Saturday, 25 October 2008

Aboriginal welfare quarantine 'like apartheid'

The Racial Discrimination Act should be immediately reinstated.

An Aboriginal health lobby group is asking the Federal Government to reconsider its decision to keep compulsory income management as a part of the Northern Territory intervention, against the advice of an independent review panel.

Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the Northern Territory spokesperson John Paterson says income management is racially discriminatory and he has likened it to apartheid.

"It's taken us back to the dark old days of the South African apartheid regime," he said.

"I thought we'd come past that era. Aboriginal people in 1967 were given the referendum to vote and the freedom to be treated as Australian citizens."

Mr Paterson says men in the Territory have been screaming out for a response to a health summit held in Alice Springs earlier this year.

He wants the Territory to have programs such as 'Men's Sheds' where men get together, support each other and hear talks by role models.

"We seem to be the forgotten component of this whole intervention," he said.

"Aboriginal men are also in need of the amount of support and programs and services for themselves, that they can have the opportunity to be good fathers and good parents and good role models for Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal families."

One of the communities covered by the intervention has also criticised the decision to keep compulsory income management.

Darwin Bagot Community president Lyle Cooper says the Racial Discrimination Act should be immediately reinstated.

"After going and visiting 31 communities ... all we want to do is be responsible for our actions and roll back intervention in terms of taking back the blanket approach for income management," he said.

He has questioned the purpose of having the review.

"We're at a loss understanding why all this money was spent on a review committee, going in and speaking to us who live the dream at the moment, going back to Canberra and having Prime Minister Rudd and Macklin having our recommendations fall on deaf ears," he said.


Damning report on Aboriginal scheme
THE radical intervention into remote indigenous communities in the Northern Territory has "fractured" the relationship between governments and indigenous people and led to an even greater sense of betrayal and misery among many people, an independent panel has found.

NT intervention blamed for man's suicide
The family of a Northern Territory man who killed himself two months ago has blamed the federal intervention for his death.

Indigenous rights complaint lodged with UN
The Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement (ALRM) has now sent a formal complaint to the United Nations about treatment of Indigenous people.

NT intervention failing to curb abuse
The head of one of Australia's peak Aboriginal child protection agencies says the federal intervention has failed to achieve one of its key goals.

NT intervention increasing murders
The North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) is blaming the federal intervention for an increase in the number of murder cases it is defending in the Northern Territory.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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