Friday, 25 July 2008

Aborigines want end to NT intervention

Thousands of Aborigines are petitioning to have the Northern Territory intervention abandoned.

Activists say their petition will be tabled in federal parliament in mid-September to coincide with the end of the Rudd government's 12-month review into radical measures to combat child sex abuse [Howard Gov't land Grab].

Organisers of the petition have warned that Labor is at risk of repeating the mistakes of the Howard government.

The campaigners from Central Australia on Friday backed calls from Arnhem Land, where elders earlier this week met with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and urged him to abandon key aspects of the reforms.

In a statement signed by Northern Land Council chair Wali Wungamurra and 52 traditional owners, they demanded the scrapping of "intervention bureaucracy".

The statement, which claims to represent more than 8,000 indigenous people, described the Income Management (IM) system, which quarantines 50 per cent of payments to prevent them being spent on alcohol or drugs, as "punitive".

Instead, they advocate implementation on a case-by-case basis.

Since coming to power in November last year, the Rudd government has already rolled back some of the reforms and reinstated the permit system and Aboriginal-work-for-the-dole.

But Mr Rudd has maintained the new government will not tinker further with the reforms until it had considered the findings of three-person review, headed by West Australian Aboriginal leader Peter Yu.

Anti-Intervention campaigner Barbara Shaw, from a town camp in Alice Springs, on Friday urged Mr Rudd not to ignore the elders' concerns.

"It's good to see people standing up," she said.

"Many more should feel confident to follow the lead of these elders. We share their frustration and anger ...

"It's unacceptable for the federal government to brush our concerns aside and leave everything to the work of the review."

Amala Groom, from the Stop the Intervention Collective based in Sydney, said a protest was being organised in Central Australia from September 29 to October 5, to coincide with the end of the review.

"They can't claim to be bringing in a new era of indigenous affairs whilst their policies bring on this latest stage of dispossession," she said.

Ms Groom said a petition calling for an end to the intervention, "which already has thousands of signatures", will be tabled in federal parliament in mid-September.


Constitutional recognition for Arnhem Land
An Indigenous leader has asked Mr Rudd to recognise the rights of the people of Arnhem Land and has also called for full control of the land and waters.

Govt moves to take native title claims out of the courts

Lengthy court battles over native title claims could be done away with if the Commonwealth, state and territory governments have their way.

New NT laws: 'more Aboriginal people jailed'
The Australian Council for Civil Liberties says more Aboriginal people will go to jail under proposed mandatory sentencing laws in the Northern Territory.

NAIDOC week to focus on Indigenous inequalities
A series of events to mark the contribution of Australia's Indigenous people will be held across the country this week.

Income management extended for NT

Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin has announced income management will be extended for up to a year in four Northern Territory Aboriginal communities.

Intervention delivering 'empty shipping containers, no houses'
A member of the Maningrida community in the Northern Territory's Arnhem Land says he cannot see any infrastructure changes as a result of the emergency intervention, and wants to know where the money has been spent.

Abandon NT intervention: Commissioner
The Northern Territory's Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Tony Fitzgerald says the Federal intervention into remote Aboriginal communities should be abandoned and the legislation underpinning it should be repealed.

Stolen generation compensation ruled out
A FEDERAL parliamentary committee has recommended a "healing" fund be set up to help members of the stolen generations, but knocked back the suggestion of compensation payments.

Budget to roll out new welfare card
Welfare plan: The new card will be initially rolled out in NT Indigenous communities. The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) says the Rudd Government's proposed welfare debit card is not the best way to help struggling families.

Racism to blame' for Aboriginal health problems
The Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTAR) group says racism is directly to blame for many health problems in the Aboriginal community.

Police cannot cope with backlash
Chief Minister, Paul Henderson, has warned the Federal Government that many indigenous people displaced by the emergency intervention are creating unrest and straining police capacity.

2020 Indigenous youth delegate calls for national body
An Indigenous youth representative at this weekend's 2020 summit says a new national Aboriginal body should be created to avoid some of the add-hoc policies surrounding the federal intervention.

Call for new indigenous body
Former ATSIC Commissioner Klynton Wanganeen says he will raise the idea of a new national body to represent indigenous communities at the 2020 Summit.

Roxon signs off on Indigenous health pledges

Indigenous Australians will have access to the same health services as the rest of the population by 2018, under a Federal Government plan.

Discrimination Act should apply to intervention: Calma
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner wants the Racial Discrimination Act immediately reinstated in the Northern Territory's Indigenous communities.

Porn ban in Indigenous communities 'racist'
The Australian National Adult Retail Association (Eros) says the Federal Government's ban on X-rated pornography in Aboriginal communities is pointless, racist and should be revoked.

Retailers' warning on welfare card shop spies
EMPLOYEES across the country will be at risk of entrapment by government "spies", retailers have warned, under a Federal Government proposal to control fraudulent use of a new welfare debit card.

Union urges PM to act on Stolen Generations promise
The Australian Education Union (AEU) wants the Federal Government to follow Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's apology to the Stolen Generations with a significant funding boost for Indigenous education in the Northern Territory.

Union calls for $2.9b to fund education shortfall
The Education Union is calling on the Federal Government to provide an extra $2.9 billion in funding for public schools

Govt, union defend remote community schooling
The Centre for Independent Studies says Aboriginal students in the Northern Territory are finishing school with the numeracy and literacy skills of five-year-olds.

Aboriginal delegation heads to UN
The National Aboriginal Alliance is taking its concerns about the Northern Territory intervention to the United Nations

Indigenous welfare quarantine scheme gets go ahead
Parents in four Cape York Indigenous communities could soon have their welfare payments quarantined if they do not take care of their children and homes and do not stay out of trouble with the law.

Union urges PM to act on Stolen Generations promise
The Australian Education Union (AEU) wants the Federal Government to follow Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's apology to the Stolen Generations with a significant funding boost for Indigenous education in the Northern Territory.

Aboriginal inmates '22pc and rising' of prison population
The Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health says new research is urgently needed to address the worsening rate of Indigenous incarceration.

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