On 26/8/2011 a protest was held in Sydney on the 45th anniversary of the Wave Hill walk-off, when Aboriginal people walked off a cattle station in 1966 and became pioneers of the Aboriginal land rights movement. Just over 100 people demonstrated outside the Sydney electorate office of federal Minister for Social Inclusion Tanya Plibersek in an action, organised by the Stop The Intervention Collective Sydney, calling for an end to the discriminatory Northern Territory intervention. 1000 were at a re-enactment of the walkoff in Wave Hill, the protesters were told by phone from Wave Hill, NT.
Above text and photo by Peter Boyle More of Peter's photos can be found here
STIC'S Press Release on the protest
In August 1966 Gurindji workers at Wave Hill Station went on strike against being paid in rations by cattle baron Lord Vestey. They took up the demands for both equal pay and Aboriginal land rights and won historic success in 1975 with the hand-back of Daguragu. Their walk-off galvanised Aboriginal rights activists and unionists across Australia, helping to catalyse the modern Land Rights movement.
45 years on, the NT Intervention has taken away many of these rights. The government has seized control of Aboriginal township land. A compound for the Government Business Manager, surrounded by cyclone fencing, has been built in the heart of Daguragu without consultation with traditional owners.
The Daguragu local government council and community employment programs have been abolished. Under new CDEP arrangements, Aboriginal workers are being forced to work for a ‘BasicsCard' which can only be used to buy 'essential' items at government approved stores. Many say this is working for rations again.
The federal government say they are 'consulting' with communities about the future of Intervention powers, which expire in June 2012. But this process is a sham. Key measures which strip resources from communities and ensure total government control are not up for negotiation and new legislation is expected by December which will extend the Intervention.
The BasicsCard is being rolled out across Australia from 2012, including to Bankstown in south-western Sydney. Resistance is growing, with more than 40 organisations signing a call to abolish welfare quarantining.
On August 26 the Gurindji will celebrate their past and raise their voices once again for equality and justice. Join this Sydney protest in solidarity to demand Land Rights, jobs with justice for all communities, an end to the BasicsCard and no second Intervention!
For a media release from Gurindji spokespeople demanding an end to the Intervention at recent consultation meetings see: http://rollbacktheintervention.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/mr-gurindji_s...
For a video documenting the struggle of Gurindji against the NT Intervention see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guge6MI6cTA