Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia) – news

WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)

15 FEB 2010:

WGAR website:

2nd anniversary of PM’s apology to Stolen Generations
Closing the Gap report card
New Way Summit Task Force
Other Aboriginal Articles


– Video & TV

SBS News Video Player: Anniversary of Rudd apology
“Today marks two years since Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s
apology on behalf of the nation to the Stolen Generation.”

ABC1 Television Guide:
Message Stick – Talking Stick: Healing A Nation
up] 11:30am Saturday, 20 Feb 2010:
“On the anniversary of ‘The Apology’ to the Stolen
Generations of Australia, Miriam Corowa talks about the
next steps in the healing of past traumas with board
members of the newly created National Healing Foundation.”

– News

The Northern Myth: Downtown Alice Springs, Saturday morning
– the Prescribed Area People’s Alliance rally
13 Feb 10: “I wandered downtown earlier today to catch up
with some friends & countrymen at the Prescribed Area
People’s Alliance Rally outside the historic John Flynn
Church in the middle of the Alice Springs Mall. The main
theme of the Rally was to celebrate – in a very ironic
sense – the second anniversary of Prime Minister Kevin
Rudd’s “Sorry” speech to the Australian Parliament. There
was a pretty healthy turnout … ” Bob Gosford
[Includes impressive photos!]

Koori Mail: Anniversary a national day of action
[scroll down page]
12 Feb 10: “ANTI-NT intervention campaigners will hold a
national day of action at various locations around the
country tomorrow, the second anniversary of the national
apology to Indigenous Australians. Rallies are expected in
Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Alice
Springs, calling for an immediate end to the intervention
and showing support for Aboriginal communities in the face
of racially discriminatory laws and government policies.”

Koori Mail: Mixed feelings on eve of apology anniversary
[scroll down page]
12 Feb 10: “MANY Aboriginal people will have mixed feelings
on tomorrow’s second anniversary of the Prime Minister’s
apology to the Stolen Generations, according to the WA
Bringing Them Home Committee. Committee Co-Chair Jim
Morrison welcomed the recent establishment of the new
national Indigenous healing foundation but said the trauma
felt by Stolen Generations members and their families would
take years and targeted funding to heal.”

Koori Mail: Govt ‘insensitive’ around apology anniversary
[scroll down page]
12 Feb 10: “THE National Sorry Day Committee has questioned
the sincerity of the national apology to Indigenous
Australians, suggesting the Rudd Government is now using it
to push its Close the Gap campaign. NSDC Co-Chair Helen
Moran says the timing of the tomorrow’s Allstars rugby
league match on the Gold Coast, heavily supported by the
Government, demonstrates a lack of sensitivity towards the
Stolen Generations.”

SMH: Macklin heckled on apology anniversary
12 Feb 10: “Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin has
defended the federal government’s intervention policy after
being heckled during a speech to mark the second
anniversary of the apology to indigenous Australians. Ms
Macklin was speaking in Sydney on Friday when she was
interrupted by an indigenous man who accused her of being
racist and shouted “stop the intervention”.”

ABC: Oral history puts Stolen voices online
12 Feb 10: “The National Library of Australia’s oral
history collection on the Stolen Generations is now
available online. The Bringing Them Home Oral History
Project was carried out from 1998 to 2002 to preserve the
stories of Indigenous people and others involved in or
affected by children being forcibly removed from their

– Speeches at Feb 13 Protest

[The protest was timed to coincide with the 2nd
of the PM’s apology to the Stolen Generations]

Stop the Intervention: Speech Jeff McMullen
A Day of Reckoning
13 Feb 10: “Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s national Apology
two years ago was a long overdue admission that when a
nation lives with officially sanctioned racial
discrimination we are all diminished as human beings. It is
hypocritical to Apologise to Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander people and say that the “injustices of the past
must never, never happen again” and then to persist for
more than two years with the humiliation and the
discrimination of the Northern Territory Intervention.”

