Newsletter date: 8 February 2012
* Four actions to help stop the proposed NT nuclear dump
* More on the Aboriginal Tent Embassy protest on Invasion Day
* Submissions received on Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Bill
* Other Northern Territory (NT) Intervention articles
* Background to the Northern Territory (NT) Intervention
* FOUR ACTIONS TO HELP STOP THE PROPOSED NT NUCLEAR DUMP:
Beyond Nuclear Initiative: Four actions to help stop the proposed NT nuclear dump
6 Feb 12: "Legislation is due before the Australian Senate this week that would name a site in the Muckaty Land Trust, 120km north of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, to be declared and assessed as a national radioactive waste management facility. As you can see on the video below, many Traditional Owners strongly oppose this plan and are calling on people around Australia to help them bury the radioactive waste dump proposal. ... Four easy actions to help stop the proposed NT nuclear dump: ... "
Take action to help stop the Muckaty nuclear dump
6 Feb 12: "The National Radioactive Waste Management Bill is again scheduled for debate in the Senate this Wednesday. If this Bill passes the Senate- which is likely to happen soon given the ALP and Coalition both support it- it means Muckaty can be declared as the preferred site and the environmental assessments will begin. Minister Martin Ferguson's Bill is almost a complete cut and paste of the John Howard law it is purporting to replace and names Muckaty as the only site to be further assessed. We want all Senators to reject the Bill while it preserves the contested Muckaty nomination. We are calling on all supporters around the country to please take four simple actions THIS WEEK: ... " By Natalie Wasley
- Audio interview
ABC Radio National Breakfast: Muckaty Senate
8 Feb 12: "Despite widespread opposition from various Indigenous and environmental groups and from the NT government itself, Labor's National Radioactive Waste Management Bill is listed for debate today in the Senate. WA Greens Senator Scott Ludlum will be trying to delay a vote on the bill, while CLP Senator for the Northern Territory Nigel Scullion wants an extra $10 million for the Territory.
Scott Ludlum, WA Greens Senator
Nigel Scullion, CLP Senator for the Northern Territory"
SMH: First radioactive dump gets the green light
8 Feb 12: "Australia is set to get its first radioactive waste dump with the government agreeing to a Coalition demand for $10 million for the Northern Territory, which will host the dump. Energy Minister Martin Ferguson told ABC radio's PM program yesterday that the government would agree to a demand from Northern Territory Nationals Senator Nigel Scullion for the $10 million fund for education, health and infrastructure, ensuring the passage of the legislation through the Senate."
NT News: Millions to smooth way for waste dump
8 Feb 12: "THE Federal Government has agreed to a demand by Territory Senator Nigel Scullion that will smooth the way for a nuclear waster dump near Tennant Creek. Energy Minister Martin Ferguson told radio the government would agree to Senator Scullion's demand for $10 million to allow the dump on Aboriginal land at Muckaty Station about 120km north of Tennant Creek."
YouTube: Muckaty Voices-Australia's nuclear waste dump story
Beyond Nuclear Initiative:
Nuclear Territory News: Waste Dump News
Proposed Radioactive Waste Dump at Muckaty, NT
Briefing Paper - February 2011
Jim Green B.Med.Sci.(Hons.), PhD
National nuclear campaigner - Friends of the Earth, Australia
Friends of the Earth: http://www.foe.org.au/anti-nuclear/issues/oz/nontdump/Dump%20briefing%20...
* MORE ON THE ABORIGINAL TENT EMBASSY PROTEST ON INVASION DAY:
WGAR News: Eyewitness accounts of the Tent Embassy protest on Invasion Day / Sovereignty Day (2 Feb 12)
- Motion passed unanimously
Perth Wobblies: (shared) Motion passed unanimously by the monthly Sydney MUA branch all-members meeting, 31 January 2012.
[scroll down page] http://www.facebook.com/pages/Perth-Wobblies/122852831125600
3 Feb 12: "The Maritime Union of Australia Sydney monthly meeting expresses its complete solidarity and support for the struggle of Aboriginal people for sovereignty and land rights. We congratulate and support the comrades at the 40th anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and the peaceful action ...they took to highlight the abysmal neglect of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
We condemn the vicious right wing media attack upon both the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and the peaceful demonstration on January 26, 2012. This media criticism is aimed at curtailing democratic rights and further marginalising Aboriginal people when social attention should be paid to ending the racist Northern Territory Intervention, preventing further deaths in custody, stopping the potential nuclear waste dump at Muckaty and eradicating the extreme poverty and health issues and institutionalised racism faced by Aboriginal people."
- Media Statement
Sam Watson: Racist hysteria shows Tent Embassy still 'deadly relevant'
2 Feb 12: ""The racist hysteria about the Aboriginal Tent Embassy protests against PM Julia Gillard and Opposition leader Tony Abbott on January 26, prove that the Tent Embassy is as relevant as it was in 1972 when it was established, said Sam Watson, the Socialist Alliance national spokesperson on Aboriginal affairs.
