WGAR News: Proposal to recognise Aboriginal people in the Constitution; Jenny Macklin has ruled out a treaty

WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)

WGAR Website: http://wgar.info/

16 NOV 2010:

* Racism and the Media: The lie that built the NT Intervention
* Proposal to recognise Aboriginal people in the Constitution; Jenny Macklin has ruled out a treaty
* Canada signs on to UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
* Northern Territory (NT) Intervention
* Jobs with Justice
* Other Aboriginal Articles


WGAR: Racism and the Media
"Racism and the media: The lie that built the Northern Territory Intervention
With special guest Chris Graham, former editor of the National Indigenous Times. ...
ANU Manning Clarke Centre [Canberra] 6-9pm
Friday November 19 [2010]
Organised by the Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (WGAR)"


- Jenny Macklin has ruled out a treaty

Australian: Jenny Macklin backs Constitution bid
10 Nov 10: "INDIGENOUS Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin says she is open to a push for recognition of indigenous Australians in the Constitution. But she has ruled out a treaty. "This process is about recognising indigenous people within the Australian Constitution. It is not about a treaty," she told The Australian. ... Former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission chairwoman Lowitja O'Donoghue has declared indigenous Australians must be recognised in the body of the Constitution and not mentioned tokenistically in the preamble." Patricia Karvelas and Sarah Elks

- Palm Island Mayor Alf Lacey says a treaty is essential

ABC: Treaty focus urged in Indigenous constitution talks
9 Nov 10: "A north Queensland Indigenous mayor says any constitutional change to recognise Aboriginal Australians needs to include a formal treaty with the country's first inhabitants. ... Palm Island Mayor Alf Lacey says a treaty is essential to the debate. "I think that's important that it does take part and be part and parcel of this referendum around this constitutional reform that they're talking about," he said."

- Media Releases and Statements

ACOSS - Australian Council of Social Service: Community Sector urges political consensus on Indigenous recognition in Constitution
12 Nov 10: "The community services peak body, ACOSS, has hailed the Prime Minister Julia Gillard's decision to form an expert panel to advise on recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution, urging all Australians to be involved in the process towards a truly reconciled nation. The 20 member board of the Australian Council of Social Service today endorsed a resolution declaring unequivocal support for the process announced by the Prime Minister. "We applaud the move and call on politicians of all persuasion to show good faith and responsibility, and engage in a sincere and mature debate on this crucial issue," said CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie."

Former Chief Justice Laments Unconscionable Behaviour by Government
11 Nov 10: "The John Barry Memorial Symposium ... In this lecture Professor [Alastair] Nicholson discusses Australia’s inability to come to terms with accepting a Bill of Rights, pointing out that, “Australia is now one of the few countries that do not have a Bill of Rights”.
Regarding the current referendum proposal Professor Nicholson goes on to say, “The passage of a referendum paying lip service to our Indigenous people in a preamble to the Constitution will fool nobody into believing that we have changed our approach. What is requires is deeds and action; not empty words.”
On the Northern Territory Intervention Professor Nicholson laments that it is “unconscionable behaviour on the part of Government that makes me feel ashamed to be an Australian.”"

See Lecture by Alastair Nicholson:
Stop the Intervention: Human Rights and the Northern Territory Intervention

NATSIEC's Blog - National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission
Constitutional acknowledgement should not detract from addressing legislative discrimination
9 Nov 10: "The announcement by the Prime Minister that the Government will work towards recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Constitution was welcomed by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission (NATSIEC) as a positive action to address a long overdue omission. Executive Secretary of NATSIEC, Mr Graeme Mundine, has however raised concerns that Constitutional recognition will not mean anything unless the rights of Aboriginal people are protected and respected in all policy decisions and implementation.
“Despite the Apology and Australia’s late support of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, not to mention our obligations under International human rights instruments, Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory are suffering daily because of racially discriminatory polices and practices,” Mr Mundine said."

