Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney - 9 February 2010
Media Release......Media Release......Media Release......Media Release...... Media Release......
Aboriginal rights advocates support Greens move to vote
against new NT Intervention laws:
Prominent Aboriginal rights supporters including Jumbunna House of Learning UTS, The Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement (SA), the CFMEU (Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union), ‘concerned Australians', The Working Group for Aboriginal Rights, Eva Cox and Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney are giving their full support to the Greens Senators' plans to vote against new NT Intervention legislation that extends welfare quarantine.
On February 4th one of Jenny Macklin's advisors sent an unprecedented email urging Aboriginal supporters to pressure the Greens to pass Labor's proposed legislation. In her email, Rita Markwell claims that the legislation will improve the situation of ‘prescribed people' in the NT in three ways:
- that it will reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA)
- that it will make welfare quarantining ‘non-discriminatory'
- and that the new laws are informed by ‘extensive consultation' of Aboriginal people affected by the Intervention
"Markwell's claims are completely false and totally misrepresent the impact of the laws," said Jean Parker from the Stop the Intervention Campaign Collective Sydney (STICS).
"Rudd could reinstate the RDA tomorrow, but the government knows there would be an immediate court challenge which would expose the Intervention laws as racist and discriminatory. The fact is the proposed legislation keeps the RDA suspended for another 11 months. It is Macklin, who is responsible for the denial of Aboriginal rights, not the Greens Senators," said Monique Wiseman from STICS.
"Income management has imposed punitive controls on Aboriginal communities. It controls the poorest in the community, and pushes families further into financial distress. The $4400 per person per annum, (one third of the single rate of Newstart Allowance) being spent on these administering this system is desperately needed for real jobs and services" said Monique.
"Income management is nothing but "blame the victim" politics and this expansion will not make it any less discriminatory. The vast majority of people currently subjected to income management will stay on the BasicsCard. The vast majority of those being drawn into the scheme will be Aboriginal. Income management has degraded Aboriginal people and the proposal to degrade some non-Aboriginal people does not make it any more acceptable." said Monique.
"The claim that there has been extensive consultation is a lie. As the "Will They Be Heard?" Report shows, the majority of those consulted reject the welfare quarantine. Even the government's allegedly independent monitor, CIRCA, noticed that Aboriginal people spoke 'passionately' against income management" said Jean.
"Before, the government legalised its racism by suspending the Racial Discrimination Act. Now, it's legalising the same racist measures by calling them 'special measures' under the Racial Discrimination Act. Jenny Macklin's only justification is a ‘consultation' process which was merely an exercise in box-ticking" concluded Monique.
This Saturday 13th February STICS is holding a major rally against the NT Intervention and a long walk against racism.
Walkers will leave La Perouse at 9am.
Speakers will begin at 1pm at the Block, Redfern.
Irene Fisher, Sunrise Health (NT)
Pastor Ray Minniecon
Mal Tulloch, CFMEU
Lee Rhiannon (Greens).
Demands of the rally:
- Stop the NT Intervention
- End the income quarantine - stop the national expansion
- Land rights, not leases
- Self-determination, not assimilation
- Aboriginal controlled housing, jobs and services for all communities
For comment call Monique Wiseman on 0415 410 558 or Jean Parker on 0449 646 594