WGAR News: Ampilatwatja Anti-Intervention Walk-off Speaking Tour (22 Sep 09)

WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)

WGAR website: http://wgar.info/

Ampilatwatja Anti-Intervention Walk-off Speaking Tour
Restrictions on Bilingual Education in the NT
NT Intervention Chief removed
Call for Stolen Generations Compensation
Homelands / Outstations Policy
Proposed National Indigenous Representative Body
Aboriginal Housing in the NT
Other Aboriginal articles


- Background

Intervention walkoff’s Blog

WGAR News:
Intervention Walk-off community seeks UN support (26 Aug 09)

WGAR News:
Alyawarra people seek UN refugee status (29 Aug 09)
[scroll down page] http://indymedia.org.au/2009/08/29/wgar-news-un-expert-calls-nt-interven...

- Top Story

National Indigenous Times:
Dreaming of a new Utopia
18 Sep 09: "SICK of having your welfare entitlements compulsorily controlled by the Rudd government? Tired of being treated like a third class citizen with no human rights? Frustrated that you no longer enjoy the protection of the Racial Discrimination Act? Well, why not do what Richard Downs and about 200 of his countrymen and women have done. Walk off your community, and start a new one... outside the reach of the racist Northern Territory intervention." Chris Graham

- National Speaking Tour

Intervention walkoff’s Blog:
October 2009 - Speaking Tour - Sydney~Canberra~Melbourne~Brisbane
"Richard Downs will be visiting Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne in October to spread the message of the Alyawarra Elders and to rally support for the walk-off and the campaign to stop the intervention."

- Videos

YouTube: Ampilatwatja Anti-Intervention Walk off
Short film by Eleanor Gilbert
15 Sep 09: "From October 6 - 20, Richard Downs will be speaking in major capital cities across Australia. Richard is a spokesperson for the Alyawarr people, who have walked off their community at Ampilatwatja against the NT Intervention and established a protest camp outside the boundaries of the "Prescribed Area"."

Intervention walkoff’s Blog: Ampilatwatja Walk off
[scroll down page] http://interventionwalkoff.wordpress.com/video/

- Radio

Indigenous radio station 98.9FM Brisbane
Let's Talk - Indigenous presented talkback:
14 Sep 09: "Richard Downs - Tiga Bayles spoke with Richard Downs, spokesperson for the Ampilatwatja Community Walk-Off. They spoke about Northern Territory Intervention and the Walk-Off."
Listen to this interview on-line:

- Statement

Intervention walkoff’s Blog: Appeal to Indigenous leaders
14 Sep 09: " ... I urge that we, as leaders, show true leadership in Aboriginal ways to bring our people together as one, or are we too far assimilated that we cannot put aside our differences and can no longer think in the traditional way? ... Let us stand united against the federal governments’ Northern Territory Emergency Response legislation and other racist policies, and the Northern Territory governments’ homeland policies by (sending statements to govt and media, walking off communities, signing on to support groups, attend a gathering) don’t let the flame die down" Richard Downs, Alyawarr Spokesperson

- News

National Indigenous Times:
Downs calls on nation's elders to lead more black walk-offs
17 Sep 09: "The man who led the community of Ampilatwatja in a walk-off is urging Aboriginal leaders around the nation to get behind the protest action."


- Extended Interviews and Video; Reports and Resources; News

ABC Four Corners TV: "Going Back to Lajamanu"
14 Sep 09: "Should Aboriginal children in remote schools be taught in their own language or in English? ... Reporter Debbie Whitmont travels to the Top End to discover what will happen following a government move to scrap a controversial 35 year-old experiment in bilingual education."

- Program Transcript

ABC Four Corners TV: "Going Back to Lajamanu"
"Read the program transcript for Debbie Whitmont's report "Going Back to Lajamanu", first broadcast 14 September 2009."

- Further Reading

ABC Four Corners TV: Further Reading
14 Sep 09: "View key reports, statistics and news related to indigenous education in the Northern Territory. Includes a detailed chronology of the government's bilingual education policy."

- Related Video (Coming up on Friday September 25 2009, 6:00 PM ABC TV)

ABC Message Stick: Many Tongues One Voice
20 Sep 09: "Looks at how communities are retrieving their dormant languages and maintaining these languages through promoting and teaching not only Aboriginal youth but all Australians."

