‘Stop dumping on Aboriginal Rights’

[Aboriginal News]

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26/2/10 for immediate release

‘Stop dumping on Aboriginal Rights’, say anti-Intervention campaigners

The Intervention Rollback Action Group in Alice Springs today said
that the imposition of a nuclear dump on NT Aboriginal Land is yet
another clear breach of ALP election commitments and demonstrates
contempt for Aboriginal rights.

IRAG says that Intervention policies, which only resource communities
deemed ‘viable’ by government, are exacerbating pressure on Aboriginal
people to give up their land for destructive projects like the nuclear
dump.

“Federal Labor’s new National Radioactive Waste Management Act is
almost identical to Howard’s racist dump laws. It continues to
override the NT Land Rights Act and Aboriginal Heritage protections.
Any site selection will extinguish Native Title”, said Paddy Gibson
from the Intervention Rollback Action Group.

“This continues the Rudd government’s shocking record of broken
promises to Aboriginal people. With the Intervention, Minister Jenny
Macklin promised to reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA). But
her legislation before the Senate gives no room to challenge core
Intervention powers using the RDA”.

“This new legislation has a heavy emphasis on procedures for NT Land
Councils to nominate dump sites. It’s clear that if the nomination for
Muckaty station is defeated, the government will move on to target
other increasingly desperate communities in the NT,” concluded Mr Gibson

“Our people in remote areas are being starved of resources through the
Intervention and the NT government’s ‘hub towns’ policy. They are
coming in as refugees to Alice Springs. The Intervention housing
program (SIHIP) will build no new houses for most communities and
won’t even upgrade existing housing to public housing standards. Now
Labor is continuing Howard’s policy– saying communities can get access
to $12 million for basic infrastructure like housing and roads, only
if they accept a nuclear waste dump”, said Barbara Shaw from the
Intervention Rollback Action Group.

“Labor’s platform is clear in its support for Land Rights. But with
the Intervention and now this dump they just override the Land Rights
Act, take over and devastate our communities and our country. No other
group of people in Australia would be treated this way. The Ministers
sitting in Canberra are not the ones who are going to be poisoned by
this. Their kids are not the ones who are going to get cancer. They
have no idea how we still live off our land,” continued Ms Shaw.

“Article 29 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,
which Labor says they support, clearly prohibits the imposition of
toxic waste onto Indigenous land without consent. I know my family and
many others from that country are fighting hard against this. We as
Aboriginal people intend to enforce our rights.”

“I ask our Health Minister and local member Warren Snowden – how is
putting poison into Aboriginal Land going to Close the Gap? We are
joining a protest at Minister Snowden’s office today at 12pm organised
in support of the Warlmanpa and Warumungu people targeted by this
dump. We will continue to fight for housing, jobs and land rights not
nuclear dump sites!” concluded Barbara Shaw.

For more information contact:
Barbara Shaw 0401 291 166
Paddy Gibson 0415800586

6 thoughts on “‘Stop dumping on Aboriginal Rights’

  1. Greens Policy on RDA says:

    [Aboriginal News]

    From: “Twomey, Chris (Sen B. Brown)”
    Date: 10 March 2010 5:30:26 PM
    Subject: Senate Inquiry report on NTER reforms and reinstating the RDA

    The report of the Community Affairs committee’s inquiry into the
    changes proposed to the NT emergency response legislation was tabled
    in the Senate late this afternoon.

    The Greens tabled a dissenting report where they argue that approach
    taken by the govt is deeply flawed – it is not possible to reconcile
    their commitment to restore the RDA and their election policy platform
    of social inclusion with the continuation of the negative and
    discriminatory aspects of the intervention, and with the desire to
    extend punitive conditional welfare measures nationally.

    The committee heard consistent and compelling evidence form human
    rights and constitutional law experts and organisations that the
    proposed measures would not fully restore the RDA as promised and
    created legislative uncertainty to which legal challenges were almost
    inevitable. The government did not present its legal advice or seek to
    make its case, suggesting it would leave it up to the courts to decide.

    The Greens believe that this is a waste of time and money and that
    parliament has an obligation to resolve legislative uncertainty rather
    than leaving it up to costly and time-consuming litigation.

    The government was unable to provide compelling evidence for its
    claims that mandatory income quarantining can deliver on its claimed
    objectives of tackling child abuse and neglect, delivering better
    nutrition, or assisting people to improve their money management
    skills and financial independence.

    The strength of opinion from the vast majority of social service
    providers and the professional body of financial counsellors was that
    the government’s proposed indiscriminate approach to mandatory income
    management would actually decrease the financial independence of those
    affected and contribute to greater social exclusion.

    The proposed scheme is indiscriminate and does not differentiate
    between those who are caring properly for their children and managing
    their money wisely and those who are not. It does not offer a clear
    pathway for those affected to improve their skills and turn their
    lives around but simply locks them in to increased welfare dependency.

