Tag Archives: Aboriginal Struggle


Rai, that little magic man and our songs

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A meeting of song stories, on sacred ground. Come to listen and meet our artists. The legendary Yorta Yorta soprano Deborah Cheetham AO returns to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, mentoring and performing with Sydney’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander … Continue reading


Decision on the sacred fire

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Sacred Fire Magistrate Callaghan handed down his decision in the Brisbane Magistrates Courts today, 22 Oct 2014, concerning the sacred fire. He decided that the fire lit at the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy is a sacred fire and accepted the … Continue reading


Historic films on Democratic & Land rights struggles in Queensland

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I have been asked to share historic films that may assist in coming struggles around g20. Here are my picks about land rights and democratic rights struggles for the right to march and right to assembly. Continue reading

Aboriginal Women: punished when DOCs steals their children

property created crime[Editor’s Note: This press release from the Human Rights Law Centre says that it is family violence and removal of Aboriginal children from their families that is causing increased imprisonment of aboriginal women. But what is causing the violence and why do DOCs steal aboriginal children at five times the rate of the stolen generation? Can this be explained without looking at the poverty and the increasing division of wealth between the haves and the have-nots?]

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released figures last week showing that Australia now imprisons 18 per cent more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women than it did 12 months ago.

The Human Rights Law Centre’s Senior Lawyer, Ruth Barson, said the increase was particularly concerning given Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are already the fastest growing prisoner demographic in Australia.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women comprise just two per cent of the general population, yet over one third of the prison population. Clearly, our criminal justice systems are having a disproportionate impact on Aboriginal women and we need to address why the system is producing such discriminatory results when it comes to race and gender,” said Ms Barson.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have specific rights under the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and also under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Australia should be doing as much as it can to provide for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait women – including rights to non-discrimination, to equality before the law, and to self-determination – not ignoring them.

Ms Barson said that most imprisoned women are victims of sexual or physical violence themselves, and as a consequence might also have drug and alcohol problems, experience homelessness or have mental health issues.

“We should not be penalising vulnerability. Prison isn’t a solution to these problems and shouldn’t be our default option. Vulnerable and marginalised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women need culturally and gender specific support in the community so they don’t get caught up in the criminal justice system,” said Ms Barson.

The Deputy Chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, Priscilla Collins, said in addition to being far more expensive than early intervention programs, incarcerating women is also more likely to have long-lasting, negative flow-on effects for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities, given many women are also the primary carers of young children.

“The current system clearly isn’t working. Australia needs a smarter approach that acknowledges the unique socio-economic reasons that these women come into contact with the criminal justice system in the first instance. Investing in early intervention strategies and tackling the root problems will yield better and fairer results, and these statistics are a wakeup call to governments at all levels to get serious about such programs,” said Ms Collins.

The Convenor of the National Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services (FVPLS) Forum, Antoinette Braybrook, said that despite increasing need, the services had recently been hit by significant Government funding cuts.

“In comparison with other Australian women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are 31 times more likely to be hospitalised and 10 times more likely to die as a result of violent assault. A recent NSW study found that more than 80% of Aboriginal women prisoners surveyed reported abuse and family violence as a direct contributor to their criminal offending.”

“Family violence is the key root cause of Aboriginal women’s imprisonment and the removal of Aboriginal children from their families. Governments want to be tough on crime but they fail to invest in early intervention and prevention and access to legal representation for victim-survivors of family violence – things that we know reduce the vulnerability of Aboriginal women,” said Ms Braybrook.

Ms Barson said the Australian Government has slashed funding across the board for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services at a time of increasing need.

“We cannot ignore the specific needs and situations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. We should be building the capacity of culturally specific women’s organisations, not dismantling them,” said Ms Barson.

For further information, please contact:
Ruth Barson, HRLC Senior Lawyer on 0417773037
Priscilla Collins, Deputy Chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services on (08) 8982 5100

The Northern Territory Government cuts off water to Irrkelantye

Without any notice to the impoverished community of Irrkelantye, also known as Whitegate, the Northern Territory Government cut off the water supply. In the past, the United Nations has slammed as “an affront to human rights” such scandalous measures to shut down communities and move on people. Irrkelantye is all that its residents have known as home and indeed they have nowhere to go.

One of the residents, Felicity Haynes said she has been living there since 1996 because it is safe, distant from the substance abusing and dysfunction that permeate through some of the forever neglected communities closer to Alice Springs. Irrkelantye is three and half kilometres east of Alice Springs, impoverished and shanty but at least it is a safe space, in the midst of Country and surrounded by sacred sites.

“Irrkelantye is our Country, it is on our traditional lands. It is a safe camp away from the untraditional ways that are elsewhere. Irrkelantye here is part of our traditional ways,” said Ms Haynes.

“There are no (alcohol) drinkers here, this is a no (alcohol) drinking camp. We feel safe here.”