Stop the Intervention: Speech Irene Fisher
The Northern Territory Emergency Response laws: “Acts of Infamy”
13 Feb 10: “I feel that I have been talking on this issue
pretty well non-stop since 21 June 2007. On that day, as
many of you would know, a decision was made in the halls of
power to remove the rights of around 40,000 Aboriginal
Territorians. That was – in my view – a day of infamy in
this nation’s history. And that infamy continues to this
day. … And what has the Emergency Response – better known
as the Intervention – achieved for these 40,000 Aboriginal
people? The answer is, very little.”

For more speeches at the protest see:
Stop the Intervention:
Information about the February 13, 2010 Protest

– Opinion

Age: Sorry not enough for stolen generations
13 Feb 10: “For many Australians the apology represented
the drawing of a line under a divisive debate about whether
this generation of Australians was liable for the misdeeds
of their forebears – the righting of a wrong and the
healing of a gaping wound. For many of those more
intimately involved, it was something altogether more
complex, and certainly not an act that brought any sense of
finality or closure.” Michael Gordon

Age: Many gaps remain in indigenous policy
13 Feb 10: “The apology two years ago was a good start, but
much work is still needed. IN MARKING the second
anniversary of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s apology to the
stolen generations, it should not be forgotten that an
official apology was the first recommendation of the
Bringing Them Home report, which followed an inquiry that
detailed a dark chapter in our history, when children were
systematically removed from their families because of their
race.” Professor Mick Dodson, Director, National Centre for
Indigenous Studies, Australian National University

Socialist Alternative:
Protests demand end to the NT intervention
13 Feb 10: “Two years since Kevin Rudd’s formal apology to
the Stolen Generations of Australia’s indigenous people and
nothing has changed. The Rudd government has continued and
expanded the racist Northern Territory Intervention. On the
second anniversary of the Apology, demonstrations were held
across Australia to draw attention to the rank hypocrisy of
the Government, and to demand an end to the Intervention.”
Tim Arnot

Socialist Alternative:
After these two years, does anyone remember the apology?
12 Feb 10: “Last July Kevin Rudd argued that not to allow
tourists to climb Uluru, despite every wish of its
traditional custodians, would be “very sad”. But it is not
only in cultural insensitivity that Rudd has channelled
Howard. Two years since Rudd’s ultimately empty apology to
the Stolen Generations is as good a time as any to assess
the government’s record as a whole.” Diane Fieldes

Hawke, Keating and Aboriginal rights: Labor’s “sorry” history
Feb 10: “In 2008, Kevin Rudd said “sorry” for past wrongs.
Yet his government was implementing the assimilationist
policies of the Intervention that ensure the wrongs
continue. There is a sorry history to Labor governments.
Saying one thing and doing another did not start with Kevin
Rudd. On Aboriginal rights, each Labor government since
Whitlam has been more right-wing than the one before.”
Jean Parker

– Photos

Perth Indymedia:
Photos from the Justice not racism rally in Perth
by Alex Bainbridge
14 Feb 10: “100 people protest in Perth against the NT
intervention and against black deaths in custody. 13 Feb 2010”
[Rally timed to coincide with the 2nd
anniversary of the
PM’s apology to the Stolen Generations]

– Media Release

Greens to address Perth rally to oppose the NT Intervention
12 Feb 10: “Greens Senator WA Scott Ludlam will tell a
rally in Perth tomorrow (SAT 13 Feb) that the Greens will
continue opposing Northern Territory Intervention measures
introduced by former prime minister John Howard and since
extended across the nation under Kevin Rudd. The rally,
organised by the Aboriginal Rights Coalition, is calling
for an end to the Intervention and the restoration of the
Racial Discrimination Act, suspended by the Federal
Government to enable it to conduct actions that constitute
racial discrimination.”
[Rally timed to coincide with the 2nd anniversary
of the
PM’s apology to the Stolen Generations]


– PM’s Report

Prime Minister of Australia: Speech
Ministerial statement – Closing the Gap – 11 February 2010

