Daily Archives: April 11, 2010

Alice Springs Convergence – 6 to 9 July 2010

[Aboriginal News]



Monday 12th April 2010

An historic nationwide gathering of Aboriginal peoples and supporters has been finalised for 6-9 July 2010 at the Alice Springs showgrounds

The Alice Springs convergence, supported by Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal peoples from across Australia, will call on the Rudd federal Labor government to immediately end the intervention and unconditionally re-instate the Racial Discrimination Act.

The continued suspension of the RDA with the full consent of the Rudd government allows for the contentious and racially discriminatory aspects of the NTER intervention to continue unabated.

Alyawarr spokesman Richard Downs and his people walked-off their community in protest in July 2009. They’re calling for all Australians to join together to rid Australia of racism and to ensure justice and equal recognition for Aboriginal peoples and the promotion of human rights for all.

“This is a struggle for our very survival as Aboriginal people” Mr Downs says.

“All control over our lives is being removed. The Communities Corporations and Associations built up over many years are being closed down, our infrastructure is being dismantled, our languages have been banned in schools and our law systems completely pushed aside. We’re back to where we were 40 years ago.”

Mr Downs says policies of assimilation have led to homelands being starved of jobs and resources, with Aboriginal people forced into towns as virtual refugees where they’re vulnerable to drugs and alcohol.

“The measures are now targeting other states – lands are being taken away, long term leases are being enforced, and the basic card is destroying our independence. It’s time to start fighting back to defend our rights our county and our culture. We are fighting for our future, and for our children’s future” he says.

“We welcome everyone, all our brothers and sisters, to come and stand with us for four days in July. Let’s send a clear message to the Rudd Labor Government and to all future government leaders that racism in all its forms will not be tolerated by Australian voters. We truly need to turn a new page in race relations in this country, end the intervention, and show respect to each other as human beings” Mr Downs says.

For further information please contact:

Alyawarr Spokesperson: Richard Downs Mobile: 0428 611 169. Email: richard.downs12@gmail.com Senior Pitjantjatjara Elder: Murray George Mobile: 0428 614 965 John Hartley, Yalanji: Mobile: 0424 943 990 Email: karranjal@hotmail.com

Gillard targets parents

This is the Minister for Education Gillards Plan for the improving school communities.

The minister is also the Deputy PM of a government that had the overwhelming support of workers and their unions when we voted them in to kiss the Howard Liberal Government goodbye along with Workchoices.

Is this the government we expected to have or are we just getting more of the same?

As Gillard has said, If it looks like duck, quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck

Parents outraged by strike-breaker plan


April 12, 2010

THE NSW Parents and Citizens Association has expressed outrage at a plan by the Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, to recruit parents as ”strike-breakers” to supervise this year’s national numeracy and literacy tests if the Australian Education Union votes today to boycott the tests.

However, the state Labor government has backed the plan and threatened to take the union to the Industrial Relations Commission should a strike go ahead.

”NSW would support any action taken by the federal government to ensure that the tests go ahead,” said Samantha Wills, a spokeswoman for the Education Minister, Verity Firth. ”But we would hope that teachers would do the right thing so we don’t have to bring in outside supervisors.

”Most teachers don’t support the ban and we would strongly encourage them not to take part.”

But lawyers warned that parents used as strike-breakers and asked to supervise tests could be legally liable if students were injured under their watch.

”There is the potential for legal liability issues that can mean parents are not indemnified for any actions they carry out while undertaking this role,” the chief executive of the Law Institute of Victoria, Michael Brett Young, said.

The Australian Education Union will meet today in Melbourne to vote on a ban on public teachers supervising the national tests.

The federal president of the union, Angelo Gavrielatos, would not speculate on the likelihood of a strike going ahead, but said the union had ”made it very clear that unless measures were introduced to stop the misuse of student data and the further creation of league tables, we could not and would not co-operate on the administration of the test.”

Ms Gillard’s announcement that the government would recruit parents was ”highly regrettable”. ”’It is counterproductive attempting to pit parents against schools,” he said.

”Bottom line, if the government fails to act to protect students, we will.”

Ms Gillard told ABC TV’s Insiders yesterday that recruiting parents was part of the government’s contingency plans.

”I’m asking parents, if we need them, to consider working with us to make sure that the tests continue to run out this year,” Ms Gillard said. ”Parents have literally voted with their fingertips in extraordinary numbers because they want this information.”

