Daily Archives: January 2, 2015

Gallery

The year that was 2014

Broadcast on Paradigm Shift 4zzz fm 102.1 friday2 jan 2015 at noon Three planes down; the rise of the Islamic State; Argentine defaults on debt; Israeli bombing of Gaza; an end to the US blockade of Cuba; austerity budgets of … Continue reading

The fight for children’s future in Moree

In front: Gladys Carrol and Fred Pitt with Daphne Jarrett, Alma Munroe, Dossie Tighe, Daniel Farnham, Steve Porter, Glenda Binge and Lovella Tighe on Auburn Street to protest the removal of children by FACS.

In front: Gladys Carrol and Fred Pitt with Daphne Jarrett, Alma Munroe, Dossie Tighe, Daniel Farnham, Steve Porter, Glenda Binge and Lovella Tighe on Auburn Street to protest the removal of children by FACS.

MORE than a dozen people gathered in Auburn Street to protest the removal of four children from their aunt’s care by child protection officers, in the latest of a series of incidents which they said amounted to an ongoing stolen generation.

“The four children were placed in the care of their aunty, their kinship carer,” a demonstrator said. “One was taken from school, the rest were taken from their house. The kids are separated now.”

Sheltering from a blazing sun the protesters stood in small islands of shade in front of the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) office. Each said they’d had children removed from their care or that of an immediate family member.

“Just among us five people here there’s been over 20 kids taken from this town,” the demonstrator said.

A FACS spokesperson said the department was “aware that a small protest had occurred” in Moree. The spokesperson said  FACS caseworkers “do a difficult, but vitally important job”.

“FACS never makes the decision to take a child into care lightly, and other options are always explored first.”

Child protection workers themselves are required to sign a contract banning any contact with the media. Last year, one anonymous worker broke that policy to speak to the ABC’s Lateline, to say that caseworkers were “heroes” working on the front-line to protect children in dysfunctional families. He said criticism of workers, who also faced limited resources and high stress, was unfair.

This was a sentiment echoed by Mayor Katrina Humphries.

“It’s extremely important that we have a Department of Family and Community Services – the health and wellbeing of children is paramount,” Councillor Humphries said. “I would not dream of interfering in the work of FACS. It is my belief they work very hard to try and keep children in the home.”

But one grandmother at the demonstration claimed she’d had children removed from her care because of anonymous allegations of alcoholism, gambling and drugs. She strenuously denied those claims.

“These removals traumatise the children,” she said. “In my case they just rushed in with four police vans and took them straight away to a police office and then onto the highway. All the while the parents are screaming and wailing.”

Similar claims were documented in a recent report by the organisation Grandmothers Against Removal (GRAM), which uses the previous acronym for FACS, still more commonly spoken on the ground.

“Decisions to remove children are often not evidence-based and are premised upon unproven allegations made by community members on the reporting line,” the report read. “DOCS often do not investigate these allegations nor do they assess the integrity of the reporter and their qualifications in assessing ‘risk’.”The FACS spokesperson responded to these claims saying that while the department makes interim decisions to remove children it deems at risk of significant harm, “all decisions are overseen by the courts”.

It is a system, though, from which some community members feel they are shut out. The demonstrators expressed frustration that they were not being involved in finding solutions for their family members deemed to be at risk by the department.

“Why are they taking our children? We just want answers,” said a protester. “There are people in the town, such as myself, who don’t do drinks, don’t do smokes. There are people in the town who ain’t got a criminal record. And we want our nieces and nephews, our family. Why don’t they give them to us?

“Culturally, it’s appropriate for a sister to take care of her sister’s kids. That’s part of our culture.”

The FACS spokesperson when children could no longer live with their parents, the department assesses the suitability of other family members to care for the children as the first option.

He added that NSW parliament had passed legislation in October which he said would seek greater involvement of extended family members in child protection matters.

“At a community level, this includes FACS, family, kin, community and non-government organisations working together so the right supports are provided at the right time to vulnerable children and families,” he said.