– Media Releases

Close the Gap: PM’s report welcome but Government yet to
develop plan to Close the Gap: new report
11 Feb 10: ““The Close the Gap campaign’s Shadow Report on
the Australian Government’s progress, launched today, found
that the government has no comprehensive plan to close the
gap on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health
inequality by 2030 despite committing to one almost two
years ago,” Mr Calma said. Mr Calma, former Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, whose
2005 Social Justice Report laid the groundwork for the
Close the Gap campaign, said the Shadow Report outlined
what was missing in the Government’s approach and detailed
ways in which its commitments to closing the gap could be

Greens: Close the Gap measures – sum is much less than the parts
11 Feb 10: “”Failing to consult and engage Aboriginal
communities and sticking to a top-down one-size-fits-all
approach, is undermining efforts to close the gap on
Indigenous disadvantage,” said Australian Greens Senator
Rachel Siewert today. “We welcome the general increase in
funding and acknowledge that the Prime Minister is funding
some promising programs here and there – but a
comprehensive national plan is needed if we are going to
reach headline targets and close the gaps.””

– Shadow Report

ANTaR: Close the Gap Prime Minister’s 2010 report to parliament
“To mark the Prime Minister’s 2010 report to parliament,
the Close the Gap Coalition for Indigenous Health Equality
is releasing its inaugural Shadow Report on the Australian
Government’s progress towards closing the gap in life
expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous
Australians. Take a look … ”

– 3 Online Actions

Oxfam Australia: Close the Gap
Feb 10: “Almost two years after the Federal Government
committed to developing a long term plan to Close the Gap
in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy,
no such plan exists. Help ensure the Government gets it
right on closing the gap – ask them to develop a long term
plan, work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander people, and give more support to Aboriginal
community controlled medical services.”
[Click on
the link to participate in these 3 online actions]

– Radio

ABC Triple J: 11 Feb 10
Jon Altman on Closing the The Gap]

– News

Koori Mail: Govt ‘insensitive’ around apology anniversary
[scroll down page]
12 Feb 10: “THE National Sorry Day Committee has questioned
the sincerity of the national apology to Indigenous
Australians, suggesting the Rudd Government is now using it
to push its Close the Gap campaign.”

Koori Mail: NACCHO: We need to be equal partners,
[scroll down page]
12 Feb 10: “AUSTRALIA lags behind America, Canada and New
Zealand in improving Indigenous life expectancy because
Indigenous Australians have less control over their health
services, according to the National Aboriginal Community
Controlled Health Organisation. NACCHO Chairperson Justin
Mohamed welcomed yesterday’s Closing the Gap statement but
called for a more equal partnership between government and
health services.”

SMH: Indigenous figures better but there’s a long way to go
12 Feb 10: “THE yawning gap between black and white living
standards persists, with the Prime Minister’s annual report
derided as an Australian State of the Union address,
celebrating process over progress.”

Medical News Today:
Comprehensive National Plan Needed To Close The Gap On
Indigenous Health, Says Australian Medical Association
11 Feb 10: “Dr Pesce [AMA President] said that every new
funding announcement for Indigenous health services will
make a difference – however, in regard to overall progress,
the AMA endorses the Close the Gap campaign’s Shadow
Report, which finds that the Federal Government still lacks
a comprehensive plan to fulfil its commitment to close the

Koori Mail: Govt warned: No plan, no progress
[scroll down page]
11 Feb 10: “A COALITION of health, human rights and
Aboriginal organisations says government failure to develop
a proper plan is endangering efforts to close the gap. The
group’s chairman Tom Calma released a ‘shadow’ report on
progress in addressing Indigenous disadvantage, also
calling for more support for Aboriginal medical services,
while rights campaigner Les Malezer described today’s
government ‘report card’ as little more than a policy and
budget statement.”