Law Council of Australia: Law Council welcomes Constitutional reform to recognise Indigenous Australian
9 Nov 10: "The Law Council is pleased with yesterday’s announcement by Prime Minister Julia Gillard regarding the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution. Law Council of Australia President, Mr Glenn Ferguson said constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians is long overdue. ... The Law Council has recently commenced a national consultation with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and organisations, to identify specific areas of the Constitution in need of reform."

AHRC - Australian Human Rights Commission: Commitment to Constitutional recognition applauded
8 Nov 10: "The Australian Human Rights Commission has welcomed the announcement today by Prime Minister Julia Gillard that the Australian Government will establish an expert panel to work towards including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in the Constitution. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda, said formally recognising the special and unique place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia’s Constitution was central to developing stronger and deeper relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the rest of Australia."

Greens welcome fulfilment of Government commitment to Indigenous constitutional recognition
8 Nov 10: "The Australian Greens welcome today's announcement by Prime Minister Julia Gillard of a new Expert Panel to progress recognition of Indigenous Australians in the constitution, agreed as part of the Australian Greens commitment to support the Labor Party in Government. As part of the agreement with the Australian Greens to establish the Gillard Government, the Labor Party has agreed to hold a referendum on Indigenous constitutional recognition before or at the next election. Greens Aboriginal Issues spokesperson Rachel Siewert said Indigenous Australians deserved recognition in the constitution as the first owners of the nation. ... "

- Feature

Rachel Siewert - Greens: Referendum an exciting step towards Reconciliation
8 Nov 10: " ... The Greens strongly believe that Indigenous Australians deserve to be recognised in the constitution as the first owners of the nation. This recognition, in the highest legal document in our land, is important on so many levels. It’s also important that progress towards a referendum should involves the entire community. Senator Rachel Siewert, the Greens spokesperson for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Affairs spoke to the media after today’s announcement, highlighting the importance of the people’s debate in referendum. Senator Siewert also said it was essential that the vote remain as a people's referendum, not a politicians' debate, and it had the support of the entire Parliament. ... "

- Audio

ABC Radio Australia: Australians to vote on recognising indigenous people in constitution
10 Nov 10: "One hundred and ten years after becoming a Federated state, Australians are to vote on whether Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders should be recognised in the Constitution. The vote will happen some time in the next three years. ... But the Prime Minister admits, referenda rarely succeed and the process will be a challenging one."
"Speakers: Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard; Attorney General Robert Mcclelland; Greens Indigenous spokeswoman, Rachel Siewert; Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin"

ABC: Aboriginal constitutional recognition
10 Nov 10: "This week the Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the referendum will be held at or before the next federal poll but there is a lot of work to do before we get to that point."
"Fiona Poole spoke to Fred Kelly, Vice President of the Macleay Valley Aboriginal Consultative Group."

(Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association):
10 Nov 10: "A move by PM Julia Gillard to push for the recognition of Aboriginal people in the Australian constitution has been labelled a top down approach and similar to attempts to achieve Reconciliaition by the previous Howard coalition government."

CAAMA News: Sam Watson on the Constitution (9 Nov 10)
(Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association):

(Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association):
9 Nov 10: "* Queensland indigenous rights campaigner Sam Watson critical of moves to form panel which will lead a national discussion on a referendum on recognizing indigenous people in the constitution. * Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda says recognition of indigenous people in the Australian Constitution means that they will no longer be excluded."