    The government is proposing to role out a complex and expensive scheme
    of conditional welfare without promising to substantially increase the
    welfare budget so that it can provide the services and supports that
    will be needed to offer those affected a pathway up and out. Without a
    substantial budget increase the roll-out of this scheme will pull
    resources away from existing social programs with a proven track
    record of helping the disadvantaged.

    The Greens dissented from the committee report which they criticised
    for failing to discuss and address the serious concerns raised by the
    majority of witnesses and submissions, and for accepting at face value
    the bland assertions made by the minister and department with neither
    the evidence nor the arguments to back them up.

    Here is the link to the inquiry:
    http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/clac_ctte/soc_sec_welfare_reform_racial_discrim_09/index.htm

    and to the final report:
    http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/clac_ctte/soc_sec_welfare_reform_racial_discrim_09/report/index.htm

    Some excerpts from the Greens report:

    The whole approach being pursued by the Rudd Government to the need to
    reform the problems of the Northern Territory Emergency Response
    (NTER) as reflected in the Government’s bills is fundamentally flawed.
    The government is attempting to simultaneously pursue contradictory
    and incompatible policy objectives. It made a firm commitment in
    opposition to restore the application of the Racial Discrimination Act
    to the NTER legislation and went to the election advocating the
    progressive social policy of social inclusion. However, since coming
    to government it has become enamoured with a punitive model of
    conditional welfare targeting disadvantaged Indigenous communities
    (despite the enormous cost and a lack of evidence for its efficacy)
    which is incompatible with social inclusion and basic human rights.
    While these kinds of deep philosophical and moral contradictions can
    be glossed over in the short term with creative public messaging, the
    victory of spin over substance is always short-lived.

    What is particularly concerning is the manner in which the government
    is proposing to resolve this contradiction by pursuing what is
    arguably the biggest change to Australia’s welfare system since the
    Second World War – the introduction of a national scheme of
    indiscriminate mandatory income quarantining. It is particularly
    concerning that the Rudd Government has not sought and does not have a
    public mandate for such major reforms. This is very different from the
    social policy platform they took to the last election – in fact it
    seems to be at direct odds with their campaign about the rights of
    working families – and there has been no real effort made to inform
    the Australian public about these intentions. These bills were
    introduced in the last sitting of the year during a major public
    debate concerning climate change without even a press conference or a
    media release to announce them.

    The best thing for the government to do at this point would be to drop
    this approach, continue on with reforming the negative aspects of the
    NTER and shift to a more consultative community development approach
    to addressing the underlying causes of disadvantage and social
    exclusion in Aboriginal communities.

    The Government bills do not fully restore the operation of the RDA to
    the NTER. The bills represent an unacceptable fundamental shift in
    social security policy, an approach that there is no evidence to
    support and about which the Government has not consulted the
    Australian community.

    RECOMMENDATIONS:

    · The legislative package is separated so that the restoration
    of the RDA is dealt with separately to changes to social security that
    expand income management.

    · The Commonwealth amend the NTER Act to revoke the provisions
    relating to compulsory leases, and negotiate leases in good faith
    under the existing provision of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern
    Territory) Act 1976.

    · The legislation is amended to include a ‘not withstanding’
    clause which clearly indicates that the Racial Discrimination Act is
    intended to prevail over the provisions of the NTER.

    · All existing discriminatory measures are amended to ensure
    that they comply with the provisions of the Racial Discrimination Act,
    and that those intended to be special measures legitimately meet the
    requirements of ‘special measures’ through a process that ensures full
    informed consent in the development of new community-based measures.

    · If these changes are not made, then the legislation should be
    opposed.

    Chris Twomey

    Policy Advisor

    Senator Rachel Siewert
    Australian Greens Whip, Senator for Western Australia
    w: 08 9228 3277

    m: 0407 725 025

    Social Policy, Indigenous Affairs, Agriculture, Water and NRM
    http://www.greensmps.org.au/

  2. Les Malezer on 'Closing the Gap' says:

    [Aboriginal News]

    In a stroke of the pen the Australian Government has overnight closed
    the gap in Aboriginal life expectancy by six years. Information to me
    is that bureaucrats in government deliberately manipulated the
    statistics before the Prime Minister’s statement to create the new
    life expectancy figure. This revelation that ‘information was wrong’
    was creative use of stating the statistical facts, rather than any
    error in the statistics themselves.

    No-one has yet revealed how the new figures have emerged. Franklin’s
    ‘news’ article in ‘The Australian’ only states that ‘it now appeared
    that information was wrong’ but obviously does not feel it is the
    reporter’s job to investigate the government’s claim any further. Not
    only has the Racial Discrimination Act been suspended in Australia but
    government truth to Aboriginal people has also been suspended.