Koori Mail: PM concedes ‘slow path to change’
[scroll down page]
11 Feb 10: “THE Prime Minister has delivered his second
annual Closing the Gap statement, telling the Federal
Parliament that some progress is being made in key areas of
Indigenous disadvantage but conceding it is too slow. Kevin
Rudd described closing the gaps between Indigenous and
non-Indigenous Australians – frustrated by a lack of
reliable baseline data – as the nation’s greatest social

ABC: Gap closing, but progress too slow: Rudd
11 Feb 10: “Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says more Indigenous
people are in work and completing high school, but progress
to raise living standards is still too slow. Delivering his
second “Closing the Gap” statement to Parliament today, Mr
Rudd defended his Government’s record on reducing
Indigenous disadvantage.”

– Opinion

Australian: Long way to go to close the gap
15 Feb 10: “TWO years after Kevin Rudd apologised to the
Stolen Generations, an initiative that brought comfort and
closure to many, and which we endorsed wholeheartedly, the
dominant focus of government policy is on redressing
present rather than historical wrongs.”

Rudd’s Closing the Gap mission can only get harder from here
13 Feb 10: “The PM’s indigenous report card deserves high
marks for honesty, but progress is slow … This is
possibly the last year Rudd can describe the Closing the
Gap campaign in broad or aspirational terms. From here on
it will be harder, not easier.” Wesley Aird, member of the
Gold Coast Native Title Group and a board member of the
Bennelong Society

National Indigenous Times:
EDITORIAL: More of the same from the PM
4 Feb 10: “Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has broken one of his
much-touted promises for the second year in a row. In 2008,
our dear Mr Rudd took the stage at the Progressive
Governance Conference in London and made a rather
impressive statement. “On the question of Indigenous
policy, I have decided that each year in Australia’s
Federal Parliament the first working day will be marked by
a Prime Ministerial statement reporting on progress in
closing the life expectancy gap, progress in closing the
gap on infant mortality and mortality of children up to
five, and progress on closing the literacy and numeracy gap
between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians,” Mr Rudd
said. … ” Amy McQuire, acting editor


– Resolutions

WGAR: New Way Summit Task Force
resolutions of New Way Summit of 30 January – 1 February 2010]

– News

Koori Mail: Summit task force to work on charter
[scroll down
10 Feb 10: “A TASK FORCE has been established to examine
international and domestic sovereignty options, develop an
Aboriginal Charter of Rights and establish protocols for
inter-nation relations following a three-day Indigenous
summit in Canberra last week. About 120 people attended the
New Way Summit, an ‘unfunded grassroots initiative’
convened by NSW Aboriginal activist Michael Anderson.”

– Radio

Indigenous radio station 98.9FM Brisbane
Let’s Talk – Indigenous presented talkback:
8 Feb 10: “Les Malezer – Tiga Bayles spoke with Les
Malezer, Chairperson of the Foundation for Aboriginal and
Islander Research Action (FAIRA). They spoke about the New
Way Summit in Canberra.”
Listen to this interview on-line:

Indigenous radio station 98.9FM Brisbane
Let’s Talk – Indigenous presented talkback:
4 Feb 10: “Michael Anderson – Tiga Bayles spoke with Tent
Embassy Founder, Michael Anderson. They spoke about the New
Way Summit: Our Way or No Way and The Tent Embassy Summit.”
Listen to this interview on-line:

Indigenous radio station 98.9FM Brisbane
Let’s Talk – Indigenous presented talkback:
2 Feb 10: “Larissa Behrendt and Mark McMurtry – Tiga Bayles
spoke with Professor of Law & Director of Research at the
Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at UTS in Sydney,
Larissa Behrendt and Mark McMurtry. They spoke about the
New Way Summit.”
Listen to this interview on-line:

– Background

WGAR News: Call to an Aboriginal Summit in Canberra (13 Jan 10):

WGAR News: Update on Aboriginal Summit in Canberra (23 Jan 10):

WGAR News: New Way Aboriginal Summit about to begin in Canberra (29 Jan 10):

WGAR News: Outcomes of the New Way Aboriginal Summit (6 Feb 10):


– Opinion

National Indigenous Times:
RINGY’S RAMBLINGS: A government slips on The Rock
4 Feb 10: “In the heart of the country, the Anangu owners
of Uluru politely request that visitors do not climb the
rock. GRAHAM RING* reports that most comply happily – and
suggests the others just need a little more convincing.”