- Opinion / Analysis

Age: Genuine attempt to write First Peoples into nation's contract
15 Nov 10: "Constitutional recognition for indigenous Australians is not just symbolic. ... AS WITH many indigenous people, I have no appetite to relive history, but I crave an honest dialogue in Australia that might finally allow us to rewrite our constitution in such a way that it restores indigenous people to a deserved place of prominence and respect in our nation's foundational charter. The referendum announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard offers us an opportunity to take matters that are addressed in the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Rights and cement them into Australia's domestic law." Patrick Dodson

Australian: Referendum must not be used to settle old scores
11 Nov 10: "ANY amendments to the Constitution to recognise Aborigines should be minimalist. THE Gillard government's intention to discuss the wording of a constitutional amendment to recognise Australians of Aboriginal origin provides the opportunity to ask where we are headed in Aboriginal affairs." Gary Johns

Australian: Indigenous recognition useless if it fails to save young lives: Mal Brough
11 Nov 10: "MAL Brough has raised fears over the campaign to include indigenous Australians in the Constitution. The former indigenous affairs minister says the campaign could steal attention from practical efforts to save the lives of Aboriginal children." Patricia Karvelas

Australian: Constitutional recognition not the most urgent issue
10 Nov 10: "However, we need to realise that there are more important priorities ... Those priorities include getting all indigenous children into school and ensuring their true potential is tapped, lowering the unemployment rate among indigenous adults, and addressing housing, poverty, health, etc, in indigenous communities." Anthony Dillon, Strathfield, NSW
[includes five other comments from people around Australia]

Australian: Don't rush in to referendum, says Ken Wyatt
10 Nov 10: "A REFERENDUM to recognise indigenous people in the Constitution should not be rushed for the sake of political expediency, Ken Wyatt has said. Mr Wyatt, who became the first Aboriginal member of the House of Representatives when he won the seat of Hasluck in Western Australia at the last election, told The Australian Online that recognition within the preamble of the Constitution was important because it would “engender a strong sense of pride for all Australians but in particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people”."

Australian: Indigenous recognition 'must be real': Marcia Langton
9 Nov 10: "ABORIGINAL leader Marcia Langton has called on Julia Gillard's expert panel to go further than inserting something "lite" in the Constitution's preamble. ... Professor Langton said a referendum that only recognised indigenous Australians in the preamble would be "paternalistic" and instead called for a substantive section to be added to the nation's guiding document, according her people full recognition." Patricia Karvelas and Joe Kelly

- News

ABC: Kimberley leader wants detail on constitutional proposal
9 Nov 10: "Kimberley Aboriginal leader Peter Yu says a national discussion on recognising Indigenous Australians in the constitution is worthwhile but he is keen to see more detail of what is proposed. ... Mr Yu says the recoginition is necessary and important."

ABC: Indigenous leader questions 'meaningless' constitutional debate
9 Nov 10: "A central Australian Aboriginal leader has called the Federal Government's move for constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians "a meaningless symbolic gesture". Country music star Warren H Williams was a Greens' Senate candidate at the last federal election. He says it is another move to pacify Indigenous people."

ABC: Government wants politicians on constitutional panel
9 Nov 10: "The Federal Government says it wants politicians from across the political spectrum to sit on the expert panel set up to prepare for a constitutional referendum. ... While the Coalition supports a referendum, it says there is no need for politicians on the panel. The Greens also say it is important the debate does not get bogged down in politics."

ABC: Indigenous groups back constitutional debate
9 Nov 10: "Aboriginal groups throughout regional Western Australia have welcomed the support shown from all sides of politics for a referendum to recognise Indigenous Australians in the constitution. ... Trevor Donaldson from the Goldfields Land and Sea Council says the move will be another important step in the reconciliation process."

ABC: Mansell welcomes move for Aboriginal recognition
9 Nov 10: "The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre has welcomed the Prime Minister's move to recognise Indigenous Australians in the country's constitution. ... The centre's legal director, Michael Mansell, says it is positive that Ms Gillard is showing an interest in putting the rights of Aborigines into the constitution. But he says by having a panel, the Prime Minister is treading lightly around the issue."

