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Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia) - 18 June 2009


Invite to:      Website launch for National Day of Action against   NT Intervention  - 1pm 19/6 Canberra

Come and be part of fighting for Aboriginal Rights to land and human rights:

Website launch for National Day of Action
against the NT Intervention - two years on

launch of an informative website:

- know the voices, news and opinions on the NT Intervention -

1pm Friday 19 June 2009

Garema Place, Civic, Canberra

Other events are being held around Australia for the National Day of Action in Darwin, Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane on Saturday 20 June

The WGAR, Working Group for Aboriginal Rights, website is now up and running. In the interest of raising awareness on the intricacies and impacts of the NT Intervention the website contains sourced news summaries, opinions, as well as radio and video weblinks.

There is a world of difference between 'consult' and 'consent'. In Article 19, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples advocates Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), despite attempts by several Nation States to substitute 'consult' for 'consent' during the draughting process in the UN.

At present the progress of the NT Intervention and the resistance to it is turning on these two words.

Minister Jenny Macklin appears content with her version of 'consult' whereas the NT Aboriginal voice for 'consent' is growing louder.

Even the version of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that was handed out in Parliament House during Minister Jenny Macklin's formal support of the Declaration omits the words 'free prior and informed' before the word consent.

The importance of free prior and informed consent is illustrated by recent events at Santa Theresa in the Simpson Desert, NT:

Imelda Palmer is a teacher and community leader in Santa Teresa, where consultations were held recently. She says that no notice was given for the meeting.

"Not many people know about this meeting. I only found out about the meeting when the ABC journalists came to interview me. I walked up and there were maybe 12 or 17 people sitting around the table. That's not good enough. It should have been a public meeting out in the open, for the whole community, not behind closed doors. It needs to be one voice out there in the open if this is proper consultation".

Ms Palmer is angry that the government has already decided to continue with compulsory Income Management.

"Why did she send out a team from her government bodies with their discussion paper to talk about the Intervention and ask us how its going? What's that for when behind our back she's on the media saying its going to keep being compulsory. That's not fair. That's not right, to be controlled like that. When they first went ahead, they didn't think of consulting with communities in the NT. Now this time, they are coming in a different way. When the people write down that we don't want that basics card, or anything like this Intervention, are they going to listen to them?"

"We are all Australians, we are all in one country. Why treat the indigenous people like that, with the Basics Card? Its outright discrimination. The whole Intervention isn't working in communities anyway, the community has just been going down since they started. People are confused. We are suffering because the government is taking the power away".

Contact: Eleanor Gilbert 0421795639

To see the version of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that was handed out in Parliament House during Minister Jenny Macklin's formal support of the Declaration, please click here.