National Indigenous Times:
BLACKCURRENT: The last fighting words
4 Feb 10: “Australia is one of the world’s “hot spots” for
endangered languages. We must act before it’s too late,
writes AMY MCQUIRE*.” Amy McQuire, editor of the National
Indigenous Times

– News

Koori Mail: TJ’s family still seeking justice
[scroll down page]
12 Feb 10: “THE Indigenous Social Justice Association
(ISJA) has called for justice and redress for the family of
an Aboriginal teenager who died six years ago after
becoming impaled on a Redfern fence during a police chase.
TJ’s mum Gail Hickey has asked the UN Human Rights
Committee to find that Australia has failed in its human
rights obligations by not having the matter independently

National Indigenous Times:
Aboriginal victims to sue British over nuclear tests
4 Feb 10: “Five Aboriginal people affected by the British
nuclear tests carried out at Emu Field in 1953 are taking
their case to the UK, with Cherie Booth – the wife of
former British Prime Minister Tony Blair – as their
representative. The compensation case comes after 800
British nuclear veterans were last year granted permission
to sue the British Ministry of Defence over personal
injuries stemming from radiation exposure during the tests.
Last month, the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement (ALRM) in
South Australia placed an ad calling on both Aboriginal
and non-Aboriginal people who were interested in pursuing
compensation against the UK government. … ”

See: ANTaR (SA): ‘Britain must compensate Aboriginal
people for radioactive fallout’
[scroll down page]

National Indigenous Times:
ailing funds better spent on community programs: report
4 Feb 10: “The money spent on incarcerating Indigenous
Australians would be better spent on preventative programs
and community building, a new report has recommended.
Delivering his sixth and final Social Justice Report in
Sydney late last month, former Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma called for
“justice reinvestment” in communities with large numbers
of offenders.”

National Indigenous Times:
THE BIG READ: Looking back, looking forward
4 Feb 10: “The Apology was the first step towards creating
an Australia that is inclusive and embracing of its First
Peoples. However, we have a long way to go before we can
stand in this country as equals, and this will take
commitment from Governments at all levels and ongoing
efforts by our people to achieve true justice, equality and
reconciliation.” Tom Calma, former Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner

Koori Mail: Govt moves to provide some financial relief
[scroll down page]
10 Feb 10: “THE Federal Government has committed $7.5
million towards growing the community development financial
institution sector, to give Australians shunned by
mainstream banks and services access to fair loans and
other financial products. Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny
Macklin’s recent announcement followed concern that
vulnerable Aboriginal people in the WA Goldfields were
accepting high-interest loans from an unauthorised lender
in Laverton.”

National Indigenous Times:
Emergency funds given in the wake of outback “loan shark”
4 Feb 10: “The federal government has announced it will be
providing a further $20,000 in emergency relief funds for
the Ngaanyatjarra Lands and Laverton, amid reports a West
Australian man has been “exploiting” Aboriginal people in
the region.”

– Media Release

Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney:
Don’t punish loan shark Sam Tomarchio’s victims
1 Feb 10: “”Centrelink shouldn’t punish the victims of loan
shark Sam Tomarchio with income management” said STICS
spokesperson, Monique Wiseman. “We’ve all been shocked by
the exploitation by Tomarchio of some of the poorest
members of WA’s remote Aboriginal communities. Charging
exorbitant interest rates – and taking the bank cards and
PIN numbers – is exploitation of the highest order.” But,
according to the January 19 Australian, Centrelink’s
solution is to put people on income management – a solution
that can only increase poverty and one that devious
operators like Tomarchio can get around.”

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WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)



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