Sam Watson, a respected Murri activist, filmmaker and playwright, participated in the 1972 Tent Embassy protest and was in Canberra with about 2000 Aboriginal people and their supporters for the 40th anniversary march and coroborree.
"Abbott's racist and ignorant statement that the Embassy was no longer relevant provoked an angry but non-violent protest at Canberra function attended by Abbott and Gillard just 100 metres from our gathering.
"Aboriginal people got good reason to be angry today. We still face deadly racism in this country that was stolen from us, as the statistics show.""
- Analysis / Opinion
The Guardian: Australia's painful journey towards indigenous rights
6 Feb 12: "The fracas that engulfed the country's prime minister during Aboriginal protests on Australia Day speaks volumes about a society still coming to terms with its past. ... The protesters later said that their anger was directed at the opposition leader, muscular, all-surfing, all-bicycling, former Catholic seminarian (like me) neocon (unlike me) Tony Abbott. Yet I have to say Abbott's remarks about the determinedly ramshackle Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, founded 40 years ago, did not seem to me racist or wild." Thomas Keneally
Indymedia Australia: No apologies are due to either politician, nor to anyone else
5 Feb 12: "that the media lies is not new. that politicians lie is also not new. that the police lie is definitely not new and has been happening for quite some time. it is also not new that all three entities lie collectively to protect themselves and the police especially. the cover-up and white-wash of the death of tj hickey examples that most easily. the blame for the rangarella incident shows very clearly that they fear us. they fear our presence in both small and large numbers of those who will not accept their assimilation policies." ray jackson, president, indigenous social justice association
Green Left: Aboriginal people are right to protest
4 Feb 12: "Truth and accuracy have never been the highest priorities for the mainstream media. But hysteria and misrepresentation of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy protest in Canberra on January 26 have been taken to an absurd level. Terms like "mob violence", "thuggery" and "riot" have been used by journalists and politicians to describe a protest where no one was injured, no property was damaged and no one was arrested. Selectively edited television footage has been used to poison public opinion against protesters, ... " Ash Pemberton
Green Left: Forget the race card, they're playing the whole deck
4 Feb 12: "The farcical hysteria around an Aboriginal protest at the Tent Embassy in Canberra on “Australia Day” shows the big party politicians will leap on any opportunity to stoke racist prejudices and fears. The protest by a small number of Aboriginal people and supporters outside a restaurant, which was asking Abbott to come out and address them over his comments the embassy should "move on", somehow got spun into a full-blown "riot" after police panicked and dramatically dragged Gillard and Abbott out of the restaurant and bundled them into a car." Carlo Sands
Crikey: Cox: how about asking Tent Embassy why they’re so angry?
30 Jan 12: "Why do so few of the media reporters actually ask the Aboriginal demonstrators why they are so angry with being told to change tactics? Maybe the poor record of the past decades of more polite advocacy discourages beliefs that main party politicians listen to their needs and what works. There is little joy in the Closing the Gap figures, constant ... " Eva Cox
Indymedia Australia: I see no riot or attack on Australia Day but police aggression, how about you?
30 Jan 12: "Selective scenes have been used to give people the impression of a violence mob threatening the Prime Minister and the Opposition leader; when the motion video footage failed to display evidence of such violence, they then replaced some video footage with photo images of the Prime Minister dragged almost on the ground by the security officer to create the right atmosphere to justify their narration. ... The truth is, the protesters may be noisy by chanting slogan with a small number patting on the restaurant glass window, they are not violence at all ... " Wei Ling Chua
Indymedia Australia: A put-up job that boomeranged?
29 Jan 12: "Not for as long as it takes to blink were Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott so much as threatened, even less endangered, on the 26th of January by demonstrators from the 40th anniversary Aboriginal Embassy camp in Canberra. Vision footage from activists and mainstream media almost inundating the internet makes irrefutably clear that it was police who were violent and caused the bedlam. At one point uniform was even roughing up plainclothes." Diet Simon
Indymedia Australia: "You shoe’da come!"
