04 March 2011

We sent them a message

What a way to start the year for MAIC! 300 people braved the Melbourne cold and drizzle, standing in solidarity with exploited workers in the Northern Territory, demanding Aboriginal rights. We chanted for equal pay and jobs with justice. We called for an end to the 'work for rations' system of many Aboriginal people living under the racist NT Intervention.

Friday's protest was at its most lively when we took to the march along Swanston Street. We reclaimed the corner of Bourke and Swanston, the symbolic heart of Melbourne, and heard from Jenna Tipuamantumirri from the Tiwi Islands. Jenna explained the devestating impact that welfare quarantining has had on herself and her family. Highlighting the racism of the BasicsCard system, Jenna made the case that the government's assimilationist policies were motivated by the desire to push Aboriginal people off their land.

The march then continued up Swanston Street to Federation Square. For a moment, we claimed the stage of Fed Square chanting 'Always was, always will, Aboriginal land'. Jacob Grech as a representative of the Victorian Trades Hall Council accepted the thousands of signatures that we have received on our petition demanding justice for CDEP 'Aboriginal work-for-the-dole' workers.

There will be video of the protest to come. But if you  have any photos, please email them to us! melbourneaic@gmail.com

This protest has given us a big boost for taking the campaign onward. The next step is to get more people involved and aware of what's happening under the NT Intervention. Come to our next MAIC meeting, which is a special forum THIS MONDAY.

Eye Witnesses to Intervention Speak Out!
Aboriginal Rights and Jobs With Justice:
ACTU Fact Finders report back on the NT Intervention with the Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective
  • Adam Frogley - National Tertiary Education Union
  • Michele O'Neil - Textile Clothing and Footwear Union
  • Lucy Honan -  Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective
Monday, 7th March 2011, 6.30pm at Trades Hall (New International Bookshop)

Australia's peak union body - The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)
sent a delegation of union officials on a fact-finding mission to Central Australia in mid-November last year to speak to communities affected by the NTIntervention. The delegation comprised over 15 representatives from unions across the country. They met again in February to discuss union action on Indigenous rights.

Of particular concern is the new CDEP scheme, where Aboriginal workers in the NT are only paid a Newstart allowance through Centrelink. In many cases, workers have 50 per cent of these payments ‘quarantined’ onto a BasicsCard, to be spent only at designated shops.

MAIC is holding a public meeting to hear about the experience of the trip and discuss how ordinary people and unions can help stop the intervention. This is your chance to come and hear what they saw, heard and learned.

Promote this event! Click here for a flyer.
Contact Lucy 0404728104 or melbourneaic@gmail.com