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Media Release 17/11/10                                                                                              *for immediate release


Gurindji spokesman: "Stop the NT Intervention -

constitutional recognition is a token that will change nothing on the ground"

A spokesperson for the Gurindji people in the Northern Territory has today condemned the hypocrisy of Minister Jenny Macklin's support for constitutional recognition of Indigenous people while she continues to enforce the NT Intervention.

John Leemans led a stop work rally of more than 200 workers and supporters from the remote communities of Kalkaringi and Daguragu on October 20 to highlight the deteriorating working and living conditions for Aboriginal people under the NT Intervention. A short video documenting the strike has been launched today on ‘Youtube'.

The video also documents the disastrous impact that the Intervention has had on life at Daguragu, a community built on the site of the famous 1966 Wave Hill ‘walk off', where Gurindji established a strike camp demanding equal wages and Land Rights.

John Leemans said:

"Minister Macklin has now woken up and agreed to recognise Aboriginal people in the Constitution, but when will she agree to recognise Aboriginal rights and do away with failed intervention policies?"

"We feel we've been betrayed. After the Apology we hoped a Labor government would demolish the Intervention and start a new way of working with Aboriginal Australians. Constitutional recognition would be more of the same symbolism while continuing to roll out racist policies on the ground."

"We invite Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin to come and meet with the Gurindji people at Wattie Creek. We want the government to see first hand the damage their Intervention policies have caused our communities."

"We've lost a lot of vital services, including the retirement and family centres, the bricksworks, health clinic and the bakery is just holding on a couple of times a week. People are still having to take their rubbish to the tip in their own vehicles. We've lost hundreds of workers as CDEP closes down and now people are being forced to work for the BasicsCard".

"Changing the constitution is another token that will cost the government nothing and change nothing on the ground. Gurindji want real self-determination. Give Aboriginal people back our integrity, liberty and control of our lives, homelands and communities. We need funding for jobs, housing and services that can help alleviate poverty and overcrowding."

A YouTube clip of the October 20 Gurindji strike
can be accessed at

For more information
contact John Leemans 0438345155