Yet polling released yesterday by the teachers’ union showed that 54 per cent of parents of public school children support action by teachers to stop the national tests, while 85 per cent say Ms Gillard should meet with the union to avoid the strike.

The president of the NSW Parents and Citizens Association, Dianne Giblin, said the organisation was ”outraged” by the proposal, and that it was not the responsibility of parents to supervise the exams.

”Such action can only lead to the driving of a wedge between the key partners in a child’s formal educational experience, the parent and the teacher,” she said.

The NSW Greens MP who drafted the legislation backed by the NSW Liberals to prevent the publication of league tables, John Kaye, said: ”It is extraordinary that a Labor Deputy Prime Minister is resorting to scab labour to stymie industrial action by teachers. Julia Gillard’s My School website has already divided parents and teachers, and now she’s turning parents into strike breakers. It’s not worth it. The NAPLAN test is not that good.”

Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 are due to take the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy tests from May 11-13.

To supervise, parents would have to participate in criminal checks and undergo training. A spokesman from Ms Gillard’s office yesterday said training would be a matter for the states.

The Independent Education Union has indicated private and Catholic school teachers will not support the ban.


BASHING REFUGEES IS A GLOBAL SPORT FOR POLITICIANS- read on to see how Canada is getting tough on the people seeking asylum there. Look at the numbers to see how infintesimally small Australia’s “crisis” is.
Canada is squueezing who is allowed in – Australia is trying to scare people awayneither country can ever present a greater threat to life than the Taliban or the Governemnt sanctioned brutality in Sri Lanka.


Refugee backlog a result of inept politicians: Madawo


Last Updated: April 11, 2010 8:00pm

Over the past few years, successive ministers of citizenship and immigration have been outdoing each other in search of a lasting solution to Canadas problematic refugee process.

The precise problem is the department presides over a system plagued by shortages of resources, mostly personnel to screen people who come here seeking protection from prosecution in their countries.

These shortages have resulted in a backlog of more than 200,000 cases and it now takes up to three years for refugee claimants to go for their first hearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board.

To fix this problem, the responsible ministers weapon of choice has been to restrict entry into this country, a good way to tame the increasing backlog of applicants if it is justified.

However, every time a new restrictive measure is introduced, you get the feeling it is based on assumed not proven causes of the problem they are intended to fix.

The assumption, of course, is an annual average of 30,000 refugee applicants is overstretching the system. This assumption is defied by the fact the same numbers have been passing through Canadas borders for many years and until around 2006, the average waiting period for a hearing was 6-8 months. The system was working fine.

What worsened the situation was former immigration minister Monte Solbergs freezing of appointments of refugee board members (also known as refugee judges) in 2006.

By early 2007, Toronto, which handles more than 60% of all IRB cases, had less than 30 immigration judges, about a third of the required number. The trend was replicated in other areas and instead of the efficiency Solberg predicted, chaos ensued.

In early 2008, Solbergs replacement, Diane Finley, introduced amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act giving herself sweeping powers to cherry pick applicants for fast tracking their migration to Canada.

Solberg and Finleys policies obviously did not solve anything, otherwise Jason Kenney would not have been compelled to introduce visas for visitors from Mexico and the Czech Republic as well as repeal the CanadaU.S. Safe Third Country Agreement that had been used by nationals of Afghanistan, Congo, Haiti, Iraqi and Zimbabwe; whose countries are still politically unstable.

Just more than a week ago, Kenney introduced more measures, including that he would now determine countries from which Canada should accept refugees.

All these measures are not helpful at all. They skirt the actual problem, the shambolic state of the immigration system. Merely reducing the numbers of people coming into Canada will not solve the problem because the backlog is already there and it still requires resources to fix it.

The minister also intends to reduce waiting times by cutting some of the steps in the refugee process but, again, its the immigrants being denied that one step that could mean the difference between admission and deportation.

However, the most disturbing of Kenneys directives is the fact the minister will decide which countries are safe and which are not. This shows the minister does not understand the reality of political prosecution.

Ottawas perception of democracy and human rights should never be assumed to be universal. It is easy for a country to portray a positive outlook to the outside world when people are being maimed and killed in its backyard.

More importantly, Kenney must understand that nobody leaves their homeland voluntarily unless they are fleeing some form of danger.

That some people fail in their refugee cases the basis of Kenneys directive is often a consequence of inability to articulate themselves, not that they are all a fraud.