- News

ABC: Bilingual education changes hit roadblock
14 Sep 09: "The chairman of a remote Aboriginal school says he is going to ignore the Northern Territory Government's edict to slash bilingual education. The Government is making it mandatory for lessons to be taught in English for the first four hours of every school day. Tonight's Four Corners program has been told that that is in direct contravention of an agreement the Government signed with a Top End community which guaranteed bilingual education would continue."

ABC: Bilingual debate rages in NT
14 Sep 09: "Last week, national literacy and numeracy test results showed the Northern Territory once again lagged behind the rest of the country. And the Northern Territory Government has been accused of plunging Indigenous children into further disadvantage through a mandatory policy for teachers to speak English in remote classrooms."

- Background

For up-to-date info on the issue, see:

Friends of Bilingual Learning – Discussion Group
“Supporters of Bilingual & Multilingual education, living and learning in the Northern Territory. Recognising the importance of language in human development, identity and wellbeing.”

For background on the issue, see:

WGAR News:
Restrictions on Aboriginal Languages in NT schools (20 Nov 08)

WGAR News:
NT Aboriginal Languages Policy (25 Nov 08)

WGAR News:
Restrictions on NT Bilingual Education (30 Nov 08)

WGAR News:
Restrictions on Aboriginal Languages in NT schools (4 Dec 08)

WGAR News:
Restrictions on NT Bilingual Education (15 Dec 08)

WGAR News:
NT Aboriginal languages restrictions delayed one year (18 Dec 08)

WGAR News:
Attempts to phase out Bilingual Education in the NT (23 Jun 09)

WGAR News:
Bilingual Education in the Northern Territory (30 Jun 09)
[scroll down page] http://wgar.info/2009/07/01/300609-united-nations-concerned-over-norther...

WGAR News:
Bilingual Education in the Northern Territory (6 Jul 09)
[scroll down page] http://perth.indymedia.org/index.php?action=newswire&parentview=144662

WGAR News:
Bilingual Education in the Northern Territory (12 Jul 09)
[scroll down page] http://perth.indymedia.org/index.php?action=newswire&parentview=144730

WGAR News:
Attempts to restrict Aboriginal languages in NT schools (15 Jul 09)


- Background on the appointment of Mike Zissler

Canberra Times: Silent servant: NT intervention’s new chief kept quiet
31 Mar 09: “The new Northern Territory intervention boss has been gagged after only four weeks in the job. Former Canberra bureaucrat Mike Zissler was appointed head of the emergency response into Aboriginal communities on March 2, replacing Major-General Dave Chalmers.”

ABC Lateline: New NT intervention head feels community anger
31 Mar 09: “Mike Zissler has just taken over as the head of the federal intervention in the Northern Terrortiy and already he is feeling the wrath of a central Australian Aboriginal community.”

ABC PM: Territory community leaders offended by Federal action
31 Mar 09: “He’s the new man in charge of the Northern Territory intervention but he’s keeping silent on its future. Former Canberra bureaucrat Mike Zissler has been gagged from speaking to the media. PM though was able to join him as he visited the isolated community of Utopia a couple of hundred kilometres from Alice Springs. There, community leaders are frustrated and offended by some of the Federal Government’s actions.”
[Includes comments by Mike Zissler and Rosalie Kunoth-Monks]

ABC: ‘Immoral’ to charge people to live on their own land: Aboriginal leader
31 Mar 09: “A Central Australian Aboriginal community leader [Rosalie Kunoth Monks] has told the new head of the federal intervention it is immoral to charge rent to people who are living in humpies on their own land. Mike Zissler has met residents from the 16 homelands that make up Utopia, north-east of Alice Springs.”

- News related to the removal of Mike Zissler

ABC: Role of NT Intervention chief quietly scrapped
16 Sep 09: "The Federal Government has today confirmed that Mike Zissler left his role as Operational Commander of the Northern Territory Emergency Response in June, despite only being appointed to the job in March. ... Barbara Shaw, from the Rollback the Intervention group in Alice Springs, says the Government's move will make the intervention less transparent."

