She who stumbles

… may not fall

Request: STFU

If you’re a US blogger, especially if you’re white, and all you have to say about the violence against South Asian immigrants in Australia is “see, them Aussies are racist!” then do us a favour and STFU. We already know this and don’t need to be informed, least of all so that you can indulge some feeling of moral superiority for acknowledging your racism or something. Simply saying the word ‘racism’ doesn’t mean you have relevant or highly pointed analysis, it’s just facile.

If you have some analysis of how commodified education, labour exploitation, immigration, and violence go hand in hand, please share your thoughts. Otherwise, just link and STFU, encouraging others to do likewise.

International students being bashed in the streets – the sharp edge of the academic-industrial-complex

Dozens of attacks on students — some quite vicious and horrendous — have been reported in Melbourne, Sydney, and Newcastle in the past few weeks. A couple have been absolutely horrendous: a petrol bomb attack on a student’s home, and a brutal stabbing. Around the country, the number of attacks adds up to over 100.

In Newcastle, many of the students are being attacked because they’re avoiding using public transport due to the expense — in NSW international students don’t receive transport concessions, which is a blatantly discriminatory move by the NSW government, since in 2006 the NSW government was shown to have been unlawfully discriminating against international students before changing the law to make the discrimination legal. The NSW government is authorising and contributing to these attacks where international students’ conditions on public transport are less than those of domestic students.

I’m particularly grossed out by all the authorities, including student representatives, who keep insisting that this isn’t racially motivated. In a media release, David Barrow, president of the National Union of Students, said “While Australia is not a racist or violent country we must be constantly vigilant to ensure that international students feel welcomed into this country.”

Not sure where a white boy got the authority to speak on behalf of students of colour in this country, but given the internal machinations of NUS, such as the fact that their Ethnic Affairs officer is a white, pro-Zionist conservative, it’s hardly surprising that he’s coming out with something blatantly pandering to the police, universities’ and government’s line.

In Melbourne, Superintendent Graham Kent of Melbourne’s Western suburbs told Campus Review that “a small number of the crimes have a racial element, but it’s a very small part of the overall picture”.

“We have a problem with street-level robberies and assaults in this region, and international students are over-represented among the victims, but in most cases race is not a factor.”

Since when do the police have ESP now? And how are they even trained to make this judgement?

Is anyone noticing how it’s in their interests to deny the racist motivation for violence and instead to blame the victim? In Melbourne the police response has been to tell students to avoid talking loudly in their own language, and avoid displaying their consumer electronics. Instead of doing their jobs, they’re trying to instil fear in international students.

Never mind that there’s more of a chance of having your stuff nicked in Indian cities than in Australian ones, and many Indian students would know well how to protect their possessions. Hells, my parents’ instincts about the lack of safety in Indian cities is over 20 years old, but they’ve definitely taught me to take care of my money and possessions in public, over and above the caution that locals seem to display. Clearly it’s the fault of our cultural upbringing that causes Indians to become victims of violent crimes.

And let’s all just forget that it’s only some of these assaults involve burglary/theft!

Meanwhile, universities are playing cautious while wringing their hands about their bottom line. The old mealy-mouthed line about education being an “industry” and violent racism dissuading international students from studying here is just… disgusting. If education is an industry, then I guess students are the raw material? And governments sanctioning hate crimes by covering up for their motivations and creating the conditions for them to happen… just softens us up for the degree factories.

In fact, international students are at the sharp edge of the exploitative education “industry”. Not only do international students pay exorbitant amounts of tuition fees, which go up every semester, and visa fees, but they also bring money into the country through creating jobs and paying taxes, which adds up to billions of dollars for the GDP.

There’s also a lucrative ‘informal’ economy in immigration fraud, housing scams, and ridiculously exploitative working conditions targeting international students. Given that the conditions under which international students study are discriminatory and exploitative, it’s unsurprising that other kinds of less legitimate exploitation and discrimination are taking place.

Can we expect anything less than outright violence (which isn’t new, by the way) when governments and universities see international students as expendable cash cows? What’s the difference between universities/governments and scam artists except for legislation which makes one form of exploitation legal and the other not?

In this context, I’m totally unimpressed by the soft stance that David Barrow and NUS has taken on this issue. Racism, exploitation, and violence are propping up our tertiary education system. The money that international students bring into the higher education system keep it financially viable. The violence we’ve seen in Melbourne, Sydney and Newcastle are, far from being an aberration, an integral part of that systemic violence and exploitation. Without ordinary citizens to enforce institutionalised state discrimination, it couldn’t continue, and without institutionalised state discrimination, violence couldn’t continue. Does NUS really not give a damn about that?

Indians, however, aren’t taking this lying down. The Indian Prime Minister has even been called in on this issue and the Indian consulate has formed a committee around it.

However, it’s not going to be through bureaucratic channels that things get addressed, or if they are, it’ll only be through grass-roots mobilisation of students that the issue remains important enough to be taken seriously by the bureaucrats. So what are students doing?

Woman and partner charged in Queensland for procuring abortion


Queensland’s ‘antiquated and repressive’ abortion laws

The headline in the Cairns Post of 17 April summed it up well: “Miscarriage of justice”. On the previous day in the Cairns Magistrates’ Court, a 19-year-old woman was charged with procuring her own abortion. Her partner, aged 22, was charged with assisting her. The two are to appear in the Cairns District Court in June.

It is alleged that the young man arranged with his sister to bring into Australia from the Ukraine a supply of the drug misoprostol, which is one of the drugs legally used for medical abortion in Australia — including in Cairns. It is further alleged that his partner used the drug to procure her own miscarriage at 60 days of pregnancy (less than nine weeks). Police stated to the court that misoprostol packets and instructions for the use of the drug, in Ukrainian, were found in the couple’s house. Police also apparently told the court that the couple had not sought medical advice about the availability of abortion in Cairns.

Firstly it must be said that it is tragic for this woman that, having made the difficult decision for abortion and gone (apparently without complication) through the process of abortion — which in my experience is never easy for any woman — she has now been publicly identified and will be further exposed to the humiliation of further court appearances. It is also unfortunate that her partner, who clearly has been very supportive of her, will be equally shamed. Abortion should be an entirely private matter for a woman, her partner and her doctor.

The Queensland state legislation that has been used in these cases is contained within the Queensland Criminal Code in sections 224-226. Section 224 states that a doctor who performs an abortion commits a crime, section 225 that the woman commits a crime, and section 226 that anyone providing any substance or thing to aid the abortion commits a crime.

There is a defence for the person charged with one or more of these crimes in section 282 of the Code — which allows a “surgical operation” for the preservation of the mother’s life if the performance of the operation is reasonable. This was broadly interpreted in the case of Dr Harry Bayliss and Dr Dawn Cullen in 1986. These two doctors were acquitted on charges of procuring an abortion, and the judgement from that case, the McGuire Judgement, is the case law on which doctors currently performing abortions in Queensland, including myself, would rely if similarly charged.

The Queensland Criminal Code dates from 1899, and was in turn based upon the English Offences Against the Person Act of 1861, using, in the sections dealing with abortion, virtually the same wording. Section 224 of the Code has been used very rarely since 1899, sections 225 and 226 have probably never been used, and certainly not in the last 50 years.

The law was originally designed to protect women from unsafe backstreet abortions — it failed to do this at the time it was promulgated and it is completely at odds with the contemporary practice of abortion and the views of the majority of Australians who believe that safe legal abortion should be accessible to all women.

This extraordinary event raises some very disturbing questions. Firstly, it demonstrates the grey area that abortion still occupies in the health services. Safe abortion, both medical and surgical, is available in Cairns but it appears that these young people may not have been aware of this.

Misoprostol is usually used for medical abortion in conjunction with either mifepristone (RU486) or methotrexate; it can be effective when used alone (and would appear to have been in this case) but it should be used under medical supervision. This woman should have had the availability of counselling, support and follow-up services as well as sympathetic supervision of the abortion process itself. Why did this not happen?

The case also demonstrates the urgent need for reform of Queensland’s abortion laws which are now the most antiquated and repressive in the country.

The incoming Queensland government should follow the lead of Victoria and send the abortion laws to the Law Reform Commission for review — abortion law should be taken out of the Criminal Code and subject simply to the health regulations which deal very effectively with health including women’s reproductive health. This was recommended to the Beattie government in 2002 in the report Women and the Criminal Code, which they commissioned. Why was this recommendation not followed?

The third question is the identity of the person or persons who informed the police, not at this point publicly known. According to the Cairns Post, the drug was brought into the country on December 25th, and presumably used soon after.

The police searched the couple’s house on March 30th and found the misoprostol packets. It seems unlikely that the police would act without good professional information on the nature of the drug.

Did another Cairns medical practitioner, learning of the event, report it to the police? Whoever they are, what was their motive, three months after the event? These charges each carry prison sentences of fourteen years? Who in Cairns would be so morally outraged that they would wish such a fate on a young couple making this private decision for themselves, alone and without medical assistance?

There is already enormous concern on the part of Cairns doctors about many aspects of this case. We would hope that the DPP and/or Attorney General would look at the case with a view to withdrawing the charges. We would also hope that it will clearly demonstrate to the government of Queensland the urgent need to decriminalise outdated abortion laws.

More news:

The Queensland-based Pro-Choice Action Collective is organising a rally on June 10th to protest this injustice.

