WGAR News: Sovereignty not constitutional recognition the key to closing the gap: The Wire

Newsletter date: 9 February 2013

Contents:

* The Wire: Sovereignty not Constitutional recognition the key to Closing the Gap
* Sovereign Union: Governments 'Act of Recognition' has some very serious implications
* NIRS: Raising life expectancy not a case of throwing around money: Mansell
* Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee: Shadow Report 2013
* Congress Close the Gap Statement
* Greens Senator Rachel Siewert: Government commitment to flawed policies clouds efforts to close the gap

* Brisbane Times: Protesters storm Rudd's Brisbane office
* ABC: Four charged after sit-in protest at Rudd office
* Background to the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy, Musgrave Park, South Brisbane, Qld

* NIRS: Noongar Embassy reviews media coverage
* Background to the Nyoongar Tent Embassy, Heirisson Island, Perth, WA

* Greens Senator Rachel Siewert: Opal Fuel Bill passes Federal Parliament

* Other articles

* THE WIRE: SOVEREIGNTY NOT CONSTITUTIONAL RECOGNITION THE KEY TO CLOSING THE GAP

- Audio Interview

The Wire: Sovereignty not Constitutional recognition the key to Closing the Gap
Produced by Lisa Burns
http://www.thewire.org.au/storyDetail.aspx?ID=9987
6 Feb 13: "One of the key areas of concern in the Government's Closing the Gap campaign is the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Federal Constitution, a cause Gillard has pledged $10 million dollars towards. But some Indigenous groups say recognition in the Constitution isn’t the answer to Closing the Gap, it’s having autonomy from the Government.
Featured in story: Michael Anderson, Founder of the Sovereign Union"

- Related Audio

The Wire: Closing the Gap - Five years on
Produced by Wade Stephens and Emmie Dowling
http://www.thewire.org.au/storyDetail.aspx?ID=9988
6 Feb 13: "For five years the Australian Government has tried to close the gap between the socioeconomic standards of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, with Julia Gillard giving an update today. Disappointments with some statistics are contrasted to the hope and promise of others. One development goal has been reached, but what are the fates of the other five?
Also featured: * Angelo Gabrielatos - President of the Australian Education union
Featured in story:
* Justin Mohamed - Chairperson of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
* Gino Vumbaca - Executive at the Australian National Council on Drugs
* Lester Irabinna-Rigney - Adelaide University's Dean of Indigenous Education
* Peter Buckskin - The University of South Australia's Dean of Indigenous Education"

See:

About The Wire
http://www.thewire.org.au/about.aspx
"The Wire is a daily current affairs program broadcast exclusively on Community and Indigenous radio stations around Australia."

* SOVEREIGN UNION: GOVERNMENTS 'ACT OF RECOGNITION' HAS SOME VERY SERIOUS IMPLICATIONS

- Media Release

Sovereign Union: Governments 'Act of Recognition' has some very serious implications
http://nationalunitygovernment.org/content/governments-act-recognition-h...
6 Feb 13: "Michael Anderson, Convenor of the Sovereign Union of First Nations Peoples in Australia, said from Goodooga today: "The current proposals for an Act of Recognition by the Commonwealth parliament is nothing more than a token gesture, but has some very serious implications.
"When we look at the wording of this Bill we see that PM Julia Gillard's efforts are nothing more than a shameful scam to suggest that she and her Labor government are serious about the Aboriginal issues that they are confronted with.rovide for individual Aboriginal nations to negotiate amicable outcomes through a treaty process that reflects the true ambitions, inherent rights and aspirations of each individual Aboriginal Nation.
"During the term of the Fraser Liberal National Coalition government it was concluded by the National Aboriginal Conference (NAC), who were elected by popular vote within the Aboriginal community around Australia, that a one-size-fits-all is not the correct approach for our diverse Aboriginal Nations and Peoples. ... "

See:

About 'Sovereign Union'
http://nationalunitygovernment.org/node/3
"This is the official website of the Sovereign Union of First Nations and Peoples in Australia. The Sovereign Union was first formed at a meeting on 12-14 June 1999 on Mt Kaputar, near Narrabri, NSW. A delegation was sent to Geneva to the UN Working Group of the Commission on Human Rights to take our sovereign voices to the international community. The Sovereign Union was further formalised with a Foundation Meeting of the 'Sovereign Union - interim Unity Government' at the Kuradji Tent Embassy, near Wollongong, New South Wales on May 25 2012."