    [LEGAL WARNING! Remember that, following the legal conviction of an
    Aboriginal public servant, Tjinara Gurang Gurang, for her release of
    evidence showing government and media claims of ‘child abuse in
    Mutujulu’, were deliberately and secretly fabricated by public service
    officials, no public servant can now provide facts to the public
    without expecting to face prosecution for treason.]

    Les

  3. Les Malezer says:

    Did I read this right?

    NSW Government is claiming a record on the Aboriginal land claims. 1300 claims received and 10 approved. That is a record… but a bloody shameful one!!!

    [OK! OK! I realise that the ten approvals are the ones for just one region of NSW – still a low number – but if the media and the Minister for Stolen Lands are going to spend time and money to make announcements to the public then they should take the extra trouble to give us real information rather than warm, fuzzy buzzes.]

    For the black people of this country, we are entitled to have from government some proper reporting instead of never-ending self-serving white propaganda. What does the Minister for Stolen Lands see as his responsibility in this regards?

    My own research and records still show that Aboriginal people own less than .01% of NSW land. This is a long way short of the claim of 20% ownership touted by the Australian Government in international (face-saving) reports to other governments.

    Can the NSW Minister for Stolen Lands give me their official figure so that I can present this at the next UN discussion on Australia and the Indigenous Peoples?

    What an appalling fact for 2010 in Australia, and all those claiming Reconciliation has been achieved! The best report I have heard so far this year is the FaHCSIA claim that Aboriginal people are spending more money on food, since their human rights have been taken away, but even that anecdote and theoretical ‘good news’ report is not supported by any factual data.

    Maybe NSW is trying to overtake Queensland who also claim a statistical record in counting each of the Torres Strait Islands as an award of title to the Torres Strait Islanders (but leaving out the reefs and waters). I think the islanders have been handed title to their islands about every thirty years since WW2 and global decolonisation began, but I cannot remember the islanders ever not having ownership – didn’t the High Court say that sometime before?

    Can anyone give me the real statistics / outcomes / achievements on NSW Land Rights for circulation to show whether or not we are just still getting smoke blown …?

    Les

  4. NSW Land Rights Claims says:

    [Aboriginal News] ABC report
    The New South Wales Minister for Lands, Tony Kelly, says a record 1,300 Aboriginal land claims have been dealt with in the past 18 months.

    He says the past 18 months exceed any other period since the introduction of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act in 1983.

    He says more than 500 claims were determined last year and the Government has now dealt with all claims lodged in the first 10 years of the Act.

    NSW north coast claims to have been approved, or part approved, since September last year, include six in the Grafton area and four in the Taree region.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/03/02/2834050.htm?site=indigenous&topic
    =latest

  5. Back-door extinguishment of Racial Discrimination Act in Queensland.

    “Justice Margaret McMurdo concluded that while the laws compromise Indigenous people’s human rights, they are special measures that are exempt from the application of the Act.”
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/03/02/2833869.htm

    The Queensland court of appeal has dismissed an appeal by the Kowanyama and Aurukun councils against the Qld. Governments Aboriginal grog laws.

    The United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Rights, Professor James Anaya, has previously pronounced Qld’s Aboriginal grog laws to be discriminatory.

    The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody clearly stated that abolition approaaches to alcoholism leads directly to deaths in custody.

    Mulrunji was arrested under the grog laws.

    The Aurukun community is one of four communities involved in the Cape York welfare reform trial. Unlike Qld’s grog laws and the Northern Territory intervention, the U.N. has not deemed the Welfare trial to be discriminatory.

    Qld’s grog laws were imposed in 2004/5 yet the idiot-left said nothing. The idiot-left has demonised the trial as an extension of the NT intervention into Qld.
    The welfare reform trial is a community initiative designed to be an alternative to authoritarian grog laws and removing children from their families.

    The Aurukun council has been as strong in supporting the welfare trial as it has been in opposing Beattie/Bligh’s grog laws.

    Whose side is the idiot-left on?

    When the mayor of Aurukun was lobbying Anna Bligh to accelerate the implementation of the Cape York trial, the idiot-left was picketing Bligh’s office demanding an end to the trial.

    Why did they (you) remain silent on the imposition of racist grog laws and become vocal in opposition to community initiative?

    Now, because there is no community support for the Cape York communities in the South East, the racial discrimination act has been swept under the carpet without a whimper (except from the communities involved).

    The idiot-left, by demonising the cape York trial has, in its ignorance, provided important support to the Qld government’s racist agenda in Aboriginal communities.

    Fascism has marched under your noses and you have said and done nothing.

    Idiots!

  6. UN: Aboriginal program violates human rights says:

    [Aboriginal News]

    UN: Aboriginal program violates human rights

    By KRISTEN GELINEAU
    The Associated Press
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010; 11:17 PM

    SYDNEY — An Australian government program imposing radical
    restrictions on Aborigines in a crackdown on child abuse is inherently
    racist, breaches international human rights obligations and must be
    changed immediately, a U.N. official said Wednesday READ MORE at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/23/AR2010022305799.html

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