WGAR News: Call to an Aboriginal summit in Canberra (13 Jan 10)

WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)

WGAR website: http://wgar.info/

Call to an Aboriginal summit in Canberra
Ampilatwatja Walk-off


- Media Releases

Indymedia Australia: “Overwhelming interest in Aboriginal summit”
13 Jan 10: "There’s been overwhelming interest in the forthcoming Aboriginal summit in Canberra on 30 January and [until] 1 February. The many calls I have received from our people throughout Australia indicate that the representation should be national. Many say that if they had the money they would be there, but many also say they will endeavour to organise state meetings I have been asked to attend to talk of the ‘New Way’. This being a grassroots national movement means we will do this our way with NO government support. This is an Aboriginal-owned initiative and we must fight the government through determined diplomacy. We know what we want and we must do it our way. Even though we seek the knowledge and experience of our elders we also need our youth to stand beside us and learn to take the lead from this summit. I have been asked by many non-Aboriginal people who seek to attend whether they are welcome and I have reminded them that in the 1970s Black Power movement many non-Aboriginal people stood shoulder to shoulder with us and without them we may not have been as effective as we were. ... The summit is open to all who wish to be involved in overcoming and addressing the racial conflicts that have persisted in this country since white settlement. We must find solutions and ways forward. government-sponsored solutions have failed and continue to fail our people, so let us hear our people talk of a ‘New Way’ and then let us find ways forward together. If the government seeks to engage with us then they must understand that it is ‘our way or no way’. What I expect to come from this summit is a ‘communiqué’ of grievances and new ways that I hope will be given to the prime minister and his government through a reading in the federal parliament when it reconvenes on the 2nd of February. This ‘communiqué’ will then be circulated to our people throughout Australia, so that we can all ensure that we are working towards a common solution to shared historical experiences. ... Michael Anderson"

Indymedia Australia: Call to an Aboriginal summit in Canberra
18 Dec 09: "I’m calling for a ‘New Way’ summit to take place on 30 January [until] 1 February 2010 ... at the Australian National University (ANU) Canberra. This summit is so important for our future because we need to take back or right to make our own decisions and stamp out the government- appointed spokespersons. We must set an agenda for our development and advancement. Yes, we all made mistakes but in a democracy this is our right. We all learn from mistakes, but here in Australia us Blackfullas are stigmatized as cheats and thieves who have no ability to conduct strategic planning and properly deliver services to cater for the needs of our people. What must be exposed is the tight stranglehold the government bureaucrats have over Aboriginal people’s lives and affairs. ... Michael Anderson"

Indymedia Australia: Aboriginal elder calls for national meeting to “talk of a new way”
5 Dec 09: "All the recent talks on the internet of the need to be politically pro-active is inspiring and exciting. But challenging the political dominance of the dominant society is an admirable yet real objective that we as a people must plan for. The greatest hurdle that we face as a people is the need to politicize our youth. As a people, though, we cannot and should not overlook our need to work through that which is hurting our people the most, poverty and hopelessness. There are many elders, middle-aged and youth who would revel in political action. Those of us who have been out there fighting this fight at the bureaucratic and grassroots levels understand and know what it takes to make changes. Our enemy, this system, dominates and suppresses us and cleverly disguises the demon by arguing that they (the whites) need to bridge the gap for us! ... Michael Anderson"

Stop the Intervention: Welfare addiction causes Aboriginal rifts, hides real enemy
20 Dec 09: "Our people need to take a long hard look at their lives for a number of reasons. In the first instance we have by circumstances become addicted to and dependent on welfare. I do not always share the sentiments of the Noel Pearson types but we need to take responsibility and fight our way out of this dependency because it is like a drug. All too often our people will betray each other and side with the State if they feel their welfare cheque is at risk. ... This summit [30 January until 1 February 2010 at the Australian National University (ANU) Canberra] is so important. No matter what it takes to get it together, it is a must-happen. Old and young must now come together to put our collective thoughts together to fight this evil that is engulfing us. ... Michael Anderson"

de.indymedia.org: Aboriginal struggle like in China and Iran
3 Jan 10: "De-colonisation has occurred in every previously colonised part of the developed world except Australia. Everywhere else people have fought for their right to retain their distinct identity, including their right to keep and speak their own languages, their culture and their own religious practices. The repressive and discriminate laws that we are subject to here in Australia would not be tolerated anywhere else in the free world. But here in Australia the government has spin doctors operating full time to hide the true state of play in respect of Aboriginal people. They are paid big dollars to convince the white Australian public that what they do for Aborigines is in the interest of the Aboriginal people and that special measures are necessary. The reason for the use of the words ‘special measures’ is to continue with their assimilation policy of 1968. We Aboriginal people cannot permit this to continue without a fight. ... Michael Anderson"

