Yolŋuw Makarr Dhuni (Yolŋu Nations Assembly)


Yolŋu Nations Assembly
Statement regarding Australian Federal Government Stronger Futures Bills and Northern Territory Policies, to the Leaders of the Australian Federal and Northern Territory Parliaments: please click here

 

 

Statements and Media Releases from

‘concerned Australians'

by Churches, Organisations and Groups

calling to abandon the

Stronger Futures Legislation

and supporting the

Yolŋu Nations Assembly Statement:

..............................................................................................................................................

Mornington Interchurch Aboriginal Awareness Group (Victoria)

Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC)

'concerned Australians'

St Vincent de Paul Society National Council

Leaders of the Congregations and Provinces of the Sisters of St Joseph, Australia

Presentation Sisters Victoria

Uniting Church in Australia National Assembly

Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Australia Inc.

Hon Robyn Layton AO QC, Prof. Peter Buckskin PSM FACE, Dr Irene Watson, Dr Lester-Irabinna Rigney PhD, MACE

Josephite SA Reconciliation Circle

Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, Sydney Archdiocese

Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Melbourne (ACMM)

National Congress of Australia's First Peoples

Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea

Whitehorse Friends For Reconciliation Inc. (WFFR)

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia (CRA)

Catholic Religious Australia (CRA)

Public Health Association of Australia

 

Further Statements

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC)

Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission (NATSIEC)

Women for Wik

Related Articles

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Mornington Interchurch Aboriginal Awareness Group (Victoria)
Media Release of  30 Apr 12
The Mornington Interchurch Aboriginal Awareness Group, which draws its membership from five Christian denominations on the Mornington Peninsula, has had first hand contact with the Elders of the Yolgnu nations of north east Arnhem Land and their concerns for more than a year. The opposition of many Indigenous clan leaders, particularly the Yolgnu Elders, to the Federal Government's "Stronger Futures" legislation, is very well known to us. As a Group, we strongly support their criticisms set out in their current statement of the Yolgnu Nations Assembly of the legislation about to go before the Senate for debate.On the occasion of the original Howard Government's Emergency Intervention, we made contact with the Yolgnu Elders, and studied the concerns they expressed with their people, especially how they were being discriminated against by the Intervention's actions, and without any effective consultation - before or afterwards...
please click here


Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC)
Media Release of 2 May 12: Statement by SNAICC Chairperson Dawn Wallam
SNAICC stands in solidarity with Yolŋu Nations Assembly -
SNAICC stands in solidarity with the Yolŋuw Makarr Dhuni (Yolŋu Nations Assembly) ofWestern, Central and East Arnhem Land.The Yolŋu Nations have called on the Senate to discard in full the Stronger Futures packageof bills that, if enacted, would extend the intervention in Northern Territory Aboriginal communities for 10 years. SNAICC agrees with this unambiguous position. In our submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee, SNAICC recommended that the legislation be completely redeveloped in accordance with international human rights laws to which Australia is bound. Some of the basic human rights that SNAICC considers are not fully reflected in the Stronger Futures bills are the right to self-determination and the right for communities to give their free, prior and informed consent to measures that may affect them. These are the same principles that the Yolŋu Nations are asking the Australian and Northern Territory governments to uphold - and to work in meaningful partnership with Aboriginal communities to arrive at effective long-term solutions...
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'concerned Australians'
Media Release of 2 May 12: Initiative and Ability to Listen - but - a Change is Desperately Needed

Today the Yolngu Nations Assembly sent a statement to the Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and Opposition leader Tony Abbott. It was also sent to other senior politicians in the Federal and Northern Territory governments, calling for a changed approach to policy in the Northern Territory.The Yolngu Nations Assembly is made up of 8 Nations from West, Central and East Arnhem Land.The Yolngu Nations Assembly statement clearly informs Government that it does not support the proposed Stronger Futures legislation. It has stated that it believe its aims and those of Governmentcan be achieved through partnerships in communities and based on the principles of self determination.‘concerned Australians' acknowledges this statement and gives its full support to it. Spokesperson, Michele Harris, states that, " 'concerned Australians' joins with the Yolngu Nations Assembly, other social justice organisations and leading Australians, in calling for an end to the interventionist policies of the last five years...

