WGAR News: New NT Intervention laws that extend income management (19 Mar 10)

WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)

WGAR website: http://wgar.info/

New NT Intervention laws that extend income management
Speeches from Opening of Protest House
Damaging Health impacts of NT Intervention
Other NT Intervention Articles


- Background

Parliament of Australia: Senate Community Affairs Committee
Inquiry into Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment ...
[Includes: Submissions received by the Committee; Documents Tabled at hearings; Additional Information received]

Stop the Intervention: Racial Discrimination Act - New Legislation

WGAR News: New NT Intervention laws that extend welfare quarantining (12 Feb 10)

- Public Forum

Stop the Intervention: STICS Public Forum:
Welfare Quarantining and the Racial Discrimination Act
- what will Macklin's new Intervention laws mean?
[scroll down page] http://stoptheintervention.org/
"Monday, 29th March 2010, 6pm
Teachers Club, Ground Floor, Teachers Federation,
22-33 Mary St, Surry Hills [Sydney]
Speakers include:
* Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson for Aboriginal affairs.
* The Hon Alastair Nicholson AO RFD QC, former Chief Justice of the Family Court, who prepared the "Will they be heard?" Report which exposed the government's so-called "consultation process" with 'prescribed' Aboriginal communities in the NT."

- Analysis and/or Opinion

Stop the Intervention:
Notes and Comment by Prof. Nicholson
"Conclusion: This is disappointing legislation which perpetuates the paternalism and racial discrimination inherent in the NTER. It is a disturbing extension of bureaucratic powers and the power of the executive over welfare recipients and seems to reflect a philosophy more in tune with that of the previous Government that what one would expect of a Labor Government." Professor Alastair Nicholson, former Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia

Stop the Intervention:
Briefing on the legislation for the extension of income quarantining to welfare recipients across Australia
"There is legislation in front of the senate that, if passed, will massively change the nature of the Australian income security system. It requires wide debate and scrutiny as the bills will impose new levels of control on vulnerable people throughout Australia." Eva Cox, Women for Wik

Australian: Macklin's welfare fight is only the beginning
17 Mar 10: "WELFARE in Australia will enter a new phase of ideological struggle with the Rudd government, spearheaded by Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin, embracing and extending the income management principle." Paul Kelly, Editor-at-large

Australian: Useful consensus on tough love
17 Mar 10: "Extending income management is good policy: TONY Abbott has made the correct call in supporting the Rudd government's move to extend income management to eligible welfare recipients across the Northern Territory, regardless of race. Not that any liberal or conservative leader worth his salt had an alternative." [anonymous]

Women’s Electoral Lobby Australia Inc.:
Summary of problems for women if current Bills to extend the Income Management to a wider population are passed
14 Mar 10: "The income quarantining program has consistently been justified by Minister Macklin by claiming it is supported by women and protects them from violence. This is echoed in the majority (ALP Senators) report on the senate inquiry released last week. However, the evidence does not support these claims and both the original actions against prescribed communities and the proposed extension to the NT, and then to the rest of Australia, have serious implications for women." Eva Cox for WEL Australia and Jumbunna UTS

Stop the Intervention:
Jayne Weepers, Central Land Council 10-3-10
10 Mar 10: "Leaving aside the complexities of income management for the moment, there is one fundamental problem with the Government Bill - it does not meet the Government's commitment to reinstate the RDA. The Bill fails to provide for a full reinstatement of the RDA, and at best, achieves only a partial reinstatement of the RDA."

Stop the Intervention:
Chris Twomey, The Greens 10-3-10
Senate Inquiry report on NTER reforms and reinstating the RDA
10 Mar 10: "The report of the Community Affairs committee's inquiry into the changes proposed to the NT emergency response legislation was tabled in the Senate late this afternoon. The Greens tabled a dissenting report where they argue that approach taken by the govt is deeply flawed - it is not possible to reconcile their commitment to restore the RDA and their election policy platform of social inclusion with the continuation of the negative and discriminatory aspects of the intervention, and with the desire to extend punitive conditional welfare measures nationally."