Macklin opens Reconciliation Week by announcing takeover of Aboriginal Town Camps

From WGAR News:

Media release *For immediate release 24 May 2009* Media Release

Takeover of Aboriginal Land marks Opening of Reconciliation Week

Today Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin marked the opening of Reconciliation Week by announcing that Alice Springs town camps will be compulsorily acquired. The announcement has been met with outrage by town camp residents. The move comes after Tangentyere Council, acting on behalf of town camp residents, rejected a 40 year lease deal which precluded all Aboriginal control and management of camp housing which would put decision-making and resources into the hands of Territory Housing.

The community housing model proposed by Tangentyere Council and the ability of residents to have input into housing management has been flatly rejected by the government. The community housing model was to be run by the Central Australian Affordable Housing Company, which Minister Macklin helped establish in March last year but has now been rejected in favour of a government takeover.

Residents represented by Tangentyere are opposed to Territory Housing management of the camps due to the high rate of evictions and predicted rent increases under government management. Many Aboriginal people who have been former residents of NT Housing, have already experienced evictions, with the most common reasons being for cooking kangaroo tail in the backyard or for having relatives from the bush visit. People are concerned they will have nowhere to go if evicted from town camps under Territory Housing, which already has a three year waiting list for new occupancy.

“This is an appalling decision by the federal government. It marks the start of a takeover for all Aboriginal communities who reject government leases. If the government were genuine about consultation with communities it would not be blackmailing people with long-term leases and the threat of compulsory acquisition” said Hilary Tyler from the Intervention Rollback Action Group in Alice Springs.

“You can’t take someone’s land without free, prior and informed consent. It is very hypocritical of the Government to endorse the United Nation Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples when the Intervention contravenes at least 26 articles. By keeping the Racial Discrimination Act (1975) in place it goes to show the Government of Australia is in fact racist.” says Barbara Shaw from Mt Nancy town camp.

A rally of town camp residents targeting both the NT government and federal government over its announcement of outstation closures and the compulsory acquisition of Alice Springs towncamps will take place later this week in Alice Springs.

Contact: Barb Shaw on 0401 291 166, Hilary Tyler on 0419 244 012 or Lauren Mellor on 0413 534 125

More news:

I’ve included mostly news coverage from ABC because the commercial media outlets – The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and other Fairfax publications – have been pushing the government line that land and housing takeovers by the government are about assisting “women and children”. The media assault by the government has been very canny and manipulative, and targeted at Tangantyere Council, which has long been at the forefront of resistance to the intervention. It is malicious, malevolent, coercive, calculated, and utterly ruthless. Jenny Macklin is pushing the intervention further than the Howard government ever did, and the Opposition is cheering them on all the way.

This sign-on statement has been produced by the Stop the Intervention Collective, Sydney (STICS) to be presented to the Federal Minister for Housing, Tanya Plibersek, on Friday 29th May at 12:30, at her office at 111-117 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills, Sydney (from the Intervention Rollback Action Group, Alice Springs):

Statement Opposing the Commonwealth’s Proposal to Compulsorily Acquire the Alice Springs Town Camps

We recognize the right of Tangentyere Council and town camp residents to self-determination. Town camp residents have called upon governments to address overcrowding and poverty in their communities over several years. More often than not, their demands have been ignored.

We support the recent decision by the Council to reject the Commonwealth’s proposal that would transfer control of housing and tenancy management to the Northern Territory Government. Representatives from all town camps voted to maintain community control. This is vital because of a long history of neglect and indifference to the needs of Aboriginal people by Northern Territory Housing. People rightly fear eviction and rent-increases that are beyond their capacity to pay. It is critical that Aboriginal people have the power to shape their own destinies.

We condemn Minister Macklin’s proposal for the Commonwealth to compulsorily acquire the town camps of Alice Springs. We call on the Commonwealth to respect the independence of the Tangentyere Council and to act in good faith in all of its negotiations with the Tangentyere Council.

We recognise the long struggle for land by both town camp residents and Aboriginal land holders throughout Australia. We condemn the Federal Government’s policy of withholding funding for desperately needed housing in Aboriginal communities, before Aboriginal people relinquish control of their land.

It is disgraceful that the party who championed the first land rights legislation in Australia is holding impoverished Aboriginal communities to ransom. This Government has lost its moral compass. We offer our full support to the Tangentyere Council in their struggle.

Endorsements are requested from individuals and organisations. Please circulate amongst your networks. Please reply to stoptheintervention at gmail dot com before 5pm on Thursday 28th May to indicate support.

1 million WHAT?

This is merely one example of enviroFail amongst MANY. This is why I won’t be working with the environment movement anytime soon. I just can’t deal with this kind of institutionalised failitude for longer than it takes to write a snarky blog post.

That’s why I won’t be turning this into a movement, as some would have me do. This is already an anti-movement. It’s greenwashed domination in action. Sometimes the most effective action we can take is to disengage, and not be made to feel guilty by so-called “allies”.


For the past three months, a group of students of Color at the University of Minnesota Twin-Cities Dance Program has been engaged in a protest titled “THIS” against institutional racism within their program. THIS protesters have been placing on the walls of the Barbara Barker Center for Dance, passages from a variety of anti-racist, anti-oppressive texts, as well as images of activists and artists of color.

The THIS students feel that the faculty has failed to provide safe spaces for students of Color, to provide all students with adequate anti-racist resources, and to bring social justice theory into practice.

They have been documenting their protest, and reactions to it, at their blog:
Important links on the blog:

The THIS students have been criticized from all sides — by other students, by the faculty, and in the media. On April 5, 2009 all the articles, quotations, excerpts and images that the protesters posted were torn down by White students and employees of the faculty, and subsequently, all new postings have been torn down within hours of being put up.

The dance program administration is actively engaged in silencing the protesters and misrepresenting them to save its own reputation and avoid change.



You can help by:

  1. Sending the THIS students a message of support (
  2. Making the university hear your support, by writing to or emailing the Ombudsman ( and both the dance program Chair ( and Director (
  3. Pointing academics, students, activists and allies to the THIS blog and asking them to leave a comment of support.
  4. Joining the Facebook group and encouraging your friends to join too.
  5. Reposting this call for support wherever you can — in your own blog, on your Facebook, on notice boards at your University, in your student newspaper, wherever!

Demonstrations against the NT intervention make headlines, as the fight goes to the UN

There has been a flurry of activity against the Northern Territory intervention this week, as the Convergence on Canberra got underway.

Protesters storm High Court as case dismissed

Protesters stormed inside the High Court and clashed with police after the court dismissed a challenge against the federal intervention into Northern Territory Aboriginal communities.

Dozens of anti-intervention protesters, both indigenous and non-indigenous, pushed through the court’s front doors minutes after it rejected the case brought by traditional owners from the Arnhem Land community of Maningrida.

Carrying banners and clapping, the protesters chanted, “Always was, always will be Aboriginal land,” as they moved into the court’s main foyer.

Security guards tried to prevent the protesters from entering the building but were quickly overwhelmed.

Police appeared soon after, triggering scuffles as they tried to force the protesters back outside.

After a tense half-hour stand-off, the protesters took their demonstration to the streets of Canberra.

High Court intervention: Aborigines dissent

Protesters stormed the High Court yesterday after it rejected a legal challenge against the Northern Territory intervention.

About 50 protesters, indigenous and non-indigenous, charged through the front doors 15 minutes after the court handed down its decision. The crowd overwhelmed security guards, chanting ”Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land” and waving flags and banners.

Scuffles broke out between police and the protesters, and one man was arrested. The crowd dispersed after a half-hour stand-off with police.

The High Court rejected claims from the traditional owners of the Arnhem Land community of Maningrida that aspects of the intervention, including land acquisition, were unconstitutional.

Barbara Shaw from Mt Nancy town camp in Alice Springs, who is in Canberra to petition the Federal Government at today’s Parliamentary sitting, said the decision was a blow but had been expected.

”I feel sad for them [but] I guess it’ll just make them stronger, and make us mob stronger, and keep that fighting struggle going,” she said.

”I knew that the legislation was tied in so tight that you couldn’t go through the High Court. You won’t win in the High Court, but at least somebody’s done something.”

Traditional elders storm High Court over leases

PROTESTERS stormed the High Court in Canberra yesterday after a group of NT traditional owners lost a High Court case challenging the federal intervention in Northern Territory communities.

But Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said the Government would pay compensation for land taken.

Maningrida traditional owner Reggie Wurridjal had argued the compulsory acquisition of Aboriginal land through Government leases was invalid because “just terms” compensation was not given. The High Court ruled the leases were valid.

The court decision sparked an angry reaction in Canberra.

Dozens of protesters, indigenous and non-indigenous, stormed into the High Court.

Carrying banners and clapping, the protesters chanted, “Always was, always will be Aboriginal land”, as they moved into the High Court’s main foyer.

Security guards tried to prevent the protesters from entering the building but were overwhelmed.

About 10 police officers were at the scene, triggering scuffles as they forced protesters out.

In a 6-1 judgment the High Court said the intervention was constitutionally valid andthat provisions had beenmade to properly compensatethose affected.

Retiring Justice Michael Kirby, in his final judgment before retiring, dissented and argued the matter should be sent to trial.

“The law of Australia owes the Aboriginal claimants nothing less,” he said.

Yesterday Ms Macklin said the Government was committed to giving compensation for land and other assets.

“We understand that people feel very strongly about this issue and reactions to the High Court decision will vary,” she said.