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St Vincent de Paul Society National Council
Media Release of 2 May 12: St Vincent de Paul Society respectfully supports Yolngu Elders
St Vincent de Paul Society National Council CEO, Dr John Falzon, issued the following statement in response to the Statement released this morning by Elders of the Yolngu Nations Assembly in Arnhem Land: "The Elders of the Yolngu Nations Assembly today issued an historical statement regarding the Australian Government's Stronger Futures Bills. "Their words are born from a strong and positive vision for Australia. "All of us, especially those elected as legislators, have a duty to listen to these words and to take heed of their rejection of the Stronger Futures Bills. ... "The St Vincent de Paul Society respectfully acknowledges and supports the Statement of the Elders of the Yolngu Nations Assembly and calls on the Australian Government to do likewise.
please click here


Leaders of the Congregations and Provinces of the Sisters of St Joseph, Australia
Media Release of 2 May 12: Josephites urge Senate to reject Stronger Futures Bill
"The Sisters of St Joseph throughout Australia are urging Senators to reject the Stronger Futures legislation when it comes before the Senate in Early May. Josephites continue to question the government's proposed expansion of compulsory income management, its punitive welfare policy, and particularly the new proposal (SEAM), which aims to increase school attendance by tying welfare payments to days that students are present at school. Speaking as a Leader of the Sisters of St Joseph right across Australia, Sr Anne Derwin echoed the ongoing disappointment of many Australians. 'This latest bill reminds us once again of all our concerns about the previous legislation. ... ' Sr Anne said."
please click here


Presentation Sisters Victoria
Letter to the Hon. Jenny Macklin of 2 May 12
"Dear Ms Macklin, ... We urge you to listen to the voices of the peoples of the 8 nations in the Western, Central and East Arnhem Land at Yolngu Nations Assembly to "end their interventionist policies and agendas, and return to a mindset of partnership based on the principles of Self-Determination". ... "
please click here


Uniting Church in Australia National Assembly
Media Release  of 2 May 12: Federal Government should heed Yolngu voices
The Uniting Church in Australia has welcomed a statement by the Yolngu Nations Assembly that rejects any further extension of the Northern Territory Intervention."The best and only way forward for Indigenous Australians is through genuine partnerships between communities and all levels of Government," said President of the Uniting Church in Australia's National Assembly Rev. Alistair Macrae."When self-determination is side-lined any progress for our First Peoples is an illusion..."
please click here


Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Australia Inc.
Media Release of 2 May 12: Quakers in Australia support Yolŋu Nations Assembly rejection of Stronger Futures Bills

"Members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Australia support the Statement made by Yolŋu Nations Assembly (see attachment) to the Australian Federal and Northern Territory Parliaments calling on the Senate to discard the Stronger Futures Bills in full. We also endorse the call made by Yolŋu Nations Assembly for the Federal and Northern Territory Governments to 'end their interventionist policies and agendas, and return to a mindset of partnership based on the principles of selfdetermination'..."
please click here


Hon Robyn Layton AO QC, Prof. Peter Buckskin PSM FACE, Dr Irene Watson, Dr Lester-Irabinna Rigney PhD, MACE
Public Statement of 3 May 12: Public Statement protesting against the Stronger Futures Bills
"We sign this Public Statement to express our strongest support for the Abiriginal Yolgnu Nations Assembly representing some 8,000 Aboriginal people in west, central and east Arnhem Land who oppose the passage of these Bills in the Senate. ... We support the Yolgnu Nations in their call on " both the Australian Federal and Northern Territory Governments to end their interventions policies and agendas, and return to a mindset of partnership based on Self-Determination"."
please click here


Josephite SA Reconciliation Circle
Statement of 3 May 12
"The Josephite SA Reconciliation Circle, together with our mentor, Kaurna Elder Dr Alitya Rigney join our voices with those of the Yolgnu Nations Assembly who released their Statement yesterday, May 2, 2012. Together with the Assembly, we 'reject the Stronger Futures Bill (and those associated) and call on the Senate to discard these Bills in full.' Since the inception of the Intervention into the NT in 2007, our Circle has campaigned against this disempowering legislation. Now, in support of the Yolngu Nations, we once again call on both Federal and NT Governments to work with Aboriginal communities rather than impose their own decisions. Many of our members have a teaching background so realise the effectiveness of children learning in their own language. Together with the Yolgnu Nations, we therefore also call 'for an end to the Northern Territory Government's Compulsory Teaching in English for the First Four Hours of Each Day policy.' ... "
please click here


Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, Sydney Archdiocese
Media Statement: Yolŋu Nations reject "Stronger Futures"

The Yolŋu Makarr Dhuni, an assembly of eight nations in the Western, Central and East Arnhem Land areas of the Northern Territory, have released a statement rejecting the Federal Government's Stronger Futures legislation. Graeme Mundine, Executive Officer of the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, Sydney Archdiocese has welcomed the statement. Mr Mundine said "The statement by the Yolŋu Nations Assembly cannot be any clearer. The Yolŋu have consistently asked for partnership and self-determination, not intervention and discrimination. The Yolŋu peoples do not want disempowering relationships with Government. "The Yolŋu Assembly are also asking all NT Traditional Owners to refuse to participate in land lease negotiations and approval of exploration licenses until the Government throws out the Stronger Futures legislation. In doing this the Yolŋu Nations are clearly stating they have had enough of being pressured to agree to things that are negatively impacting their communities...

please click here


Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Melbourne (ACMM)
Media Release of 4 May 12: Yolŋu Nations reject "Stronger Futures proposed Legislation"
The Yolŋu Makarr Dhuni, an assembly of eight nations in the Western, Central and East Arnhem Land areas of the Northern Territory, have released a statement rejecting the Federal Government's Stronger Futures legislation. Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Melbourne (ACMM) supports the recent statement by the Nations of the Yolŋuw Makarr Dhunni (Yolŋu Nations Assembly) of the Western, Central and Eastern Arnhem Land areas, Northern Territory. The Government has received 454 submissions to the Senate Community Affairs committee's inquiry into the Bills. The vast majority of submissions, which included Aboriginal peoples and organisations, community groups, Churches, human rights groups, welfare groups and individuals, strongly opposed measures, rejected the Bills, or asked for its withdrawal. More than 35,000 people have signed the Stand for Freedom petition. Other Traditional owners have also made strong statements. Yet the Government is ignoring all this informed opposition and is pushing through its own agenda to pass the Stronger Futures legislation...
please click here


National Congress of Australia's First Peoples
Announcement of 4 May 12: Congress says Govt should stop, listen and test NT laws for human rights violations

Congress says it will continue to oppose new Intervention laws because they have not been tested for human rights violations as part of its on‐going support to Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory. Congress Co‐Chairs Jody Broun and Les Malezer said more Aboriginal people are calling for the laws before Parliament to be scrapped, most recently the Yolgnu Nations Assembly, which represents 8000 traditional owners in west, central and east Arnhem Land."Here is another significant group of our peoples, directly affected by the laws, who are actually calling this legislation 'racist' in their letter to the Prime Minister," said Mr. Malezer. "This is a strong and simple message to the Government that these laws must be independently reviewed to ensure they do not breach human rights standards and international obligations."The Government has ‘willful deafness' on such a fundamental issue, even after critical reports on the Intervention by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples...

please click here


Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea
4 May 12: Response to the Statement of the Yolnu Nations Assembly in Arnhem Land regarding the Stronger Futures Bills and Northern Territory Policies

The Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea supports the Statement of the Yolnu Nations Assembly in Arnhem Land which calls on both the ‘Australian Federal and Northern Territory Governments to end their interventionist policies and agendas, and return to a mindset of partnership based on the principles of Self-Determination'. Sister Annette Schneider RSM, spokeswoman for the Institute of more than 900 Sisters of Mercy, joins with all people of good-will who seek an end to the intervention policies in the Northern Territory.The Stronger Futures Bill (and those associated) which is not supported by the Yolnu Nations will soon come before the Senate. "We hope that each Senator will genuinely consider the legislation and its impact before they vote on the Bill" said Sister Annette...
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Whitehorse Friends For Reconciliation Inc. (WFFR)
Press Release of 4 May 12: Stronger Futures (SF) legislation is 'No Future'