29 Jan 12: "The current media attention of who said what to “incite a riot” near the Aboriginal Tent Embassy this week removes focus of the true issue at hand: the fact that neither Julia Gillard nor Tony Abbott came down to the Embassy to commemorate the historical event of its 40th anniversary. ... I can personally attest that the 40th Anniversary celebrations were on the whole very peaceful. Not once did I feel threatened or scared for my own personal safety. Everyone was welcoming and respectful." Sophie Hickey
Zen's Arcade: The Tent Embassy Protest - A Lesson in Over Reaction and Social Context
27 Jan 12: "The harsh truth is that those in power, be they the Police, the Media, or Politicians, have consistently and actively disadvantaged the Aboriginal people ever since "settlement" in 1788. That’s why the Tent Embassy still exists. It’s also why Tony Abbott’s comments were so offensive and able to arouse such fury so easily, because 40 years after the first Tent Embassy, Governments (and their megaphones in the Media) are content with rolling out policies that do so much damage to Aboriginal communities. In such a context, is it any wonder that the protestors would be so angry ... "
Crikey: Choose your own angle on this Oz Day story
27 Jan 12: "Like a giant national inkblot test for the nation, the “meaning” of yesterday’s events at the Lobby restaurant in Canberra is really what the observer brings to them. Few of us will see anything other than whatever fits in with our preconceptions. And yet, there’s something for everyone in what essentially boils down to an incident that made good television."
Green Left: Tent Embassy unbowed by media hysteria
4 Feb 12: "In the week after the January 26 Aboriginal Tent Embassy anniversary celebrations and protests, the mainstream media poured out a continuous stream of negative, scathing commentary on the Tent Embassy and the people that defended it. Ignoring the thousands of people gathered for three days to recognise the achievements of the Tent Embassy and protest against ongoing attacks to Aboriginal people today, the corporate media ran stories of an "angry mob" that surrounded a Canberra restaurant and "besieged" Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Liberal leader Tony Abbott."Jay Fletcher
Crikey: Australia Day protest no match for media hysteria
27 Jan 12: "Australia Day turned ugly in Canberra yesterday after comments by Tony Abbott incited Aboriginal Tent Embassy activists to protest at an event attended by Abbott and Julia Gillard, resulting in a dramatic exit of the leaders executed by the PM’s security detail. But the ensuing media coverage has been just as sensational." Amber Jamieson
* SUBMISSIONS RECEIVED ON STRONGER FUTURES IN THE NT BILL:
- The official website
Parliament of Australia: Senate:
Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Bill 2011 and two related bills
Submissions received by the Committee
- Submissions on other websites which haven't appeared on the official website
- Audio Interview
RTRfm: Aboriginal Rights in the Northern Territory
1 Feb 12: "Last year the Government released a report on the future of the Northern Territory’s remote communities. It indicates that Aboriginal communities suffer from a lack of services and infrastructure, including education. As a result, the Federal Government’s considering extending the Northern Territory Intervention for a further ten years. The proposed Stronger Futures legislation goes against the wishes and concerns of Aboriginal people across the Territory who say it will lead to a further ten years of disempowerment and despair in the communities.
ANTaR National Director Jackie Phillips joined Ben on Morning Mag to explain more."
Amnesty International Australia:
Gaps in rhetoric on Government’s proposed 'Stronger Future' for Indigenous Peoples
3 Feb 12: "Amnesty International has criticised the blatant gap between the Australian Government’s rhetoric on community engagement and the actual policies being introduced, in a submission leading up to the implementation of the Stronger Futures Northern Territory legislation. The human rights organisation has pointed out that the consultations that did occur, did not meet international standards for free, prior and informed consent."
SMH: Watchdog should probe indigenous bill
3 Feb 12: "Amnesty International has urged a parliamentary human rights watchdog to investigate the federal government's controversial plan to crackdown on school truancy in NT indigenous communities by linking welfare payments to class attendance. Legislation passed last year which set up a new joint parliamentary committee to examine whether new federal bills comply with Australia's international law and human rights obligations. Amnesty International has called for the human rights committee to scrutinise the government's "Stronger Futures" bill, the next phase of the NT intervention." Lisa Martin
Human Rights Law Centre:
Federal Government must amend Stronger Futures laws to protect Aboriginal rights in Northern Territory
1 Feb 12: "The Federal Government’s "Stronger Futures" laws – which are intended to replace the Northern Territory Emergency Response laws – breach international human rights standards and must be reconsidered and redesigned. According to Ben Schokman of the Human Rights Law Centre, the proposed legislation is incompatible with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and, in its present form, is unlikely to address the disadvantage faced by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities."
* OTHER NORTHERN TERRITORY (NT) INTERVENTION ARTICLES:
- Analysis / Opinion
WSWS: Australian constitutional proposals will worsen Aboriginal oppression
3 Feb 12: "A 22-person panel ... released a report last month proposing changes to the Australian constitution ... Far from addressing the appalling social conditions of ordinary indigenous Australians, the amendments would authorise the imposition of regressive programs that will only worsen the plight of Aboriginal people. ... Such recognition had been proposed by the previous Howard government in 2007, the same year in which it launched the unprecedented police-military intervention against Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory (NT)." Mike Head
The Conversation: What’s data got to do with it? Reassessing the NT intervention
25 Jan 12: "Since its introduction in 2007, there has been much debate over the effectiveness of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) in improving the quality of life in remote indigenous communities. Public discussion on using good evidence for policymaking has so far not encouraged Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin to improve the quality of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) data. Given the failure rate of policymaking in this area, these data deficits are problematic." Eva Cox, Research Fellow Jumbunna IHL UTS at University of Technology, Sydney
The Forum: The current state of the Northern Territory intervention : Comments
Australian: Western demands assail Aborigines, says Patrick Dodson
7 Feb 12: "Mr Dodson, who recently chaired an expert panel that has proposed Aboriginal people be recognised in the Constitution, said that judgment in recent years had influenced government policy and programs "with intensive and coercive aggression". "The Northern Territory intervention, employment conditions, income management, housing tenancies -- they are not the pillars of mutually respectful relationships," Mr Dodson told the opening of a conference on infrastructure needs in remote indigenous communities."