GMAR campaigner and spokesperson Olivia Nigro, however, said the problem was not in legislation but how it was implemented on the ground.

“It is a requirement under the existing legislation that Aboriginal communities and families are direct participants in the decision making process around the care of their children,” Ms Nigro said. “There is a clear and unacceptable discord between what is written on paper and what is happening in practice.”

GMAR founding member, Aunty Hazel, said she was proud of the families in Moree who organised the protest and hoped to join them in future to demand a seat on the table.

“This impacts on all our people in a devastating way,” she said. “We don’t want sorry, we want change. We need them to sit down at the table and listen to us, not this token effort, not this sitting in their high towers and making decisions about us, which affect us.”

The demonstrators in Moree said they were planning future protests and would join the GRAM national rally in front of Parliament House in Canberra on February 13.

see http://www.moreechampion.com.au/story/2771532/the-fight-for-childrens-future-in-moree/?cs=1231

Commemoration of Dundalee

Amazing warriors !! Such courage & committment !! We must open the new year by honouring the great resistance fighters of the past !! – Sam Watson

I hate New Year’s Day

occupation

Every morn­ing, when I wake again under the pall of the sky, I feel that for me it is New Year’s day.

That’s why I hate these New Year’s that fall like fixed matu­ri­ties, which turn life and human spirit into a com­mer­cial con­cern with its neat final bal­ance, its out­stand­ing amounts, its bud­get for the new man­age­ment. They make us lose the con­ti­nu­ity of life and spirit. You end up seri­ously think­ing that between one year and the next there is a break, that a new his­tory is begin­ning; you make res­o­lu­tions, and you regret your irres­o­lu­tion, and so on, and so forth. This is gen­er­ally what’s wrong with dates.

They say that chronol­ogy is the back­bone of his­tory. Fine. But we also need to accept that there are four or five fun­da­men­tal dates that every good per­son keeps lodged in their brain, which have played bad tricks on his­tory. They too are New Years’. The New Year’s of Roman his­tory, or of the Mid­dle Ages, or of the mod­ern age.

And they have become so inva­sive and fos­sil­is­ing that we some­times catch our­selves think­ing that life in Italy began in 752, and that 1490 or 1492 are like moun­tains that human­ity vaulted over, sud­denly find­ing itself in a new world, com­ing into a new life. So the date becomes an obsta­cle, a para­pet that stops us from see­ing that his­tory con­tin­ues to unfold along the same fun­da­men­tal unchang­ing line, with­out abrupt stops, like when at the cin­ema the film rips and there is an inter­val of daz­zling light.

That’s why I hate New Year’s. I want every morn­ing to be a new year’s for me. Every day I want to reckon with myself, and every day I want to renew myself. No day set aside for rest. I choose my pauses myself, when I feel drunk with the inten­sity of life and I want to plunge into ani­mal­ity to draw from it new vigour.

No spir­i­tual time-serving. I would like every hour of my life to be new, though con­nected to the ones that have passed. No day of cel­e­bra­tion with its manda­tory col­lec­tive rhythms, to share with all the strangers I don’t care about. Because our grand­fa­thers’ grand­fa­thers, and so on, cel­e­brated, we too should feel the urge to cel­e­brate. That is nauseating.

I await social­ism for this rea­son too. Because it will hurl into the trash all of these dates which have no res­o­nance in our spirit and, if it cre­ates oth­ers, they will at least be our own, and not the ones we have to accept with­out reser­va­tions from our silly ancestors.

– Trans­lated by Alberto Toscano

This text was first pub­lished in Avanti!, Turin edi­tion, from his col­umn “Sotto la Mole,” Jan­u­ary 1, 1916.

was an Italian Marxist revolutionary and a leader of the Italian Communist Party who was imprisoned by Benito Mussolini’s Fascist regime.

Aside

Curr’s defence team had argued the council had no power to enforce local laws on the land because, in 1999, the Queen granted a Deed of Grant of Land in Trust to Brisbane City Council on the condition it held the land “in trust for Aboriginal and for no other purpose whatsoever”.

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