WGAR News: Updates on NT intervention, deaths in custody, Lake Tyers and native title

Newsletter date: 7 April 2011

* Northern Territory (NT) Intervention
* Background to the Northern Territory (NT) Intervention
* Human Rights Alliance calls again for a Senate inquiry into deaths in custody
* Interview with Lake Tyers Women's spokesperson, Leanne Edwards
* Background to blockade by Aboriginal women of Lake Tyers
* Greens table important amendments to Native Title Act
* Other articles


- Media Release

Australian Human Rights Commission:
Efforts in Alice Springs should continue for communities to thrive
5 Apr 11: "Existing long-term investment in Alice Springs should be allowed to continue in order for the community to have a chance to once again thrive, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda said today.
But he said, access to essential services for Town Campers, alcohol misuse in the general population, and racial tensions needed to be overcome for Alice Springs to move forward into a positive future.
Commissioner Gooda made the comments at the end of a three-day visit to the area at the invitation of leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and individuals.
“I’ve met with individuals and organisations and I’ve visited Town Camps,” Commissioner Gooda said.
“I came to listen and to see, and what I heard was that there are good things happening in Alice Springs. ... "

- Opinion / Analysis

SMH: Listen to the First Australians PM, not your spinmeisters
4 Apr 11: "There is an urgent need for a second federal intervention into the Territory's towns and remote indigenous communities but not of the kind called for by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. The answer is not to send in extra police or white bureaucrats from down south, further alienating and disengaging Aborigines. The solutions to this crisis must come from Aboriginal people themselves because imposing them from afar has never worked." Lindsay Murdoch

- News

Australian: 'PM should visit Alice with Abbott and Brown'
6 Apr 11: "HOWARD government indigenous affairs minister Mal Brough has called on Julia Gillard to take Greens leader Bob Brown and Tony Abbott on a unheralded lightning visit of Alice Springs. Writing in The Australian today, Mr Brough calls for a media-free visit to be conducted without notice in the middle of the night so bureaucrats don't have time to clean up the city and hide the drunks."

ABC Alice Springs: Gooda says town camps have improved
5 Apr 11: "Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda, says conditions in town camps in Alice Springs have improved. "They don't resemble at all those images portrayed in the media of areas littered with dirty mattresses, where packs of mangy dogs freely roam," he says. Commissioner Gooda made the comments in Alice Springs today, following meetings with key Aboriginal organisations including Tangentyere Council, and Central Australian Aboriginal Congress. He says there is 'real progress being made' in Alice Springs, particularly in conditions at town camps."

9 News: Gooda tours Alice Springs town camps
5 Apr 11: "Contrary to local complaints that Alice Springs is in crisis, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda says good things are happening in the Red Centre. ... Mr Gooda, who spent three days in central Australia this week visiting Aboriginal town camps and meeting with local indigenous leaders, says existing long-term government investment in Alice Springs should be allowed to continue in order for the community to have a chance to once again thrive."

National Indigenous Times: Leaders pan Abbott’s Intervention proposal
4 Apr 11: "Northern Territory leaders have dismissed calls by the Federal Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott for a “new” Intervention to be introduced into some areas of the Territory, including Alice Springs. Mr Abbott said the current Intervention program was not working and urgent changes were required including an extra 100 police in Alice Springs to take total police numbers in the city to more than 300. Central Land Council Director, David Ross, Northern Land Council Chief Executive, Kim Hill, First Nations Party founder, Maurie Japarta Ryan and spokesman for the Alyawarr people, Richard Downs all criticised Mr Abbott’s proposal."

National Indigenous Times: Intervention worse than the Stolen Generation: critic
4 Apr 11: "Two highly respected supporters of Indigenous Australians, Father Frank Brennan and Jeff McMullen have appealed to Federal Government Indigenous Affairs Minister, Jenny Macklin to end the Northern Territory Intervention with Mr McMullen labelling the Intervention as the most damaging policy inflicted on Indigenous people since the Stolen Generation. The Minister, in separate responses to Father Brennan and Mr McMullen, has rejected their call. Father Brennan, ... wrote an opinion piece on the Eureka Street website where he criticised the current and former Federal Governments for introducing the Intervention."

National Indigenous Times: Leaders appeal to the PM: Work together for our sake
4 Apr 11: "The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard will go to Alice Springs to discuss the impact of the Intervention but her decision to make the visit without Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott has disappointed Indigenous leaders. Ms Gillard announced last week she had rejected Tony Abbott’s offer of a joint trip to trouble-ridden Alice Springs, telling the Opposition Leader the government would stick with its current approach to solving the crisis. The Prime Minister said she would instead travel to Alice Springs with Indigenous Affairs Minister, Jenny Macklin."

