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29 Mar 2010 Forum: Welfare Quarantining and the RDA


STICS Public Forum:

Welfare Quarantining and the

Racial Discrimination Act

- what will Macklin's new Intervention laws mean?

Monday, 29th March 2010, 6pm

Teachers Club, Ground Floor, Teachers Federation,

23-33 Mary St, Surry Hills, Sydney


Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal issues.

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.

For the video footage of the speakers: please click here

Since they were in opposition Kevin Rudd's Labour promised to reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act (1975) which Howard contravened to bring in the NT Intervention. But genuinely reinstating the Act would leave the government open to certain legal challenge and further de-legitimise the suite of paternalistic, racist control measures which characterise the Intervention. Labour's new proposed legislation remains inconsistent with the RDA and NT anti-discrimination laws.

On top of maintaining assimilationist policies such as forced 5-year leases, blanket alcohol and pornography bans, and Government Business Managers, the new legislation will roll-out income management to largely Aboriginal Centrelink recipients across the NT. This move has been universally condemned by welfare organisations, who point to the disempowerment and worsening conditions in the Aboriginal communities where income management has already been imposed. New research from the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association, the Menzies School of Health Research and from other health professionals also expresses grave concern regarding the impact of Intervention policy on long-term health outcomes in Aboriginal communities.

Thanks to all who came and to all who have made this Forum such a success. Purpose of the Forum was to learn about the new proposed laws and the campaign to stop the NT Intervention.

For the poster: please click here

For more background info: please click here

For the Hon. Alastair Nicholson's speech: please click here

For Tom Mayne's, R4WS document on NTER: please click here or here

For more info call Sabine: 0449 539 131 or Jean: 0449 646 593

For the petition for an unrestricted and unconditional RDA: please click here


Media Coverage:

Former top judge slams NT action
YUKO NARUSHIMA - March 30, 2010
A FORMER chief justice of the Family Court, Alastair Nicholson, QC, says Kevin Rudd is failing indigenous Australians by continuing the Northern Territory intervention and paying lip service to equality.

Universal welfare quarantining will 'punish'
By Alex Johnson - Updated Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:46pm AEDT
A former chief justice of the Family Court has criticised the Federal Government's push to roll out welfare quarantining to all recipients.

Welfare quarantining - Interview with the Hon. Alastair Nicholson
ABC Radio National - 30 March 2010
The federal government's proposed legislation to expand compulsory income management across the Northern Territory is expected to come before the Senate when parliament resumes in May. This would see the controversial measure of income quarantining extended to all Australians on welfare, including white families.

Minister responds to welfare quarantining criticism - Interview with Minister Jenny Macklin
ABC Radio National - 31 March 2010

Bill to overide Queensland Wild Rivers Act
ABC Radio National - 31 March 2010
Noel Pearson Director of the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership voices his opinion on Income Management at the beginning of the interview

Media Release by the Intervention Rollback Action Group in response to Minister Macklin's interview of 31 March 2010
...There is no evidence, either in Australia or internationally, that income management helps underprivileged people to deal with issues arising from their circumstances. The measure in fact goes again the government's own policy of social inclusion. Extending the measure to other areas of disadvantage around the country will not help people who are struggling to cope with issues impacting on their lives but will add to their psychological and financial stress... or click here

Noel Pearson hails welfare quarantining extension
Joe Kelly From: The Australian March 31, 2010 4:45PM
NOEL Pearson has called the Rudd government's extension of mandatory income management across the Northern Territory a "historic leap'' into a new era.

Will Caucus allow unproven, dangerous changes to income management?
Crikey: March 31, 2010 - 11:52 am, by Eva Cox
On the one side is Alastair Nicholson, nearly all major welfare agencies, including sole parent groups, other women's groups, Indigenous Doctors, Academic researchers, a report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, some statistics and one small longitudinal research project who all oppose continuing and extending compulsory income management in the NT and potentially throughout Australia. The basis for the objections range across defending human rights to the practical problems of any such program, but all agree that there is no serious evidence that income management works.

NSWALC backs Nicholson on welfare reform - 31 March 2010
Macklin defends income management plans - 31 March 2010
Welfare legislation 'disgraceful', 'a sham' - 29 March 2010

Nicholson, Siewert slam Rudd govt over ‘disgraceful' RDA laws
By Madelaine Sealey and Amy McQuire - National Indigenous Times - ISSUE 198, April 1, 2010
A former Chief Justice of the Family Court and Greens Senator have spoken out against welfare quarantining.

THE BIG READ: Tired of being ashamed
National Indigenous Times - ISSUE 198, April 1, 2010
Former Family Court Chief Justice Alastair Nicholson judges the intervention