Contemporary practices of sterilization in Australia

As a follow up to the post in the first link below, here is a list of further related links on those wanting to know more.  Thanks to a helpful anonymous reader of the What Sorts blog who provided most of the links below but who doesn’t wish to be identified.  Folks in Oz: let us know if you have more information, are undertaking action, whatever.

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. Continue reading

NT Intervention: Australia

Aboriginal children at mission

The “intervention” into indigenous people’s lives in the Northern Territory, Australia, deserves more international attention than it is receiving; and given its continuation of a way of ‘managing’ aboriginal populations that has dark eugenic resonances, is also relevant to the ‘what sorts of people should there be?’ project.

The intervention was introduced by the previous Howard government when its approval ratings were flailing prior to last year’s election, in what can be seen as a last ditch effort to raise the prejudice, fear and hatred that won him the election in 2001 (just on the heals of September 11). The action involved creating a state of emergency in remote aboriginal communities, and then deploying the army and ad hoc teams of social workers, doctors, and bureaucrats into the area to examine children for signs of sexual abuse. It also has led to the quarantining of welfare payments, bans on liquor and pornography, and (perhaps more controversially) the suspension of what little self-determination indigenous people had in this area, such as the permit system (more about this below).

Apparently in response to a report commissioned by the Northern Territory government, “Little Children Are Sacred“—a report which detailed and proposed solutions to endemic hardship suffered, especially by children, in remote communities of the Northern Territory (sexual abuse being just one of these hardships)—the government called a state of emergency in these communities. Focusing only on sexual abuse and ignoring poverty, the Prime Minister said to Australia that this situation was “our Katrina“. Continue reading