Age: PM seeks legal recognition of indigenous Australians
9 Nov 10: "JULIA Gillard called it a ''once in a 50-year opportunity'' and, despite some quibbles about the process, her plan to deliver constitutional recognition to indigenous Australians yesterday secured crucial cross-party support. The government has asked the opposition, the Greens and an independent MP to be part of an expert panel, alongside indigenous and community representatives and lawyers, that will try to build consensus on the proposal next year."

Yahoo!7: Greens want peoples' debate on indigenous
8 Nov 10: "A referendum on recognising indigenous people in the Australian Constitution must follow a peoples' debate, not a political discussion, the Australian Greens say. The Greens are pleased that part of their agreement with Labor to form government is coming to pass, with Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Monday announcing an expert panel would be invited to consult on a referendum. Greens indigenous spokeswoman Rachel Siewert said the party would be active participants in the process."

ABC: Gillard swings spotlight to Indigenous recognition
8 Nov 10: "The Federal Government will set up an expert panel to advise it on recognising Indigenous Australians in the Constitution. Prime Minister Julia Gillard says the panel will guide a national debate on the issue in a bid to maximise the chance of the vote being successful. "The first peoples of our nation have a unique and special place in our nation," she said."

Australian: Referendum to be held on indigenous recognition in the Constitution
8 Nov 10: "AUSTRALIANS will within the next three years vote in a referendum on whether to recognise indigenous people in the Constitution. The plan to recognise indigenous Australians in the Constitution was announced today by Julia Gillard. Under the plan, an expert panel comprising parliamentarians, indigenous Australians and constitutional scholars will be set up to lead a national discussion on a referendum on the issue. The panel will consult throughout 2011 and report back by the end of next year on how best to amend the Constitution."

Koori Mail: PM announces Indigenous referendum panel
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
8 Nov 10: "PRIME Minister Julia Gillard says an expert panel will be set up to lead a national discussion on a referendum on recognising Indigenous people in the Australian Constitution. The panel will report to the Government by the end of 2011."

SMH: Referendum key to reconciliation: leader
3 Nov 10: "Recognising indigenous Australians in the constitution would be a nation-building exercise that could put the country back on the path to reconciliation, an Aboriginal leader says. Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda believes working towards a successful referendum by 2013 could regain the momentum lost since the 2008 apology to the stolen generations. It would also help heal the wounds caused by the discriminatory and continuing Northern Territory intervention."


Digital Journal: Canada signs on to UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights
15 Nov 10: "Ottawa - Canada has at long last signed on to the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Rights. Adopted by many nations in 2007, but rejected by Canada, Canada's First Nations, Métis and Inuit have been urging the government to endorse the protocol. Canada announced it had signed the Declaration in a statement issued Friday from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, John Duncan said "Canada has endorsed the Declaration to further reconcile and strengthen our relationship with Aboriginal peoples in Canada." ... "

- Related Media Release

AHRC - Australian Human Rights Commission: Human rights agencies call for action on UN racial discrimination report
"Australian human rights agencies have called for the full and prompt implementation of the recent UN CERD report on racial discrimination in Australia. At the annual meeting of the Australia and New Zealand Race Relations Roundtable, state and federal human rights commissioners welcomed the report and specifically called for action on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the protection of Indigenous languages, the provision of interpreter services and the development of a national anti-racism strategy. Commissioners agreed that the Declaration is an important foundational document for human rights in Australia and New Zealand and called on their respective governments to identify the practical actions they will take to implement and apply it. ... "

- Related Audio

(Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association):
12 Nov 10: "Australian human rights agencies have called for the full and prompt implementation of the recent UN CERD report on racial discrimination in Australia."


- Media Release

Former Chief Justice Laments Unconscionable Behaviour by Government
11 Nov 10: "The John Barry Memorial Symposium ... In this lecture Professor Nicholson discusses Australia’s inability to come to terms with accepting a Bill of Rights, pointing out that, “Australia is now one of the few countries that do not have a Bill of Rights”.
Regarding the current referendum proposal Professor Nicholson goes on to say, “The passage of a referendum paying lip service to our Indigenous people in a preamble to the Constitution will fool nobody into believing that we have changed our approach. What is requires is deeds and action; not empty words.”
On the Northern Territory Intervention Professor Nicholson laments that it is “unconscionable behaviour on the part of Government that makes me feel ashamed to be an Australian.”"