Australian: Income control a measure too far
9 Mar 10: "THE federal government is set to take unprecedented control over the finances of low-income Australians in a scheme at present being considered by parliament. Most Australians have heard little about these major reforms that could see the government dictate minor purchasing decisions, like where someone can purchase a carton of milk or buy oranges." Clare Martin

Solidarity: More lies exposed: Intervention laws won’t restore Racial Discrimination Act
Mar 10: "According to Minister Jenny Macklin, the new Intervention legislation would restore the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA), fulfilling a key Labor’s election promise. It’s a lie. Submissions to the Senate enquiry, including the Australian Human Rights Commission’s report, have revealed that Aboriginal people will not be able to use the RDA to challenge the Intervention." Paddy Gibson

Amnesty International:
Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs: Reinstating the RDA in the NTER legislation
11 Feb 10: "The bill appears – although it is arguable - to largely deliver on reinstatement of the RDA, although there are problems there. But does it deliver on meeting our international obligations? In this context whether the NTER measures can be considered special measures is therefore critical."

- Radio

ABC Radio National Breakfast: Income quarantining
17 Mar 10: "The government's move to extend compulsory income management to more welfare recipients, including white families, in the Northern Territory is likely to pass the Senate after the Coalition dumped its opposition to the bill. Welfare quarantining was first introduced as part of the Northern Territory Intervention."
[Includes Guest Jenny Macklin]

CAAMA Radio Morning News
(Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association):
17 Mar 10: "Australia’s Race Discrimination commissioner and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner have called on the Australian Parliament to ensure that residents of the 73 prescribe communities in the Territory have the same protections against discrimination as other Australian’s"

- Media Releases

Australian Human Rights Commission:
NT communities must have same protections as the rest of Australia
15 Mar 10: "Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner have today called on the Australian Parliament to ensure that residents of the 73 prescribed communities in the Northern Territory have the same protections against discrimination as the rest of Australia. Making the call ahead of the Senate’s scheduled debate this week of the government’s Welfare Reform and Reinstatement of Racial Discrimination Act Bill 2009 and other Bills, Commissioners Graeme Innes and Mick Gooda said while the government’s proposed amendments should be passed, it was just the beginning of restoring full protections."

Greens vow to continue fight against regressive welfare changes
10 Mar 10: "The Australian Greens have expressed deep disappointment at a Senate committee report which goes to great lengths to back the Federal government's regressive welfare changes that would extend income quarantining across the country. "The approach pursued appears to be one where the legislation will be supported come what may, despite all the evidence to the contrary," said Greens Aboriginal Issues spokesperson, Senator Rachel Siewert. "The report seeks to make the case for government policies and commitments for which there is neither compelling evidence nor a convincing argument."

- News

Koori Mail: 'Racism as usual’, says IRAG
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
17 Mar 10: "THE Intervention Rollback Action Group (IRAG) in Alice Springs has condemned the Rudd Government's proposed legislative changes to the NT Intervention. The Government says extension of income management beyond prescribed NT communities to other welfare recipients will effectively re-instate the Racial Discrimination Act but IRAG disagrees, insisting the policy is still discriminatory because it will affect Indigenous people disproportionately."

Koori Mail: Opposition ‘on-balance’ decision on welfare reforms
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
17 Mar 10: "THE Federal Opposition will not oppose Government plans to extend compulsory income management to welfare recipients around the country, moving only a minor amendment around recipient qualifying time periods. Opposition human services spokesman Kevin Andrews’ office said the Government’s bill, currently before the Senate, was not perfect but the ‘on balance’ decision not to oppose it reflected the Opposition’s broad support for income management."

Australia: Tony Abbott backs ALP welfare management bill
16 Mar 10: "IN a policy reversal by the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, the shadow cabinet decided yesterday to support the Rudd government's embrace of the principle of income management on a national basis."

Koori Mail: Welfare reforms look set to pass
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
16 Mar 10: "THE Federal Government’s proposal to extend comulsory income management to welfare recipients nationwide looks set to happen after the Federal Opposition signalled support for the changes. Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin says she now expects the Senate to pass related legislation this week and the changes could be in place throughout the NT by the end of the year, and elsewhere after a review."

Catholic Leader: Plea for 'action' on income plan
14 Mar 10: "THE Federal Government's plan to introduce forced income management for welfare recipients across Australia has been described by a national Catholic welfare body as a "move towards a meaner social safety net" and "likely to be counter-productive"."

ABC: Report gives green light to welfare changes
11 Mar 10: "A Senate report has endorsed plans to expand income management from Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory to selected welfare recipients across the country. The main report written by the Labor members of the Senate committee supports the Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin's plan to expand welfare quarantining ... "

UQ News: UQ legal experts question Federal Government’s NT social welfare reforms
9 Mar 10: "Two UQ law academics have raised serious concerns regarding proposed Federal Government legislation to extend aspects of the NT emergency response and to reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 in the Northern Territory."


