WGAR News: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination / Harmony Day - 21 Mar 11

Newsletter date: 23 Mar 2011

* International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination / Harmony Day - 21 March 2011
* Nuclear waste legislation must wait until objections heard in Federal Court
* Background to Muckaty Station nuclear waste dump
* Opposition leader, Tony Abbott, calls for new Northern Territory (NT) Intervention
* Other Northern Territory (NT) Intervention articles
* Background to the Northern Territory (NT) Intervention
* More on the blockade by Lake Tyers Aboriginal women
* Background to blockade by Aboriginal women of Lake Tyers
* Greens launch Native Title reforms


- Media Releases and Statements

ANTaR - Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation:
Harmony Day: Australia can do better
21 Mar 11: "ANTaR marks Harmony Day by highlighting the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures to the cultural and spiritual life of our nation and by calling for action to address continuing racial discrimination against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
21 March is celebrated as Harmony Day in Australia and links to international celebrations to mark the United Nation's International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Jacqueline Phillips, ANTaR National Director, said that concerns continue to be expressed by the international Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination that the legislation enabling the continuing operation of the Northern Territory intervention remains racially discriminatory."

Indigenous Peoples: Australia: International Day For The Elimination Of Racial Discrimination - Australia Is Not Doing Enough
20 Mar 11: "Australia is not doing enough to eliminate racial discrimination in Australia.
The Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action (FAIRA) calls upon the Government of Australia to take a more prominent and active position on the elimination of racism in Australia.
There are many areas which are in need of attention, at the highest levels in law in Australia, to the details of disadvantage and poverty at the local levels.
While Australia participated actively in the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and signed on to this treaty in 1966 it has not shown itself to be a dedicated and committed force against racial discrimination.
In 2011 we are facing a number of extreme examples of the failure of the government to take action." Les Malezer, Chairperson, FAIRA

Indigenous Peoples: Australia: How To Create disHarmony?
- Concerned Australians Statement On Harmony Day
Indigenous Peoples: http://indigenouspeoplesissues.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=art...
Treaty Republic: http://treatyrepublic.net/content/how-create-disharmony
20 Mar 11: "One way is to pass discriminatory legislation. This way we can be absolutely sure that there will be no harmony between Government and Aboriginal peoples in the Northern Territory.
When asked in a recent forum, “Are we officially still carrying out discriminatory policies towards ... Indigenous communities?”, the Hon. Alastair Nicholson, former Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia replied, “ Oh absolutely! No doubt about that. ”
We are told by Government that Harmony Day is a day when all Australians celebrate our cultural diversity. At the same time we are told that in other countries around the world March 21 is celebrated as International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Maybe we can understand why Government shies away from the latter – far easier to talk about a warm and melodious sense of ‘harmony’."

Stop the Intervention:
‘Scrap "failed" NT intervention'- demands Aboriginal rights demonstration
19 Mar 11: ""The writing is on the wall for Jenny Macklin. As predicted the intervention's racist control-measures are bringing Aboriginal communities to the brink of collapse. We need an urgent change of course starting with repealing these discriminatory laws" said Jean Parker from STICS.
"This weekend marks the international UN day to push for eliminating racial discrimination. It is 2011 and the Labor government still has discriminatory federal legislation that strips basic rights from Aboriginal people. The intervention laws are still not fully subject to the Racial Discrimination Act (1975). This wholly racist policy needs to be abolished now.""

- News

Koori Mail: Aust falling short on anti-racism
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
21 Mar 11: "THE Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action (FAIRA) has criticised Australia's efforts to eliminate racial discrimination. FAIRA chairman Les Malezer says examples of Australia's poor performance include its failure to outlaw racial vilification, appoint a full-time race commissioner, develop an anti-racism strategy, and respond to numerous critical international reports on the issue. He wants more action from the Federal Government, supported by the state and territories."


- Media Release

Oxfam Australia - Media Releases
Nuclear waste legislation must wait until Muckaty landowners’ objections heard in Federal Court
22 Mar 11: "The Federal Government should not try to pass legislation that would allow a national radioactive waste dump on Muckaty Land Trust in the Northern Territory before the Federal Court case opposing it lodged by some traditional owners of the Land Trust is heard, Oxfam Australia said today.
The National Radioactive Waste Management Bill 2010 is due to be debated in Parliament this week in the face of opposition from some Aboriginal traditional owners of Muckaty Land Trust who lodged the case with the Federal Court contesting the process used to nominate the land as a radioactive waste site. ...
Oxfam Australia Policy Director James Ensor said it was inappropriate for the government to have the legislation passed before the outcome of the Federal Court case.
“With key issues of ownership, traditional owner consent and affected community support for the radioactive waste facility currently before the Federal Court, the Gillard Government should defer debate on this controversial legislation."