She said the NT Valuer-General was working out how much should be paid.

“Once determined, the Australian Government will immediately commence payment … over the coming months,”she said.

Some compulsory leases on communities were larger than necessary and some of them would be reduced in size, she said.

Intervention case lost, but compensation owed

Northern Territory Indigenous claimants say they’ve won the right to fair compensation for land taken over by the Federal Government as part of the Indigenous Intervention.

Two Maningrida traditional owners and the Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation yesterday lost a High Court case in which they argued the Government taking control of their land for five years was unconstitutional.

But the claimants say despite the court’s ruling they’ve improved the situation for Aboriginal communities taken over by the Federal Government because compensation can now be sought.

The chief executive of the Maningrida-based Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation, Ian Munro, says until the court’s ruling he had no confidence that fair compensation would be paid.

“Before today Territorians were not entitled, did not have an automatic entitlement, to just terms compensation. Now they do,” he says.

“The big thing that it means is that for the 73 prescribed communities that have been compulsorily acquired by the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth now has to pay just terms compensation for those leases.”

Mr Munro says the court ruling means the Federal Government won’t be able to avoid it.

“The court has found that just terms compensation must now be paid,” he says.

“Now that’s not formerly a right or an entitlement that Territorians, whether they be Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal, enjoyed, so that’s a major victory for the Northern Territory.”

The Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister, Jenny Macklin, says she always intended to pay compensation and is consulting the Northern Territory Valuer-General on how much.

But, Charles Darwin University law lecturer, Ken Parish, says the Territory Valuer-General faces a challenge in assessing Aboriginal land for compensation purposes.

Mr Parish says he’s not aware of any previous occasion when Aboriginal land has been valued for compensation.

“The problem the Valuer would have here is that Aboriginal land is inalienable. It not only hasn’t been bought and sold, it can’t be under the Land Rights Act. So there is no market and can be no market,” he says.

“But what I imagine a Valuer would do would be to draw an analogy with similar ordinary freehold land that does get bought and sold.”

Chanting protesters halt Question Time

Activists have interrupted Question Time in Federal Parliament to protest against the Northern Territory intervention.

About 20 protesters brought the first Question Time of the year to a halt for almost three minutes by chanting slogans from the public gallery.

They continued to loudly chant the slogans – including “stop the intervention” and “human rights for all” – as security guards pulled them out the chamber and forced them through the corridors of Parliament.

A few scuffles broke out as security pushed the protesters out of the main foyer into the courtyard.

Protesters disrupt federal parliament

At least a dozen protesters have interrupted the first Question Time of the year by screaming, “Stop the intervention, human rights for all” from the public gallery of the federal parliament.

Security guards surrounded the protesters with one man placed in a headlock as they tried to remove him from the chamber.

The protest was in relation to the federal government intervention into Northern Territory Aboriginal communities.

The protesters also chanted the slogans, “Shame ALP” and “Reinstate the RDA”, referring to the Racial Discrimination Act.

Security guards took several minutes to remove the protesters from the public gallery.

Activists continued their protest outside Parliament House with about 30 people chanting noisily outside the front doors, while police and tourists looked on.

Carl Taylor, of Brisbane, said the group was angry that police had earlier entered the Aboriginal tent embassy, near old parliament house, several hours earlier.

“They just came down there against our cultural right to preside over our cultural ceremonies,” Mr Taylor told AAP.

“They said they wanted to arrest someone.”

The protesters, who represented many different indigenous groups, said they wanted an end to the NT intervention, and reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Protesters were also responding to a High Court decision, handed down on Monday, to dismiss a challenge against the intervention.

The protesters later moved to the tent embassy.

UN ‘to examine’ Australia’s intervention

Aboriginal people from the town camps of Alice Springs and nearby communities are preparing to take their fight against the federal intervention to the United Nations.

Sydney-based human rights lawyer George Newhouse says the Australian government, in its treatment of his clients, would not want to be seen in a place which makes determinations about third world despotic regimes that are repressing indigenous populations.

Former Federal Court judge Ron Merkel QC is also working on the case, to be taken to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

“The complaint will be that the intervention laws are racially discriminatory and they breach Australia’s international obligations, in particular under the race convention,” Mr Newhouse said.

Announced by the Howard government 18 months ago in response to harrowing claims of widespread child sex abuse, the intervention required the suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act in order to roll out some of the more controversial measures.

These include the compulsory quarantining of half of all welfare payments to ensure the money is not spent on grog, gambling or drugs.

Mr Newhouse described the case as “incredibly strong” and said similar matters had gone before the UN “where third world despotic regimes are repressing indigenous populations”.

He said the Rudd government should be embarrassed by the measures, which are violating human rights and are blatantly racist.

“There may well be some people who are benefiting from these measures but there are a lot more who aren’t … and that doesn’t mean that because some people are receiving some benefits you can punish others,” he told ABC Radio in Darwin.

“There are a lot of very good Aboriginal people who lead exemplary lives who are being humiliated and frustrated as a result of these laws.”

Mr Newhouse, who will address a public forum on the intervention in Canberra on Monday night, conceded the UN could not force the Rudd government to change its policy.

But it can make a number of recommendations and Mr Newhouse says he expects the government to “be taking note”.

“I think it’s a source of great embarrassment to the Australian government that indigenous Australians are being forced to take this action,” he said.

Meanwhile, the construction industry is urging that Aboriginal communities accept government blackmail for basic services on their lands:

Building body urges Aboriginal communities to sign land leases

The Northern Territory Construction Association is calling on Indigenous communities to quickly sign the land lease agreements the Federal and Territory Governments are requiring before new houses are built.

The two governments want communities to sign over some control of their land for between 40 and 80 years as part of the Northern Territory Intervention, in exchange for new houses and repairs.

The Construction Association says it realises some communities are worried about the land leases.

But Graham Kemp from the Association says the industry desperately needs the work because of the slowing economy.

Stop the racism – Converge on Canberra

Stop the racism – Converge on Canberra

Converge on Canberra: 1 – 3 February 2009

Tuesday, 3 February 2009 at 12 pm Canberra: Rally for Opening of Parliament

1st – 2nd February 2009: Join activists from around the country in workshops at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra

Donations desperately needed!

  • Immediately reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act
  • Repeal the NT Intervention laws
  • Justice Not Jail – Stop Black Deaths in Custody
  • Community control and full funding for all Aboriginal services, housing, health and education. Stop the cuts to CDEP
  • Recognise the culturally autonomous Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal Nations of the Australian continent and immediately end the one-size fits all approach to Indigenous affairs. Consult with communities and nation groups independently in order to develop policy in partnership with sovereign cultural law and practice.
  • Full welfare rights for all. End the punitive welfare quarantine.
  • Immediately adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Tuesday, 3 February 2009 at 12 pm: Rally for Opening of Parliament

Buses will take people to Canberra for the protest on Tuesday Morning and return on Tuesday Afternoon. Busses leave at 8 am sharp (meet at 7.30am) on Tuesday 3 Feb from opposite Redfern Station. $20 negotiable. To book a seat on the bus call Jean 0449 646 593 before Sunday 1st Feb.

1st – 2nd February 2009: Join activists from around the country in workshops at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy

Workshops include discussion of the impacts of the NT Intervention and how we can stop it, attacks on CDEP (Community Development Employment Programs) and the new assimilation, the fight for recognition of Aboriginal Sovereignty, and more.

There will also be a public forum and discussion on the Monday night in Canberra:

The NT Intervention: Living with a Racist Policy

Monday, 2 February 2009 at 7pm: Albert Hall, Commonwealth Ave, Yarralumla, Canberra.

Speakers include: Barbara Shaw – Mt Nancy Town Camp, Mparntwe – Alice Springs, Harry Jakamarra Nelson – Yuendumu community, Elaine Peckham – Iwupataka Land Trust, George Newhouse – Human Rights Lawyer, Jon Altman – Australian National University, and other residents from NT Intervention “Prescribed Communities”.

STICS members are joining people from around the country to converge and camp at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy on the lawns of Old Parliament House. Convergence organisers have arranged porta-loos and marquees, and the “Chai tent” will be providing some food for a donation. But campers are asked to bring some snacks.

Statement for the Canberra Convergence

Aboriginal Australia still waits for human rights. Aboriginal people are 13 times more likely to be in prison than non-Indigenous Australians and horrific deaths in custody continue, as highlighted by recent events on Palm Island. Aboriginal babies die at more than twice the rate of the non-Indigenous population. The Stolen Generations still wait for compensation. Land rights are under increasing threat by mining companies and waste dumps and by the government’s push for leases to remove community control over community land. Labor has not adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The NT Intervention is based on Racial Discrimination:

In April 2008, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tom Calma said, “The most revealing indicator that the NT intervention was not consistent with human rights principles was the provision at the centre of the legislative machinery used to support the intervention, namely suspending the operation of Racial Discrimination Act.”

Yet the Rudd government says the Racial Discrimination Act will remain suspended and a blanket welfare quarantine will be maintained for at least the next year.

An Intervention that relies on the suspension of the very Act designed to protect people from racism, makes a mockery of any claim that it is for the benefit of Aboriginal people.

Self-determination – Aboriginal control of Aboriginal affairs:

“For old people the intervention is bringing up bad memories of the past, the old days, the ration days, the dog tag days and the mission days” (Women’s statement from the inaugural Prescribed Area People’s Alliance, 29 September 2008).

Under the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER), leases and government business managers have been imposed on prescribed communities.

