24 November 2009

Report finds that Consultation on the Intervention was a Flawed Process

The racial discrimination act (RDA) was suspended by the Howard government in order to introduce the discriminatory policies of the Northern Territory Emergency Response.
Jenny Macklin hopes to reinstate the R DA by stating that she has consulted with Aboriginal communities in the NT and that these consultations demonstrate an overall consent to the 'special measures' of the intervention including the quarantining of welfare and the banning of alcohol and pornography to prescribed Indigenous communities

The Will They Be Heard Report – a response to the NTER Consultations June – August 2009 contains transcripts of three of the consultations carried out by the government in 3 Indigenous communities

These 3 communities showed a lack of support for the Intervention including:
  • complaints about the discriminatory measure of forced income management
  • resentment of the signs outside communities declaring them to be prescribed areas, which communities felt stigmatised their communities and imply that they are users of pornography
  • the perception that the intervention has delivered little in terms of improved services and housing
The Will They Be Heard? report was dismissed by Macklin yesterday as being unrepresentative because it was based on the views of only 3 communities but these communities are a representative sample of community views in the NT and, unlike the government summaries of the consultations, give voice to the voiceless by providing transcripts of the exact words of the participants.

This report also reveals the deep flaws in the consultation process including:
  • the consultations were carried out by government representatives and not by independent consultants
  • An absence of interpreters so that many people could not contribute to the consultations
  • Inadequate explanations of the NTER special measures and how this would effect the reinstatement of the RDA
  • The 'consultations' appear to have been about decisions already made by the government.
The lack of care taken in the consultations to ensure that Indigenous voices were heard through a well prepared and careful process of consultation shows the racist nature of the government's response to the first nations of Australia.
The Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective congratulates the authors of Will They Be Heard? and will continue to campaign against the NT Intervention and demand the reinstatement of the RDA with no discriminatory 'special measures'