Beyond Nuclear Initiative’s weblog: http://beyondnuclearinitiative.wordpress.com/

Beyond Nuclear Initiative: Muckaty: http://beyondnuclearinitiative.wordpress.com/muckaty/

YouTube: Muckaty Voices: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcuNpT84Ovo

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...

Nuclear Territory News: Waste Dump News:

WGAR News: Nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory (2 Mar 10)

WGAR News: Muckaty Station Nuclear Waste Dump (20 Mar 10)

WGAR News: Nuclear Waste Dump … (28 Mar 10)

WGAR News: Muckaty Radioactive Waste Dump … (4 Apr 10)

WGAR News: National day of action against Muckaty nuclear waste dump: 12th April!

WGAR News: Nuclear Waste Dump: Senate inquiry in Darwin; Nationwide protests (17 Apr 10)

WGAR News: Update: Muckaty Station Nuclear Waste Dump (23 Apr 10)
[scroll down page] http://indymedia.org.au/2010/04/22/wgar-news-raw-sewage-dumped-in-ampila...

WGAR News: Update on Muckaty Station Nuclear Waste Dump (2 May 10)

WGAR News: "Muckaty Voices" film; Senate Report into nuclear waste dump plan (16 May 10)

WGAR News: Federal Court legal challenge over nuclear waste dump (13 Jun 10)

WGAR News: PM Gillard: No change on Muckaty nuclear waste dump (12 Jul 10)

WGAR News: Legislation passes enabling a nuclear waste dump to be built at Muckaty, NT (1 Mar 11)

WGAR News: Federal Court challenge over nuclear dump resumes in August (16 Mar 11)

WGAR News: Interview with Kylie Sambo, Mark Lane and Dr. Jim Green about Muckaty nuclear waste dump (21 Mar 11)


- Media Release

Rachel Siewert: Abbott’s intervention plan continues past mistakes: Greens
21 Mar 11: "The Australian Greens say Tony Abbott’s plan for a new intervention in Alice Springs reflects the Coalition’s continued lack of understanding of the issues facing NT communities.
Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Issues says the plan is more of the same, failed intervention approach first taken under the Howard Government.
“We have already seen millions of dollars wasted on failed measures in the NT Intervention. That money should have been invested in real outcomes,” Senator Siewert said today.
“The Coalition sees a problem and their immediate response is to send in more police and impose more draconian measures under the guise of improving the lives of Aboriginal people."

- Radio

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association:
CAAMA Radio News 22-03-2011
22 Mar 11: "A call by the Federal Opposition leader Tony Abbott for a new Northern Territory Intervention brings strong criticism from anti–interventionists."

The Wire: Tony Abbott's NT Intervention: Take 2
[scroll down page] http://www.thewire.org.au/daydetail.aspx?SearchDay=2011-03-21
21 Mar 11: "Opposition leader Tony Abbott has called on the government to stage a new intervention in the Northern Territory. In a letter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Mr. Abbott says that the government needs to focus its resources on larger cities, including Alice Springs. He says parties need to engage in bipartisan support to address the issues of alcohol-infused violence, education and working for the dole. While admitting that the first intervention, introduced by the Howard government in 2007, was a ‘top down’ operation, he says that new action still needs to be taken. Featured In Story: Indigenous Rights Activist and Councillor for the Victoria Daly Shire in the Northern Territory, John Leemans."

- News

Age: NT chief rejects new call by Abbott
22 Mar 11: "NORTHERN Territory Chief Minister Paul Henderson has rejected Tony Abbott's call for a new intervention to target violence and social crises in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine, saying the towns will soon have Australia's toughest alcohol restrictions. Mr Henderson also angrily rejected a claim by Mr Abbott that sexual abuse is endemic in Alice Springs, where police are investigating reports of child prostitution."

Australian: PM cool on Abbott play over Alice Springs
22 Mar 11: "JULIA Gillard has accused Tony Abbott of playing politics with indigenous suffering after the Opposition Leader released a letter he wrote to the Prime Minister demanding a new intervention to tackle rising crime in Alice Springs. Ms Gillard said she believed that Mr Abbott's release of the letter, published in The Australian yesterday, was motivated by a need to get a headline rather than genuine concern."

SMH: Abbott seeking headline on NT problem: PM
21 Mar 11: "Prime Minister Julia Gillard says Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is more interested in politics than policy in calling for a new phase of the Northern Territory intervention. Mr Abbott has offered bipartisan support for a new intervention targeting Alice Springs, and wants to visit the town with Ms Gillard to consult with the community."