Ms Haynes said that Walpiri woman Bess Price thinks otherwise. Ms Price is the Country Liberal Party’s member for Stuart in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly. Ms Price is the Minister for Community Services. Apparently Ms Price shares a different view of Irrkelantye to that of its residents. Last week, Irrkelantye residents and their supporters protested outside her Alice Springs office. They will convene more demonstrations calling for the reconnecting of the water supply rather than be shuffled off into homelessness or to some of Alice Spring’s squalid town camps rather than at least the safety and open air existence at Irrkelantye.

“We are human beings. We should be treated like human beings. It makes me feel really angry and sick inside at what is happening. The Government promises lots of things but it never gets done. They lie all the time,” said Ms Haynes.

Ms Haynes said that on August 8 she and several others “went to town and when we got back the water was cut off.”

“At first we thought it had something to do with nearby construction but then we learned they had removed some of the pipes and cut off the mains.”

“This is not right.”

“How are we to drink water, shower, wash our clothes, and what of the animals? Myself, I have four dogs and a goat.”

“We will protest again outside Bess Price’s office. We need people to come and support us.”

“The Government cannot just force us off our land like this.”

“They have always let us down, they made this a restricted area with the Intervention and have never helped us with our housing needs, with power, water, always we are ignored into poverty.”

They cart water from 400 metres away.

The United Nations has slammed as abuse the cutting off of water to communities wherever in the world. In Detroit, a third of its residents face having their water supplies disconnected because they are too poor to pay their bill. The United Nations has said this is outrageous – “an affront to human rights”. What may soon occur in Detroit, is a dime a dozen in remote Australian communities – services are shut down, residents forced off their homelands and many of them into homelessness. Not long ago in the Kimberley, Oombulgarri community was shut down and its 62 homes are destined for demolition. Most of its residents are now homeless. There are also moves to demolish the Kimberley shanty of Kennedy Hill, with the families having nowhere to go. And so it continues.

What will the Northern Territory Government say if someone dies at Irrkelantye attributable directly to the closing down of the water supply?

I have left a long message with questions on the mobile of Chief Minister Adam Giles.

by Gerry Georgatos (The Stringer)
September 3rd, 2014

PICTURED: Back row, from left – Harry Hayes, Christiana Hayes, Angelina Hayes & babe, Janessa Ryder, Shirleen Hayes, Ursula Nicoloff, Shawn Johnson, Tyrell Impu-Hayes, Julie Hayes (in shadow), Felicity Hayes and (walking into frame), Kaileen Webb. Image – http://www.alicespringsnews.com.au


Wandering beneath the grace of clouds

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The following is an edited version of an interview with the writer-scholar-musician Janie Conway-Herron which took place in the beginning of March 2013. It formed part of a Master’s seminar on Australian identity/-ies taught at the University of Barcelona in which Janie Conway-Herron’s first novel, Beneath the Grace of Clouds (Cockatoo Books 2010) was addressed. The interview explores the links between her creative writing, her sense of belonging and place in Australia and her involvement in the alternative protest movements of the 1960s and beyond, especially her engagement with the Indigenous cause through Rock Against Racism. It aims to flesh out the politics behind her creative agenda, which she formulates as follows on the first pages of Beneath the Grace of Clouds. Continue reading


What’s up DOCS?!

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Remember Dundalli – 2013

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Dundalli remembrance, Post Office square, 5 January. Dundalee They teach us to study stones to contain our emotions at school we learn’t more about Sitting Bull Oh why, oh why did they have to bury his heart at Wounded Knee? … Continue reading


More on Sand Theft from Straddie

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Police to probe sand ‘theft’ Police have been called in to investigate the alleged large-scale theft of sand from North Stradbroke Island Belgian-owned mining giant Sibelco has been accused of stealing as much as 8 million worth of sand from … Continue reading


The Quandamooka Combined Aboriginal Organisations Forum proudly presents QUANDAMOOKA DREAMING A documentary film series from the Traditional Owners of Quandamooka country (Moreton Bay region) Filmmaker, Marcia Machado created four films about local history and culture in collaboration with Elders, community … Continue reading


Tony Mockeridge has asked that this song be dedicated to Lex Wotton. Accordingly this song goes out to Lex Wotton and his family for their courage in standing up for justice on Palms for the Bwgcolman people and for all … Continue reading


Brisbane Labour Day Celebrations 2011

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The Qld Council of Unions Labour Day Committee have organised a March and Celebration to be held on Monday 2 May, 2011. 10:00am March Commences from the Cnr of Wharf & Turbot Sts, please check with your union for details … Continue reading

‘Stop dumping on Aboriginal Rights’

[Aboriginal News]


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

“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


Violence done to aboriginal persons has been condoned by at least two juries now. Once in the Hurley Trial and now in the Lex Wotton trial.

Police came on to the island with high powered rifles, glock pistols, troop carriers, Tasers, to do violence against the community on Palm. They raid houses and arrest 23 people taking them off the island charging them without any evidence. Among them is Lex Wotton, his Mum is even charged. They manufacture the evidence with the aid of dope dealers and police informants. They threatened people with jail terms if they do not cooperate, they prey on the weak. Continue reading