WGAR News: Deaths in custody and Aboriginal incarceration rates

Newsletter date: 14 April 2011

* Deaths in custody and Aboriginal incarceration rates
* Muckaty Traditional Owners speak out
* Background to Muckaty Station nuclear waste dump
* Interview with Leanne Edwards from Lake Tyres Aboriginal community
* Background to blockade by Aboriginal women of Lake Tyers
* Northern Territory (NT) Intervention
* Background to the Northern Territory (NT) Intervention
* Other Aboriginal Articles


- Audio

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association:
Gerry Georgatos speaks on deaths in custody and Aboriginal incaceration rates – Part 1
12 Apr 11: "Australia has increasing incaceration rates of Aboriginal people and alarming numbers of deaths in custody. Gerry Georgatos, Convenor of The Human Rights Alliance and Phd law researcher into Australian deaths in custody, speaks to CAAMA Radio’s Nerida Currey about what these numbers are, what they mean, and why they are so high."

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association:
Gerry Georgatos speaks further on deaths in custody and Aboriginal incaceration rates – Part 2
12 Apr 11: "We previously spoke to Gerry Geogartos, Phd researcher into Australian deaths in custody and Convenor of The Human Rights Alliance, about the growing indigenous incaceration rates and numbers of deaths in custody. He said deaths in custody are not investigated enough and need to be inspected within the Criminal Justice system. He speaks to CAAMA Radio’s Nerida Currey more about this."

The Wire: Aboriginal Deaths in Custody 20 years on
12 Apr 11: "Twenty years ago this week the royal commission into black deaths in custody handed down a landmark report. It found Aboriginal people were not dying at a higher rate than other prisoners but they were grossly overrepresented in Australian jails. Despite the report recommending that prison be used as a last resort, there are now more indigenous people in prison than in 1991. Aboriginal leaders say the system is failing and that radical policies are needed to stop Aboriginal people dying behind bars.
Featured in this story: Neil Morgan (Inspector of Custodial Services, Western Australia), Mick Gooda (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner)."

ABC AM: Black deaths in custody continue despite Royal Commision
12 Apr 11: "Twenty years ago this week the Royal Commission into black deaths in custody delivered its final report and concluded that far too many Aboriginal people were being locked up. Since then more than 200 more indigenous people have died in detention. The Aboriginal social justice commissioner, Mick Gooda, says Australia has failed miserably over the past two decades in keeping aborigines out of jail. ...
MICK GOODA: How do we stop Aboriginal people going to jail in the first place? And I think if we look at that as a measure, we've failed miserably in the last 20 years.
ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: This over-representation of Aborigines in custody is most obvious in the Northern Territory, where they account for 83 per cent of prisoners."
[includes comments by Eliott Johnston, Mick Gooda, Paul Henderson and Greg Smith]

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association:
CAAMA Radio News 7-04-2011
7 Apr 11: "Australia’s appalling deaths in custody record warrants an independent senate inquiry according to a West Australian based Human Rights campaigner."

- Analysis / Opinion

Indymedia Australia: Australian deaths in custody - Twenty years later - Nothing has changed - The answers do exist
9 Apr 11: "To take the first steps towards decreasing deaths in custody, and in helping the poorest and most troubled in our prisons overcome trauma and to become employable, and to decrease our prison populations and bring on humanity in all its pride to society we must begin with a legitimately empowered Senate Inquiry into Australian Deaths in Custody, ... " Gerry Georgatos, PhD (Law) researcher in Australian Deaths in Custody, Convener of The Human Rights Alliance

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

See: 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

See: Indymedia Australia: Call for Senate inquiry into Warburton Elder and Palm Island deaths in custody

- News

Australian Human Rights Commission:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are still dying in custody
12 Apr 11: "It’s 20 years since release of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody but Mr Gooda said there were more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in prison now than when the RCIADIC reported in 1991. ... [Commissioner Gooda said] “Yet he we are, 20 years later with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people making up around a quarter of our prison population compared to 14 per cent back then.“"

ABC: 'More to be done' on deaths in custody
12 Apr 11: "Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland says state and territory governments need to do more to keep Indigenous people out of jail. The Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody delivered its final report 20 years ago this week, warning about the rates of imprisonment among Aborigines. One quarter of Australia's prison population is Aboriginal. Aboriginal advocacy groups argue far too many Aboriginal people are being locked up and Mr McClelland agrees."