The only houses built with Intervention funds have been for the business managers, many of which are unoccupied. Only a handful of ‘prescribed’ communities have been offered funding for housing – and only if they lease their land to the government for 40, 60 or even 90 years.

Many communities, deemed “unviable” will be denied funding and basic welfare rights. Successful programs run by local communities dealing with issues of alcohol abuse, domestic violence and education, have been dismantled as the NTER has taken bureaucratic control. The recommendations of the “Little Children are Sacred” report are being ignored.

The women of the Prescribed Area People’s Alliance declared, “we want to strongly maintain and practice our culture. We want to stay in our communities and pass on traditional knowledge to the future generations.”

Yet the NT government has announced a ban on the teaching of Aboriginal languages in schools for all but one hour in the afternoons.

This approach – of open assimilation and “mainstreaming” is being rolled out across Australia. Koori schools in Victoria are being closed by the state government.

Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP), a crucial source of support for Aboriginal communities and employment for thousands of families, are being threatened with closure nationally. People are facing the prospect of having to leave their communities in order to access employment and basic welfare rights.

Welfare rights are non-negotiable:

The Intervention represents a wholesale attack on Australia’s commitment to universal social security rights. “Income management” means Aboriginal people are treated as second-class citizens. Some communities literally rely on the uncertain delivery of food parcels.

Others are left with no money to attend funerals or ceremonies, pay for school excursions, or even buy Christmas presents. Aboriginal communities nationally are bearing the brunt of attempts to extend the punitive “income management” regime.

Never Again

In February 2008, Prime Minister Rudd apologized to the Stolen Generations committing the government to, “A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again”.

But injustices are being perpetuated under the NT Intervention. The paternalism that created “the gap” between the lives of Aboriginal people and the rest of Australia is being fostered by the Intervention and the renewed push for assimilation.

The solution to the poverty and disadvantage of Aboriginal communities begins with self-determination – allowing affected communities to decide what programs are needed and how they will be implemented.

The Labor government’s own NTER Review (13 October 2008) stated, “…addressing specific concerns in Aboriginal communities does not require the exclusion of fundamental human rights such as the Racial Discrimination Act.”

The following individuals and organisations support a convergence in Canberra on the opening day of parliament, 3 February 2009, to say no to racism and demand justice for Aboriginal Australia:

  • Central Land Council – Full Council
  • Prescribed Area People’s Alliance (NT)
  • QLD Aboriginal Council Mayors roundtable
  • Intervention Rollback Action Group (Mparntwe – Alice Springs)
  • Stop the Intervention Collective (Sydney)
  • Aboriginal Rights Coalition (Brisbane)
  • Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Canberra)
  • Top End Aboriginal Conservation Alliance
  • Sunrise Health Service (Katherine)
  • Black GST
  • Camp Sovereignty
  • Gordon & Elaine Syron, The Keeping Place/Black Fella’s Dreaming Museum
  • Aboriginal Tent Embassy (ACT)
  • Nuclear Disarmament Party
  • Women for Wik
  • WA Aboriginal Rights Coalition
  • Socialist Alliance
  • Harry Nelson (Yuendumu)
  • Phillip Wilyuka (Titjikala)
  • Barbara Shaw (Mt Nancy Town Camp)
  • Dootch Kennedy
  • Michael Mansell
  • Sam Watson
  • Robbie Thorpe
  • Les Malezer
  • Nicole Watson
  • Monique Wiseman
  • Pastor Ray Minniecon
  • Millie Ingram
  • Donna Jackson
  • Tiga Bailes
  • Irene Fisher
  • Dianne Stokes
  • Mark Lane
  • Jeff McMullen
  • Professor Larissa Behrendt (Director of Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning UTS)
  • Leonie Chester
  • Elaine Peckham (Iwupataka)
  • Eva Cox
  • George Newhouse (B.Com, LL.B, Human Rights Lawyer representing the Prescribed Area People’s Alliance in the United Nations)
  • Jon Altman
  • Shane Phillips
  • Valerie Martin (Yuendumu)
  • Lee Rhiannon (Greens NSW MP)
  • John Kaye (Greens NSW MP)
  • Nala Mansell-McKenna, State Secretary, Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre
  • Gracelyn Smallwood
  • Rosalie Kunoth-Monks
  • Robin Granites (Yuendumu)
  • Bertha Nakamarra Spencer (Hidden Valley Town Camp)
  • Michael Thompson (President, NTEU USYD Branch)
  • Rex Granites Japanangka (Yuendumu)
  • Caril Conners aka C Saville (Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council member)
  • Kerree Parter (Regional Network Programs Officer, DEWHA, Rockhampton ICC)
  • Rebecca Saville (Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council member)
  • Deborah Ruiz Wall
  • Daniel John Peterson
  • Matthew Maurer (LLB)
  • Irene Doutney (Greens Councillor, City of Sydney)
  • Genevieve Kelly (Secretary NSW NTEU)
  • Terry Mason (Senior Lecturer, Indigenous Education, University of
  • Western Sydney)
  • Fiona McAllan (Macquarie University)
  • Dr. Stephen Meredith, Psychologist

To support the Canberra protest, please E-mail stoptheintervention at gmail dot com

People coming for the workshops and camping at the embassy need to be as close to self-sufficient as possible in the following things:

– Tent

– sleeping bag

– sleeping mat

– hat

– suncream

– large water bottle

– bowl and cutlery

– mug

– snacks

– torch

– wet weather gear

– Money towards food

STICS is organising transport to Canberra for the workshops. Leaving 6am Sunday 1st Feb, returning in the evening of the 3rd or the afternoon of the 4th. To book transport call Jasmine Ali: 0401 955 405. Before Friday 30th Jan. $20 negotiable.

Donations desperately needed!

Buses of people from prescribed areas in the NT are costing $20,000. On top of that, hire of a cool-room to allow food at the Tent Embassy, and port-a-loos, sound systems and marquees are costing at least another $8,000. Additionally the campaign groups need funds for other transport to the convergence, publicity materials etc…

Please support this effort to take the struggles of Aboriginal people directly to those making the policies that are unwinding Aboriginal self-determination. Below you can find the Canberra Convergence Statement. Please approach supportive organisations to donate and support the convergence by emailing:

Donate money to:
Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney
BSB: 06 2212
Account: 10452725

Include your name or organisation in the deposit description if you wish to be identified.

Racist mobs assault people of colour on Invasion Day as public debates about the date

IT was a day to celebrate all things Australian but it quickly descended into an afternoon of violence and racism echoing the ugly stain of the 2005 Cronulla riots in NSW.

Once the embodiment of all things good about the country, Australia Day today became a scene of brawls and vandalism across NSW – with anger spreading from Shellharbour in the south to Port Macquarie in the north, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Wild brawls were also reported on the Gold Coast at Burleigh Beach, with hundreds of teenagers coming together in a series of violent confrontation on the popular family beach.

The brawls occurred at about 3pm and a heavy police presence was on hand. Several arrests were made.

In the Sydney subrub of Manly, hundreds of youths draped in “Aussie pride” livery wore slogans declaring “f–k off we’re full” as they smashed car windows and ran up the famous Corso targeting non-white shop keepers.

A 18-year-old Asian female in one of the cars was showered with shattered glass, giving her numerous cuts to her arms. She was treated on the scene by ambulance officers.

A taxi driven by a Sikh Indian was also targeted while an Asian shopkeeper was reportedly assaulted.

Groups of men jumped up on cars chanting race hate to the terrified passengers within, and were heard singing “tits out for the boys” at passing girls and yelled “lets go f–k with these Lebs”.

from The Australian

In response, NSW Premier Nathan Rees says that “racism is something that you can’t entirely stamp out”

People should speak up against racism, but the problem will always be difficult to stamp out in Australia, NSW Premier Nathan Rees says.

Mr Rees says he’s appalled by reports of youths at Manly, on Sydney’s northern beaches, wearing shirts with slogans such as “f*** off, we’re full” on Australia Day.

He says such behaviour is “absolutely reprehensible”.

“That level of intolerance has no place (in Australia),” Mr Rees has told reporters in Sydney.

“We’re a tolerant nation. More than 200 nationalities across Australia are represented.”

Three years after the race riot in Sydney’s beachside suburb of Cronulla, Mr Rees says the ugly side of Australia will always rear its head.

“I don’t think it is something you can entirely stamp out.

“This is one of those areas where eternal vigilance is required.

“Those of us who value tolerance and diversity need to be prepared to stand up and articulate why we value it.”

Meanwhile, a huge debate has been sparked by the awarding of Australian of the Year to Indigenous leader Mick Dodson, who called for the date of Australia Day (26th January, the date that the “First Fleet” landed in Sydney Cove, marking European settlement in the country) to be changed:

New Australian of the Year Professor Mick Dodson has called for a national conversation about changing the date of Australia Day.

He says he will use the position to intensify his campaign for reconciliation and human rights.

The Indigenous leader says Australia has matured enormously since last year’s apology to the Stolen Generation, and he says people are ready to consider a date change.

More news:

For some reason, Carrie-Bradshaw-wannabe Sam Brett decided this would be a great time to blog (badly) about how research at Columbia University revealed that women prefer to “date within their race” while men apparently don’t care about the race of the women they date. Not that professional sociologists are any better at reading, understanding research, writing, or analysis.

Bangladeshi Australian family detained and deported by US Border Protection

Mercy dash family denied entry to US

Rachel Browne
January 25, 2009
Deported . . . valid visas did not help the Rabbi family.