* NIRS: RAISING LIFE EXPECTANCY NOT A CASE OF THROWING AROUND MONEY: MANSELL

- News

National Indigenous Radio Service: Raising life expectancy not a case of throwing around money: Mansell
http://www.nirs.org.au/news/latest-news/7804-raising-life-expectancy-not...
4 Feb 13: "The Legal Director of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre says the life expectancy rate of Aboriginal people is shocking compared to non-Indigenous people. ... Mr Mansell says the Australian Government's response to the statistics is to say it supplies funding. But he says this does nothing about the social, economic and cultural circumstances of Aboriginal people and it allows other people to impose their will on Indigenous people."

See:

About the National Indigenous Radio Service
http://www.nirs.org.au/about-us
"NIRS strives to provide a range of voices for Indigenous communities via a schedule of various radio programs, supported by a national satellite service. It is argued the NIRS satellite footprint is the largest in the southern hemisphere."

* CLOSE THE GAP CAMPAIGN STEERING COMMITTEE: SHADOW REPORT 2013

- Report

Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee: Shadow Report 2013
http://nationalcongress.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/CTGShadowRepor...
"On Australian governments’ progress towards closing the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians"

See:

Close The Gap Campaign media release:
2013 is make or break to Close the Gap by 2030
http://nationalcongress.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/CloseTheGapCam...
6 Feb 13: "The Close the Gap campaign says three crucial commitments this year will make or break the achievement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander health equality by 2030.
Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda said this year is the juncture of three developments that together will give a strong indication if this target can be met.
"This year will see not only a Federal Election and the implementation of a new National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan but also the need for all governments - including states and territories - to recommit to the National Partnership Agreement (NPA) on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes," he said
"We need solid assurances from all parties that this funding - already providing tangible outcomes - will continue. ... "

Who we are
http://nationalcongress.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/CTGShadowRepor...
Australia’s peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous health bodies, health professional bodies and human rights organisations operate the Close the Gap Campaign. The
Campaign’s goal is to raise the health and life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to that of the non-Indigenous population within a generation: to close the gap by 2030. It aims to do this through the implementation of a human rights based approach set out in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner’s Social Justice Report 2005.1" page 1

* CONGRESS CLOSE THE GAP STATEMENT

- Statement

Congress Close the Gap Statement
http://nationalcongress.com.au/congress-close-the-gap-statement/
6 Feb 13: "2013 Election platforms must detail action and include justice targets to Close the Gap
2013 Election platforms must detail action and include justice targets to Close the Gap Confirmation of core funding for programs to close the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, and new targets to address over-representation in the criminal justice system must be part of the government’s Closing the Gap framework and reporting.
Along with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, Congress Co-Chair, Jody Broun and Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda will outline their priorities to political leaders today.
"This year’s election is the time for all parties to demonstrate how they will close the gap in health, education and justice by 2030," said Co-Chair Broun.
Ms Broun and Mr Gooda will present to Parliamentarians the CTG Campaign’s Shadow Report 2013, a review of governments’ commitments to close the gap. The shadow report coincides with the tabling of the Government’s report and the Opposition’s reply in Parliament. ... "

See:

National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples - About Us
http://nationalcongress.com.au/about-us/
"The Congress was incorporated as a Company Limited by Guarantee in April 2010. As a company the Congress is owned and controlled by its membership and independent of Government."

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-o...