9 News: Welfare cut fails to up school attendance
2 Feb 12: "Suspending welfare payments to parents in indigenous communities whose children didn't attend school often enough did not improve attendance rates, a new study says. The latest evaluation report into the government's Improving School Enrolment and Attendance through Welfare Reform Measure (SEAM) program showed 85 parents had their Centrelink income support payments suspended in 2010. But the report shows that of the eight students it examined, the measure was not effective."
Australian: Indigenous welfare trial's mixed results
2 Feb 12: "A RADICAL trial that stops welfare payments to indigenous parents whose children consistently miss school is improving attendance rates, but a new report finds that a relapse after the compliance period is commonplace."
Age: Welfare tied to school attendance hitting mark
2 Feb 12: "WELFARE reforms linking income support payments to school attendance have had a positive impact in Queensland and the Northern Territory, according to an evaluation study to be released today. But the study also warns that more needs to be done to boost school attendance and says the task in secondary schools, as compared with primary schools, may represent ''a substantial policy challenge''."
ABC: Town camp alcohol bans not working, says Wood
1 Feb 12: "Independent Northern Territory politician Gerry Wood says the Commonwealth is struggling to follow through on its commitment to reducing alcohol abuse in Alice Springs town camps. Mr Wood has been touring the camps this week and says alcohol abuse is not being adequately addressed."
ABC: Super shires condemned as worse than Intervention
31 Jan 12: "Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda has condemned the super shires model as the most detrimental policy for Indigenous people in the Northern Territory. Mr Gooda says people in remote communities feel they have lost all control of their affairs since 70 small local community councils were amalgamated into eight shires in 2008. He says the shires have generated a stronger feeling of disempowerment than the federal Intervention. Mr Gooda is calling on the Territory Government to scrap the shires model."
* BACKGROUND TO THE NORTHERN TERRITORY (NT) INTERVENTION:
Northern Territory Emergence Response (NTER)
- "The Intervention":
STICS (Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney):
The Greens: Rachel Siewert: Northern Territory Intervention:
New Matilda - northern territory intervention:
Crikey - NT Intervention:
CAAMA (Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association)
- NT Intervention:
Darwin Aboriginal Rights Coalition:
IRAG (Intervention Rollback Action Group):
Mparntwe - Alice Springs:
Without Justice there can be no Reconciliation:
Tracker - NT Intervention:
Treaty Republic - NT Intervention:
ANTaR (Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation)
- NT intervention:
MAIC (Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective):
The Conversation - After the Intervention:
Jobs with Justice:
Amnesty International Australia:
Looking back at the Northern Territory Intervention:
Students For Indigenous Rights - UQ:
The Northern Territory Intervention:
Defending Indigenous Rights:
Intervention walk-off's Blog:
Australian Human Rights Commission:
Northern Territory ‘Emergency Response' intervention:
FAIRA; Human Rights Law Resource Centre; NACLC:
Australia's compliance with CERD - Fact Sheet 2:
Northern Territory Intervention:
Green Left: Northern Territory intervention: myths and facts:
WGAR (Working Group for Aboriginal Rights):
- - -
Subscription to 'WGAR News' is free.
'WGAR News' monitors the media, including alternative media, focusing on the Australian Federal government intervention into Northern Territory (NT) Aboriginal communities along with other Aboriginal rights issues.
'WGAR News' publishes information and opinions from a wide range of sources. These opinions expressed are not necessarily the opinions of WGAR.
The e-newsletters include media releases, opinion pieces, news items and events. Subscribers can expect to receive about 2 e-newsletters each week.
To subscribe, email firstname.lastname@example.org and include the words "subscribe WGAR News" in the message header.
To unsubscribe, email email@example.com and include the words "unsubscribe WGAR News" in the message header.
- - -
You can also subscribe to our second list 'Contact WGAR' which focuses on activities and events and provides a point of contact.
To subscribe, email firstname.lastname@example.org and include the words "subscribe WGAR Contact" in the message header.
- - -
WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)
WGAR Website: http://wgar.wordpress.com/