ABC: Intervention changed by stealth: Greens
16 Sep 09: "The Federal Government's decision not to renew the contract of the head of the Northern Territory Emergency Response is another sign the intervention is being changed by stealth, the Australian Greens say. The Government has decided to axe the position, which was held by Mike Zissler, and give control to the Indigenous Affairs Minister, Jenny Macklin's department."

Australian: Opposition says intervention is over
16 Sep 09: "THE Federal Government has been accused of burying the Northern Territory intervention by quietly abolishing the position of operational commander. "It effectively means the intervention is over," the Opposition's indigenous affairs spokesman Tony Abbott said, adding it was a "very sad day" for Australia."

Australian: Government abandoned NT intervention, says opposition indigenous affairs spokesman Tony Abbott
16 Sep 09: "THE government has abandoned the Northern Territory intervention for business as usual, the opposition has claimed.
It has been confirmed today that the head of the intervention, Mike Zissler, left in June. The Government has said today his appointment was always only ever for a fixed term."

ABC: Intervention 'tragedy': Abbott slams job axing
16 Sep 09: "The Government's decision not to re-appoint the head of the Northern Territory intervention shows it is quietly killing off the policy, the federal Opposition's Indigenous affairs spokesman, Tony Abbott, says."

National Indigenous Times:
Labor says intervention not dead but shifting
17 Sep 09: "Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin has categorically denied Labor is quietly killing off the Northern Territory intervention. On the contrary, she says it's moving into a stage where Aboriginal people will take more control. ... No announcement was made when the head of the intervention, Mike Zissler, stepped down in June after only three months in the top job."

See also: Koori Mail: Intervention not dead: Macklin
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php

ABC: Henderson silent on intervention job
16 Sep 09: "The Northern Territory Chief Minister, Paul Henderson, says he has no comment to make on the departure of the head of the Northern Territory Emergency Response."

- Opinion

Australian: PM cuts and runs in NT
20 Sep 09: "THE Labor Party never really supported the Northern Territory intervention and now the Rudd government has killed it. The replacement in March of Dave Chalmers as the operational commander with a Canberra-based bureaucrat was a sign of bad faith." Tony Abbott


- News

National Indigenous Times:
Greens table calico petition for Stolen Generations reparations
17 Sep 09: "A Greens Senator has tabled a petition made of calico in Parliament, calling on the government to go one step further from its apology to the Stolen Generations and provide full reparations."

Koori Mail: Stolen Generation petition tabled
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
17 Sep 09: "A PETITION calling on the Federal Government to implement the recommendations of the Bringing Them Home report was tabled in the Senate today. The calico petition, which was organized by the Bringing Them Home committee in Western Australia at last year's Sorry Day event, demands that all recommendations be Implemented, including reparations."


- Background

GetUp! Blogs: Benefits of homeland communities
2 Sep 09: "Homelands play a key role in the self-determination and preservation of Indigenous culture. These areas are important for Indigenous Australians and the broader Australian community as a whole, as they create valuable benefits for the environment, Indigenous health, culture, and education."

WGAR News:
Northern Territory Government’s new Homelands policy (4 Jun 09):

WGAR News:
Marion Scrymgour resigns from Labor Party (6 Jun 09):

WGAR News:
Marion Scrymgour (12 Jun 09):
[scroll down page]

WGAR News:
Marion Scrymgour / Homelands (19 Jun 09):
[scroll down page]

WGAR News:
NT Government Homelands / Outstations Policy (30 Jun 09):
[scroll down page]

- Ongoing Petition

GetUp! Action for Australia: Save the homelands
"UPDATE: Thanks to GetUp members' support, the delegation traveled to Canberra to meet with key politicians during the week of the 7th September. You can see how it went by watching the video here. The campaign continues so keep your signatures coming in!"

- News

National Indigenous Times:
Labor paid Indigenous organisations to roll-out homelands policy: Henderson
14 Sep 09: "Labor has admitted it paid half a million dollars to two powerful Indigenous organisations to smooth the roll-out of controversial policies. But Northern Territory Chief Minister Paul Henderson has denied it was "hush money" or an attempt to buy community support."


- Background

WGAR News:
Proposed national Indigenous body (29 Aug 09)
[scroll down page] http://indymedia.org.au/2009/08/29/wgar-news-un-expert-calls-nt-interven...