'Stronger' call by Northern Aboriginal Elders to discard Stronger Futures legislation package
Whitehorse Friends for Reconciliation is one of many small community groups which regularly gather to discuss ways of enhancing reconciliation and respectful relationships between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians. We work through local community awareness-raising, and through lobbying members of all parliaments, both state and federal. ... Whitehorse Friends for Reconciliation (WFFR) acknowledges the Yolŋu Nations Assembly in their struggle, and supports their statement, ... WFFR asks the Government also to honour their commitment to the UNDRIP and human rights principles. The legislation is due to be debated in the senate in May. We call on the leaders of our country and each Senator to personally read the Makarr Dhunni (Yolŋu Nations Assembly) statement, ... "

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Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia (CRA)
Media Release of 5 May 12: Stronger futures or stolen futures - Bishops and Religious question legislation

please click here


Catholic Religious Australia (CRA)
6 May 12: Catholic Religious support the Yolŋu Nations Statement

"Catholic Religious Australia acknowledges with respect and fully supports the Yolŋu Nations Statement. Catholic Religious Australia supports the Yolŋu Nations' call to reject the legislation of the 'Stronger Futures Northern Territory 2011 Bills'. "We have joined with the many Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and other Australians who have often spoken about the need to consult Aboriginal people and their Elders in the planning of actions and recommendations that will affect their lives rather than legislating and imposing obligations and rules." Catholic Religious Australia urges the Federal Government and the Northern Territory Government to listen to the Yolŋu Nations and their requests to abandon this legislation, to honour the legitimate role of the Land Councils and to end interventionist policies. The Yolŋu Nations clearly state that the way forward is through partnership based on the principles of Self-determination."
please click here

 

 

Links to more Statements:

 

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC)
8 May 12: NATSICC Calls For Senators Not To Pass Stronger Futures Northern Territory Bill 2011
"The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC) fully endorses the stance taken by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia in calling for Senators not to pass the Stronger Futures Northern Territory Bill 2011. NATSICC have been consulting and listening to our Aboriginal brothers and sisters in the Northern Territory and have come to the conclusion that the Stronger Futures Bill is not the answer for all Aboriginal people. "In its true sense, it (the NTER) has really disempowered Indigenous Australians living in the NT" said one respondent to our consultations. Because our communities are made up of so many different language groups, ages, personalities and geographical boundaries, the council strongly advises against a 'one size fits all' mentality when legislating for our people."
http://indigenouspeoplesissues.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14927:northern-territory-natsicc-calls-for-senators-not-to-pass-stronger-futures-northern-territory-bill-2011&catid=24&Itemid=57


Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney
Media Release of 9 May 12: From the bush to Bankstown - communities prepare to fight 'Stronger Futures' implementation
"Remote NT communities are joining with the south-western Sydney suburb of Bankstown in a pledge to challenge the implementation of 'Stronger Futures' legislation which is set to be debated in the Senate today. ... In an historic statement from Arnhem Land last week, Yolŋu Elders pledged to refuse to negotiate any leases, including mining exploration leases, while the government pushed ahead with 'Stronger Futures'. ... Mathew Dhulumburrk, a Gupapuyngu Elder from Ramingining, was part of the Yolŋu Makarr Dhuni, (Yolŋu Nations Assembly) which issued the statement against Stronger Futures last week: "We do not want another decade of discrimination here at Ramingining. After five years, it feels like the water level has climbed up to our neck. Another ten years will bring it way over our heads. The government is drowning us slowly and wonders why twice as many of our young people are attempting suicide. There is no valid reason to discriminate against Yolŋu in this way." "We put out a statement last week and we stand by that. We will not be co-operating with the government when they try and bring in Stronger Futures. We will not sign any leases over our land. We want to determine our own future and run our own communities. We need laws and support that will let us do that", concluded Mr Dhulumburrk."
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National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission (NATSIEC)
"The Stronger Futures Legislation is disproportionate with the peoples wishes and catapults Indigenous communities back to the micro-management of Mission days is the message from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission (NATSIEC). NATSIEC, as the peak Indigenous ecumenical body and commission of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) requests that the Government heed the message of the Northern Territory Elders, communities and service providers in their quest for authentic consultation and negotiation to gain stronger and better futures for themselves. ... Stronger Futures can be visionary. To be authentic it must reflect the Indigenous voices as well as observe International Human Rights laws and the United Nations Declaration on the rights of Australian Indigenous Peoples." ..
http://www.ncca.org.au/departments/natsiec/666-stronger-futures-or-stronger-policing