AN AUSTRALIAN family on a mercy dash to a dying relative in the United States were detained without food or water before being sent to a detention centre and forced to spend the night with criminal suspects. Their ordeal finished with them being deported.

Mr Fazle Rabbi, his wife, Rokeya, and their two sons, Rakin, 14, and Raiyan, 8, left Sydney on Tuesday, January 13 to visit Mr Rabbi’s ailing 84-year-old father in Los Angeles.

However, instead of the emotional reunion they expected, the family was detained at Los Angeles International Airport by US Customs and Border Protection officers.

Over the next 24 hours, officers questioned the Thornleigh taxi driver and his aged-care worker wife, patted them down and searched their luggage before sending them to a detention centre in a caged van. They were then taken to a hotel with other detainees at 2.30am to sleep with armed guards by their bedside before being woken at 4.30am and put on a flight back to Sydney.

Despite being Australian citizens and having valid visas to enter the US, the family members claim they were singled out because of their cultural background, having immigrated from Bangladesh four years ago.

“They treated us like terrorists,” Mr Rabbi said. “We are Australian citizens. Why did they have to keep us in a detention centre? Why did they have to lock up my kids?”

Mr Rabbi says that when he explained he was in the US to visit his father, the officers threatened him.

Despite producing the family’s $6400 return tickets, dated February 5, he says the officers accused him of attempting to illegally stay in the US.

“They were very angry,” he said.

“They threatened us and they said if you keep talking like that you’ll be in big, big trouble.”

The family, tired and hungry after their 18-hour flight from Sydney to Los Angeles via Melbourne, were given minimal food and drink during their time at the airport.

“We were given no food, apart from a few biscuits,” Mr Rabbi said.

A request to meet Mr Rabbi’s father, whom he has not seen for three years, was also denied.

“I told them that this is probably the last time I can see him before he dies,” he said. “They did not listen to me. They said, ‘You must go back to your country.’ “

A spokeswoman for the US consulate-general in Sydney said US Customs and Border Protection authorities reserved the right to refuse entry to the US.

from the Sydney Morning Herald

Black Arm Band Day – for Justice

Amongst all the back-and-forth about Barack Obama’s US election victory, I’d just like to tell you about Lex Wotton:

MEDIA RELEASE Tuesday 4 November 2008

“Call for National Black Arm Band Day for Justice”

The Townsville Indigenous Human Rights Group call on all people to support the fight for Justice of Australia’s first people by wearing a black arm band wherever you are this Friday 7 November.

On Friday 7 November, Aboriginal Resistance leader Lex Wotton will be sentenced for inciting a riot on Palm Island following the death in police custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee. We call for community support to wear a black arm band which will be symbolic of all Black Deaths in Custody and the on-going injustice for Indigenous Australians.

Chairperson of the Indigenous Human Rights Group, Gracelyn Smallwood said “As Australia’s first people we call on your support and we look to the future in establishing a National Black Arm Band Day for Justice on 14 November which will mark the death of our brother Mulrunji Doomadgee; all Black Deaths in Custody and the fight for justice for our people.”

We call on the Prime Minister Mr Kevin Rudd to make accountable the Australian governments to implement all of the Recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody; the Stolen Generation Report; the National Aboriginal Health Report and the recent Coroners Report for the Doomadgee Case.

To date, the Australian governments have failed our people by not following through and ensuring these recommendations are implemented when there have been numerous calls to. We have asked that the government put in place a process that is transparent and accountable to the community. Unless this happens, the number of deaths in custody will continue to rise as well as the rates of suicide and ongoing health issues escalate.

The whole world is watching and unless the Government intervene to put into place some real strategies to facilitate the process, justice for Australia’s first people will be seen once again as an empty vessel.

Further Information:

Gracelyn Smallwood, Chairperson TIHG, Ph: 0420653772

Media contact: Florence Onus TIHG, Ph: 0432089377

Lex was sentenced to six years today, while the police officer who murdered Mulrunji Doomadgee was given a bravery award earlier this week. Further proof that it is considered okay to kill Aboriginal people here in Australia.

NT Intervention is ageist

And a peak legal body representing Indigenous Territorians says the intervention has had the unintended consequence of prosecuting teenagers for having sex with each other.

Helen Wodak from the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency says a year on from the release of the Little Children Are Sacred report, its teenagers who are being targetted.

“We expected to see an increase in people being charged for sex offences with children and that’s not what we’ve seen. We’ve seen an increase in teenagers being prosecuted for having sex with other teenagers.”

Ms Wodak says the intervention has unevenly targetted Indigenous teenagers, but not other teens who are also having sex.

She says it may be a matter of racial discrimination.

from ‘Intervention under legal attack’ Posted Mon Jun 16, 2008 9:40am AEST; Updated Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:24am AEST, ABC News

When we say the intervention is “paternalistic” I think it literally refers to an authoritarian parental kind of control to which Aboriginal people — young and old — are supposed to respond with filial loyalty. And if you want to frame it in terms of the heterosexual nuclear family, then the framing of colonial state authority as “paternal” subtly invokes the gendering of community authority as “maternal”… which indeed a lot of community authority is, in the sense of being in the control of women.

I.e. the message is: mothers can’t take care of their children (blame women for men’s sexual abuse of children); children can’t take care of themselves (Aboriginal children are sexually irresponsible); Aboriginal men have failed in their patriarchal duties to protect women and children (and aren’t ‘real men’); Daddy State must step in and take a firm hand with them all. It’s a dynamic which repeats itself all over colonial regimes: disruption of familial (especially women’s) authority by an overarching colonial state patriarchy.

But what do young people (and I mean kids under the age of eighteen) have to say about the intervention? What must it feel like to live in an environment where your sexual decisions are ascribed either to depravity being visited upon you from outside, or your own internalised depravity? Where there is nothing to empower you to make sexual decisions for yourself?

If we frame (all) child abuse as an act of ageism — an effect of a political system which disenfranchises children and young people, which deprives them of the ability to make sexual decisions for themselves, which deprives them of a voice to speak about their sexuality (including abuses thereof) — then responses to child abuse which constrain children must also be viewed as abusive and ageist.

So why isn’t criminalising Aboriginal adolescents for having sex viewed as a form of sexual abuse of children? (A question which is based on a statement I made: you cannot combat sexual abuse of children by instituting a system of racial abuse.)

Call for a National Day of Action on Saturday June 21 to Stop the Racist Northern Territory Intervention

[Not dead, just gone to ground as the meatspace obligations spiral out of control.]

Please spread far and wide.

Endorsed by the national conference called by the Aboriginal Rights Coalition on Sunday May 25 in Sydney attended by over 200 people.

– Repeal all “NT intervention” legislation
– Restore the Racial Discrimination Act
– Fund infrastructure and community controlled services
– Sign and implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
– Aboriginal Control of Aboriginal Affairs

June 21 will mark one year since the Howard Government announced the NT intervention. Far from improving child welfare, the intervention has created a new wave of dispossession and is compounding social problems.

The Racial Discrimination Act has been suspended, land taken over and business managers imposed on communities.

The universal quarantining of welfare payments, the closure of many Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) and the compulsory acquisition of Aboriginal property has forced thousands of people from their communities into urban centres.

Bagot town camp in Darwin, for example, has increased in population from 500-1200 people since the intervention. People are facing extreme hardship without jobs, services or stable accommodation.

While the Rudd Labor government made a symbolic apology for the Stolen Generations, in practice, it has retained and expanded Howard’s explicitly racist intervention laws. The government refuses to acknowledge the social break down taking place. They continue to deny protection under the Racial Discrimination Act.

Aboriginal people are suffering stark discrimination as they are forced to stand in segregated queues in Centrelink, in supermarkets and in schools. The practice of traditional culture is becoming impossible for many, unable to travel due to welfare restrictions. As Lyle Cooper, Vice President Bagot Community has said, “I thank you Prime Minister Rudd for your apology…(but) it’s an invasion all over again. We are being told where to shop, what to eat, how to act and how to live”.

Communities continue to stand up against the intervention. Scores of representatives from “prescribed areas” traveled to join the 2000 strong Canberra Convergence at the opening of the new Parliament. Many more will come from communities around the Northern Territory to protest in Alice Springs and Darwin as part of the national protests on 21 June.

One of the strongest examples is Yuendumu, where a strategy of non-cooperation has held off repeated attempts by the government to take over local programs and implement “income management”. Jeannie Nungarrayi Egan from the community council has said, “No body likes it, we have to control our own community, we’re going to push out the quarantine”.

Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma recently released a report which demonstrates how NT intervention legislation contravenes numerous UN charters to which Australia is signatory, including International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR); and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

In July Jenny Macklin, the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs will begin a review of the Intervention. We need to bring thousands of people out onto the streets around the country to ensure grass-roots voices are no longer ignored. The new Government must break with the assimilationist policies of the Howard era. They must act on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. A massive injection of funds and resources into communities is badly needed, but cannot come at the expense of basic human rights. Only an approach which respects self-determination will lead to improvements in community life.

Stop the intervention, Stop the Racism – Human Rights for all!

