WGAR News: Racial Discrimination Act - new legislation (17 May 10)

WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)

WGAR Website: http://wgar.info/

Racial Discrimination Act - New Legislation
Extension of Income Management Australia-wide
Documentary by Sinem Saban about the NT Intervention
Aboriginal housing in the Northern Territory
Aboriginal unemployment and the NT Intervention
NT Government policy marginalises Aboriginal languages
Second New Way Aboriginal summit
Other Aboriginal Articles


- Special STICS compilation

Stop the Intervention: Racial Discrimination Act - New Legislation

- Media Releases

Stop the Intervention: Les Malezer 12-5-10
FAIRA Calls for Adjudication on Racist Laws
12 May 10: "The Brisbane-based Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action (FAIRA) warns the government that amendment laws that are being considered in the Senate today are just as racist as the original intervention laws and will only widen and compound Australia's international reputation as a racist country. FAIRA wants the government to review its position and choose either to re-introduce, without delay and without qualification, the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) or to first appear before the international Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in August 2010 and seek a ruling on the validity of the proposed new laws."

Stop the Intervention: 'concerned Australians' 10-5-10
Senate to Debate Racist Legislation
10 May 10: "On Wednesday morning, hiding behind the post-budget hype, Senators will debate the legislation that will re-instate, what will ultimately be, a restricted Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) into the Northern Territory ... ‘concerned Australians' believes the Government is misleading the public by implying that the Act, when re-instated, will have the capacity to protect Aboriginal people from racist measures. At the same moment as the Act is re-instated, the new legislation introduced will have the effect of restricting the powers of the RDA. ... ‘concerned Australians' calls upon Government to delay reaching a decision on this legislation until a genuine process of negotiation, and not flawed consultations, has been entered into with elders and community leaders from the Northern Territory."

Leaders of the Congregations and Provinces of the Sisters of St Joseph, Australia
The Re-instated Racial Discrimination Act needs to go further
10 May 10: "The Leaders of the Australian Congregations and Provinces of the Sisters of St Joseph have asked the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, to ensure that the legislation currently before parliament re-instating the Racial Discrimination Act in relation to the Northern Territory Intervention does so with more than minimalist complaince. ... 'We call on the members of the Senate, as the house of review for legislation, to ensure that the bill currently before them goes beyond a mere minimal compliance with the requirements of the Racial Discrimination Act and in fact restores to Aboriginal people the rights they ought to enjoy as citizens of this nation.' Sr Anne [Derwin] concluded."

- Dissenting report by Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens

Inquiry into the provisions of the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform and Reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act) Bill 2009 and related legislation
Click on link to download word document: http://greensmps.org.au/webfm_send/358

- News

National Indigenous Radio Service:
Moves to reinstate RDA are a smoke screen: Siewert
12 May 10: "Greens Indigenous Affairs spokesman, Rachel Siewert says the Federal governments moves to reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) into the Northern Territory are a smoke screen."

Koori Mail: Delay RDA, NTER bills debate, says group
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
11 May 10: "A GROUP of 'concerned Australians' has called on the Federal Government to defer Senate debate on legislation amending the NT Intervention and introducing far-reaching welfare reforms until after hype surrounding tonight's Federal Budget dissipates. The group says that, if passed, the legislation will reinstate only a restricted version of the Racial Discrimination Act, preventing challenges to racist measures under the NT Intervention."

National Indigenous Radio Service:
Calls to delay reinstatement of RDA
11 May 10: "Alastair Nicholson QC is calling on the federal government to delay the reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA)."

Koori Mail: Senate prepares to debate welfare reforms
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
11 May 10: "LEGISLATION proposed by the Federal Government to reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act in the Northern Territory and extend income quarantining to welfare recipients nationwide is expected to pass through Federal Parliament later this week. The Federal Opposition isn't opposing the changes but the Australian Greens say the welfare reforms are draconian and are maintaining their opposition."


- Greens Special Feature

Rachel Siewert: Income Management
10 May 10: "The Rudd Government has legislation currently before the Senate which would give it to power to introduce income management for people on many kinds of Centrelink payments. These laws could be extended Australia-wide and they could affect your family."


- Event

Stop the Intervention: Documentary by Sinem Saban about the NT Intervention
Also, NSW Reconciliation Council: http://www.nswreconciliation.org.au/_webapp_475104/Our_Generation_Screening
"Preview Fundraiser Screening of the ground-breaking new documentary on Aboriginal Rights "OUR GENERATION" www.ourgeneration.org.au
"This is a very important film that everyone needs to see.... It will change your life" - John Butler, of John Butler Trio
Date: Thursday 20th May
Place: Footbridge Theatre, Parramatta Road, University of Sydney
Time: 6.30pm - 8.30pm"


- Video

ABC Lateline: Indigenous housing program under fire
14 May 10: "The Northern Territory's embattled Indigenous housing program is once again under fire. The $672 million initiative has so far delivered only seven of the 750 new houses promised and may now come under the scrutiny of the auditor-general."

- News

ABC: Senate calls for audit of Indigenous housing
14 May 10: "The Senate has passed a motion calling for the Auditor General to conduct an audit of the controversial $672 million Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program [SIHIP]. It has done so after a call by the Country Liberals Senator Nigel Scullion for an urgent investigation into alleged waste and mismanagement."

