NT Intervention National Day of Action

Contact - Aboriginal rock painting depicting first fleetThe Aboriginal Rights Coalition in Australia held a conference in May, during which it was resolved to have a national day of protest on June 21 — one year after John Howard’s government announced the Intervention in the NT. (I posted about the intervention previously, here)

Among the aims of the national day of action are the following:

- Repeal all “NT intervention” legislation
- Restore the Racial Discrimination Act
- Fund infrastructure and community controlled services
- Sign and implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- Aboriginal Control of Aboriginal Affairs

I think it is fair to say that without any commitment to consultation with the people whom the intervention measures affect directly—and to international agreements that seek to protect the specific interests of indigenous people—policies enacted in these communities cannot yield unambiguous benefits … and arguably are seriously detrimental to the autonomy aboriginal communities had developed regarding employment, etc.

To those who sincerely feel that any suspension of rights is justified if it might protect children, remember that child abuse is endemic throughout the non-indigenous Australian community. What is remarkable is that we so casually accept that a whole population, delineated only on the grounds of race, can be quarantined and differentially treated because of the crimes—however heinous—of only a proportion of its members.

In a private communication that she’s authorised me to post to this blog Rebecca Stringer, from the University of Otago, aptly dramatises this with respect to non-indigenous Australia—thus demonstrating in inappropriateness of such a blanket intervention:

(quoting a comment on the previous post) “the bottom line is that children are being abused”. In fact, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, between 2005 and 2006 there was a general total of 28,809 substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect in New South Wales, 3,451 of which involved sexual abuse. I think we should get together and lobby parliament to declare a state of emergency in New South Wales. Clearly, the property rights of everyone in this state should be rescinded. They will no longer be recognised as owners of their land. Alcohol and pornography must be banned. The New South Wales parliament, and all local councils, must be sacked – they have failed to ensure the safety of children in the state, so should be replaced with government managers appointed from Canberra. The Australian army should be deployed to enter settlements in New South Wales one by one, offering the children health checks. Anyone in New South
Wales who is on welfare, regardless of whether or not they are parents, must be placed on income management. And we really ought to rethink the way of life of those people in New South Wales. They drive cars, live in houses and apartments, watch television, have barbeques, own businesses, and many of them work in paid jobs. These kinds of unhealthy practices clearly have nurtured systemic abuse of children. Let us do all we can to make the government see that this way of life must be brought to an end. The people of New South Wales need to be shown another way.

For those in Australia, here are the places and times to congregate, and contacts:

Sydney: 11am, The Block, Redfern
contact Monique Wiseman 0415410558 or Paddy Gibson 0415800586

Alice Springs – Mbantua: 2pm Court House Lawns
contact Barbara Shaw 0401291166 or Marlene Hodder 0889525032

Darwin: 10am Raintree park
contact Liv 0401955405

Canberra: 12am Garema Place, Civic
contact Ellie Gilbert 0421 795 639

Perth: 11am Wesley Church, cnr Hay and William st
contact Natasha Moore 0434303248

Brisbane: 11am State Parliament, George st
contact Lauren 0413534125

Melbourne: 12pm State Library
contact Michaela 0429136935

Wollongong: 10am Lowden Square (east side of Wollongong Station)
contact Sheree Rankmore 42281585 or Tina McGhie 0415504589

Adelaide: 2pm State Parliament House
contact John Hartley 0424943990 Sue Gilby 0431112898

NB: The image “Contact” is by iansand. Creative commons copyright creative commons - attributioncreative commons - non-commercial usecreative commons - no derivative works

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3 thoughts on “NT Intervention National Day of Action

  1. The intervention is working , children are attending school, grog consumption is significantly down and the sale of nutritious food is up.
    What you are advocating is Apartied and we all know how well that worked in South Africa… :roll:

  2. I wasn’t going to respond to this, but then thought I probably should provide some context for readers here in Canada and the U.S. In the above comment, and in those in the previous post on the NT Intervention, this blogger represents very well a specimen of the right-wing response to indigenous affairs in Australia’s own trajectory of the ‘culture wars’. So, in this vein, anyone suggesting that aboriginal people who want to preserve traditional ways of life BY LIVING THEM are characterised as wanting to put aboriginal people in museums, following the twisted (and question begging ) logic that a museum is the only place that tradition ways of being can exist.