Sydney: 11am, The Block, Redfern
contact Monique Wiseman 0415410558 or Paddy Gibson 0415800586

Alice Springs – Mbantua: 2pm Court House Lawns
contact Barbara Shaw 0401291166 or Marlene Hodder 0889525032

Darwin: 10am Raintree park
contact Liv 0401955405

Perth: 11am Wesley Church, cnr Hay and William st
contact Natasha Moore 0434303248

Brisbane: 11am State Parliament, George st
contact Lauren 0413534125

Melbourne: 12pm State Library
contact Michaela 0429136935

Wollongong: 10am Lowden Square (east side of Wollongong Station)
contact Sheree Rankmore 42281585 or Tina McGhie 0415504589

Adelaide: details tba
contact John Hartley 0424943990 Sue Gilby 0431112898

Rally endorsed by the national conference called by the Aboriginal Rights Coalition on Sunday May 25 in Sydney attended by over 200 people. Support from Aboriginal leaders and activists includes: Barbara Shaw (Mt Nancy town camp, Alice Springs), Lyle Cooper (President of Bagot community, Darwin), Harry Nelson (President, Yuendumu community council), June Mills (Long-grass association, Darwin), Pat Eatock (National Secretary, National Aboriginal Alliance), Brian Butler, Shireen Malamoo, Millie Ingram, Pastor Ray Minniecon, Mitch, Peta Ridgeway, Heidi Norman, Shane Phillips

Supportive organisations include: Maritime Union of Australia (MUA NSW & NT), Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), Railway Tram and Bus Union (RBTU NT), Australian Services Union (ASU NT), Top End Aboriginal Conservation Alliance, Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR NSW & NT), Indigenous Social Justice Association, Alliance for Indigenous Self Determination Melbourne, Intervention Rollback Action Group (Alice Springs), Aboriginal Rights Coalition (Darwin, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth)

This week in the news

I made my blog private for a short while because I have a paper to write, and the blog world is just too distracting for me to avoid. The paper remains unwritten, but I decided to make SWS public again because today has been an eventful day and I feel the need to say something about it.

1. Today hundreds of Melbourne taxi drivers blocked off streets in the centre of the Melbourne CBD

I walked into work today to see the TV covered in images of shirtless, shouting brown men in the middle of Melbourne and wondered what was going on.

Notice how I highlighted race first? Apparently it never occurred to the news media, who framed it as an issue about safety, about cabbies wanting safety screens. According to the mainstream media, this is not about the fact that Jalvinder Singh, an international student from India, was stabbed while doing one of the few jobs available to international students and that mounted police were called in. If it’s about anything else, it’s about the mental health of his attacker.

Which brings me to my final point: are student organisations going to take this up? I have a feeling they won’t, despite being in one, and despite the fact that May Day is tomorrow.

2. There has been a massive bust at the Block in Redfern hot on the heels of the unveiling of a new plan to upgrade the train station and build new high-density apartments in the area

I don’t have time now to go into the entire history of Redfern, the 2004 uprising, or the State government’s triple-pronged attack in the form of: ghettoisation, gentrification, and police brutality (perhaps adding co-optation of the local Aboriginal Housing Corporation into the mix). Suffice it to say, this is convenient timing for a drug raid, when anyone who walks through the station knows that police can see everything that’s going on from the top of their tower down the road.

This is not something the newspapers will tell you, though they’ll happily print the two stories side-by-side.

3. The Rudd government plans to remove unequal laws regarding de-facto relationships, so same-sex couples can enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples

I have to confess to being somewhat blind to the legal aspect of this, and to the implications for queer politics (who’s advocating for what model of rights for same-sex unions, who’s likely to feel how), but I have to say it looks pretty ambitious. De-facto relationships have many of the privileges of marriages… which is why I’m wondering what the Opposition’s response will be (not that it’s terribly relevant, given that the ALP has a majority in both houses of parliament).

4. [Something I should’ve blogged about before, but:] A refugee family from Sierra Leone is being kept apart because of the prohibitive costs of DNA testing, which the Department of Immigration demands before they can go ahead and reunite the family

Regarding the families of people of colour, I was thinking about something Brownfemipower was talking around with regard to feminism, women of colour, and families. It seems like Bfp’s focus on this issue was informed by critical engagement with racial issues as a parent and a feminist (notice that I say was). As a young, unmarried, childless woman, that stands out to me. It’s something I think needs to be engaged with more, at least in the feminism I’m exposed to and practice with my peers.

I want to explore this more: violence against families of colour and other social bonds between people of colour, not because I think those bonds are inherently virtuous (hell, they can be oppressive and downright abusive at times), but because of how white supremacy constitutes itself through enacting these forms of violence. How are white families constituted when they’re not subjected to the same kind of institutional violence? At the risk of ending up with a heavily functionalist analysis, what is white supremacy doing, when it’s attacking familial structures this way?

Secondly, as it pertains to women of colour, as women, what are these politics — of fertility, of sexuality, of bodies — producing in the consciousness of women of colour?

It might seem like I’m asking these questions because nobody is answering them, but I know that isn’t the case. I think I’m highlighting my own ignorance more than anything. Or perhaps the way that important voices are silenced, so we go over the same problems again and again.

I’m being brief and rather more simple and direct than I normally am, because I don’t have much time. I did want to mention these things, though.

Warning! The new WordPress feature is utter trollbait

So I was all excited about being able to find new blogs/posts through the new WordPress feature that adds related posts to the end of each post.

Then I found out that it was linking my blog with a blog by a white guy who claims to be a “racial realist” and writes a bunch of racist shit. Given that The Angry Black Woman has just gotten over a white supremacist attack, I’m pretty wary of any link between SWS and anything white supremacist.

So I left a comment on the announcement post, and came back to my dashboard to find a troll comment. Note the obviously fake email address and banal sexism.

CaptainReality |

Feminists are irrelevant losers. Their ideas die with them, because they’re invariably childless. They’re all so miserable and dour.

Anyhow, I’m off to make sure my daughter has dollies to hug and toy prams to push around so that she doesn’t become a miserable spinster like most of you lot.

So women of colour are, yet again, forced away from using a powerful networking tool because of actual or potential attacks. Hm.

Anyway, I’d suggest that most of you disable the feature. You can do so by going to the Design tab in your dashboard, clicking on Extras, and then checking the box that lets you disable the possibly related posts feature. I’ve also posted about it in the announcement thread (currently waiting for my comment to come out of moderation) and in the forums (if any shit starts there, I will start throwing knives), so maybe WP will change the feature altogether.

I’m going to make a comment policy too now, cos I now feel I need to specify that if you’re arsehole enough to use a fake email address your words must not be worth much in the way of dialogue, so you’ll be treated as a troll and blacklisted. And because this blog seems to be getting heaps more traffic lately, just off the whole feminist blogsplosion.

Edited to add: The comments policy is here. It’s not ideal, but it’s something. It’s also very late for me and I want to go to bed.
You might also notice a new Creative Commons License on my sidebar over there. Don’t be a jerk in comments and don’t steal my shit. That is basically it.

Edit #2: I’ve disabled the ‘Possibly related posts’ feature, but it doesn’t seem to be working. My blog is still showing up on the links at other sites.

The Revolution Will Not Be Published

First of all, I have to sigh and restate my desire to get away from blogosphere conflicts that centre around white North American women. I consider the conflict itself a waste of time for me, since I don’t think I’m going to make a difference to the business of the US feminist blogosphere by contributing on white peoples’ blogs.

I am appropriating from this conflict a few specific issues which I want to address, because they caught my attention and jibed with a few other things I’ve been thinking about. But they do involve criticism of another blogger, who is being criticised for a few other things at the moment. If that hurts her feelings, well, ok.

I want to talk about the blogging v. book publishing and how the divergence between these two modes of communication reflects divergences in social justice work in general. My ideas about his have been informed by the work of Brownfemipower in writing about the nonprofit-industrial complex and blogging as a tool for liberation. (And yes, I’m referring to the Incite! Women of Color Against Violence anthology with a similar title, The Revolution Will Not Be Funded.)

I guess my other deleted comment* from the Feministe thread is a good place to start:

I don’t buy that in the years of reading and commenting at Bfp’s blog, Amanda didn’t notice that Bfp was working on dealing with immigration as a feminist issue. I can remember, last year, Bfp blogging about every single issue that Marcotte mentions in her article. If Amanda wants credit for not being stupid, then she has to own up to paying attention to a blog she claims to read.

I also find the article in question highly bizarre since it doesn’t mention a single immigrant women’s/women of colour organisation which is working on the issues, despite Marcotte’s willingness to make ambiguous statements about the relevance of feminism and intersectionality. Returning to Jessica Hoffmann’s piece, it’s clear that the state of feminism is such that it’s women of colour who are the innovators and doing the most cutting-edge work. Hoffmann is one white woman who isn’t afraid to credit specific woc for that work. So why the disappearing act with woc in Marcotte’s article? Why do woc appear only as victims, but not the originators of the concept of intersectionality — one of the ideas which woc use to push for liberation?

It points to a common practice whereby white people render women of colour, especially radical woc activists, invisible. Where white women take credit for the innovations of woc. This is harmful to women of colour. It reduces the visibility of the resources which are out there, and it limits the growth of woc-initiated initiatives.

I for one don’t trust Marcotte’s judgement in deciding who is out to get her and who has genuine criticism. It’s common for her to claim that her critics are jealous of her book deal. I find it interesting that accusations against her are egregious and unethical because she’s a professional, but that she can attribute all kinds of motives to people who don’t have book deals, and that’s okay because writing isn’t their livelihood. So accountability in the feminist movement has to go out the window to support those privileged women who get into positions of power? So the work of women of colour is less valuable than that of white women because woc are unpublishable (then again, Marcotte’s publisher is Seal Press)? Again, I would expect that from conservative feminist organisations like NOW, not from people who are familiar with and accept the work of radical women of colour like Brownfemipower. I don’t accept the implicit vanguardism in that formulation.