- Lecture

Stop the Intervention: Human Rights and the Northern Territory Intervention
11 Nov 10: "The John Barry Memorial Symposium ... Australians and particularly conservative Australians have an irrational fear of enforceable human rights. To me this is a strange paradox in a country that has in many ways been a world leader in promoting international human rights instruments and has not been slow to criticise human rights breaches by others. It does not seem to occur to most Australians who oppose a Bill of Rights that such criticisms would have much greater force if we paid the same regard for human rights within our country as we do in respect of others elsewhere. What we fail to realise is that this country has developed an unenviable international reputation for the disregard of human rights particularly in respect of, but not confined to, its treatment of Indigenous people." The Honourable Alastair Nicholson AO RFD QC

- Opinion / Analysis

Green Left: Mining and the NT intervention
13 Nov 10: "Your article “What's behind the NT intervention” (GLW #843) outlines the government's goal of forced assimilation of Aboriginal communities. Under the intervention, millions of dollars worth of assets and housing has been seized from Aboriginal community councils and thousands of Aboriginal jobs have been lost as Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) close down. Then prime minister John Howard declared in 2007 that: "Aboriginal people have no future outside the Australian mainstream.” ... But while we can agree on the question of assimilation, unfortunately, there was a real confusion in your article about the relationship between land rights, mining and the intervention." Paddy Gibson

Brisbane Times: Dodson gives intervention F on education
5 Nov 10: "Aboriginal academic and leader Mick Dodson says the commonwealth intervention into remote Northern Territory communities has resulted in indigenous students dropping out of school.
... "What concerns me about the Northern Territory intervention from an education perspective is the massive fall-off in attendances at schools - in particular in the 76 targeted communities," Prof Dodson told reporters. "Kids aren't turning up to school. Some say it's because of the scrapping of bilingual education. If that's the case it ought to be reinstated immediately.""

Australian: Remote Northern Territory schools bleed pupils
3 Nov 10: "SCHOOL attendance rates are plummeting in several remote Northern Territory communities. Both Territory and federal governments are struggling to find ways to keep indigenous children in class. At one school, attendance rates have nearly halved in two years to a low of 37.2 per cent. ... The low attendance rates, which follows the cutting back on bilingual teaching, came as the federal government continued a trial in six remote communities that suspends welfare payments to parents if their children don't attend school."

- New Book

Culture Crisis: Anthropology and Politics in Aboriginal Australia
Jon Altman, Melinda Hinkson (eds)
"In 2007 the Australian government declared that remote Aboriginal communities were in crisis and launched the Northern Territory Intervention. This dramatic move occurred against a backdrop of vigorous debate among policy makers, academics, commentators and Aboriginal people about the apparent failure of self-determination. In Culture Crisis, leading anthropologists put these ‘Culture Wars’ under the microscope. They consider anthropology’s legacy in informing and provoking policy change and public understanding of cultural difference. Contributors bring diverse perspectives to bear on the interpretations of current circumstances and policy prescriptions for the future. ... "