National Indigenous Times: Give our people control to fix Intervention: Pearson
4 Apr 11: "Noel Pearson, regarded as a key adviser to the former Howard Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Mal Brough in implementing the Intervention in the Northern Territory, has said too much bureaucracy was one of the main reasons the program was failing. Mr Pearson, who is the Director of the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership, said in his opinion column in The Australian newspaper both Mr Brough and the current Indigenous Affairs Minister, Jenny Macklin were committed to “addressing Aboriginal suffering” but they both “erred in a fundamental respect in relation to the Territory”."

National Indigenous Times: Macklin strikes back
4 Apr 11: "The Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin has hit back at critics of the Northern Territory Intervention, declaring it has and will deliver positive outcomes for Indigenous Australians. The Minister accepted the structure of the Intervention when it was first introduced by the Howard Government under then Indigenous Affairs Minister, Mal Brough was flawed but she said she had and would continue to adjust it to meet the foundation goals of the Intervention. Ms Macklin was responding to the March 3 edition of the National Indigenous Times which published comments from 27 Indigenous leaders from throughout Australia who called on the Minister to stop the Intervention."

National Indigenous Times: 5 criticisms, 5 responses
4 Apr 11: "The March 3 edition of The National Indigenous featured comments by 27 Indigenous leaders throughout Australia calling for the Intervention to be closed down. Those concerns centred on five reasons. The Minister’s letter responds to each of these concerns in detail in her letter on Page 56 but in summary are:
1. The Intervention is discriminatory. Minister’s response: The Government has fully reinstated the Racial Discrimination Act provisions within the Intervention.
2. There has been no meaningful consultation with community leaders and Elders. Minister’s response: The Government has undertaken extensive and detailed consultation with the communities and town camps."

Green Left: Journalist slams Macklin for intervention
3 Apr 11: "Former ABC journalist Jeff McMullen attacked the federal government’s intervention into Northern Territory Aboriginal communities as racist and harmful in a March 21 letter to indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin. McMullen said Macklin had “not responded to the calls by an overwhelming majority of the Aboriginal leaders in … occupied communities to end the Intervention now”. McMullen wrote in response to a letter Macklin sent him on March 2 that defended the intervention. “Much of your letter is a defensive and dubious argument about the good you claim to have delivered through this Intervention,” he said." Simon Butler

Australian: Aborigines 'must agree on future of Alice Springs'
1 Apr 11: "ONE of the authors of the Little Children are Sacred report that sparked the Northern Territory intervention has called for any dramatic changes in Alice Springs to be first agreed on by the indigenous people directly affected. Aboriginal leader Pat Anderson told The Australian she was still opposed to the NT intervention and believed if extra measures were to be introduced in Alice Springs, there needed to be an agreed approach." Patricia Karvelas

- Audio

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association:
CAAMA Radio News 6-04-2011
6 Apr 11: "* The Australian Aboriginal Social Justice Commissioner says racial tension and alcohol misuse need to be overcome if Alice Springs is to move forward.
* Tangyentyerre boss Walter Shaw says mainstream media needs to show Alice Springs town camps as they really are instead of using old images which no longer apply."

ABC Radio National Breakfast: Conditions in NT nearing social crisis
31 Mar 11: "Conditions in central Australia are arguably worse than before the Northern Territory Intervention of four years ago. ... Prime Minister Julia Gillard has rejected Opposition leader Tony Abbott's calls for a new federal intervention in the Top End. But she is expected to visit central Australia in coming weeks where local elders want her to 'sit down in the dirt' and come up with an apolitical solution to the worsening social crisis.
Guests: Alison Anderson - Independent MP in the Northern Territory Parliament, based in Alice Springs"

- Video

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association:
Mick Gooda in Alice Springs
6 Apr 11: "The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner says the issuses in Alice Springs is not just about race and that to move forward we need to find the answer by working together."