Koori Mail: Abbott plan more of a failed approach, say Greens
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
21 Mar 11: "THE Australian Greens say Opposition leader Tony Abbott has shown a lack of understanding in calling for a new intervention in Alice Springs, and his plan is just for more of the same, failed approach first taken by the former Howard Government. Spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert says the Federal Government should be investing instead in programs developed and implemented in proper consultation with Aboriginal communities."

Koori Mail: PM: Abbott 'hunting for a headline'
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
21 Mar 11: "THE Prime Minister Julia Gillard says Opposition leader Tony Abbott is playing politics in calling for 'a new intervention' to respond to social problems in Alice Springs and other large towns in the NT. In Canberra today, Ms Gillard said Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin and the Opposition's Indigenous Affairs spokesman Nigel Scullion were working cooperatively to improve Indigenous housing, health and education – 'putting policy before politics' – and it was a pity Mr Abbott couldn't do the same."

Australian: Tony Abbott calls for new intervention in Alice Springs
21 Mar 11: "TONY Abbott has written to Julia Gillard calling for a "new intervention" to transform the lives of Aborigines in Alice Springs, centred on a joint trip to consult with indigenous community leaders about the design of a new radical program for change to the nation's centre. After reports in The Australian about the growing crisis in Alice Springs with crime and alcoholism on the rise, the Opposition Leader conceded for the first time that the Howard government's takeover of 73 Aboriginal communities in 2007 was flawed because it was "top-heavy"."

Australian: Time to revive the intervention
21 Mar 11: "TONY Abbott's offer of bipartisan support for a reinvigorated Northern Territory intervention is a constructive proposal that the Gillard government should take seriously. The fraught process initiated in the last months of the Howard government and backed by Labor has made some progress in reducing infant mortality and improving education and nutrition through income management, but much more remains to be done."

Koori Mail: Abbott calls for ‘a new intervention’
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
21 Mar 11: "FEDERAL Opposition Leader Tony Abbott wants a 'new intervention' in Alice Springs and the other major towns in the NT, to deal with social problems that he concedes have flowed from the NT Intervention originally imposed by the former Liberal Government. Mr Abbott has written to Prime Minister Julia Gillard asking for a summit with her government and Aboriginal leaders, but has already called for more police, more teachers, and work for the dole and alcohol management measures."


- Letter

Our Generation: Jeff McMullen responds in open letter to Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin.
21 Mar 11: "Dear Minister,
The Australian Government has finally admitted that the Northern Territory Emergency Response was a “major shock” and a “serious affront” causing “anger, fear and distrust” in Aboriginal communities. ... If you seek “a reformed approach to engagement with Indigenous Australians” as you indicate, I urge you and the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, to consult soon on their homelands with the overwhelming majority of leaders who oppose the Intervention, including Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM of Galiwinku, Elcho Island and Rosalie Kunoth-Monks OAM of Utopia, because you have not addressed their grievances or indicated how the Australian Government sees a constructive way to move forward. ...
Yours sincerely, Dr Jeff McMullen AM"

- News

National Indigenous Times: BasicsCard challenge?
17 Mar 11: "Mick Gooda has warned the Federal Government he expected the BasicsCard, a key platform of the Northern Territory Intervention, to be challenged in the Human Rights Commission on the grounds it is discriminatory. Mr Gooda and an overwhelming majority of Indigenous leaders throughout Australia have maintained the Intervention’s income management process is discriminatory because it is targeted primarily against Indigenous Australians. He said he thought the practice of quarantining half the welfare payments of all vulnerable people in the Northern Territory arguably affected Indigenous people more than others and it was consequently discriminatory."

National Indigenous Times: Katter and Greens as one on the Intervention
17 Mar 11: "The Intervention has to go. If nothing else, on this much Independent, Bob Katter and Greens senator, Rachel Siewert agree. “The Intervention wasn’t done to help Indigenous people,” Mr Katter said. “It is a top down approach, paternalistic, discriminatory and punitive,” Ms Siewert said. The overwhelming opinion of these parliamentarians and others the National Indigenous Times spoke to mirrored that of Indigenous leaders across the country. They all agree the Intervention has trampled on the rights and human dignity of the Northern Territory’s Indigenous population. The negative effects of the Intervention are wide ranging, and wide reaching."


Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Northern Territory National Emergency Response: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Territory_intervention

STICS (Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney): http://stoptheintervention.org/

IRAG (Intervention Rollback Action Group): http://rollbacktheintervention.wordpress.com/

Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective: http://maicollective.blogspot.com/

ANTaR (Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation) - NT intervention: http://www.antar.org.au/issues_and_campaigns/nt_intervention

'concerned Australians': http://www.concernedaustralians.com.au/

Jobs with Justice: http://jobswithjustice.wordpress.com/

Defending Indigenous Rights: http://defendingindigenousrights.wordpress.com/

Intervention walk-off's Blog: http://interventionwalkoff.wordpress.com/

WGAR (Working Group for Aboriginal Rights): http://wgar.info/


- Radio

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association:
CAAMA Radio News 18-03-2011
18 Mar 11: "Claims that the Victorian Government pre empted the Northern Territory Intervention when it took control away from the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust in 2006."

