Aboriginal people speak out against NT intervention

On the day the Indigenous All Stars beat the best the NRL has to offer Les Malezer (Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action Aboriginal Corporation FAIRA) spoke out against the Northern Territory Intervention at a rally on 13 February 2010 at at Queensland Parliament house

Other Murris  spoke against the intervention followed by Sam Watson speaking on the importance of the aboriginal flag because police were authorised by the speaker of the parliament, John Mickel to take down the aboriginal flag that it is customary to display on the fence of parliament during such rallies. This  was never the practice while Mike Reynolds was the speaker.

Mickel who is a former Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy said that the parliament has its own aboriginal flag flying. Sam Watson pointed out that permission was never sought from the aboriginal people for the parliament to fly this flag. No formal treaty or proper relationship has been established for this to happen. People discussed the implications of police taking down the Aboriginal flag at the rally. A suggestion was made to have a flag march to parliament in the near future.

On February 13, 2010 there was a national day of action against the NT Intervention and for Aboriginal rights. Here in Brisbane there was a small rally held at Parliament house.

This marked the 2nd anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generations, when Prime Minister Rudd committed the government to, “a future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again”.

But ongoing NT Intervention policies reek of the same paternalism and commitment to assimilation that created the Stolen Generations.

The Intervention has been a $1.5 billion disaster. The government has taken control of Aboriginal lives and land – but has not yet built a single house. Shamefully, communities will not receive housing until they sign 40-year leases over their land. This policy is expanding nationally.

The income quarantine is leading to greater poverty and social dislocation. Government statistics show reports of domestic violence are up 61%, substance abuse up 77% and 13% more infants have been hospitalised for malnutrition.


The income quarantine is leading to greater poverty and social dislocation. Government statistics show reports of domestic violence are up 61%, substance abuse up 77% and 13% more infants have been hospitalised for malnutrition.

Minister Macklin has said the suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act has “denied dignity” to Aboriginal people. But her changes to Intervention legislation will see the RDA suspended until December 31, 2010.

People attend stalls at Rally at Qld Parliament

Rather than do away with failing policy, new legislation will allow the compulsory welfare quarantining to be extended to “areas of disadvantage” around the country. This will start across the NT from July 2010. Draconian measures such as compulsory acquisition of Aboriginal land and extreme police powers have been rebadged “special measures” under the RDA.

Racism is not a special measure.

The demonisation of Aboriginal people at the core of the Intervention is leading to increased racism across Australia. Indigenous incarceration rates have risen 10% in the past year. Juvenile detention now stands at 30 times the national average. Aboriginal organisations everywhere face aggressive mainstreaming.

Aboriginal people have consistently demanded an end to the NT Intervention measures and resistance is growing.

Turning around the unacceptable disadvantage facing Aboriginal people requires massive increases in resourcing of community controlled organisations – not more racist laws.

No more broken promises – its time to break the intervention

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