Indymedia Australia: “Australians no longer need to hide their racism”
8 Jan 10: "It is absolute cowardice on the part of the Rudd Labor government and their Liberal coalition Opposition to deny that the recent killing of an Indian student in Melbourne was racially motivated. The audacity of the government and police to say that the student should not have carried a lap top computer while walking to work after dark is absurd and pathetic. For the Victorian police to say that this is just another crime by ordinary criminals is to show their naivety in such matters as race relations. ... Michael Anderson"

- Radio

Indigenous radio station 98.9FM Brisbane
Let's Talk - Indigenous presented talkback:
11 Dec 09: "Michael Anderson - Karen Dorante spoke with Political Activist and Elder, Michael Anderson. Mr Anderson is the last survivor of the four Black Power men who set up the Aboriginal embassy in Canberra in 1972. They spoke about Mr Anderson calls for national meeting to “talk of a new way”."
"Karen Dorante: You are calling it the New Way Conference ...
Michael Anderson: We've gotta raise money, we've go to do whatever we can to get down there. This is our move, it's our initiative, and we've gotta take the bull by the horns right now.
KD: You are looking at about 200 people to participate at this New Way Conference. Are you expecting to get some mob from the Northern Territory? ... they are people who are experiencing the most oppressive type of government intervention.
MA: Absolutely. ... Some people say can I be a participant. As far as I'm concerned if we get 500 people there, all the better.
KD: The more the merrier?
MA: The more the merrier. We all have a say, we all have concerns, we all have a right to express those concerns. Let's then put all our collective heads together and make and develop a strategy. We need to create a revolution, let's change our ways."
Listen to this interview on-line:

CAAMA Radio News AM 22/12/2009
(Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association):
22 Dec 09


- Background

Intervention walkoff's blog:

- Speech

Stop the Intervention:
Ampilatwatja Walk-off: Richard Downs' Speech of 3 January 2010
3 Jan 10: "Yes a crisis does exist for Aboriginal people in this country. This has existed for 200 years. The crisis is racism. It is colonization, dispossession, assimilation, intergenerational trauma, decades of underfunding and attacks on Aboriginal organizations and Aboriginal autonomy, coercive cultural genocide. It's not getting any better.
Since the introduction of NTER Measures in 2007
* Our land and communities taken away
* Our permit system taken away
* All our corporations / Associations closed down
* All our offices, assets taken away
* We are now where we were over 40 years ago left with nothing and back on welfare control
* Communities are a mess
* No community meetings, consultations
* No real jobs only work for the dole programs, which has not been started
* No training to give people skills to be work ready to move away from welfare
* No meetings, discussions about future development or hand over of roles and responsibilities
* No health programs in communities to talk about health and hygiene issues, the focus is on bandaid programs and treatments
* Income management is a farce, children, families are still able to use each other's basic cards to shop, and Chidren go to shop to buy soft drinks and lollies using their family, mother's card.
* No coordination of other government agencies to work together by the General Business Manager.
* Personal attacks between CEO Barkly Shire and ICC Manager in Tennant Creek. ...
We have human rights issues, disempowerment of our people, land taken away, all our corporations, associations, infrastructure, assets taken away and we are back where we were over 40 years ago with nothing. ...
With our intervention Walk off, and our protest camp, this was about standing up against policies and laws which takes away everything we believe and stand for. Human rights, our rights as indigenous people to determine our own future directions, our rights to determine to live in peace, freedom, and security, free from genocide and other acts of violence. ...
Some of Our solutions to this crisis:
* We want binding and unconditional autonomy over the lives of our people / communities.
* Empowerment of communities through funding and support for Aboriginal organizations / programs i.e. CDEP
* Empowerment of culture through integration of Aboriginal / cultural systems in decision making for communities
* Job creation in culturally appropriate industries i.e. caring for country ... "

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WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)