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association:
CAAMA Radio News 17-03-2011
17 Mar 11: "A small Aboriginal community in Victoria is continuing a road blockade following the dismissal of its board by the Victorian Government."

- News

National Indigenous Times: Lake Tyers blockade
17 Mar 11: "Aboriginal women from Lake Tyers have labelled the Victorian State Government’s administration of their community a “Northern Territory-style intervention” and staged a blockade last week in protest. The Lake Tyers residents have said the 10 year agreement signed with the Department of Justice and Aboriginal Affairs Victoria in 2006 governing the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust in East Gippsland was not working because decisions affecting the community were being taken without consultation with the residents. Trust member, Leanne Edwards said the “Northern Territory-style intervention” was not providing opportunities for her people from the Gunai/Kurnai tribes."


WGAR News: Aboriginal women of Lake Tyers are staging a blockade (12 Mar 11)

WGAR News: More on the blockade by Aboriginal women of Lake Tyers (16 Mar 11)
[scroll down page] http://indymedia.org.au/2011/03/16/wgar-news-federal-court-challenge-ove...

WGAR News: Protest blockade by Lake Tyers Aboriginal women continues (21 Mar 11)


- Media Releases

Rachel Siewert: Greens launch Native Title reforms
21 Mar 11: "The Australian Greens have tabled a Private Senators Bill to ensure Australia’s native title system delivers more tangible benefits to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Issues said today that the bill makes amendments to native title law, removing some of the current barriers to effective native title outcomes.
“It is clear that the original intention of the Parliament was that the Native Title Act would ‘rectify the consequences of past injustices’ and secure ‘adequate advancement and protection’. However, it is equally clear that in its application this complex area of law has failed to deliver on those hopes,” Senator Siewert said today. ...
“Justice Michael Kirby has previously described native title law as an ‘impenetrable jungle’, and the Greens are committed to changing this."

ANTaR - Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation:
Native Title reforms needed to create fairer and more sustainable system
22 Mar 11: "ANTaR has welcomed the introduction yesterday by Greens Senator Rachel Siewert of a Private Members Bill to deliver improved outcomes for native title claimants.
“This bill seeks to address some of the key barriers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples face in seeking fair and beneficial outcomes from the native title system,” said Jacqueline Phillips, ANTaR National Director.
“ANTaR hopes that the introduction of the Bill will create an opportunity for national policy debate on the need for reform to deliver benefits to current and future generations.”"

- Speech

Native Title Amendment (Reform) Bill 2011
Second Reading Speech - Senator Rachel Siewert
The reforms in this bill put forward clear and specific measures that address a number of key areas of interest to native title claimants.
They address the barriers claimants face in making the case to demonstrate their pre-existing native title rights and interests; they tackle some of the procedural issues within the future acts regime that restrict the ability of native title holders to assert and exercise their native title rights; and they include in the objects of the Native Title Act consideration of the principles of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Native title has the potential to play an important role as a basis for the economic and community development of those of Australia’s first peoples who have been able to maintain their connection to their traditional lands and culture in the face of dispossession.
It is clear that the original intention of the Parliament was that the Native Title Act would ‘rectify the consequences of past injustices’ and secure their ‘adequate advancement and protection’ … however it is equally clear that in its application this complex area of law has failed to deliver on those hopes.
The strong relationship of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with their land and sea country should provide a firm basis on which to strengthen their culture and build their future. To make this happen native title reform is needed.
The Native Title Amendment (Reform) Bill 2011 is an important first step on that path – I commend it to the Senate."

See Feature:
Greens launch Native Title reforms - Spokesperson Rachel Siewert

- News

Koori Mail: Bill addresses native title 'barriers'
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
21 Mar 11: "THE Australian Greens say they'll introduce a bill in the Federal Parliament today, aimed at helping claimants navigate Australia’s ‘overly complicated and ineffective’ native title system. Indigenous affairs spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert says the bill addresses barriers facing claimants trying to demonstrate their pre-existing native title rights and interests, and seeks to include consideration of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the objects of the Native Title Act."

- - -

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 and news items. Subscribers can expect to receive about 2 e-newsletters each week.

To subscribe, email wgar.news@gmail.com and include the words "subscribe WGAR News" in the message header.

To unsubscribe, email wgar.news@gmail.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 contactwgar@gmail.com and include the words "subscribe WGAR Contact" in the message header.

- - -

WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)
WGAR Website: http://wgar.info/