- New Film

Indigenous radio station 98.9FM Brisbane
Let's Talk - Indigenous presented talkback:
2 Nov 10: "Sinem Saban, Damien Curtis, Jeff McMullen and Aunty Rosalie Kunoth-Monks. They spoke about Our Generation a documentary film.
Tiga Bayles spoke with Sinem Saban, Writer, Producer, Director. Sinem has had a lifelong passion for Aboriginal rights. With a degree in Media, Legal and Aboriginal Studies, she has been working in Aboriginal communities in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, for the last 10 years, as a teacher and human rights activist.
Damien Curtis, Writer, Producer. Damien has been working for the last 10 years in empowering tribal peoples to protect their culture and ancestral lands. With degrees in Anthropology and Environment & Development, he is committed to strengthening cultural diversity as the foundation for human and environmental wellbeing.
Jeff McMullen, Honorary CEO of Ian Thorpe’s Fountain for Youth, a Director of the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), a Director of the Australian Indigenous Engineering Aid Summer School Program, Trustee of the Jimmy Little Foundation and Author.
And Elder, Aunty Rosalie Kunoth-Monks.
They spoke about Our Generation a documentary film."
Listen to this interview on-line:

Reportage: Our Generation: the indigenous intervention
2 Nov 10: "Our Generation is a newly released film that aim to raise awareness of the indigenous intervention in the Northern Territory. Anne Hastwell reports from Adelaide. The Capris Cinema in Adelaide rarely sees such a crowd – it was the one off screening of a new film, Our Generation. Film makers, Sinem Siban and Damien Curtis travelled to Arnhem Land in 2007 when news of the intervention broke to begin the film. “We went there to find out what was happening after this big news broke out and we wanted to see directly from the communities affected what the story was,” Curtis said."

- Audio

Indigenous radio station 98.9FM Brisbane
Let's Talk - Indigenous presented talkback:
9 Nov 10: "Dr Janet Hunt and Dr David Cooper. Tiga Bayles spoke with President of ANTaR National, Dr Janet Hunt and Dr David Cooper, from ANTaR in the Northern Territory. They spoke about the ANTaR launch: ‘A Better Way: Success stories in Aboriginal community control in the NT’ and the Northern Territory Intervention."
Listen to this interview on-line:

"Click here to download the A Better Way: Success Stories in Aboriginal community-control in the Northern Territory publication and find out more about the campaign" http://www.antar.org.au/abetterway

- News

ABC: Refurbished houses still covered in graffiti
11 Nov 10: "Some houses refurbished under a federal Indigenous housing program after still covered in graffiti, the Council for Territory Cooperation says. Northern Territory independent MLA Gerry Wood and other members of the council yesterday visited Maningrida, where the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program is to deliver 79 refurbishments. Mr Wood says nine have been completed so far but the council was disappointed in the refurbishments, citing similar problems to those found on Bathurst Island."

ABC: $450m fast-tracked to boost Indigenous housing
10 Nov 10: "The Federal and Northern Territory Governments say they will bring forward hundreds of millions of dollars to accelerate the building of new houses in Northern Territory Indigenous communities. The Federal Government has committed $1.7 billion over 10 years to build and refurbish houses in the Territory. ... The SIHIP program has been beset with cost blow-outs after it was revealed the initial budget was not enough to deliver the planned 750 homes as well as related infrastructure."

Australian: Remote housing 'on track'
10 Nov 10: "THE Gillard government will fast-track the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program. This is intended to help tackle the appalling living conditions in Northern Territory indigenous communities. The government has revealed it is on track to meet the target of 150 new houses and 1000 rebuilding and refurbishment projects by the end of next month."

- Background to the Northern Territory (NT) Intervention

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Northern Territory National Emergency Response

Defending Indigenous Rights:

Intervention walk-off's Blog:

IRAG (Intervention Rollback Action Group):

Jobs with Justice:

STICS (Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney):

WGAR (Working Group for Aboriginal Rights):


- Background

Jobs with Justice:

Stop the Intervention: Jobs with Justice CDEP

Defending Indigenous Rights:

- Audio

SBS: Aboriginal: National Unions On Board With Jobs With Justice
27 Oct 10: "Where have the former waged jobs in the Northern Territory gone? is the question being asked by Jobs With Justice. The Northern Territory Intervention, abolition of CDEP and creation of "super shires" has left hundreds of Aboriginal people without work with fair pay and conditions. National unions such as the Maritime Union of Australia, the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union, Unions NT and others have officially endorsed and are actively supporting the Jobs With Justice campaign. Miguel Ocionnes, Regional Manager for the LHMU says his union's involved because of Jobs With Justice's focus on employment fairness, compassion and equity."

