The NT Intervention: Living with a Racist Policy; Public Forum and Demo

Passy 2 February 2009 24

Public Forum: The NT Intervention – Living with a Racist Policy

Albert Hall, Commonwealth Ave, Yarralumla, Canberra

Speakers:

Barbara Shaw – Mt Nancy Town Camp, Mparntwe – Alice Springs

Harry Jakamarra Nelson – Yuendumu community

Elaine Peckham – Iwupataka Land Trust

Irene Fisher – Sunrise Health Service, Katherine

George Newhouse – Human Rights Lawyer

Jon Altman – Australian National University

And other residents from NT Intervention ‘prescribed communities’

These speakers will be supported by Jon Altman, from the Australian National University, who will share his analysis of recent policy changes that are taking place alongside the Intervention in the NT.

Also speaking will be George Newhouse, a human rights lawyer who is assisting people from Prescribed Areas take their case before the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

http://rollbacktheintervention.wordpress.com – http://stoptheintervention.org

Organised by the Intervention Rollback Action Group (Mparntwe-Alice Springs) and Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Canberra)

And on Tuesday 3 February, from 12 pm at Parliament House, (the first sitting day), there will be a demo against the Racist Invasion.

The NT Intervention – Living with a Racist Policy; Public Forum and Demo

The Racial Discrimination Act remains suspended to allow the operation of the Northern Territory Intervention in Aboriginal communities, despite the recommendations of the government appointed Review Board.

One year since Kevin Rudd’s apology, which promised to “never repeat past wrongs”, many people from areas ‘prescribed’ under the Intervention talk about a feeling of return to the ‘ration days’ and ‘welfare board days’, as they suffer tight controls and discriminatory restrictions.

Far from improving child or community welfare, the Intervention is driving communities into further poverty as people struggle to negotiate the Income Management system and unemployment increases with cuts to the Community Employment Development Projects (CDEP).

And there have been many new challenges to community life since the Intervention – a serious withdrawal of resources from outstations and homelands is planned, bi-lingual schools are being told to stop teaching in Aboriginal languages, only 16 of the 73 ‘prescribed communities’ are being offered any new housing and told they must give up control of their land for between 40-90 years if they are to receive anything.

The past year has also seen a strengthening of a campaign led by people from ‘prescribed areas’ calling for an end to the government’s racism.

Come along to this forum to hear the strong voices of people living under a racist policy – and demanding change.


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24 Responses to The NT Intervention: Living with a Racist Policy; Public Forum and Demo
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Mr Evil Mr Evil 2:22 pm 03 Feb 09

Delish said :

The welfare payments how they are being quarrantined is another matter entirely and breaking international laws of human rights that were established after WWll with United Nations

As I’ve said before, that harsh letter from the UN will no doubt be in the mail sometime soon – once they’ve finished dealing with Somalia/Zimbabwae/Uganda/Congo/Most of Central and South America/Most of Europe/China/The Middle East/Sudan etc, for their bad habit of breaking of human rights rules too.

Delish Delish 1:59 pm 03 Feb 09

To actually call an ‘intervention’ you need the consent of the GG and follow constitutional laws. Neither was done, ALL interventions needs a clear and indicative end date – none was ever set or has been. In the report that was done in relation to the intervention there was no mention of the word – children!

The welfare payments how they are being quarrantined is another matter entirely and breaking international laws of human rights that were established after WWll with United Nations

Passy Passy 3:42 pm 02 Feb 09

Well said Sepi. I agree with both your posts.

A Noisy Noise Annoys An Oyster A Noisy Noise Annoys An Oyster 3:01 pm 02 Feb 09

The intervention was a feelgood exercise trying to give the impression that something was being done, and to shut up The Australian which had been printing a series of embarrassing articles. From the same people who brought you the Baby Bonus and Internet censorship . . .

emd emd 12:51 pm 02 Feb 09

Oh, and I think it’s great to have an opportunity to hear the views of people directly affected by what’s happening in indigenous communities in NT. Not something we get much opportunity to listen to in Canberra.

emd emd 12:50 pm 02 Feb 09

Bummer that the public forum tonight clashes with Ani Di Franco at Canberra Theatre.
Timing for the rally at Parliament House is better, as it’s not long after Get Up finish their gathering at Parliament House and picnic afterwards. But with rain and a max 31C predicted tomorrow there may not be many people turn up.

peterh peterh 12:29 pm 02 Feb 09

p1 said :

and P1, if we embargoed welfare payments for all, how would they be able to purchase things that the cards didn’t accept?

This is not what I am suggesting. I don’t think all of the payment should be embargoed in any case, and I don’t think all welfare recipients should have their payments embargoes.

But it should be something that the welfare agencies can use if they deem necessary, and that should be judges on its merits regardless of location of parentage.

the other problem that rears its ugly head here is the fact that a welfare cheat will work out a way to beat the system. Many years ago, i was offered a salvation army voucher to buy food in exchange for paying the guy who had it with cash. I didn’t take the deal, i had no money. I fronted the salvo’s office for my own voucher. he would have sold it to someone, and got what he really wanted.

i got food.

p1 p1 11:57 am 02 Feb 09

I can see why giving people food instead of money has appeal, but in the intervention it has not worked. I wouldn’t roll it out further at this stage.

