Not a mention of the Intervention 16-6-16
Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney Media Release 16 June 2016
Not a mention of the Intervention
Protesters will rally at Sydney Town Hall on Saturday, 18 June, at 1 pm to demand an end to the Northern Territory Intervention.
The rally will mark the ninth anniversary of the Intervention, which was enacted by the Howard government in 2007 and rebranded “Stronger Futures” by the Gillard government in 2012. The "emergency" measure has been widely criticised for violating the human rights of First Nations people and for causing increasing harm and despair rather than reducing disadvantage.
Georgina Gartland of ‘concerned Australians’ said "it is well documented that the gaps are mostly widening. Intervention mark II continues to fail. The 2016 Stronger Futures review demonstrated serious failing in policies, yet the legislation was not repealed and First Nations priorities continue to be ignored."
“The treatment of First Nations people should be at the top of the political agenda in the lead up to the federal election”, said Emily Bullock, spokesperson for the Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney (STICS), “yet the Intervention is never discussed”.
Under the Intervention the military was sent into Aboriginal communities, the Racial Discrimination Act was suspended and compulsory Income Management was introduced for Aboriginal people. Vast areas of Aboriginal lands in the NT were compulsorily acquired and 5-year leases imposed. Since 2012 longer leases have been coerced in exchange of basic services and housing not delivered in most communities. The Intervention also removed the Community Development Employment Projects which provided employment and maintained basic infrastructure in communities.
“These measures have only served to further disempower and marginalise First Nations people” said Bullock. “The despair that the Intervention has created is drastically apparent in figures which show a 500% increase in the rates of attempted suicide and self-harm by First Nations people since it began”, Bullock continued.
Rosalie Kunoth-Monks stated in a recent article in the Australian that “ We fought for land rights but where are we today? The attacks on us have been relentless, … the intervention … was part of the cruel relentlessness. …The intervention dismantled what we did have of self-determination. …Today … we see the processes of assimilation in full swing.”
A recent government report found that there has been little progress towards achieving the “Close the Gap” goals, which were set by the Council of Australian Governments a year after the Intervention started. Other figures show that the rate of First Nations people incarcerated in the Northern Territory has risen significantly since the Intervention began, while the rate of First Nations children in care has increased by 69%.
“Why is such a detrimental policy still backed by both the Liberals and Labor?”, said Bullock, “It appears that both parties have agreed to provide as little as possible to First Nations people and to remove all the power they can from communities.”
Ken Canning, a Bidjara Elder and candidate for the Federal Senate who will address the rally, stated that the bipartisan support for the Intervention shows that First Nations people “have no friends on either side of the political spectrum. … The truth of the Intervention is that it is the biggest land grab since 1788”.
Also speaking at the rally will be Wiradjuri Elder and founder of the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Aunty Jenny Munro, Sydney University Senior Law Lecturer, Nicole Watson, and Jason De Santolo and Paddy Gibson of the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, UTS.
“We urge people to join us on Saturday to demand end to these harmful policies”, Bullock said. “We must support the call in the recent Redfern Statement for self-determination and adequate resourcing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led-solution, and oppose the continuation of punitive, controlling measures”.
For more information contact Cathy Gill on 0422385852.
Saturday, 18th June 2016 - 1pm
Sydney Town Hall