    Likewise, in terms of this frame of thinking, any concession to aboriginal calls for autonomy and self-determination — meaning having some kind of say in government decisions that affect their own lives — is characterised as the same as Apartheid. And, as we know, Apartheid was a racist regime, so left-wing academics who support aboriginal self-determination are racist.

    These comments pretty much follow the play book of Keith Windschuttle, John Howard’s “Historian Laureate”, who wrote this piece in The Australian newspaper yesterday:
    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23874574-7583,00.html

    Iain Hall probably read that over breakfast before checking his “NT Intervention” feed. Anthropologically, I would say that specimens like this should be preserved so that we understand how they think. But it’s all too predictable, really.

  3. I wasn’t going to respond to this, but then thought I probably should provide some context for readers here in Canada and the U.S. In the above comment, and in those in the previous post on the NT Intervention, this blogger represents very well a specimen of the right-wing response to indigenous affairs in Australia’s own trajectory of the ‘culture wars’.

    Well Joanne I did not realise that you were based in Canada which makes you rather further from the events in the northern Territory than your previous post would have suggested and makes it easier for you to privilege the rights agenda over practical measures to improve the lives of indigenous children.

    So, in this vein, anyone suggesting that aboriginal people who want to preserve traditional ways of life BY LIVING THEM are characterised as wanting to put aboriginal people in museums, following the twisted (and question begging ) logic that a museum is the only place that tradition ways of being can exist.

    Your use of block capitals is rather telling here because it suggest that you think that living those traditional ways of life is superior to any other ways of integrating a social tradition into modern life. Speak to aboriginal people like Noel Pearson and you will discover that indigenous people want to live in this century and not the stone age. They want to retain the spiritual aspects of their culture and have the benefits of modern life like a good education and a future for their children. Where Joanne goes wron is in assuming that there is only one way to retain a culture and that once you too rigidly define what that culture is you are indeed consigning it to the museum.

    Likewise, in terms of this frame of thinking, any concession to aboriginal calls for autonomy and self-determination — meaning having some kind of say in government decisions that affect their own lives — is characterised as the same as Apartheid. And, as we know, Apartheid was a racist regime, so left-wing academics who support aboriginal self-determination are racist.

    “Self determination” of a group of people with in a country based on their ethnicity is by definition racist and as some one who believes in the equality of all people I can not support such a notion . But giving people in a particular place the same autonomy that any local government elsewhere in the country has is not. Now when you have a permit system that excludes a large part of the population from particular parts of the country how is it invalid to compare it with the Apartied regime in South Africa?

    These comments pretty much follow the play book of Keith Windschuttle, John Howard’s “Historian Laureate”, who wrote this piece in The Australian newspaper yesterday:
    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23874574-7583,00.html

    I have no doubt that Leftists like Joanne dislikes a historian Like Windshuttle because he makes them have work so much harder at justifying their view of history and they hate it because it shows how lacking in evidence their views so often are.

    Iain Hall probably read that over breakfast before checking his “NT Intervention” feed. Anthropologically, I would say that specimens like this should be preserved so that we understand how they think. But it’s all too predictable, really.

    Actually I do my morning reading Before breakfast and I do not confine my reading on indigenous matters to the intervention in the northern territory as a reading of that category at my blog will demonstrate. I welcome anyone reading my writing on indigenous issues because it may just help those in the lofty towers of academia realise that the indigenous people of this country are just the same as them and that they deserve no fewer opportunities than any other Australian citizen and that it is the “pickle them in aspic” mindset of the left that has helped keep so many aboriginals in poverty and desolation for so long.

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