Against the racist Northern Territory Intervention

A statement from Indigenous communities:

Minister Jenny Macklin has once again broken a clear promise given to
Aboriginal people in the NT. On many occasions she gave her word that
the Racial Discrimination Act (1975) would be re-instated in the
October sittings of parliament this year. Minister Macklin also gave
this promise to the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination, following a complaint by many of us from 'Prescribed
Areas'.
 
This is unacceptable treatment. Racism and divisions increase and
living conditions deteriorate each day the Act remains suspended and
the Intervention measures remain in place. We are like outcasts -
denied basic rights afforded to other Australians.
 
We know the government is playing legal games as our lives get worse.
They are keeping the RDA suspended so they can threaten the Alice
Springs town camps with compulsory acquisition and force communities
to sign long term leases.
 
When they finally re-instate the RDA it will to entrench the racist
intervention - not to restore our rights. The Minister is claiming
that the Intervention can be classified as a series of "special
measures" under the RDA, operating "for the benefit" of Aboriginal
people.
 
How would the Minister like it if someone took her house, quarantined
her money, controlled where she shopped, ate and slept, and then told
her it was all for her benefit?
 
The Minister will claim that her department has "consulted" with
Aboriginal people, that we have somehow given consent to these laws.
 
But the consultation process was a sham from the beginning. Public
servants mostly patronised communities with a government story about
how the Intervention is working.
 
The "Future Directions for the NTER" document that consultations are
based on gave no real choice to Aboriginal people about the
Intervention. Leaked documents from the Minister’s office prove that
we were never consulted about compulsory acquisition of our land under
the 5-year lease, because the government knew we would not consent.
 
We were asked which brand of compulsory Income Management we would
like, what kind of alcohol controls or police powers. But communities
have said many times we want an end to all racist control measures.
 
We clearly made these statements again through this round of
"consultations". Get rid of the laws. We want the resources wasted on
"Intervention" to go directly to communities to meet our real social
needs.
 
The Minister will not get away with this. The idea that taking
Aboriginal land, housing and basic human rights away "for our benefit"
is the same paternalism that created the Stolen Generations.
 
The people at Ampilatwatja have walked off in protest against the
Intervention and we are standing up across the NT. We are part of a
growing movement around the country - including unions, human rights
and church groups. Rudd's Apology feels hollow two years on - we have
been betrayed once again. We are calling for protest rallies across
Australia on February 13 2010.
 
Racism is not a special measure. No more broken promises – it’s time
to break the Intervention.
 
Signed by:
 
Richard Downs, Ampilatwatja
 
Dave Lewis, Ampilatwatja
 
Wally Miller, Ampilatwatja
 
Banjo Morton
 
Graeme Morton
 
Larkin Morton
 
Roger Morton, Antarringina
 
Harry Nelson, Yuendumu
 
Dave Ross
 
Kingi Ross, Irrultja
 
Jimmy Rubuntja, Epenarra
 
Harry Rubuntja, Canteen creek
 
Geoffrey Shaw, Mt Nancy Town Camp
 
Fred Teece
 
Donald Thompson, Antarringina
 
Loretta Baily, Antarringina
 
Betty Beasley, Ampilatwatja
 
Casey Holmes, Antarringina
 
Frankie Holmes, Antarringina
 
Eileen Hoosan, Mt Nancy Town Camp
 
Angeline Luck
 
Lily Morton
 
Elaine Peckham, Iwupataka Land Trust
 
Hellen Rubuntja
 
Barbara Shaw, Mt Nancy Town Camp
 
Raelene Silverton, West Waterhouse
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