Rally to Stop the NT Intervention - Sydney

Welfare rights for all - No income management
Join our rally on March 20 to mark UN day for the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination

•  Stop the NT intervention
•  No to racism!
•  Land Rights not Leases
•  Real Jobs not 'BasicCards
'
Sunday March 20th at 1:00pm
Sydney Town Hall

Join our rally on Sunday March 20, to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

STOP THE INTERVENTION - COLLECTIVE SYDNEY BULLETIN
pdf  NEWSLETTER DOWNLOAD pdf file

Demand:
- Stop the NT intervention - no to racism!
- Make all laws subject to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975
- Welfare rights for all - no income management
- Land Rights not Leases
- Real Jobs not BasicCards

The Intervention has been three and a half years of racist shame. The Labor Government has continued and extended the Intervention policy towards Aboriginal people that was pushed through in the final days of the Howard era. When Rudd apologised the Stolen Generations in 2008, he promised that the mistakes of the past would “never, ever, happen again”. But they are happening all over again with the Intervention.

The Intervention was dependent upon the suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA), a clear example of its racist basis. Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin introduced new laws last year that she claims will “reinstate the RDA”. But this is a lie. Under the new laws all of the racist, draconian Intervention policies introduced by Howard in 2007 will remain in place.

These control measures remain in place:
- Government Business Managers on Aboriginal communities
- Signing over Aboriginal land for 5-40 years before housing or services are offered
- Racist alcohol and pornography bans
- People will still not have access to the Racial Discrimination Act to challenge these measures

Demonstrate your opposition to these policies at our rally on Sunday March 20, 1pm Sydney Town Hall

New laws entrench racist Intervention measures

Rather than allow the application of the Racial Discrimination Act or roll back the Intervention’s punitive measures, Labor’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin has overseen new legislation that entrenches nearly all discriminatory Intervention policies.

The new laws, which passed in parliament last year, will entrench compulsory income management across the Northern Territory. This policy has been criticised by the government’s own Review in 2009, UN Special Rapporteur James Anaya and the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS). A recent report by the Menzies School of Health Research disproves the Jenny Macklin’s claim that income management has “put healthy food on the table” in prescribed communities. The research shows that income management has had no beneficial effect on tobacco and cigarette sales, soft drink or fruit and vegetable sales.

Macklin claims the new laws will make income management “non-discriminatory” by extending it beyond the “prescribed” communities under the Intervention legislation. But the new policy merely stigmatises a greater number of welfare recipients. While this law may technically be compliant with the RDA (although some human rights lawyers disagree), income management will overwhelmingly be applied to Aboriginal people in the NT, and remains a clear source of racist stigma and disadvantage.

Equally concerning is the continuation of the measures which have disempowered Aboriginal communities and attacked Aboriginal organisations, such as compulsory five-year leases, Government Business Managers, and alcohol and pornography bans.

Conditions in the communities have deteriorated under these policies. The Rudd government’s changes to CDEP (Community Development Employment Program) that came into effect in July 2009 are having a severe impact on services and employment. Gillard’s government has maintained these changes, which require Aboriginal people to work (for example, providing municipal and council services and in schools) for the dole, 50% of which is quarantined on a ‘Basics Card’. This effectively means working for rations or receiving no welfare at all. This disgraceful situation is a return to the ‘ration days’ where Aboriginal people were told they could not manage their money.

By many indicators, life is going backward for Aboriginal communities under three and a half years of paternalistic intervention. School attendance has declined, malnutrition rates in children have increased and suicide rates have increased since the Intervention began. We are outraged that rather than redress this decline, Minister Macklin has written legislation that compounds it.

Aboriginal workers ripped off under SIHIP

The joint federal and NT governments’ Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP) has been plagued by controversy due to bureaucratic waste and disempowerment of communities. Close to $200 million was spent before a single house was built. Only 16 communities will receive new housing under SIHIP despite desperate need across all Aboriginal communities. New housing is contingent on the signing of 40-year leases with the government. All communities are now being charged ‘market rent’.

Attempting to offset these failings federal Labor government claimed that SIHIP delivered substantial employment opportunities to Aboriginal communities.

However the experiences of Aboriginal workers in the effected communities indicates that the SIHIP policies subject Aboriginal people to exploitation, unsafe working condition and further punitive control by governments.

One of many testimonies collected by the Intervention Rollback Action Group, Alice Springs:

Alfred works in a remote community collecting garbage 5 days a week. He tried to get a proper job with the Shire but no paid positions were available. Alfred’s name appeared on a notice pinned at the local store, saying his Centrelink payments would be cut off if he did not report for work. He has never been issued with any clothing or safety equipment. He has had to manually lift garbage bins onto a flatbed truck. He drives the truck without a license. He recieves no record of pay or hours worked.

Can you donate?

STICS relies completely on donations and volunteers to keep going. Help fund the campaign against the Intervention. Donations can be transferred
to:
Account Name: Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney
BSB number: 062212 Account number: 10452725 ABN: 56 162 064 644

Do something! JOIN STICS!

STICS is an open collective of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people committed to campaigning against the Intervention. We meet Mondays at 6:00pm, Level 1, Federation Conference Centre, 23- 33 Mary St, Surry Hills.
Call Jean on 0449 646 593 for more info or visit www.stoptheintervention.org and www.jobswithjustice.wordpress.com