rated materials back to
remote Aboriginal communities. … Ms Patten said the ban
was racist and unnecessary because there were only 300
pornography sales to communities in three years.”

Christian Today: Government initiates radical rethink on
northern territory intervention
25 Jun 09: “The Northern Territory intervention into
languishing Aboriginal communities will be dramatically
altered, with the Government flagging moves to allow people
to opt out of compulsory income management and the watering
down of blanket alcohol and pornography rules.”


  1. […] WGAR News: NT Government Homelands / Outstations Policy (30 Jun 09):[scroll down page]http://wgar.info/300609-united-nations-concerned-over-northern-territory-intervention/ […]

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