WGAR News:
More media responses to proposed national Indigenous body (31 Aug 09)
[scroll down page] http://wgar.info/310809-more-media-responses-to-un-expert-james-anaya/

WGAR News:
Still more media responses to proposed national Indigenous body
[scroll down page] http://wgar.info/2009/09/03/3-sep-2009-governments-review-of-aboriginal-...

- Opinion

National Indigenous Times:
The Pointed View: Debating a black body
17 Sep 09: "For the first time in modern politics, the Australian Government is without an Indigenous advisory body - elected or otherwise. Which is why we must debate the new national rep body model, writes PROF LARISSA BEHRENDT*."

National Indigenous Times:
At Large: Suffering from electile dysfunction?
17 Sep 09: "Black rep bodies don't have a monopoly on political problems, writes CHRIS GRAHAM*. Jesus Christ himself could have descended from the heavens to announce to the world that the new National Representative Body proposed to replace ATSIC was the perfect model, and The Australian newspaper would have still bagged it."

Green Left: A new Aboriginal peak body?
13 Sep 09: "Aboriginal Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma released the Our Future in Our Hands report to the National Press Club on August 27. It outlined a proposed structure for a new national body to represent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. However, the federal government has already said it will not adequately fund it. The proposal has also come under fire from some Indigenous leaders." Peter Robson

- Radio

Indigenous radio station 98.9FM Brisbane
Let's Talk - Indigenous presented talkback:
7 Sep 09: "Professor Larissa Behrendt - Tiga Bayles spoke with Professor of Law & Director of Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at UTS in Sydney, Larissa Behrendt. They spoke about Northern Territory Intervention and National Rep Body."
Listen to this interview on-line:


- Background

WGAR News:
Government failure over Northern Territory Aboriginal housing (24 July 09)

WGAR News:
Governments’ review of Aboriginal housing scheme in the NT (3 Sep 09)

WGAR News:
Alice Springs Aboriginal Town Camps Takeover Delayed (8 Aug 09)

- Opinion

On Line Opinion: Manufacturing Indigenous homes
17 Sep 09: "After reading various reports about the Strategic Indigenous Housing Infrastructure Program (SIHIP) in the Northern Territory, the project designed to build 750 houses for Aboriginal people and refurbish older housing stock, I concluded the program was retreating rather than advancing." Don Allan

- News

ABC: Wanted: new boss for Indigenous housing
21 Sep 09: "The Federal Government has created a new role within the controversial $672 million Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP). The Department of Indigenous Affairs is advertising nationally for an executive director to run the overall strategy for the program, which is charged with building 750 new houses in Aboriginal communities by 2013."

ABC: Town camp issues 'not just bricks and mortar'
21 Sep 09: "Indigenous residents of Alice Springs say the Federal Government's plan to address chronic overcrowding and violence in town camps will not be enough to fix the problem. ... But the Indigenous residents in the camps say their problems run deeper than just bricks and mortar. And the deal has been stalled because of a legal challenge by a camp resident, who says the lease deal isn't fair."

ABC: Indigenous housing policy 'haemorrhaging money'
17 Sep 09: "The Federal Opposition says the Government's $672 million Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program is "haemorrhaging money" because the program did not have a solid foundation."

National Indigenous Times:
Housing failures have underminded NT intervention: Coalition
16 Sep 09: "The Rudd government has undermined the intervention into remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory by bungling its $672 million housing scheme, the federal coalition says. Opposition housing spokesman Scott Morrison has told parliament the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP) was a national disgrace and Labor had let down Aboriginal Australia."

- Radio

ABC AM: Towns camp residents want more than houses
21 Sep 09: "The town camps of Alice Springs are notorious for chronic overcrowding. The Federal Government is promising to fix up the camps by building 85 new houses and bringing infrastructure up to the same standard as that in other parts of Alice Springs. But the Indigenous residents in the camps say that their problems run far deeper."
[includes comments by Kevin Wirri and Bob Durnan]


- Radio

Indigenous radio station 98.9FM Brisbane
Let's Talk - Indigenous presented talkback:
10 Sep 09: "Les Malezer - Tiga Bayles spoke with Chairperson of the Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action (FAIRA), Les Malezer. They spoke about Northern Territory Intervention and Suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act."
Listen to this interview on-line:

- Media Release

Indymedia Australia: Melbourne attacks on Indians “reflect Australian racism”
17 Sep 09: "A northwest NSW Aboriginal political activist says the assault on four Indian men outside a bar in Melbourne this week is representative of the hidden racism that exists in Australia. Michael Anderson, last survivor of the four Black Power activists who set up the Aboriginal Embassy outside Parliament House in Canberra in 1972, says politicians remaining mute on these racist attacks reflects badly on Australia as a nation."

