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45 years since the Wave Hill walk-off 25-8-11

Media Release                   -  For immediate release                                                             25 August 2011


‘45 years since the Wave Hill walk-off: Sydney rally in support

of Gurindji demands

- No to intervention, - No to income management'.

Stop The Intervention Collective Sydney (STICS) is holding a rally to coincide with anti-intervention protests marking Gurindji Freedom Day. An anti-intervention demonstration is being held in Kalkaringi, NT. For information or comment contact John Leemans, spokesperson for Gurindji protest on number below.

In Sydney a protest will be held - Friday August 26, 12:30pm @ Minister Tanya Plibersek's office,150 Broadway, between City rd and Abercrombie st, Broadway.

In August 1966 Gurindji workers at Wave Hill Station went on strike against being paid in rations by cattle baron Lord Vestey. They demanded equal pay and Aboriginal land rights and won historic success in 1975 with the hand-back of Daguragu. Their walk-off galvanised Aboriginal rights activists and unionists across Australia, helping to catalyse the modern Land Rights movement.

"45 years after Wave Hill, the NT Intervention has gutted the rights won by the historic Gurindji strike. The 1966 walk-off lead Aboriginal Australia in the fight for self-determination. But under this intervention those rights have been removed. Cuts to the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) and the government's ‘Hub Town' policy are driving the community into the ground with the withdrawal of services, jobs and housing" said David Suttle from Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney.

"The intervention allowed the government to seize control of Aboriginal township land and impose a compound for the Government Business Manager, surrounded by cyclone fencing. This is a disgusting symbol of the government's take-over of Aboriginal communities," continued Mr Suttle.

"In a celebration of the Wave Hill struggle, Gurindji communities are today holding a re-enactment of the Walk-Off. They are taking the opportunity to condemn the intervention and let Minister Jenny Macklin and other officials know they want the immediate restoration of community control. We are rallying in Sydney in support of their call," said Alex Johnson from Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney.

The Sydney rally is targeting Minister Tanya Plibersek who is responsible expanding the intervention's Income Management policy into 5 new locations across Australia from 2012, including to Bankstown in South-Western Sydney. The rally will be addressed by members of a coalition of organizations in Bankstown that formed to stop the expansion. A report by the Woman's Equality Rights Alliance released last Friday examining the experiences of more than 180 women on Income Management in the Northern Territory demonstrated that the vast majority of women surveyed wanted to exit income management.

"This report demolishes the key myths that Ministers Plibersek and Macklin rely on to sell Income Management. It has not changed spending patterns and women do not feel safer. This report captures the feelings of shame and indignation that exist across the NT. The Gurindji walked-off for the right to be paid in cash not rations. Now with Income Management we are again fighting the racist lie that Aboriginal people cannot manage money. The spirit of the Wave Hill strike is inspiring our fight against Income Management today " said Mr Suttle.

Demands of the rally:

- Stop the NT Intervention
- Land Rights not leases
- Jobs with Justice for all communities
- Stop Income Management - No expansion to Bankstown or anywhere!


Daphne Lake, Bankstown Aboriginal Elder
Paul McAleer, Maritime Union of Australia
Violet Roumeliotis, Metro Migrant Resource Centre

For comment or information contact:

David Suttle - 0407 209 520 or Alex Johnson - 0449 184 801
Wave Hill NT: John Leemans - spokesperson for Gurindji protest: 0438 345 155