* GREENS SENATOR RACHEL SIEWERT: GOVERNMENT COMMITMENT TO FLAWED POLICIES CLOUDS EFFORTS TO CLOSE THE GAP

- Media Release

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert: Government commitment to flawed policies clouds efforts to close the gap
http://rachel-siewert.greensmps.org.au/content/media-releases/government...
6 Feb 13: "The Australian Greens say the Prime Minister’s Closing the Gap speech shows up some of the Government’s flawed priorities in improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
"The Prime Minister’s report raises key questions about the Government’s ongoing commitment to flawed policies, such as income management, while other critical issues, such as the appalling rate of incarceration amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, were overlooked," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Issues said today.
"I am deeply concerned that the Prime Minister did not discuss incarceration and ways to address it.
"Why does the Government continue to waste money on the unproved and expensive regime of income management, when this money would be far more effective in other areas, such as reducing dependence on drugs and alcohol or combating hearing health problems? ... " [said Senator Siewert] "

See:

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Issues
Rachel Siewert: http://rachel-siewert.greensmps.org.au/portfolios/aboriginal-torres-stra...
"All Australians, including those living in remote communities, have an equal right to essential government services such as health, education, training, housing, community infrastructure, employment support, and policing."

About Rachel Siewert
http://rachel-siewert.greensmps.org.au/about
"Rachel is currently working to establish of a network of marine sanctuaries around Australia, introduce much needed reforms and improvements to aged care services, increase funding for mental health and preventive health measures nationwide and to improve the opportunities and life expectancy of Indigenous Australians."

* BRISBANE TIMES: PROTESTERS STORM RUDD'S BRISBANE OFFICE

- News

Brisbane Times: Protesters storm Rudd's Brisbane office
http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/protesters-storm-rudds-brisba...
6 Feb 13: "Four protesters have been charged with trespass over a sit-in at Kevin Rudd's eastern suburbs electorate office that has left a staff member injured. A group of seven protesters, associated with the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy, allegedly forced their way inside when a female staff member was trying to leave through a security door, injuring her leg. Protester Hamish Chitts said the group opposed federal moves to recognise indigenous people in the Constitution, arguing full sovereignty should be the goal."

* ABC: FOUR CHARGED AFTER SIT-IN PROTEST AT RUDD OFFICE

- News

ABC: Four charged after sit-in protest at Rudd office
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-02-06/rudd-staffer-assulted-by-protester...
6 Feb 13: "Four people have been charged after a sit-in protest at former prime minister Kevin Rudd's Brisbane office. Six people staged a protest at Mr Rudd's electorate office in Morningside this morning in response to Prime Minister Julia Gillard's Closing the Gap speech in Federal Parliament, police said. ... Earlier, one of the protesters, Karen Fusi, said Government policy did not recognise Indigenous sovereignty. "They're not closing the gap. The gap is getting bigger. And they're the ones who formed it," she said."

* BACKGROUND TO THE BRISBANE ABORIGINAL SOVEREIGN EMBASSY, MUSGRAVE PARK, SOUTH BRISBANE, QLD

Last updated: 28 January 2013

http://indymedia.org.au/2013/01/02/brisbane-aboriginal-sovereign-embassy...

* NIRS: NOONGAR EMBASSY REVIEWS MEDIA COVERAGE

- News

National Indigenous Radio Service: Noongar Embassy reviews media coverage
http://www.nirs.org.au/news/latest-news/7811-noongar-embassy-reviews-med...
5 Feb 13: "A spokesperson for the Noongar Tent Embassy in Perth says the results of a review of media coverage of the Embassy are soon to be fully released. The Embassy commissioned two post-graduate media students from Curtin University to analyse the coverage. A preliminary launch of the report's finding was held late last month and the full release is due for the 6th of March. Marianne McKay says the report has found the WA Government is heavily influenced by the media."