Letter to Prime Minister re NT Intervention

Mr Kevin Rudd
Prime Minister
Parliament House

Dear Prime Minister,
I have an undergraduate Social Work Degree and a Research Masters Degree (as a result of working with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in South Brisbane). I have an Arts Honours degree in Anthropology and a PhD which looked at the political obstacles to introducing a guaranteed minimum income in Australia.
Between 1965 and 1976 I worked with the Department of Social Security in Brisbane or the NT Administration Welfare Branch in Darwin. I was the Social Planner for the AAP in Darwin before lecturing in Social Policy and Community Work in what is now the University of the NT from 1977- 1985.In 1987 I became the Director of the ACT Council of Social Services. I left Canberra to take up a Senior Lecturer’s position in Social Policy at QUT in 1993 until 2007.
I have written several papers opposing the NT Intervention during Howard’s tenure and subsequent to Labor coming to power. Should you wish to read them go to On Line Opinion. My basic problem with the intervention and particularly income management is that it is racist and paternalistic and denigrates Indigenous people. All the social policies underpinning the Intervention were tried in the 1940s to the early seventies. They did not improve Aboriginal people’s situation then and they won’t improve the situation now.
I was a member of the ALP for 20 years and a strong supporter for many years prior to that (ask Gary Grey or Warren Snowden). I left the Party when Keating signed a secret pact with Indonesia. Since then I have voted Green first but made sure that my preferences flowed to Labor. I was excited when you won office because I thought we would see the end of Howard’s mean spiritedness. I was wrong. I cannot vote Labor whilst the Intervention exists nor can I vote for a party which intends to expand the Intervention to other parts of Australia just to enable it to reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act. The course you have mapped is equally as racist as the Intervention and also denigrates some poor whites. It is mean, tricky and unworthy of honourable politicians.
Ms Macklin is the worst Minister, who has had responsibility for social security policy, since 1908. At least since 1960, it has been possible for people to voluntarily agree to have their social security managed by a friend, relative or welfare agency when they are incapable of managing their own affairs or are being stood over for money by relatives. If Ms Macklin is too lazy or incompetent to implement a voluntary scheme to assist people in the NT who feel humbugged then she does not deserve to be minister.
Whilst your government perseveres with such plans I would rather vote informal than let my vote help get Labor back into office. I am about to leave for 6 months in the Northern Territory. I will be encouraging everyone I meet to vote Labor from office. I maintain a large email network and will start a campaign to put Labor last until you stop being racist and attacking welfare recipients. Yours

Dr John Tomlinson.

[Refugee] First we were angry, then distressed – NOW IT’S TIME FOR ACTION

First we were angry then distressed – NOW ITS TIME FOR ACTION

BELOW IS MATERIAL TO START- more will follow in next few weeks leading up to REFUGEE WEEK in JUNE

Please pass on to friends, fellow workers, anyone you know who cares about human rights….

There is less than six months until the next election.

Its important that all Labor MPs know that the Government’s suspension of processing of the most vulnerable and at risk asylum seekers will decide votes at the next election.

The more MPs that know that these changes are unacceptable the more disquiet there will be in the party room. Change has to come from within the Labor Party.

What you can do:

Email and fax through letters to Victorian MPs both in your own electorate and in other electorates. Target Victorian Senators all of them depend on your vote!

You can also arrange to meet your local MP or a Victorian Senator.

Find your local MP here: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/members/mi-state.asp

Victorian Labor MPs in the Senate (email all of them):

Senator the Hon Kim Carr


Fax: (03) 9639 3109

Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy,


Fax: (03) 9408 0194

Senator Gavin Marshall


Fax: (03) 9348 9837

Senator David Feeney

Fax: (03) 9384 6644

Victorian Labor MPs in the House of Representatives (email all of them)

The Hon Simon Crean MP


Fax: (03) 9545 6299

Mr Michael Danby MP


Fax: (03) 9534 1575

The Hon Julia Gillard MP


Fax: (03) 9741 6213

The Hon Nicola Roxon MP


Fax: (03) 9317 7477

The Hon Lindsay Tanner MP


Fax: 03 9602 1122

Mr Kelvin Thomson MP


Fax: (03) 9350 6613

Ms Maria Vamvakinou MP


Fax: (03) 9309 4255

The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Fax: (03) 9457 5721


The Paradigm Shift

The Paradigm Shift We’re working the paradigm shift, but what the hell’s a paradigm and why would you want to shift it? par·a·digm n. 1. One that serves as a pattern or model. 2. A set or list of all … Continue reading