- Article

Solidarity: Aboriginal workers exploited by the Intervention win support
Nov 2010: "The fight against the racist NT Intervention has taken a step forward with the launch of new campaign demanding ‘Jobs with Justice’ for Aboriginal workers. In October, Mark Fordham, an Aboriginal worker from the Northern Territory, toured worksites to build rank-and-file union support. Employment and assimilation. On October 29 rallies were held around the country. Two hundred people attended a lunchtime rally in Sydney, including contingents from the MUA and the Teachers Federation, 400 attended in Melbourne and 70 in Alice Springs. A national statement condemning the mass unemployment and exploitative working conditions created by the Intervention was published in The Australian newspaper on the same day. ... "

- Reports from different cities

Jobs with Justice: Mark Fordham Speaking Tour
"Mark’s speaking tour was a great success, thanks to all the organisers and participants. Below are some reports and images from the tour: ... "

Stop the Intervention: Jobs with Justice CDEP
Reports from different cities:
"Brisbane: ...
Melbourne: ...
Wollongong: ... "

- “Generation One” campaign

Green Left: Dear Mr Forrest, business won’t fix this one
7 Nov 10: "One of Australia’s richest men, mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, used Australian television on October 24 to send an address to the nation about his “Generation One” campaign, which aims to “close the gap” between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. I don’t have any air-time, but I do have page space. This is my address to Twiggy. * * * Dear Mr Forrest, I think we have something in common (yes, I’m surprised too). ... I’ll cut to the chase: I feel a very important factor has been overlooked in the Generation One campaign. When it comes to seeking justice for Indigenous Australians, there is really only one place to start, and that is with the abolition of the federal government’s Northern Territory intervention." Kate Ausburn

Green Left: Generation None: How many jobs has Twiggy really built?
6 Nov 10: "Mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest had an opportunity on ABC’s November 1 screening of Q&A to defend his record on Aboriginal employment. He didn’t do very well. ... Companies should set Aboriginal employment targets — and be compelled to by law. But this is no substitute for what is really needed — government investment in infrastructure, and training Aboriginal workers to build and maintain that infrastructure to ensure sustainable, healthy wealth-serviced communities, under Aboriginal control." Emma Murphy & Peter Robson

ABC: Report reveals Indigenous jobs plan shortfall
2 Nov 10: "It is unclear whether any remote Indigenous Australians have secured a job in the past two years as a result of a plan by mining magnate Andrew Forrest. The Federal Government helped Mr Forrest set up the Australian Employment Covenant in October 2008 with the aim of creating 50,000 jobs for Indigenous Australians in two years."

ABC: Indigenous job program coming up short
2 Nov 10: "A report has found it is too early to determine whether an ambitious plan to create 50,000 jobs for Indigenous Australians is successful enough to continue. But the report into the progress of the Australian Employment Covenant (AEC) has found less than 3,000 job placements have been created. In 2008, mining magnate Andrew Forrest and former prime minister Kevin Rudd
launched the 50,000 jobs plan, which appeared to have a two-year target. The report's author, Kirrily Jordan, says those jobs may have gone to Indigenous Australians regardless of the scheme."