If it’s personal and about Amanda Marcotte’s livelihood, then it should be equally personal for Bfp and all the women of colour involved too. If Marcotte stands to have her means of making a living damaged by accusations of “stealing,” what do woc stand to lose? And the answer is no less personal, no less vital, than the means of our existence too. Woc might not make our bucks by blogging, but woc have long criticised and resisted co-optation by capitalism as the strategy for achieving justice (and yes, Bfp blogged about this as well). For radical women of colour, blogging in itself is a tool for change, used in different ways than it is used by white liberal feminists.
Hence why white liberal feminists who do deal in capitalism have to face up to the onus of dealing justly with these alternatives. And that means not appropriating, and giving support to woc initiatives whenever possible. I do not see that Marcotte has done these things, and in fact has made a series of excuses to avoid doing them in the future.

The fact is, ‘professionalisation’ in feminism is not a new issue nor an issue specific to white US feminists. I have had a number of conversations with women around the world who have criticised the women who take up “leadership” positions in their regional/local/national feminist movements through a combination of class/ethnic/race/sexual/able-bodied privilege and professionalisation of feminist work.

The criticisms — that these women represent only a narrow agenda based on an even narrower conception of the problems, that they are self-serving and unresponsive, that their work is compromised by the agendas of business, academia and the state — are predictable and well-worn, but still have yet to be addressed or dealt with.

However, there’s a bigger criticism out there. It’s an elephant-sized issue, and hardly anyone talks about it. Anne Summers mentioned in a speech last year, but it’s the first I’ve heard of it, and I want to explore it more.

That is, when you rely on bureaucratisation and incorporation of high-level leaders into the state and business, once the state decides it doesn’t want to deal with women’s issues any more, you’re basically fucked. And this is what has happened to the Australian women’s movement in the eleven years that John Howard was in power. Women’s government agencies were consistently de-funded, attacked ideologically and dismantled, while sexist policies around abortion, welfare, family, childcare, maternity leave and workplace relations were put into place.

This is also occurring in the environmental movement, where large NGOs are becoming more conservative so as not to lose lobbying access, while ineffective and even dangerous policies are being pursued (e.g. increasing reliance on nuclear energy, carbon trading, bio-fuels, carbon sinks, ‘clean coal’, electricity privatisation).

It is not a new observation I’m making (regrettably, I’m at a loss for who to link on this, other than Paula Rojas, who I found via Bfp), but I would like to explore it further than it seems to have been. Specifically, I want to explore what kinds of consequences it has on social movements when relatively fragile (and I use the term relatively here, for contrast) social movements must interact with the agendas of the state, of business, and academia. For it seems to me that these interactions are often toxic, producing a huge level of division, disorganisation and ultimately, in destroying fragile coalitions and organisations.

The much larger apparatus’ of the state, business and academia seem to appropriate the best energies of the activists whose genuine ingenuity and passion are co-opted into ossified hierarchical structures. And the movement responds by rallying support for those activists because they command unprecedented levels of power and mainstream credibility. Yet that credibility is premised on an overall tokenism about the issue at stake, be it ecological justice, women’s liberation, racial justice, disability rights, or queer rights. The hierarchical accountability structures which authorise that credibility can muzzle the most radical activist (e.g. Peter Garrett).

In many cases, a lack of political will at the top co-exists with fluctuations in activist work in creating alternatives around an issue or set of issues. Howard’s ruling out same-sex marriage rights hasn’t stalled queer community-building, and the announcement of a “new paternalism” in Aboriginal affairs hasn’t stopped Aboriginal activists from organising their communities. But when equal access to elite status becomes the goal of a political movement, it becomes apparent that it is no longer concerned with justice, and it develops a parasitic relationship with the grass-roots of that movement.

This is why I’ve started to believe in the concept of ‘revolution’, if not the actuality of a national revolution. It’s because optimism about piecemeal change relies on putting your faith in incrementalism — the model where small changes accumulate on top of each other to eventually lead to a situation of greater justice. But the strategies of the system only reproduce injustices and inequalities in different ways. If you abolish legislative racial segregation without ousting the agents whose interests lie in certain types of labour and certain types of housing being devalued, then they will continue to be devalued. If you abolish nuclear energy without ensuring more ecologically sound energy production, you stand only to strengthen fossil fuel industries and pave the way for re-nuclearisation.

Ultimately, incrementalism only works insofar as goals stay the same while everything else changes.

We may be able to make a difference by initiating reforms which work against the logic of the existing system. But that requires deliberate and very considered work, involving a great variety of groups, to achieve. And to achieve that, we need spaces in which radical forms of democracy operate, so as to establish a level of independence from outside agendas.

This is why the most path-breaking work is outside most of the power structures in society, and why non-profit/non-governmental organisations, government agencies, and for-profit corporations lag so far behind in transforming society in the shape of radical justice. It’s why the revolution will not be published, and certainly not by Seal Press. It’s because the most groundbreaking feminist work isn’t being published at all, and in fact is in an antagonistic relation to the publishing industry and the academic-industrial complex.

Perhaps grass-roots radicalism will frame the shape of a new, just society, because it needs to frame new ways of being to survive. Or perhaps those new ways of being are only transitional forms, or maybe they’re just instrumentally useful. I’m not a soothsayer, so I don’t have the answer to that. I do, however, believe that I need grass-roots radicalism to survive, and that I can see changes occurring because of what I do. That’s good enough for me; I don’t need a book deal.

* With Feministe and the thread in question I can readily believe it was just a case of caught-in-moderation, but it doesn’t seem to have affected anyone else, and the mod restrictions seem lax enough that a pointless provocateur got through when I didn’t. After the Seal Press imbroglio, I’m just a little bit sensitive to being censored for making reasonable criticisms, so excuse me if I need to joke about it to blow off steam.


I have to say, after the whole Yes Means Yes imbroglio, I swore to myself that I would never ever get involved in another US feminist blogwar. If US women of colour — who clean up after white women, who take care of white women’s kids, who cook white women’s food, who teach white women in schools, etc. etc. — are invisible to white women, then international women of colour must really be off the radar! And I’m okay with that, because there’s not much I need from white North American women, nor do I want to be part of their “feminist” movement, and I’m sure as hell not gonna fight them for it. I have my own battles to fight, and plenty to gain, right here.

[Notice how I’ve just given up on promising posts that I know I won’t deliver on? Blogging is just not my priority lately. This one only appears because it’s a very spontaneous response to some web shenanigans.]

But I did get involved. After seeing the asinine behaviour of Brooke Warner and Krista Lyons-Gould, editor and manager of Seal Press (the people who brought you Full Frontal Feminism and Love And Consequences), I made a comment on their blog post about the issue. (In case you didn’t catch it, they were incredibly racist and rude on Blackamazon’s blog.)

Along with other comments made by other women of colour, mine was deleted. Discussion in closed forums revealed tales of others’ deleted comments.

My comment was about the gross double-standards being perpetuated by Brooke and Krista, and the Seal Press “team”. In The World According to Brooke and Krista, only they are allowed to have feelings, and they get to lash out at anyone they want to when their feelings are hurt. They don’t have to face any consequences for lashing out, because they’re more important than everyone, especially women of colour, on account of they own the means of production. Women of colour should be grateful to Brooke and Krista for even condescending to speak to us, because they’re so busy running their press that they have no time to try to work with women of colour, who are basically unpublishable anyway, their books will never sell. Oh, but when they do publish women of colour, they get to use that work to flounce around proclaiming how virtuous and anti-racist they are, because clearly women of colour are choosing to work for them and not those other white people over there.

Secondly, my point was that they basically got a whole lot of business advice for free in the comment thread on their blog. People were critical, but many came with a genuine spirit of engaging and educating, and gave a lot of professional-quality advice to the Seal editors. I wanted to emphasise that they should at least acknowledge the people who gave them this advice, since appropriating and then taking the credit for the contributions of women of colour tends to be somewhat endemic amongst white feminists. It’s a bit of a hot-button issue right now.

Now, it hardly needs to be pointed out that deleting comments that are critical of you and that put pressure on you to act in a certain way really really doesn’t inspire trust in people who you just insulted. In fact, it might even be called a negative discourse that is engaged by haters.

Ohnoes, it looks like only white women can affect the precise level of whiny melodrama that it would take to make assertions like that. I’ll have to settle for actual critique. :-(

In that vein, I’m going to invite anyone who’s had their comment deleted to post it here. Say what you think about Seal Press!

Me, personally, in the spirit of skewering double standards, I’m gonna settle for the immortal words of Blackamazon: Fuck Seal Press. You just made yourselves irrelevant.

I have a feeling that if the irrelevant feminists are the ones getting book deals, then pretty soon all the feminists doing groundbreaking work will stop paying attention to what gets published in books and start looking at other media that feminists have used to express themselves. I mean, that’s what feminist historiography has done — find women outside the malestream and analyse their strategies for survival, growth, change and challenge. Radical woc internationalism may have a ways go, but compared to this crap we’re basically on fire.