- Opinion

New Matilda: Does International Law Matter On Remote Communities?
21 Sep 09: "Supporters of the NT Intervention can't deny that it contravenes our international human rights commitments, writes Michel Streich. The real question is: why does that matter?" Michel Streich

National Indigenous Times:
EDITORIAL Perceiving racism
17 Sep 09: "For Aboriginal people, tales of racism are nothing new. Whether it has happened to their grandparents, their parents, their cousins, their friends, or themselves, I would bet that the majority of Aboriginal Australians could recount a story where they have been belittled on the basis of their ethnicity." Amy McQuire, acting editor

National Indigenous Times:
The Big Read: Trust or Treachery?
17 Sep 09: "When the ALP was ushered into power in 2007, there were many who held out great hope they would see a change in the way government engaged with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. But has it? Many have doubted the ALP's commitment. Federal, territory and state Labor have all implemented controversial policies that will be detrimental to the very people supposed to benefit. The truth is a change of government has not brought a change of life chances for Indigenous Australians. JEFF MCMULLEN, one of Australia's most respected journalists, argues in this special NIT feature that there needs to be a partnership built on trust, rather than on the past record of treachery."

- News

ABC: Aborigines don't want 'sit-down money'
17 Sep 09: "An Alice Springs town camp community leader says the Federal Government needs to increase its economic development efforts in Indigenous communities. Barbara Shaw says the need is more urgent since the Federal Government started moving people away from Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) onto Work for the Dole in July."

Australian IT: Tech to prevent welfare cheats
17 Sep 09: "More than 18,000 welfare recipients have been issued with a BasicsCard in the past 12 months, ... But these restrictions are seemingly not sufficient, with the government now seeking ways to automate "product level compliance'' - essentially ensuring merchants don't bend the rules by supplying alcohol, cigarettes or other banned items in the absence of audits."

Australian: Union slams NT teacher staffing
16 Sep 09: "ABOUT one in five students in the Northern Territory is not assigned a teacher as a result of government policy to staff schools based on attendance rates rather than the number of students enrolled at a school. ... The policy runs counter to federal and territory efforts to encourage students, particularly in indigenous communities, to attend school regularly, ... "

Koori Mail: Native Title laws set to pass
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
14 Sep 09: "DRAFT laws that aim to speed up the resolution of native title claims are set to be passed by Federal Parliament. The amendments to the Native Title Act propose to give the Federal Court the power to manage the mediation of land claims by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people."

Green Left: Activists confront Pearson on support for NT intervention
13 Sep 09: "Aboriginal rights supporters and environmental activists protested at the opening of the Brisbane Writers’ Festival on September 9, where the keynote speaker was conservative Aboriginal figure Noel Pearson. Local Murri leader and Socialist Alliance member Sam Watson organised the protest. He said that while the UN human rights rapporteur had recently denounced the Northern Territory intervention as “racist”, Pearson championed the policy."

- - -

Subscription to 'WGAR News' is free.

'WGAR News' monitors the media, including alternative media, focusing on the Australian Federal government intervention into Northern Territory (NT) Aboriginal communities along with other Aboriginal rights issues.

The e-newsletters include media releases, opinion pieces and news items. Subscribers can expect to receive about 2 e-newsletters each week.

To subscribe, email wgar.news@gmail.com and include the words "subscribe WGAR News" in the message header.

To unsubscribe, email wgar.news@gmail.com and include the words "unsubscribe WGAR News" in the message header.

- - -

You can also subscribe to our second list 'Contact WGAR' which focuses on activities and events and provides a point of contact.

To subscribe, email contactwgar@gmail.com and include the words "subscribe WGAR Contact" in the message header.

- - -

WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)