- Background

Intervention walk-off's Blog:

WGAR News: Protest House at the Alyawarr people's walk-off camp (16 Feb 10)

- Video

[Protest House is a demonstration of how a community can build a house in 2 weeks, whereas the NT intervention (SIHIP program) could only build 2 houses in 2 years while spending at least $34 million.]

[These videos are also on the Intervention walk-off's Blog http://interventionwalkoff.wordpress.com/ and the WGAR website: http://wgar.info/ ]

YouTube: Part 1 FIGHTING for SOMETHING WE BELIEVE IN: Opening Protest House Ampilatwatja Walk-off NT
5 Mar 10: "Welcome to Country by Frank Holmes, Edith Tranter and Banjo Morton. Speeches by Richard Ningel Reid, Kukitja, SA and Geoff Scott, CEO NSW Aboriginal Land Council."

YouTube: Part 2 Speeches: Opening Protest House Ampilatwatja Walk-off, NT
5 Mar 10: "Speeches by Barbara Shaw and Paul Mcaleer, MUA, Maritime Union of Australia"

YouTube: Part 3 Speeches: Opening Protest House Ampilatwatja Walk-off, NT
5 Mar 10: "Speeches by Harry Jakamarra Nelson from Yuendumu, Walpiri Country, NT; Murray George APY Lands, SA; Valerie Napaljarri Martin from Yuendumu, Walpiri Country"

YouTube: Part 4 Ways Forward Speeches: Opening Protest House Ampilatwatja Walk-off
6 Mar 10: "Speeches by Prof Larissa Behrendt and visions for the way forward from Richard Downs"

YouTube: Part 5 Men's Corroboree: Opening Protest House Ampilatwatja Walk-off, NT
6 Mar 10: "Emu Corroboree - songman Frank Holmes Alyawarr. Seven Sisters by Murray George APY Lands SA, Speech by Richard Ningel Reid, Kukitja, SA"

YouTube: Part 6 Women's Dances: Opening Protest House, Ampilatwatja Walk-off, NT
6 Mar 10: "Angelina Luck and Eileen Bonney, Alyawarr dance for opening of Protest House at Arurrnga Soak."

- News

Green Left: Good news stories from the desert country
13 Mar 10: "Green Left Weekly readers will know about the “protest house” built by Aboriginal people, trade unionists and other supporters at Ampilatwatja and launched on February 14. This showed that grassroots cooperative community action is more efficient than government bureaucracy, but it’s not the first time this has happened on these lands."

Green Left: SA elders discuss Alyawarr walk-off
12 Mar 10: "The stand taken by elders at the Alyawarr walk-off has generated discussion across Aboriginal communities about how they can support the protest and strengthen culture in their own communities. Murray and Kanginy plan to travel to communities in the coming months to help facilitate a large gathering for Aboriginal rights later this year in central Australia."

Green Left: ‘It’s like working for rations all over again’
6 Mar 10: "Changes to Aboriginal employment, infrastructure and welfare programs have stripped remote Aboriginal communities of resources and left many Aboriginal people, in effect, working for rations." Adam Leeman & Peter Robson

- Interview

The Northern Myth: The Ampilatwatja walk-off – Richard Downs on the new ‘dog-licenses’ and more
24 Feb 10: "The weekend before I last joined a few hundred others and drove 300 kilometres along muddy roads to the north-east from Alice Springs to the Ampilatwatja walk-off camp at Honeymoon Bore to attend the hand-over ceremony for a new house, one of the few that have been built on Aboriginal communities in the NT in recent years. While there I sat down under a shady tree with Richard Downs, the spokesman for the group of senior Alyawarr men and women that walked away from the nearby township of Ampilatwatja to camp on Aboriginal freehold land a few kilometres away. ... " Bob Gosford in the NT


- The Report

Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association [AIDA]
Health Impact Assessment of the Northern Territory Emergency Response
12 Mar 10: "AIDA has conducted a health impact assessment of the Northern Territory Emergency Response in collaboration with the University of New South Wales’ Centre for Health Equity Training, Research and Evaluation, and with assistance and financial support from the Fred Hollows Foundation. The report was launched by Ms Pat Anderson, co-author of the 2007 report Little Children Are Sacred, on Friday 12 March 2010."

