WGAR News: Online petition about Aboriginal workers exploited under SIHIP housing program

Newsletter date: 2 April 2011

* Online Petition: Aboriginal Workers Exploited Under SIHIP Program
* Poster for New Way Sovereignty Summit at Easter
* Crisis in Japan and Muckaty Nuclear Waste Dump
* Background to Muckaty Station nuclear waste dump
* Northern Territory (NT) Intervention
* Background to the Northern Territory (NT) Intervention
* Other Articles


- Urgent Petition

Jobs With Justice: A union and community campaign for Aboriginal jobs
SIHIP petition date extended and now online
30 Mar 11: "This petition is being sponsored Unions NT and the CFMEU. It demands justice for Aboriginal people working for Centrelink payments, half quarantined on a ‘BasicsCard’, as part of the reformed Community Development Employment Program (CDEP) introduced alongside the NT Intervention.
The petition has a particular focus on the use of CDEP workers by the $672 million Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP). We are demanding backpay at appropriate award rates for all of these workers, along with an end to arrangements forcing people to work for the BasicsCard and investment in community based employment programs across all Aboriginal communities. ...
Sign the petition online here: http://www.gopetition.com/petition/43996.html "

GoPetition: Aboriginal Workers Exploited Under SIHIP Program
Published by Lauren Mellor
17 Mar 11: "Target: Unions NT ...
Web site: http://jobswithjustice.wordpress.com ...
Background (Preamble):
To the Honourable President and members of the Senate in Parliament assembled:
We the undersigned are citizens concerned with the exploitation of Aboriginal workers taking place under the Community Development Employment Program (CDEP), which was reformed by the Labor government in 2009.
Aboriginal workers in the Northern Territory are working at least 16 hours a week under the scheme, but only being paid their Newstart allowance through Centrelink. In many cases, workers are subject to Income Management and have 50 per cent of these payments ‘quarantined’ onto a BasicsCard.
We are particularly concerned by the use of CDEP labour on the federal government’s $672 million Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP). Local Aboriginal workers on CDEP have been working for substandard CDEP wages, or for the BasicsCard, alongside fully paid construction workers from outside the community. This is a grave affront to the principle of equal pay for equal work."

- Background

Jobs With Justice: A union and community campaign for Aboriginal jobs

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. ... But Sheldon Stuart from the community of Amoonguna, about 20km south of Alice Springs, says that he was doing repairs and maintenance as part of SIHIP and only being paid his Newstart allowance through Centrelink. Fifty per cent of this was quarantined onto a BasicsCard, which can only be used to buy certain items at government-approved stores." Paddy Gibson, senior researcher, Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, UTS

Crikey: Indigenous workers are getting screwed under the SIHIP program
15 Nov 10: "As a federally funded Job Services Australia provider we are contracted to deliver services to job seekers in Amoonguna and Santa Teresa, the communities your Friday article (“Workers say they’re being ripped off under indigenous housing program”, Item 5) relates to, and the majority of the Community Development Employment Program (CDEP) participants are linked to us. I would like to begin by saying that I knew this was going to be a rort right from the start." Carl Russelhuber, Employment Services Manager, CatholicCare NT


- Poster

[click on one of the links to view poster]



- Background to the Event

Indymedia Australia: New Way Sovereignty Summit, Canberra 22-25 April (Easter Weekend)
"Date and Time: Fri, 22/04/2011 - 9:00am - Mon, 25/04/2011 - 5:00pm
Location: Friday 22 April and Saturday 23 April meetings will be at the Haydon Allen Tank, Building 23, Australian National University, Canberra.
(These two day's proceedings will be live webcast via www.wgar.info for those who can't attend but have internet access.)
Sunday 24 and Monday 25 April will be at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy opposite Old Parliament House.
Contact Name: Michael Anderson (Summit Convenor) ... "

- Background Media Releases

Michael Anderson: Australia as “last bastion for the Aryan race”
Indigenous Peoples: http://indigenouspeoplesissues.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=art...
Indymedia Australia: http://indymedia.org.au/2011/03/30/australia-as-%E2%80%9Clast-bastion-fo...
30 Mar 11: "As an Aboriginal person of a race of people continually persecuted by the state, I am alarmed and concerned that Australia’s desire to be the last bastion for the Aryan race, as was stated at Federation, continues to drive Australian governments of all political persuasions to this day. ...
The New Way Sovereignty Summit at Easter will challenge Australia’s application for a seat on the United Nations Security Council. Australia does not have the right to be nominated, let alone have a seat there. How can a colonial state of England have such a right? We will make every effort to lobby against Australia getting nominated." Michael Anderson

Michael Anderson: Scholar’s paper points to Aboriginal mineral rights
Indymedia Australia: http://www.indymedia.org.au/2011/02/13/scholar%E2%80%99s-paper-points-to...
13 Feb 11: "When Aboriginal activists meet in Canberra at Easter they will have in front of them a paper that suggested to the Howard government that Aboriginal people are likely to test the crown ownership of minerals. Michael Anderson, convener of the New Way Sovereignty Summits, quotes from an essay by Dr Stephen Davis to a conference of the Samuel Griffith Society stating that, “If Crown ownership of minerals is affirmed ... there may well be a case for compensation mounted by indigenous groups.”"