ABC Indigenous: NSWALC call for action on high Aboriginal jailing rates
12 Apr 11: "The New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council says it is unacceptable that two decades after the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, most of its recommendations have been ignored. The chairwoman of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council is blaming racial discrimination for the continuing high rate of Aboriginal incarceration. ... Ms Manton says it is an appalling fact that Indigenous people who make up around three per cent of the population, represent 30 per cent of jail inmates."

ABC Indigenous: Aboriginal prison deaths 'still an issue'
12 Apr 11: "The New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council says it is unacceptables that most of the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody still have not been acted on. This week marks 20 years since its final report was handed down. Land council chairwoman Bev Manton says two decades on there is still an alarmingly high rate of incaceration across the country, with 30 per cent of prisoners being Aboriginal."

Koori Mail: Twenty years on but little progress
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
11 Apr 11: "THE New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) has expressed its concern that 20 years after the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991, the majority of its 339 recommendations have not been implemented. Chairwoman Bev Manton said the anniversary presented an opportunity to draw attention to the alarmingly high rate of Aboriginal incarceration."

Green Left: Black deaths in custody rising
10 Apr 11: "The Royal Commission was called in 1987 following rising controversy that Aboriginal deaths in custody were too common and that custodial authority explanations were too evasive to discount the possibility of foul play. It remains the most extensive inquiry in Australian history into Aboriginal people’s overrepresentation in the justice system. ... Despite two decades of opportunity, with the federal government pledging $400 million to carry out the recommendations, only a fraction of the measures have been put in place." Ema Purdy


- Statement

Beyond Nuclear Initiative: Statement from Dianne Stokes and Mark Chungaloo
6 Apr 11: "The statement above was written by Muckaty Traditional Owners Dianne Stokes and Mark Chungaloo during a lobbying trip to Canberra. The trip was timed to coincide with the Senate debate of the National Radioactive Waste Management Bill 2010. The Bill debate was delayed until the next sittings in May, But Dianne and Mark held many meetings and briefed media about their opposition to the Muckaty waste dump."

- Letter

Beyond Nuclear Initiative: Invitation to Trade Unionists
6 Apr 11: "Above is a letter to trade unionists inviting you to travel to Muckaty and meet the community fighting against the nuclear waste dump."

- Media Release

Nuclear Territory News:
Unions NT Resolves to Fight Radioactive Waste Dump
by ETU
12 Apr 11: "Unions NT has resolved to step up the fight against federal government legislation which would impose a radioactive waste dump at Muckaty, 120kms north of Tennant Creek.
Traditional Owners from the Muckaty Land Trust recently visited Darwin and called for union support in the campaign to stop the waste dump, stating it would destroy significant spiritual sites, damage the country and put at risk their children’s health and future."

- News

South East Asian Times: Traditional owners seek support against nuclear dump
9 Apr 11: "Traditional Aboriginal owners Mark Chungaloo and Dianne Stokes have travelled from Tennant Creek to ... "

NT News: Dispute over dump site
7 Apr 11: "A TRADITIONAL owner of Muckaty Land Trust has said the Federal Government had been rude and cruel in its land dealings over the site of a proposed nuclear waste dump. The Federal Government is considering a nuclear dump at Muckaty Station, about 120km north of Tennant Creek. The enabling legislation, the National Radioactive Waste Management Bill 2010, is expected to be debated in the Senate next month. Yapa Yapa elder Dianne Stokes said her people would not accept the proposed dump."


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: http://ntne.ws/articles/article.php?section=waste

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...

WGAR News: Crisis in Japan and Muckaty Nuclear Waste Dump (2 Apr 11)
[scroll down page] http://indymedia.org.au/2011/04/02/wgar-news-online-petition-about-abori...


- Audio Interview

3CR Community Radio 855 AM - Podcasts
Women on the Line | 5 Apr 2011
[download the program] http://podcast.3cr.org.au/pod/3CRCast-2011-04-04-93126.mp3
5 Apr 11: "This week we take a look at Indigenous resistance, the fight for country and autonomy – we speak to Leanne Edwards from the Lake Tyres Indigenous community in East Gippsland where a blockade has been established to prevent a government appointed administrator from entering the land. And we delve into the archives to hear from Eileen Wingfield and Nina Brown about the successful Irati Wanti campaign against a nuclear waste dump."