Women for Wik
Statement of 11 May 12
Women for Wik respectfully support the Yolgnu Elders' Statement in their determined opposition to The Stronger Futures Legislation. This legislation will undermine the human rights of Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory until 2022 - and will renew and even expand some of the harshest measures under the Howard Government's' Northern Territory Emergency Response for ten more years according to ANTar. We join an increasing number of national organisations and concerned individuals supporting this important Statement. Opponents of the Bill include former PM Malcolm Fraser, Australian Bishops, Religious and Leaders of the Congregation; The Uniting Church of Australia; The Archdiocese of Sydney's Aboriginal Catholic Ministry; The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council); concerned Australians; ANTAR; the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council; musicians Paul Kelly, Neil Murray and Archie Roach; the Institute of Sisters of Mercy; ACM of Melbourne and Sydney; The Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Children and St Vincent de Paul Society National Council. The vast majority of the 454 submissions received were against the legislation, most showing the government's failureto show real evidence that the Stronger Futures model has or can improve their lives, and more than 35,000 people signed the petition opposing it.
Rosie Scott, Eva Cox, Pamela Hewitt, Cat Kutay, Christine Olsen

 

 

Related Articles:

 

The Catholic Leader
13 May 12: Church on indigenous elders' side

"AUSTRALIA'S Catholic bishops and leaders of religious congregations have added their voice to Aboriginal elders calling for an end to the Northern Territory Intervention and the Federal Government's proposed Stronger Futures legislation. On May 2, the Yolngu National Assembly, involving eight indigenous nations in the Western, Central and East Arnhem Lands areas of the Northern Territory representing 8000 Aboriginal people, sent a statement to Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Federal Opposition Leader Tont Abbott calling for a changed approach to Northern Territory policy." ...
http://www.catholicleader.com.au/news.php/top-stories/church-on-indigenous-elders-side_79497


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese
8 May 12: Bishops & Religious Back Calls for Halt to NT "Intervention"

"Australia's Catholic bishops and religious have appealed to Federal Senators not to pass "Stronger Futures Northern Territory 2011 Bill" which would see the Territory's controversial "Intervention" policy extended for a further 10 years. "We urge the Federal Government to abandon this legislation and develop strategies based on trust and respect which will promote collaboration with the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory in decision-making relating to their future," said Archbishop Philip Wilson and Sister Anne Derwin rsj, in a statement issued on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia (CRA)."...
http://www.sydneycatholic.org/news/latest_news/2012/201258_1842.shtml

 

 

WGAR Newsletters Background Info

11 May 2012 - More organisations state support for the Yolngu Nations Assembly Statement - http://indymedia.org.au/2012/05/11/wgar-news-more-organisations-state-support-for-the-yolngu-nations-assembly-statement

10 May 2012 - Several organisations express support for the Yolngu Nations Assembly Statement - http://indymedia.org.au/2012/05/10/wgar-news-several-organisations-express-support-for-the-yolngu-nations-assembly-statement

8 May 2012 - "Stronger futures or stolen futures - Bishops and Religious question legislation" ACBC - http://indymedia.org.au/2012/05/08/wgar-news-stronger-futures-or-stolen-futures-bishops-and-religious-question-legislation-a

4 May 2012 - Yolngu Nations Assembly Statement concerning 'Stronger Futures' laws and NT policies - http://indymedia.org.au/2012/05/04/wgar-news-yolngu-nations-assembly-statement-concerning-stronger-futures-laws-and-nt-polic

 

BACKGROUND TO 'STRONGER FUTURES' NEW NT INTERVENTION LAWS:

http://indymedia.org.au/2012/04/22/background-to-stronger-futures-new-nt-intervention-laws


BACKGROUND TO THE NORTHERN TERRITORY (NT) INTERVENTION:

http://indymedia.org.au/2012/04/22/background-to-the-northern-territory-nt-intervention