See:

About the National Indigenous Radio Service
http://www.nirs.org.au/about-us
"For over three decades, NIRS has provided a radio programming and media marketing service for over 140 Indigenous community radio stations. We continue to deliver 24 hours of programming each day throughout all major metropolitan, regional and, perhaps most importantly, remote communities."

* BACKGROUND TO THE NYOONGAR TENT EMBASSY, HEIRISSON ISLAND, PERTH, WA

Last updated: 27 January 2013

http://indymedia.org.au/2013/01/02/nyoongar-tent-embassy-heirisson-islan...

* GREENS SENATOR RACHEL SIEWERT: OPAL FUEL BILL PASSES FEDERAL PARLIAMENT

- Media Release

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert: Opal Fuel Bill passes Federal Parliament
http://rachel-siewert.greensmps.org.au/content/media-releases/opal-fuel-...
6 Feb 13: "Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Issues
The Greens legislation to mandate the use of low aromatic fuel has the strong support of communities, health experts and community organisations and it will be a big help in combating the scourge of petrol sniffing.
This Bill will make a really big difference to people's lives, because unfortunately, despite the very serious and sustained efforts to end it, petrol sniffing is still persistent in some areas of Australia.
Opal is a solution that governments and communities can readily implement. Its use in Central Australia has really taken the pressure off communities and provides a breathing space where community workers can actually focus on programs that address the personal and social issues underlying petrol sniffing. When sniffing is rife in a community it is near impossible to do this, the power, violence and dysfunction caused by sniffing is too overwhelming. But in a few areas, a selfish few have refused all efforts. ... "

See:

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Issues
Rachel Siewert: http://rachel-siewert.greensmps.org.au/portfolios/aboriginal-torres-stra...
"The Australian Greens acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as Australia’s first peoples and recognise their strong cultural and spiritual connection with the land, and their rights and obligations as owners and custodians."

About Rachel Siewert
http://rachel-siewert.greensmps.org.au/about
"Senator Rachel Siewert is a dynamic member of the Australian Greens in Parliament who works hard for people both at home in WA and across the country. Rachel is the Australian Greens Whip, Chairs the Senate Community Affairs References Committee and is a member of the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians."

See:

WGAR News: Gerry Georgatos, Indymedia Australia: Is non-sniffable fuel really the answer? (28 Dec 12)
[scroll down page] http://indymedia.org.au/2012/12/28/wgar-news-genuine-participation-of-ab...

* OTHER ARTICLES:

- News

National Indigenous Times: Phillip Roe says he would die to protect Goolarabooloo Country
http://www.nit.com.au/news/2449-phillip-roe-says-he-would-die-to-protect...
7 Feb 13: "Goolarabooloo Senior Law Boss Phillip Roe hopes come May Woodside will decide to not proceed with the $40 billion giant gas hub at James Price Point (Walmandan). If the go-ahead is given Mr Roe said he is prepared to die for his Country and that hundreds of Goolarabooloo will stand their ground. He will never give up the fight."

National Indigenous Times: Idle No More movement spreads to Australia
http://www.nit.com.au/news/2450-idle-no-more-movement-spreads-to-austral...
7 Feb 13: "by Callum Clayton-Dixon (Nganyaywana Nation). Canada's rapidly growing Idle No More Indigenous rights movement has reached Australia's shores, and Sydney and Brisbane have lead the charge since mid-January. Idle No More was initiated by four First Nations women late last year in reaction to the Canadian Commonwealth Government's alleged abuse of native treaty rights."

National Indigenous Times: Family frees dying brother
http://www.nit.com.au/news/2455-family-frees-dying-brother.html
7 Feb 13: "The beleaguered Perth Nyungah family of the Brophos has had to deal with one tragedy after another since they were tossed out of their homes by State Government's 2003 closure of their Swan Valley Nyungah community - many of the residents finished homeless and some have sadly died on the streets."