Michael Anderson: We are still shackled captives of government
Indigenous Peoples: http://indigenouspeoplesissues.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=art...
Indymedia Australia: http://indymedia.org.au/2011/02/04/we-are-still-shackled-captives-of-gov...
4 Feb 11: "“We have not had the shackles of control removed from our feet. We continue to be captives at the will of the government and their collaborators. We do not have liberators who work to free our people,” says Aboriginal political activist, Michael Anderson, announcing the next New Way Sovereignty Summit. It will take place over the Easter long weekend at the Aboriginal Embassy [and Australian National University] in Canberra, commencing Good Friday through to Sunday, with a protest march planned for Monday from the front of the Australian National University to Parliament House. ... “The Easter gathering will focus on the need to make our voices heard loud and clear. We are too silent on the issues that we all speak of inside our homes; the time has come to get out there and let the government know that we are Aboriginal people whose nations are continuing to be torn apart as the whites continue to clear the lands of our people.“"

Michael Anderson: High Court writ sought to challenge Australian governments acting as a corporation registered in the US
Indigenous Peoples: http://indigenouspeoplesissues.com/index.php/attachments/index.php?optio...
Indymedia Australia: http://www.indymedia.org.au/2010/12/25/high-court-writ-sought-to-challen...
25 Dec 10: "Members and associates of the New Way Sovereignty Summit are closer to bringing an end the farcical notion that Australia is a free and independent sovereign international state. Independent legal researchers have submitted to the United Nations in 1999 a bundle of documents, titled The Concealed Colony, that clearly demonstrate that Australia's standing in the international community is a lie, supported by a convention of denial on the part of the international community. My recent statement about Australia being a colonial state is based on fact and in this regard there are significant implications for my people. This will become more transparent early in 2011."

Michael Anderson: Australia is still legally a colony
Indigenous Peoples: http://indigenouspeoplesissues.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=art...
Indymedia Australia: http://www.indymedia.org.au/2010/11/12/australia-is-still-legally-a-colony
8 Nov 10: "The New Way Summit program has confirmed that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people successfully removed the international lie of Terra Nullius only now to be served up more lies by the Australian legal fraternity."


- Audio

3CR Community Radio 855AM - Podcasts
[scroll down page] http://www.3cr.org.au/podcast
Radioactive Show | 26 Mar 2011
[listen to show] http://podcast.3cr.org.au/pod/3CRCast-2011-03-26-67100.mp3
26 Mar 11: "Japanese nuclear disaster: ... Also, Cat Beaton, from the Environment Centre of the NT with an update on the proposed national nuclear waste dump that is being imposed on the Muckaty community near Tennant Creek."

- News

Australia Network News: Indigenous Australians call for nuclear dump rethink
31 Mar 11: "Traditional owners in Australia's Northern Territory say the goverment should rethink its plans for a nuclear waste storage centre in light of the crisis in Japan. The Australian Governnment is considering building the waste facility at Muckaty Station in Tenant Creek. The plan has been met with mixed reactions among indigenous communities in the Northern Territory. Mark Chungaloo opposes the plan, saying the area is not suited geographically or spiritually for a nuclear waste site."

ABC: Japan disaster sparks nuclear dump concern
31 Mar 11: "Traditional owners say the nuclear crisis in Japan shows plans to build a nuclear waste storage facility near Tennant Creek, in Central Australia, should be reassessed. ... "We don't want this stuff to come there and because of what happened in Japan I reckon the Government should ... start looking at that and start thinking about it," she [Diane Stokes] said. "Otherwise if the disaster is going to happen, they are going to regret it afterwards.""

Tennant & District Times: Muckaty protest heats up in ACT
25 Mar 11: "CANBERRA politicians have been put on notice by local Aboriginal people that they are going to raise their voices about the plans to impose a nuclear waste dump on Muckaty. Dianne Nambin Stokes and Mark Japaljari Chungaloo launched a media campaign in the nation’s capital to put pressure on Federal parliamentarians to take heed of the stiff opposition to the plan. The campaign was run in the lead-up to the debate and vote in the Senate of the bill which would pave the way for the building of the controversial facility."


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)
[scroll down page] http://indymedia.org.au/2011/03/21/wgar-news-protest-blockade-by-lake-ty...

WGAR News: Nuclear waste legislation must wait until objections heard in Federal Court (23 Mar 11)
[scroll down page] http://indymedia.org.au/2011/03/23/wgar-news-international-day-for-the-e...

WGAR News: Aboriginal groups protest against nuclear waste dump (26 Mar 11)
[scroll down page] http://indymedia.org.au/2011/03/26/wgar-news-police-used-to-break-blocka...