- Related Video

ABC 7.30 Vic: Land rights fight
8 Apr 11: "An aboriginal community fights for a return to self government."

- Related News

Green Left: Lake Tyers protests government imposition
10 Apr 11: "Locals from Lake Tyers, a small Aboriginal community in East Gippsland, set up a roadblock leading into their township on March 8. The action was to protest against a Victorian government-imposed administrator and call for a return to democracy in their community. ... Some legal experts said both the government and AAV [Aboriginal Affairs Victoria] may be in breach of state, federal and international laws by denying the community the right to vote."


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)

WGAR News: Interview with Lake Tyers Women's spokesperson, Leanne Edwards (7 Apr 11)
[scroll down page] http://indymedia.org.au/2011/04/07/wgar-news-updates-on-nt-intervention-...


- Prize Poem

Overland literary journal:
prize poem - K A Nelson
Chorus of Crows
autumn 2011

- Essay

Overland literary journal:
‘They took our culture – now there is no law’
Bob Gosford on life, death and law under the NT Intervention
autumn 2011

- Analysis / Opinion

ABC Lateline: Kirby: There's plenty to do and I'll be there
7 Apr 11: "TONY JONES: ... I mean, do you regard the Aboriginal rights issues as unfinished business?
MICHAEL KIRBY: Oh, absolutely. And in fact the last case that I sat on in the High Court, Wurrigal, which was the challenge to the intervention law in the Northern Territory was really unfinished business. The Aboriginal plaintiffs were not allowed even to have their day in court. That was, I thought, a very, very unfortunate decision and I said so in my reasons. And I think we will see more of that business because we must have full equality in this country. ... "

Stop the Intervention: Letter to the Hon Jenny Macklin, MP
5 Apr 11: "Dear Minister. I am writing to express the disappointment, dismay, and anger my wife and I feel at the failure of indigenous employment and economic development programs to make conspicuous progress in Alice Springs over the last 20 years in fostering indigenous employment in retail businesses and in improving the level and scope of indigenous participation in commerce. Both objectives have not just failed but have GONE BACKWARDS since 1991. ... Best wishes, Wayne Prior"

Socialist Alternative: Racism blooming in the Red Centre
4 Apr 11: "In the last week, the mainstream media has found renewed interest in the state of Indigenous affairs in the Northern Territory. A fair-minded individual might think that they were finally taking up the outrageous apartheid laws that see Aboriginal people receive part of their welfare payments as rations, or perhaps reporting on the failure of government housing programs to provide Indigenous communities with anything near adequate housing. But, of course, such things are too much to ask for. Rather, the liberal media has again been working itself into a frenzy in its attempts to whip up anti-Aboriginal racism." Kyla Cassells

Australian: Reform must go beyond fringe
2 Apr 11: "Discussion on serious social problems in Alice Springs seems to overlook that there is an interlocking debate about support for people on outstation and remote communities and substantial policy revisions based on normalisation of selected large centres and withdrawal of support from outstation communities." Fred Chaney

ABC: Bob Durnan, long-time community development worker in Australia's indigenous communities
1 Apr 11: "This week a thoughtful, on the ground view of what's been happening in Aboriginal communities since the 2007 intervention led by the then Howard government's Indigenous affairs minister Mal Brough. Bob Durnan is a community development worker. He's worked in Aboriginal town camps and remote communities in the Northern Territory and Queensland for 34 years. He says the intervention has made a marked difference."

SMH: Rebuilding trust with indigenous communities the first step
22 Mar 11: "Alice Springs is a town unlike any other and to an outsider its racial tensions are noticeable. Walking through the shopping centre one sees security guards tell Aboriginal people to move on when they are window shopping. Poverty and homelessness are visible - and visibly black. It has always been a town that has struggled dealing with this visible poverty - and the less visible disadvantage of the communities in the town camps. Now it is in the spotlight again with a rise in social problems caused by an influx of Aboriginal people from other places." Larissa Behrendt