- Media Releases

[BlackGreen)] Fwd: Fw:Wiradjuri Elder responds to personal attack over gold mine
10 Nov 10: "Wiradjuri elder, Neville “Chappy” Williams, says he has had enough of Wiradjuri people, who have sold out their culture and heritage, attacking him for upholding cultural obligations and rights to defend Aboriginal country and culture in the Lake Cowal area where Barrick Australia is expanding its gold mining operations. “I take immense pride and interest in Wiradjuri culture, visiting Lake Cowal as our ancestors have done for thousands of years and speaking out about what is happening whenever I get the chance. I’ve never sold out. I can hold my head up high and will keep on fighting to save our culture and heritage as long as it takes,” Mr Williams said. “Our culture is rooted in the land, the country on which our ancestors have walked for millennia. Those of us who have not sold out are fighting for our cultural being, for our survival, of who we are as Wiradjuri people. The Wiradjuri who signed off with the mining company consented to the destruction of our sacred sites, for s.90 Consents to Destroy, to allow a cyanide-leaching gold mine in our sacred heartland. This heritage can never be replaced."

Latin American, Australian & Asia Pacific Solidarity Gathering:
International Activists Challenge Corporate Crimes
9 Nov 10: "From 12th to 14th November, international activists will converge at Trades Hall in Melbourne to call for an end to the power of huge companies to exploit people and our planet. “We will be building alliances and global resistance against the actions of Rio Tinto, Barrick Gold, Fonterra, Chiquita Brands International, Monsanto, Drummond, BP” said Rebecca Harrison from the Latin American Solidarity Network. “To protect the rights of workers, indigenous peoples and the environment we need to hold corporations accountable for their exploitative practices,” added Ms Harrison. International representatives from grass roots organisations from New Zealand, West Papua, El Salvador, Bougainville, Philippines, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Chile and Colombia, as well as Australian indigenous and union representatives will be speaking at the gathering."

Indymedia Australia: Australia is still legally a colony
8 Nov 10: "We are at a cross road in our time. Forget about the blankets and trinkets offered by the national and state governments. As independent sovereign peoples we have bigger fish to fry. We owe it to our forefathers and foremothers, we owe it to our children and grandchildren and we owe it to ourselves. We continue to be dependent ‘aliens’, depending on our captors for our welfare cheques and special measure housing and infra-structure programs, while they keep up their assimilation policy of removing our children and teaching their white history, their language and their social and economic norms. I repeat my earlier calling, we must now stand against the black collaborators who advise the government to place rations and restrictions on our people, take our land back through blackmail if we want houses built. This is not freedom, this is imprisonment." By Michael Anderson, Aboriginal political activist and leader of the Euahlayi Nation

- Opinion / Analysis

Crikey: Workers say they’re being ripped off under indigenous housing program
12 Nov 10: "Aboriginal people say they are working for the BasicsCard on the federal Government’s $672 million Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP) in Northern Territory communities. The scheme has been a serious cash cow for bureaucrats and contractors. The first two years of the program failed to deliver a single house." by Paddy Gibson, senior researcher, Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, UTS

Mathaba: Greens: Urgent Aboriginal Health Needs Must be Met
11 Nov 10: "The Australian Greens say more of the Federal Government’s confirmed $274 million investment in a suicide prevention package should be utilised immediately to address urgent needs in Aboriginal communities, with just $8.1 million of the funding committed for the current financial year. Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson for Mental Health says that while the Government’s commitment- which was welcomed by the Minister for Mental Health following the release of today’s Mid-Year Economic Fiscal Outlook- was a positive step, there are immediate concerns in a number of Aboriginal communities about the number of people taking their own lives."

Croakey - the Crikey health blog: Cancer and Indigenous health: the pitfalls of assumption-based policy
4 Nov 10: "Why is there so little policy attention to the toll that cancer takes upon Indigenous Australians? Research involving interviews with senior bureaucrats and government ministers throws some light on the possible answers to this question. Perhaps policy is being based upon assumptions, rather than the evidence about cancer’s impact on Indigenous health.
Daniel Vujcich writes: ... The challenge for academics, policy makers and the media is to engage with and utilise the health information and data being generated in order to more closely scrutinise the way in which Indigenous health issues are prioritised; by failing to do so, we risk repeating the mistakes of our fatalistic forebears by allowing inaccurate assumptions to justify political indifference or inaction."

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WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)