Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Indigenous population hits 500,000

Population mark: An ANU expert says the Indigenous population is back to 1788 levels.

New figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics say Australia's Indigenous population has reached 500,000, or 2.5 per cent of the total population.

John Taylor from the Australian National University says the increasing population is partly due to a high Indigenous birth rate.

But he also says the Indigenous population is increasing because more people are willing to identify themselves as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders.

"The lower end of estimates of population of the continent in 1788 was half a million. So you could look at this, in a way, as saying we've arrived back at the beginning, so to speak," he said.

Last Aboriginal massacre remembered 80 years on

A bloody part of central Australia's history will be remembered today as a plaque is unveiled to commemorate the last recorded massacre of Aboriginal people.

The violence was sparked 80 years ago, when a dingo trapper was killed by a Warlpiri man, 350 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs, sparking a series of reprisal killings.

It is believed Fred Brooks was killed by the Warlpiri man for stealing his wife and not paying him his rations.

Thirty people were killed in the 1928 Coniston massacre across six sites north-west of Alice Springs, although unofficial numbers claim a much higher toll.

Descendants from both sides of the conflict are expected at Baxter's Well, east of Willowra, for a remembrance ceremony.

Jeannie Herbert, a Warlpiri interpreter who has researched the massacre, says people still talk about the 1928 massacre as if it happened yesterday.

"It is really, really painful to remember. Many of our people were killed and nobody has really listened to them," she said.

She says the unveiling of the plaque is an important time to remember the dead.

"We'd all like to go there to that commemoration area, we'd like to go there," she said.

"My family's at Willowra from my grandfather and grandmother's people.

"We really want to help our people, to educate them and maybe to remember the Coniston massacre."

Indigenous prisoner numbers on the rise: report

Indigenous people make up 28 per cent of the prison population.

A new report reveals a rise in the number of Indigenous people being jailed since the landmark Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody 20 years ago.

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander studies says in 1989, Indigenous people made up 14 per cent of the prison population.

That figure has now risen to about 28 per cent, although the number of deaths in custody has fallen. [What was it anyway? And fallen by how much do you say? Problem with the ink?]

The Institute's Steve Larkin says researchers are now trying to pin-point the reasons for the rising rate of imprisonment.

"When people don't have good health, when people are living in poverty, when people don't have access to a good education, don't have good employment outcomes, there seems to be a strong correlation between those sorts of factors and high rates of incarceration and offending," he said.


NT election turnout lowest in 20 yrs
The raw final figures from the Northern Territory election have revealed the lowest level of voter turnout in at least the past two decades.

Greens to amend Stolen Gen comp bill
The Australian Greens' spokeswoman for Indigenous issues says the party will be amending and re-introducing a Stolen Generations compensation bill to the Senate before the end of the year.

Aboriginal coalition gives Govt health petition
A coalition of human rights, health and Aboriginal groups has presented the Government with a set of targets it says are necessary to improve the life expectancy of Indigenous Australians.

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

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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