- Audio

ABC Radio National Breakfast: Calls for PM to solve crisis in Alice Springs
6 Apr 11: "Following his recent trip to Central Australia, Mick Gooda, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, has urged Alice Springs residents to ensure racism does not consume the community. Local elders have called for the prime minister to visit Alice Springs to help solve the worsening crisis.
Guests: Mick Gooda - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner"

ABC Radio National Sunday Profile: Bob Durnan, NT/Qld community development worker
3 Apr 11: "Bob Durnan is a community development worker who has worked in aboriginal town camps and remote communities in the Northern Territory and Queensland for 34 years. He says the Federal Intervention has brought about great improvements in the lives of indigenous children in the towns he visits. But, says Durnan, the Federal government needs to consider withholding the dole from youth in Alice Springs who refuse job offers and refuse to engage in work programs."

- News

ABC: Anti-Discrimination chief attacks intervention
12 Apr 11: "The Anti-Discrimination Commissioner says the federal intervention in the Northern Territory is "counter-intuitive" and disempowers Aboriginal people. The intervention has been operating in Indigenous communities since 2007. Commissioner Graeme Innes told the audience of Q&A on ABC TV last night that governments need to introduce measures into communities that are supported by their residents. ''It seems to me counter-intuitive to empower people to improve their communities by taking away their rights," he said."

Australian: Intervention failing to stem 'illness of poverty'
11 Apr 11: "Health experts say the level of ear damage is far in excess of the 4 per cent threshold that the World Health Organisation considers "a massive public health problem requiring immediate action". This is despite millions of dollars worth of screenings of babies and surgical blitzes in remote communities since the federal intervention began in 2007." Mark Schliebs

Green Left: Bagot community misses out on housing deal
11 Apr 11: "Despite crisis levels of overcrowding, many urban Aboriginal communities have been denied federal funding for new housing. On March 18, ABC online said town camps around Darwin were not allocated any of the $1.5 billion in upgrades planned for Aboriginal communities. ... These “sticks” were supposed to be balanced by the “carrots” of improved services and housing under the NT intervention, but very little has been done to improve the rampant overcrowding." Peter Robson, Darwin

ABC: NT minister wants grassroots-style intervention
6 Apr 11: "The Northern Territory Minister for Indigenous Development says a more grassroots approach is needed with the federal intervention. Malarndirri McCarthy told an Indigenous conference in Darwin the Federal Government needs to take a new approach to developing Indigenous communities when it revisits intervention legislation next year. Ms McCarthy says Indigenous people need to have a voice in new policies."

ABC: Outsiders can't solve Alice racial tensions: Gooda
6 Apr 11: "The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner says outsiders will not be able to solve increasing racial tensions in Alice Springs. Mick Gooda says the issue of racism was raised at all the meetings he attended during his visit to Central Australia this week. He says the community has to admit there are divisions and then work to overcome them. Mr Gooda says that would help make the Alice Springs safer."

ABC: Study finds grog bans more effective than intervention
6 Apr 11: "New research has found liquor restrictions in Western Australia's north have been more successful in reducing alcohol abuse than hardline measures adopted during the Northern Territory intervention. The Centre for Independent Studies has released the findings of a nine-month study of liquor management across the Top End."

9 News: Lives of Aborigines improving: Macklin
6 Apr 11: "Federal and Northern Territory Labor politicians have echoed comments by the Aboriginal social justice commissioner that progress is being made to improve the lives of indigenous central Australians. Mick Gooda on Tuesday, after touring Alice Springs, said conditions in town camps had improved and did not match the images portrayed by the media. He said existing government projects should be allowed to continue."


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

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

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

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

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

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/

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

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

Australian Human Rights Commission:
Northern Territory ‘Emergency Response’ intervention: http://www.hreoc.gov.au/social_justice/intervention/index.html

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


- News

Green Left: Aboriginal jobs program gets a dubious supporter
10 Apr 11: "ITEC Employment and its related entity Community Enterprises Australia (CEA) are preparing a submission to the federal government that will argue “the pendulum has swung too far in favour of the jobseeker”, in relation to changes to the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) on Aboriginal communities, The Australian said on April 2. CEA is the largest CDEP provider in Australia. You could be forgiven for thinking that the pendulum swinging “too far in favour of the jobseeker” meant, perhaps, that people were finding work. " Angelo Martelli, Darwin

- - -

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