- Analysis / Opinion

ABC The Drum Unleashed: Open letter: Talking about an Indigenous tomorrow
30 Mar 11: "Like most other Indigenous people around Australia, I have followed the Intervention in the Northern Territory. I was one of the first people to speak against it, as it was announced on the day my novel Carpentaria won the Miles Franklin Literary Award in 2007. ... I cannot believe that the Intervention can be justified when families are leaving their traditional lands – the lands where they have lived and that they have taken care of for tens of thousands of years – unable to endure the heaviness of government controls over their lives." Alexis Wright

- Audio

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association
CAAMA Radio News 31-03-2011
31 Mar 11: "The Gillard Labor Government and the Tony Abbott led opposition have been told off for using Aboriginal people to gain political advantage."

- News

Australian: Elders sick of bureaucratic dithering
31 Mar 11: "BAYDON Williams is fed up with governments exacerbating the problems of indigenous people across the Northern Territory. An elder of Hermannsburg, a Howard intervention-targeted community of about 550 people, he has watched as more and more of his people travel 130km east for a long-term, booze-filled visit to Alice Springs."

AFP: Australia PM urged to meet indigenous people
29 Mar 11: "Australian Aboriginal leaders have urged Prime Minister Julia Gillard to "sit down with us together in the dirt" to discuss tackling social problems in the desert community of Alice Springs. ... "We strongly urge you to come with Tony Abbott and sit down with us together in the dirt with no media," the local leaders wrote in a letter published in The Australian Tuesday."

Australian: Alice Springs elders ask Gillard and Abbott to find apolitical solution to town's problems
29 Mar 11: "ALICE Springs traditional owners and elders have written to Julia Gillard urging her to "sit down with us together in the dirt" with Tony Abbott to develop an apolitical solution to the town's social crisis. The letter, sent to the Prime Minister, the Opposition Leader, Northern Territory Chief Minister Paul Henderson and NT independent MP Alison Anderson, has been signed by more than 10 local leaders desperate for change."

SMH: Powerbroker seeks end to welfare for Aborigines
29 Mar 11: "THE Northern Territory powerbroker Gerry Wood has called on the Gillard government to end welfare payments as a way to end violence and social crises in the territory's Aboriginal communities, as more than 100 people were detained in a police crackdown in Alice Springs."


Creative Spirits:
Northern Territory Emergence Response (NTER) -"The Intervention": http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/politics/northern-terr...

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

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

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

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

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/


- Media Release

Rachel Siewert: Abbott’s welfare plan a ‘cheap shot’ at vulnerable Australians
31 Mar 11: "The Australian Greens say Tony Abbott’s call for welfare reforms is a cheap shot against vulnerable people and demonstrates the Coalition’s lack of compassion and understanding of the issues surrounding unemployment and income support.
“Mr Abbott’s planned reforms play up to the tired old stereotypes of unemployed people and fail to address the real barriers to moving more people into work,” Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens community services spokesperson said today.
“These comments demonise and denigrate unemployed people and offer no long term solutions. It’s simply Mr Abbott trying to score political points.“"

- Audio

The Wire: Abbot calls to get to tough on dole payments - again
[scroll down page] http://www.thewire.org.au/daydetail.aspx?SearchDay=2011-03-31
31 Mar 11: "Tony Abbott has called kepping people on the benefit a "misguided compassion" in an article he wrote for The Australian today. I asked why the crackdown was neccessary, and what does it mean for people on welfare? Eric Abetz - Liberal Party Leader in the Senate, Ross Womersley - South Australia Council of Social Services"

- News

Australian: Mundine says Abbott dole plan should have gone even further
1 Apr 11: "ABORIGINAL leader and former ALP president Warren Mundine has backed Tony Abbott's plan to force people to take jobs locally or kick them off the dole, arguing he would have gone even further and required the unemployed to move for work opportunities."

Age: Abbott to get tough on welfare
31 Mar 11: "TONY Abbott will today outline a tough Coalition welfare policy that would cut back the pension for people whose disabilities can be readily treated and suspend the dole for young people in areas where job vacancies have not been filled. Mr Abbott, declaring that ''sometimes government have to be firm to be fair'', will also propose making work-for-the-dole mandatory for those under 50 receiving unemployment benefits for more than six months. And he will say that half the welfare income of all the long-term unemployed should be quarantined for purchasing ''the necessities of life''."

SMH: Abbott's welfare plan recycled: Gillard
30 Mar 11: "Tony Abbott's welfare reform ideas are recycled and regurgitated and he hasn't bothered to explain how they'll be funded, Prime Minister Julia Gillard says. The federal opposition leader is about to formally unveil measures that would require long-term unemployed Australians to move to where unskilled work was available or risk losing welfare payments. He also wants compulsory work-for-the-dole introduced for jobless people aged under 50, and a two-tiered payment system for the disability pension."

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WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)
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