ABC 7.30NT: Future for Alice Springs
25 Mar 11: "Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin discusses the 2007 Federal intervention in the Northern Territory and the future for 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/

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

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

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

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

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

ASTIG (Adelaide Stop the Intervention Group): http://www.stoptheintervention.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/


- Statements

Indymedia Australia: The Human Rights Alliance is disappointed in The Greens and the Senate for watering down the call for a Senate inquiry into Australian deaths in custody
2 Apr 11: "The Human Rights Alliance's Response to the Australian Senate and to the Greens:
Senate backs Motion Acknowledging Deaths in Custody: This is not Enough. We have called for a Joint Committee Senate Inquiry into Australian Deaths in Custody.
The Human Rights Alliance, and with apologies, has quickly crafted this Media Release to express our disappointment that our campaign for a call for a Joint Committee Senate Inquiry into Australian Deaths in Custody has been watered down to a Senate Motion acknowledging what we already know. This is attrition.
We urge the Senate to amend or add to the Motion and ensure that a Senate Inquiry is convened.
Below is a release of some remarks, once again quickly crafted, and we apologise however the urgency is imperative, to our 76 Senators regarding the Motion to acknowledge the worsening Aboriginal Deaths in Custody statistics: ... "

See: Rachel Siewert: Senate backs Greens’ Motion on Deaths in Custody

Indymedia Australia: Call for Senate inquiry into Warburton Elder and Palm Island deaths in custody
2 Apr 11: "The Human Rights Alliance is calling for a Senate Inquiry to be urgently convened as a Select Committee Inquiry into the deaths in custody of the Warburton Elder (Western Australia) and at Palm Island (Queensland).
April 15 shall mark 20 years since the release of the Final Report and the 339 recommendations from the 1987-1991 Royal Commission into Australian Deaths in Custody.
These two deaths must be demarcated to the Australian Senate as many believe that justice has not been served by the relevant Western Australian and Queensland authorities.
These two deaths in custody should be reopened firstly for the pursuit of justice for the grieving families and communities and secondly for these type of deaths, if findings are upheld by the Australian Senate, never to reoccur in our Australia."


- Audio interview

Indigenous radio station 98.9FM Brisbane
Let's Talk - Indigenous presented talkback:
24 Mar 11: "Leanne Edwards: Karen Dorante spoke with Lake Tyers Women's spokesperson, Leanne Edwards. They spoke about Indigenous women from the community of Lake Tyers, in East Gippsland, Victoria, who have been holding a blockade against the state government's self-imposed rule over their community."
Listen to this interview on-line: http://www.989fm.com.au/podcasting/audio/98fm-podcast-2011-03-24-73758.mp3

- Related news

National Indigenous Times: Lake Tyers blockade continues as residents’ anger increases
4 Apr 11: "A government-appointed administrator broke the blockade of the Lake Tyers Aboriginal community which has further angered the local residents. The blockade has been in place in an attempt to stop what the residents see as a “Northern Territory-style Intervention” on their community. In 1970 the Lake Tyers community was signed over to the local Aboriginal community. “Shares were distributed to Aboriginal people who were living on the Trust at that time,” Leanne Edwards, a resident and shareholder in the community, said. The biggest problem the residents see is that changes to the Victorian Land Rights Act 1970 have been made without proper consultation with shareholders."


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)

WGAR News: More on the blockade by Lake Tyers Aboriginal women (23 Mar 11)
[scroll down page] http://indymedia.org.au/2011/03/23/wgar-news-international-day-for-the-e...

WGAR News: Police used to break blockade by Aboriginal women of Lake Tyers (26 Mar 11)


- Opinion / Analysis

New Matilda: Native Title Gets A Shake Up
5 Apr 11: "The Greens have tabled important amendments to the Native Title Act. Sarah Burnside looks at how the parties are likely to respond - and finds little reassurance in their recent form on Indigenous affairs ... The Greens Bill provides, among other things, that compulsory acquisition of land does not extinguish native title rights. It requires decision makers to act with regard to the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and provides that native title rights can be of a commercial nature."

- Background

WGAR News: Greens launch Native Title reforms (23 Mar 11)
[scroll down towards end of page] http://indymedia.org.au/2011/03/23/wgar-news-international-day-for-the-e...


- Audio

ABC Radio National Breakfast: Abbott flags tough changes to welfare benefits
31 Mar 11: "Opposition leader Tony Abbott will deliver a keynote address today in Brisbane, outlining a crackdown on welfare benefits under a Coalition government. Abbott is flagging a raft of changes, including making Work for the Dole mandatory for people on unemployment benefits for more than six months, and quarantining half the welfare income of jobseekers to ensure the money is spent only on the necessities of life.
Guests: Maree O'Halloran - President of the National Welfare Rights Centre"

ABC Radio National Breakfast: Abbott discusses his welfare payment policy
31 Mar 11: "Opposition leader Tony Abbott will outline a crackdown on welfare payments today in a speech in Brisbane. There would be a new benefit, possibly at a lower rate, for people whose disabilities can be treated. And job-seekers on the Newstart allowance would have their payments suspended if they live in areas with unfilled and unskilled vacancies.
Guests: Tony Abbott - Opposition Leader"

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