I guess I am trying to say that I wouldn’t so much increase it (probably decrease it substantially), just make it more widespread.

…is that it costs a fortune to administer…

and for this reason should be scraped. Stupid to pay more to administer than is given out.

p1 p1 11:54 am 02 Feb 09

and P1, if we embargoed welfare payments for all, how would they be able to purchase things that the cards didn’t accept?

This is not what I am suggesting. I don’t think all of the payment should be embargoed in any case, and I don’t think all welfare recipients should have their payments embargoes.

But it should be something that the welfare agencies can use if they deem necessary, and that should be judges on its merits regardless of location of parentage.

sepi sepi 11:52 am 02 Feb 09

There is child abuse, but it was already known. The intervention expected to uncover a huge amount more – and did not.

The problem with embargoing some of welfare payments (for all) is that it costs a fortune to administer and is prone to error and problems. It also creates a fasle boost to one supermarket over others.

Also, not everyone is living in the same circumstances. Someone may be nannying for room and board – they don’t buy food. Similarly those living on farming properties. Other people would like to save their funds towards a car, or fixing a window they have damaged etc.

Also it infantilises people further, so that they can never get in control of their own life.

I can see why giving people food instead of money has appeal, but in the intervention it has not worked. I wouldn’t roll it out further at this stage.

p1 p1 11:51 am 02 Feb 09

P1 joins the group of people who see a bad idea and want to apply it to everyone. If it does not work in isolated communities then I doubt it will work for all of us.

At least my fascist policies aren’t racist 🙂

I personally think that the problems we are talking about, those the the Howard Govt claimed the “intervention” would address are mostly ones of isolation and lower socio-economic circumstance. The get confused with racial issues because most of the unemployed people in remote communities in NT are Indigenous.

Affirmative Action Man Affirmative Action Man 11:50 am 02 Feb 09

The Intervention was clearly done for political reasons but it appears that as a result violence & assaults are way down in many remote communities.

I bet the speakers at this forum are pretty well educated & can look after themselves. They were not the people getting bashed & belted because of the drunken violence.

peterh peterh 11:46 am 02 Feb 09

what i want to know is where the actual instances of child abuse were reported. were they on community lands, or in the local towns? and who made the claims?

seems to be a bit like the “WMD” and iraq…

if these abuses were occurring, the intervention would have uncovered them. It hasn’t. what will happen now?

and P1, if we embargoed welfare payments for all, how would they be able to purchase things that the cards didn’t accept? not smokes and booze, but a bus ride, a taxi fare, drycleaning for an interview, etc, etc. Not all welfare recipients are sitting around with their hands out, in fact it is a few that tar the rest with the same brush.

Mr Evil Mr Evil 11:43 am 02 Feb 09

sepi said :

The experts recommend talking to each community, identifying community leaders, setting up specific programs for that area, and leaving the programs in place for long enough for them to start working.

Also, getting better access to medical services and nutrition and baby health information.

Isn’t that the path that has been tried over and over for the past 40 years?

Baby health information – I think you’ll find there has been plenty of that handed out for the past few decades as well, but if people aren’t going to take any notice of it, then it’s just more wasted breath.

dexi said :

Why not support an embargo on all wages for being a asshole?

Typical leftie reply there!

By the way, the word is arsehole – unless you are a dumb American-wannabe.

johnboy johnboy 11:40 am 02 Feb 09

genuine law enforcement as we expect in our cities wouldn’t hurt either.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 11:39 am 02 Feb 09

Is embargoing a portion of welfare really that bad an idea? Trying to restrict public money being spent on alcohol/ciggies/drugs as opposed to food can’t be all bad.

Let’s leave the ‘racist’ bits out for now, but I am genuinely curious as to whether embargoing would work.

sepi sepi 11:30 am 02 Feb 09

The experts recommend talking to each community, identifying community leaders, setting up specific programs for that area, and leaving the programs in place for long enough for them to start working.

Also, getting better access to medical services and nutrition and baby health information.

The money spent on the one compulsory medical examination for every child in the NT could have paid for the extra ongoing medical services that remote NT ares have been crying out for forever.

And with no money provided for follow up care after the single compulsory health examination, they are just an insult really – most children are healthy (surprise surprise), and where problems are identified there are no services to deal with them.

And no child abuse was uncovered – which was the rationale for the whole thing anyway.

dexi dexi 11:29 am 02 Feb 09

Mr Evil is first in with the unhelpful generalisations. You might take the time to listen to the speakers and the communities involved.

P1 joins the group of people who see a bad idea and want to apply it to everyone. If it does not work in isolated communities then I doubt it will work for all of us.

Why not support an embargo on all wages for being a asshole?

Mr Evil Mr Evil 11:29 am 02 Feb 09

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

What p1 said.

+1

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 11:26 am 02 Feb 09

What p1 said.

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