Edited to add: And in the spirit of acknowledging your sources, I want to quote Jessica Hoffmann’s An Open Letter to White Feminists:

[The] dominant, white-led feminist movement is consistently unresponsive to the grassroots while it works within and strengthens the very structures that violently maintain social hierarchies.


In the summer and fall of 2007, I found myself invited to participate in a slew of meetings and conference calls organized by small, new majority-white “feminist” groups around the United States; over and over again, members wondered earnestly how they could draw more women of color to participate in their projects. Around the same time, I read and heard a whole lot of white feminist media makers explaining that “we” need to show young women “why feminism matters.” Sometimes I asked them why, in the face of a series of egregious, in some cases highly publicized examples of state violence against marginalized people (e.g., Jena 6 and the New Jersey 4), prominent white feminists are MIA in and largely ignorant of the work and analyses of major, often feminist-of-color-led movements against state violence? And, I wondered, what is your feminism for, and why does it matter? Because feminists of color don’t seem to need convincing on that point — they’re engaged in profound, intergenerational, cross-cultural grassroots work that is transforming not only feminist movement but all social-change movements. [emphasis mine]

It’s not just the “haters” saying this. So does it make it easier to digest if a white woman says it?

Labor party hypocrisy

From a mailing list:

Welfare restrictions for WA Indig families

Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin has announced welfare restrictions for some Western Australian Aboriginal families in the same way they apply in the Northern Territory.

A Western Australian coroner recently delivered a scathing report into service delivery for the state’s Aboriginal people and called for welfare restrictions.

Ms Macklin has announced that she will adopt his recommendation.

“I am announcing that the Australian Government will proceed with a trial of welfare payment conditionality and income management to combat poor parenting and community behaviours in selected Western Australian communities including in the Kimberley,” she said.

Ms Macklin says the WA Government will be partners in a trial and will fund parent responsibility teams.

“[They will] work with Centrelink to improve parenting where children are being neglected and are at risk of abuse,” she said.

“As part of the case management of a family, Western Australian child protection officers will be able to request Centrelink require that a person be subject to income management.”,25197,23249316-5013172,00.html

Outback taskforce gets star chamber

Simon Kearney | February 21, 2008

A FEDERAL investigation into child sexual abuse and violence in Aboriginal communities has been given star chamber powers to imprison unco-operative witnesses after its 18-month investigation hit a wall of silence in the outback.

The granting of the status of a special intelligence operation is a significant upgrade of the Alice Springs-based taskforce running the investigation, and came only after members had to argue its case in front of Australia’s eight police commissioners.

The new powers put violence and child sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities on a par with outlaw motorcycle gangs and international crime syndicates as priority for law enforcement. The powers investigators will use are similar to those granted to people investigating a terrorist plot.

The Australian understands that investigators, while having significant success uncovering information, have been frustrated by the unwillingness of non-government organisations to provide formal disclosures.

In addition, people in Aboriginal communities are often intimidated into not disclosing crimes, such as child sexual abuse and domestic violence. Critically, the investigators have uncovered many communities run through intimidation and standover tactics by men involved in criminal activity, including abuse.

Anyone questioned in what is known as the star chamber is legally prevented from revealing that the interview occurred, except to their lawyer.

Australian Crime Commission chief executive Alastair Milroy told The Australian yesterday the aim of the new powers was to obtain specific intelligence relating to violence, child abuse and related offences of substance abuse and pornography.

“Coercive powers will provide a clear legal basis and protection for non-government organisations, state and territory authorities, service providers and individuals to provide confidential information, as well as an environment that is more conducive to gathering personal testimony,” he said. “The approval of coercive powers was considered essential to overcome impediments in accessing information collection relating to indigenous violence and child abuse.”

Mr Milroy said the powers would not be used to target victims. The star chamber may travel to communities, if necessary, taking into greater account the need in many cases to protect the identity of witnesses being questioned.

The 31-strong National Indigenous Violence and Child Abuse Intelligence Task Force has made significant inroads exposing an epidemic of child sexual abuse and violence similar to revelations contained in the Little Children Are Sacred report, which was released in June last year and prompted the Howard government’s emergency intervention in the NT.

As of Tuesday, the taskforce had provided police and child protection authorities in every state and the NT with 236 reports that could be used in subsequent investigations.

The star chamber inquiry is carried out by an independent examiner.

The findings of inquiries cannot be used in court but the disclosures can be passed to police to investigate later.

Initially, the powers would be used to force organisations and individuals to produce documents from which further inquiries would be launched, Mr Milroy said.

“The ACC will utilise coercive powers in a culturally sensitive manner in order to identify offenders and obtain specific intelligence relating to violence, child abuse and related offences of substances abuse and pornography,” Mr Milroy said.

The taskforce is expected to continue its work until the end of this year before presenting a comprehensive report to the nation’s police commissioners in the middle of next year.

There are NO WORDS.


I absolutely cannot believe that they would do this and have the nerve to try to cover themselves in glory by “apologising” for kidnapping Aboriginal children at the same time as imposing this authoritarian, racist horror on Aboriginal children now.

Here’s a newsflash, Kevin: if you apologise, but keep doing the same harmful things you were doing that you had to apologise for, then it becomes clear that you’re not only insincere and untrustworthy, but also an opportunistic, manipulative abuser.

Public Announcement: Black Australia Proclaims July as BLACK HISTORY MONTH

A message forwarded over e-mail lists:

26th January 2008



On this 26th Day of January 2008, in commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the proclamation of SURVIVAL day, it is hereby announced that the month of JULY 1-31st is now proclaimed BLACK history month in Australia.

From this day forth and for all years to come, JULY will remain a month of significance and symbolism for the unity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nations, in celebration of Australia’s rich, vibrant Indigenous histories and cultures.

JULY will provide an opportunity for ALL AUSTRALIANS to recognise the true Australian identity, giving Schools, Government, Multicultural Australia and most significantly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities the opportunity to respectfully promote greater awareness of the diversity, innovation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander splendour.

Australia’s BLACK history month, will join the worldwide celebration of Black History Month, giving a greater international profile to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations, alongside Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

The Australian community is hereby advised to BLACK out JULY in their diaries annually as a month of pride and celebration of all tribal groups and people throughout Australia and the Torres Strait.



Calling all Aboriginal people and supporters to converge on Canberra!

Stand up for Aboriginal rights on the first day of the new parliament!

Converge on Canberra poster

Tuesday, February 12 2008
Meet Aboriginal Tent Embassy 11:30am
March to Parliament for 1pm rally

Turn back Howard and Brough’s racist legacy!

– Reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act
– Demand immediate review of the NT intervention
– End welfare quarantines, compulsory land acquisition and
‘mission manager’ powers
– Implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Aboriginal People
– Aboriginal control of Aboriginal affairs

In the final months of government, John Howard introduced a package of discriminatory, unfair and punitive measures against Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory. Aimed at controlling Aboriginal lives and land, the legislation was a stark violation of basic human rights and dignities.

Federal Labor is promising a new era in Aboriginal affairs. They are pledging to say sorry to the stolen generation and to sign the UN declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. They have promised to restore both the CDEP (Community Development and Employment Program) and the permit system, which will ameliorate some of the worst effects of the NT intervention.

Unfortunately there are aspects of ALP policy that is still disturbingly similar to the Liberals’. Plainly discriminatory measures such as mandatory welfare quarantines, compulsory land acquisition and the presence of non-Aboriginal “business managers” with extraordinary powers are being suffered under right now. There has been no move to allow the operation of the Racial Discrimination Act. The cry for immediate review of the legislation coming from across the NT has been ignored.

The Labor Government must comply with accepted international human rights laws and standards of non discrimination, equality , natural justice and procedural fairness. Legislation being implemented in the NT breaches commitments Australia has made as a signatory to major human rights treaties and conventions; such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Human Rights Commission must immediately review the legislation to ensure compliance with these obligations.

The federal election revealed overwhelming opposition to the intervention among Aboriginal communities. When Labor MP’s in affected areas emphasised political differences to the Coalition they consistently received over 80% of the vote; with 95% in the town of Wadeye.

Despite government claims that the intervention is a response to the Anderson & Wild “Little Children are Sacred” report, no new community-based services to ensure the safety and protection of children have been established, and there has been a notable duplication of services – particularly in the area of child health checks. There is an urgent need for delivery of essential services, infrastructure and programs genuinely targeted at improving the safety and well being of children and developed in consultation with communities. Huge amounts of public money have been wasted, with $88 million alone going towards bureaucrats to control Aboriginal welfare.

Moving Forward
A vibrant, mass convergence Canberra on the first day of parliament will be an important step in challenging the lingering legacy of Howard’s racism. We can strongly push for an immediate end to what Aboriginal communities have themselves described as an invasion. We can send a strong signal to Kevin Rudd and his new government to put Aboriginal rights at the centre of their agenda; to massively increase the resources available to communities across Australia and to respect Aboriginal control of Aboriginal affairs.

How to get there!
Buses will be leaving from the Block, opposite Redfern Station, on Tuesday 12 February. Get there at 7am for 7:30am departure.

Ring Janene to book a seat on the bus – 0416 490 481 – $20 ($10 concession).

If you are interested in going down to Canberra on Monday 11 Feb, let us know that as well. Bus times for Monday are still being confirmed.

Initiated by the Aboriginal Rights Coalition, Sydney. Come to the meetings 6pm every Monday at Redfern Community Centre, Hugo St.

Shane Phillips 0414077631
Greg Eatock 0432050240
Read more…

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