- News

Croakey: Some insights from the health impact assessment of the NT Intervention
15 Mar 10: "On Friday, the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association released the long-awaited health impact assessment of the NT Emergency Response. ... this is a Crikey article about it. Below are some extracts from the report which give a flavour of its contents: ... "

Crikey: Federal NT intervention will cause more harm than good: new report
12 Mar 10: "The federal intervention into indigenous communities in the NT - started by the Howard government and continued under Rudd’s watch - is likely to cause more health problems than it fixes. That is the damning assessment of an exhaustive health impact assessment (HIA), due to be launched in Canberra today by the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association (AIDA)." Melissa Sweet

National Indigenous Times:
Intervention 'psychologically damaging': Indigenous doctors
12 Mar 10: "Indigenous doctors [Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association] have released a damning report card on the Northern Territory intervention and its health impacts. The report, released today, suggests improvements to physical health will likely be outweighed by the intervention's negative impact on psychological health, spirituality and cultural integrity."

Koori Mail: NT Intervention could 'damage profoundly'
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
12 Mar 10: "A REPORT by the Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association (AIDA) has found that the NT Intervention could profoundly damage the long-term psychological and social health and wellbeing of affected Aboriginal families and children, as well as cultural integrity - outweighing any potential physical benefits. AIDA President Associate Prof Peter O'Mara said the report found increasing levels of mistrust surrounding the Intervention were compromising progress."


- Background to the Northern Territory (NT) Intervention

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Northern Territory National Emergency Response

STICS (Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney):

IRAG (Intervention Rollback Action Group):

Intervention walk-off's Blog:

WGAR (Working Group for Aboriginal Rights):

- Radio

Indigenous radio station 98.9FM Brisbane
Let's Talk - Indigenous presented talkback:
16 Mar 10: "Chris Graham - Tiga Bayles spoke with Chris Graham, editor of The National Indigenous Times. They spoke about the poverty and racism in Alice Springs, and the Northern Territory intervention. ... "
Listen to this interview on-line:

- News

Koori Mail: SIHIP building alliance off the job
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
18 Mar 10: "THE Federal and NT Governments have dropped one of three building alliances undertaking work under the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP). In a joint statement, they said Earth Connect Alliance's operations on Groote Eylandt, Gunbalanya, Belyuen and Acacia Larrakia would cease and a new alliance partnership would negotiated for the work. No reason was given for the decision but Anindilyakwa Land Council has welcomed it."

ABC: Company sacked from Indigenous housing program
18 Mar 10: "One of the groups building houses in the Northern Territory as part of the multi-million dollar Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program has been sacked. The alliance partner, Earth Connect, which operates in Groote Eylandt and Gunbalanya has been removed from housing projects there."

ABC: Macklin must seize control of housing program: MLA
18 Mar 10: "A Northern Territory independent politician is appealing for the Federal Government to completely take over a multi-million dollar Aboriginal housing program. ... Independent MLA, Alison Anderson, says the Territory Government has mismanaged the program and it cannot be trusted."

Koori Mail: Independent team to assess SIHIP
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
17 Mar 10: "THE Federal and NT Governments say a new independent, expert quality assurance team will ensure new houses and refurbishments delivered under the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP) are up to scratch. Amidst Opposition criticisms and calls for a breakdown of $45 million spent under SIHIP so far, the governments say the administration and delivery of SIHIP have already improved following a 2009 review of the program."

ABC Alice Springs: SIHIP gagging workers: Scullion
16 Mar 10: "The Federal Opposition says the Government must reveal how much money has been spent on the NT Indigenous housing program."

ABC: Land council wants shires alternative
12 Mar 10: "The Central Land Council (CLC) says the Northern Territory shires system has disenfranchised Aboriginal people living in communities."

- Opinion

Solidarity: ACTU backs BasicsCard workers
Mar 10: "The attack on Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) that has gone along with the NT Intervention has cost thousands of Aboriginal jobs. People still on CDEP—some working up to 40 hours a week—are now mostly being paid only their Centrelink entitlements, but 50 per cent of this is quarantined on a “BasicsCard’’."

Australian: Remote housing initiative at crisis point
12 Mar 10: "THE future of the nation's biggest remote housing project is hanging in the balance at Groote Eylandt, where the Rudd government is considering sacking the building consortium carrying out housing works." Natasha Robinson and Lex Hall

t r u t h o u t: Sorry About the Intervention
10 Mar 10: "As Australia marks two years since its historic apology to the indigenous population, the emergency measures in the Northern Territory may be giving the government something else for which to say sorry." Sarah Keenan

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WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)


I am an aboriginal woman studying a Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Studies, and currently doing a report on the NT Intervention and how the media represents the issue in the print media