17 June 2010

Stop the Racist Intervention – Picket FaHCSIA!

Stop the Racist Intervention – Picket FaHCSIA!
Friday, 18 June 2010, noon
Casselden Plane, cnr Lonsdale Street and Spring Street

• Ringo Terrick (Wurundjeri elder)
• Steve Patrick Jampinjimpa (teacher from Lajamanu in NT)• Alistair Nicholson (former Chief Justice of the Family Court)
• Nova Peris (first Aboriginal Olympic gold medallist)
• Liam O’Hearne (CFMEU)
• Kevin Bracken (MUA)
• Adam Bandt (The Greens)
• Nova Peris (gold medal winning Olympian)

This Friday we will protest the third year of the NT Intervention. Three years of horrific government policies that have, in almost every way possible, advanced the genocide of Aboriginal people. 

The NT Intervention has made Indigenous health worse. It has forced Aboriginal workers back onto working for ration cards and less than $4/hr in cash. It has ripped properly paid jobs out of the communities. It has banned Indigenous languages from being spoken freely in schools. It has stolen back hard-fought-for Aboriginal land, and on top of it, installed white ‘Government Business Managers’ in the only opulent houses in the towns. The Intervention does nothing to empower Indigenous communities or improve their living conditions. The reality is, it was never supposed to.

The NT Intervention was rammed through parliament in the final months of the Howard-era by disallowing the application of the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA). It was implemented in its early days by military force, terrorising remote Aboriginal communities. There are stories of some elders fleeing in terror at the sight of soldiers entering their communities. The trauma of what happened with the Stolen Generations-era is still present in many communities. Aboriginal communities fought for land rights, but now they are having to fight against the Government and mining interests trying to steal their homes for a second time.

The Government has done its best to blackmail economically starved Aboriginal communities into signing over their land. It has withdrawn funding for essential services, only to offer its return in exchange for these communities signing over their land. Is it surprising that the first radioactive waste dump in Australia has just been announced to be located on Aboriginal land in Muckaty, in the Northern Territory?

What about the poor housing conditions that the Government said they were going to address? In the first two and a half years of the Intervention, only 2 houses were built for the Aboriginal community, and only this in Wadeye where they had to move on to leasing their land. Meanwhile, many more houses have been built for the white Government Business Managers, who earn salaries up to $200,000pa. Not to mention the police that have been newly installed in these communities. 

What about jobs? Currently, there are Aboriginal people working full-time jobs in essential services, but who are only paid on the CDEP ‘work for the dole’ scheme. An example of this is Kalkaringi worker Peter Inverway who was earning less than $4/hr + ration card for working on a construction site. What about the Aboriginal worker who has been fired from his job for refusing to dispose of sewerage in the town tip? Is this a Government that really wants to improve sanitation in Indigenous communities?!

What about the crisis in health and the massive gap in life-expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians? Research from the Menzies School of Health, has shown that dietary outcomes have gotten even worse since the Intervention started. Food and transport continues to be poor quality and prohibitively expensive, if available at all.

All reviews of the NT Intervention, including those commissioned by the Government, have been scathing. They point out the lack of consultation which has undermined Aboriginal self-determination. They point out how things are getting worse, despite the Government saying they wish to ‘close the gap’. And yet, the Rudd Government happily takes the baton from Howard’s brutal regime.

Under pressure from activists around Australia, Jenny Macklin has said she will amend some of the laws. An inspection of her proposals reveals that all of the racist Intervention policies introduced by Howard in 2007 will remain—only now labelled as ‘special measures’ to prevent them being challenged with the Racial Discrimination Act in the courts. 

Join us on Friday in sending a strong message to FaHCSIA, the Government department responsible for administering the NT  Intervention. The ongoing genocide of Aboriginal people will not be accepted without a fight! Stop the racist Intervention now!

Get Involved!
Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective (MAIC) meets every Monday, 6.30pm at the New International Bookshop (NIBS). The bookshop is easily found in the basement of the Trades Hall building located on the corner of Lygon and Victoria Streets in South Carlton. All welcome!

You may also wish to join the Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective (MAIC) Facebook group.