This is just a bit of report about the Brisbane leg of the Mark Fordham tour and the Jobs with Justice campaign.
Mark did three successful meetings. About 50 attended the West End meeting on Sunday afternoon. This meeting was followed by lots of questions from the floor.
On Monday about 40 people came to the meeting at the University of Queensland and about 15 people came to the meeting organised on very short notice at the Queensland University of Technology.
Between the West End meeting and the UQ meeting we raised about $250 which went toward getting the Jobs for Justice statement published into today’s Australian in a quarter page add on page 8.
Both the UQ and the QUT meeting in Brisbane was jointly hosted with the National Terriary Education Union and resolutions were passed urging the NTEU to take up the campaign with more vigor. All three meeting voted to endorse the Jobs with Justice statement.
On the Monday afternoon Mark had a face to face meeting with Gwen Taylor, the Indigenous Officer with the Queensland Council of Unions who unfortunately had been on leave in the run up to the tour.
Today about 17 people came to the speakout demanding Jobs with Justice at Centrelink (see attached photo’s).
Mark was very well received by the audiences he spoke in front of. Many people commented that his story was inspiring. Dozens of people who attended the meetings added their names to our contact sheets and signed the Jobs With Justice petition.
The NTEU on the campuses have offered support to the anti-intervention student groups we are building at UQ and QUT. This is a real boost for the campaign and something Mark and ourselves are pleased with.
Mark himself said he was greatful for all the support he has recieved here in Brisbane. He has already emailed the people in the NT communities and told them about the great support from ARC, the student groups and the unions. Mark said the efforts of everyone involved here will remind the people in the communities that they are not alone and have people in the cities standing with them.
Overall the meetings and actions for Jobs With Justice have been a great success. We’re now in a good position to push on from here and build a stronger campaign agains the NT Intervention.
Below is a report in today’s Sydney Morning Herald about today’s rallies. Attached are two photos from the Brisbane protest.
Govt slammed for Aboriginal ‘enslavement’
October 29, 2010 – 4:09PM
Campaigners have slammed the federal government for its failure to boost Aboriginal job prospects, claiming the Northern Territory intervention enslaves communities.
Protesters at rallies in Sydney, Alice Springs, Melbourne and Brisbane angrily claimed the legislation had been an attempt to “destroy a race”.
Welfare quarantining was the cornerstone of the Howard government’s 2007 intervention, designed to tackle child abuse in remote indigenous communities.
But three years on, campaigners told the Sydney demonstration that Aboriginal workers were being treated “like slaves” as they worked for as little as $4 an hour.
Calling for the NT intervention to be binned, speakers said Community Development Employment Project (CDEP) positions should become fully waged jobs.
Campaign members also placed advertisements in national newspapers published Friday calling for “jobs with justice”.
Speaking to more than 150 supporters outside Sydney Town Hall, Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, an Aboriginal campaigner, said: “Our people in the Northern Territory are traumatised to such an extent that we do not know who to turn to.
“Action is needed to say no to the Northern Territory intervention.”
She said it “speaks volumes” that the federal government bypassed the racial discrimination act to implement the legislation.
“The legislation was to destroy a culture, destroy a race – these people have been here for thousands of years. That is wrong by any standard.”
Under Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin’s new CDEP scheme, Aboriginal workers are being required to work 16 hours a week, providing vital civil services to townships, only to be paid in credit on a BasicsCard.
Barbara Shaw, spokeswoman for the Intervention Rollback Action Group, said: “Aboriginal workers tell us they are being treated like slaves, being forced to work for the BasicsCard.
“This is a breach of our fundamental human rights.”
Protesters also said the high-profile GenerationOne campaign, a not-for-profit movement aimed at ending the disparity between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, was doing more harm than good.
Jean Parker, of Stop the Intervention Collective, said the government had been hypocritical in backing the scheme, founded by Andrew Forrest, head of Pilbara iron ore miner Fortescue Metals.
“What’s really disgraceful is that these people – who own the casinos and the mines – have the support of the Labor government,” she said.
“But who doesn’t have the support of the government – the Aboriginal community. It’s utter hypocrisy.”
Bev Manton, chairwoman of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC), backed the rallies, saying the NT intervention “has been an abject failure on a raft of levels”.
“Apart from the physical and psychological harm done to its victims, one of its most damaging legacies has been the gradual dismantling of CDEP,” she added.
“The fate of Aboriginal labour needs to be in the hands of Aboriginal people,” she said.