ABC: Aborigines 'second rate citizens' under SIHIP
13 May 10: "The Federal Government must double the funding for Aboriginal housing refurbishments or risk creating substandard housing, the chairman of the Council of Territory Cooperation says. The council, headed by independent MLA Gerry Wood, has been touring newly-refurbished homes in remote communities and says some are simply not up to scratch."

ABC: Budget falls short on Indigenous housing: CLP
12 May 10: "The Northern Territory Opposition says the federal budget will not help the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program [SIHIP] meet its deadlines and promises."

ABC: New SIHIP house stands idle as community waits
11 May 10: "Indigenous people in the remote community of Gunbalanya say they cannot understand why homes under the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program are taking so long to build. The Chief Minister visited the Arnhem Land community yesterday but one of the houses he visited was locked and no one had moved in, months after it was completed."

Australian: Little to show for $170m
7 May 10: "NEARLY $170 million has been spent on a total of seven new houses and 155 refurbishments for Aboriginal homes in the Northern Territory, according to budget papers."

ABC: Indigenous housing has $110m black hole: CLP
7 May 10: "The Northern Territory Opposition says there is a $110 million black hole in a Government-run Aboriginal housing program. The controversial $672 million Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program aims to build 750 new homes in remote Indigenous communities in the Territory."


- Media Release

Rollback the Intervention: Media Releases
Fund jobs not a new ration system, says campaign group and union.
14 May 10: "The Intervention Rollback Action Group (IRAG) and the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union (LHMU) NT Branch have today condemned a recent announcement that $18 million in federal funding will be invested in the Central Desert Shire’s Community Development and Employment Project (CDEP). The groups say that the new CDEP scheme is incredibly exploitative, forcing Aboriginal people to work for quarantined Centrelink payments, and that the money should be invested in fulltime jobs for local Aboriginal workers to provide Shire services. In the past month, 86 Aboriginal workers have joined up unions as part of a ‘jobs with justice’ campaign to press these demands."

- News

Green Left: Aboriginal people fighting against unemployment
9 May 10: "In late April, activists from the Intervention Rollback Action Group (IRAG) toured several communities affected by the NT intervention. In particular, they looked at how employment patterns had changed. The results were the same everywhere they went: This is as bad as it has ever been."

- Interview

Solidarity: Aboriginal communities say: ‘We need jobs and services not the Intervention’
May 10: "Solidarity spoke to Mark Fordham, until recently the works manager for the Barkly Shire Council who service Ampilatwatja, a “prescribed community” under the NT Intervention, about the failure in providing basic services there—and the failure to employ any Aboriginal people to provide them. Alongside the Intervention, mega-Shires like the BSC have taken over from locally run Aboriginal community councils, acquiring all of their assets and laying off staff."


- News

ABC: Schools boss seeks solution to bilingual anger
12 May 10: "The head of the Northern Territory Education Department [Gary Barnes] is preparing to meet with parents who are angry about the Government's bilingual policy in remote schools. Indigenous residents from the community of Areyonga, south-west of Alice Springs, have lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission about a Territory Government policy that requires remote schools to teach in English every morning."

- Opinion/Analysis

Fully (sic) - Crikey's language blog:
Speak your home language but do it in English please!
13 May 10: "What sort of fool is capable of saying something as ridiculous as this?: “We want people to speak their home language for the first four hours but we want it predominantly done in English.” Only the CEO of the Northern Territory Education Department, Gary Barnes (as quoted on the ABC News website). He’s referring to a draconian policy he oversees which excludes Aboriginal languages from being the language of instruction in all NT classrooms for the first four hours of every school day." Greg Dickson


- Reportback

Indymedia Australia: Second New Way Aboriginal summit: “Reject the names invaders gave us”
15 May 10: "Aboriginal political activist Michael Anderson (pictured) said today that the second New Way Summit held over the weekend of the 8-9th May at the Sydney University was very successful. While it was very difficult for many people to attend, the internet is very effective at getting to a large audience, Mr Anderson said. ... The next New Way summit will be at the Melbourne University during the June Queen’s Birthday weekend, when the lead topic will be the British genocide of Aboriginal people and the ongoing war against Aboriginal people through assimilation and absorption. Another key topic to be discussed is the 'Treaty’."

- Background

Indymedia Australia: Next Aboriginal summit in Sydney in May


- Opinion/Analysis

Australia.to: No Frills, No Strategy in Aboriginal Health Budget: NACCHO
13 May 10: "There were no frills and no clear strategy to embrace the opportunities in Aboriginal health in last night’s budget says Mr Justin Mohamed, Chair of National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO). "The budget’s largest overall health investment has been chewed up in the hospitals deal. ... " Mr Mohamed said."

TRANSCEND Media Service: Apartheid Is Alive and Well
"There is a place where indigenous blacks are still being shunted off their land into reservations; where work is rewarded not with wages but with ration cards, to spend in white-owned supermarkets; where public services are lavished on the already wealthy but denied to the poorest unless they agree to hand over their birthright." Associate Professor Jake Lynch, Director, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney

- News

ABC: Study questions indigenous welfare management
16 May 10: "A group of leading academics from across the nation says the Federal Intervention is doing more harm than good in the Northern Territory. ... according to new research published in the Medical Journal of Australia, income management has not resulted in more healthy food being bought and eaten by many Aborigines."

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WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)