National Indigenous Times: Safe drinking water for Jigalong now under threat by funding cut
http://www.nit.com.au/news/2447-safe-drinking-water-for-jigalong-now-und...
7 Feb 13: "Western Australia's State Labor Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Yamaji Ben Wyatt has slammed the State Government for not prioritising Aboriginal children in the remote communities of Jigalong, leaving them to drink unsafe water while the nearby town of Tom Price, built for the mining boom, enjoys safe drinking water."

National Indigenous Times: Landmark Stolen Generations test case begins in Perth
http://www.nit.com.au/news/2444-landmark-stolen-generations-test-case-be...
7 Feb 13: "It's been a long and emotional journey but today marks the beginning of the landmark Stolen Generations test case in the Supreme Court of Western Australia where it will run for the next five weeks. On Sorry Day in 2010 law firm Lavan Legal lodged a Writ on behalf of nine members of the Collard family, including parents Donald and Sylvia, whose children were removed without... "

National Indigenous Times: Call for no jail time for non-violent offenders
http://www.nit.com.au/news/2453-call-for-no-jail-time-for-non-violent-of...
7 Feb 13: "Treating and rehabilitating non-violent Aboriginal offenders instead of just locking up increasing numbers is a "no-brainer, according to a new report released this week. The National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee and the Australian National Council on Drugs released reports this week that estimated over $111,000 per year could be saved if non-violent offenders received treatment and rehabilitation and... "

National Indigenous Times: Murujuga National Park at long last
http://www.nit.com.au/news/2442-murujuga-national-park-at-long-last.html
7 Feb 13: "The West Australian Government has approved the creation of the Murujuga National Park on the Burrup Peninsula, near Karratha, however with a caveat. Local Elder, Wilfred Hicks is pleased with the government's decision, however much of the surrounds he said also need to be preserved similar to petroglyphs, rock art and other historical sites. "World Heritage listing needs to be the final outcome... "

National Indigenous Times: Sexual abuse unacceptable: Gooda
http://www.nit.com.au/news/2451-sexual-abuse-unacceptable-gooda.html
7 Feb 13: "The Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda and the Australian Human Rights Commission have welcomed the New South Wales Ombudsman's report on child sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities and its recommendations. "Sexual assault is unacceptable and is not part of Aboriginal culture. As a society, our main aim should be to protect our children from all forms of abuse, but we also need to heal our victims and... "

National Indigenous Times: She wants to be the best
http://www.nit.com.au/news/2448-she-wants-to-be-the-best.html
7 Feb 13: "Labor's star recruit Nova Peris has attacked the Northern Territory Intervention in remote Indigenous communities as a "failed policy" after Labor's national executive endorsed her as the party's Senate candidate. But Ms Peris said she endorsed Labor's replacement Stronger Futures legislation to improve conditions in Indigenous communities."

National Indigenous Times: Barnett to pull out all stops
http://www.nit.com.au/news/2445-barnett-to-pull-out-all-stops.html
7 Feb 13: "Western Australia Premier, Colin Barnett is prepared to block all alternatives to the $40 billion James Price Point LNG hub proposal to ensure the hub is built. Woodside venture partner, Shell favours a cheaper floating LNG distant from the Kimberley's pristine coastline - this story was first broken by the National Indigenous Times last year."

National Indigenous Times: Exclusive breaking news - Native Title bombshell - racism at its worst
http://www.nit.com.au/your-say.html
http://www.nit.com.au/news/2437-native-title-bombshell-racism-at-its-wor...
6 Feb 13: "Gerry Georgatos. In recent months The National Indigenous Times has investigated the long standing divide between the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC) and the Wirlu-murra Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (WYMAC). The National Indigenous Times brought to the fore two whistleblowers - lawyer Kerry Savas, who worked for the WYMAC for 18 months and the Chairman of the Board of the WYMAC, their senior most Elder, Bruce Woodley. At the same time as these whistleblowers told the nation of orchestrated underhandedness by one of the nation's wealthiest resource companies, ... "

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