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21 Mar 2014 STICS Forum

 STICS Forum

21 March 2014 - 6.30pm for 7pm start


Marking the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

REDFERN Town Hall, 73 Pitt St, Redfern

Speakers include:

John Pilger, Utopia filmmaker
Marianne McKay, Nyoongar activist
Dianne Stokes, Muckaty Traditional Owner
Aunty Hazel, Grand Mothers Against Removals Gunnedah

STICS Forum on 21 March 2014: please click here

For the Poster: please click here

NIT Article of 26 March 2014 

Redfern public forum hears horror stories of Apartheid, racism in Northern Territory
by National Indigenous Times reporter, Geoff Bagnall

A public forum in Redfern has heard horror stories of a new Stolen Generation, government bullying of Traditional Owners over the siting of a nuclear waste dump and the ongoing "Apartheid and racism being inflicted upon Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory" including through the Northern Territory Intervention.

In the wake of John Pilger's film 'Utopia', an eye-opener for many Australians, the Stop the Intervention Collective, Sydney (STICS) held the public forum on the day marking the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to raise public awareness these issues had not gone away and to try to spark more public action.

Speakers at the forum included 'Utopia' filmmaker, John Pilger, Dianne Stokes, a Traditional Owner from Muckaty where the government is trying to dump nuclear waste under her land and Uncle Albert Hartnett, a Wangkumurra man with first hand experience of child removal.

STICS spokesman, Paddy Gibson said it was the right time for such a forum because 'Utopia' had spurred people all over the country.

"As John Pilger's film 'Utopia' has been shown around the country a lot of people have been really moved by what they've seen and wanting to take some action," he said.

In the wake of the film's release there was an attack on Adam Goodes' comments about the film from Herald Sun columnist, Andrew Bolt but Paddy Gibson said the main reaction from the right was a deafening silence.

"Well, that's Andrew Bolt, isn't it? Denied the Stolen Generations and said Adam Goodes' mother wasn't stolen and various other racist, offensive, ridiculous things Andrew Bolt likes to say," Mr Gibson said.

"I think the rightwing response to the film has been to ignore it.

"Adam Goodes has pointed it out very, very clearly, there's been a very serious contrast between the enthusiasm with which it's been taken up at the grass roots level by Aboriginal people and their supporters and the wave of community screenings that have been attended and basically forced it into the cinemas when they saw how many people were interested in the film," he said.

And that was one of the aims of the Redfern forum, that the film and the issues it raised, could not be ignored.

"We've been inundated, as the Stop the Intervention Collective, with interest about what people can do and on the other hand, essentially a silence in the mainstream media about the film and the issues in the film," Mr Gibson said.

Dianne Stokes had many issues she wanted to bring to the forum, the waste dump being just one.

"I've come from Tennant Creek to Sydney to talk about the Muckaty and to talk about the struggles we have in Tennant Creek, about the police and about the children that are taken away from families, to let everyone know we are in the struggle the same way Aboriginal people have here in the cities," she said.

Ms Stokes said she has had to come to talk directly to the people because the government is "deaf" to her people.

"I want to talk directly to people because people in cities, people in areas around cities don't know anything about what is happening in Northern Territory, so I come up to talk about the nuclear waste to get more support for how long I have been struggling," she said.

"I have struggled for seven years talking about the waste, travelling through my speaking tours and talking to everyone in the cities about the waste and telling them we didn't have not much consultation with the Traditional Owners of Muckaty.

"I've come to share my stories with people so I can get more support, so when I go back I can have more support for my people and our Country."

Reproduced with the kind permission of NIT reporter Geoff Bagnall.


Speakers on Child Removal

Monday, 3 March at 6 pm,

Federation Conference Centre


Olivia Nigro, who played a central role organising the Child removal rally outside parliament on 13 Feb, will speak on developments in Gunnedah, as a way of starting some collective discussion about how we can take the struggle forward.

Bear, is a First Nations man from Canada taken and adopted out in Australia. He is currently working to change national and international adoption practices and laws, so that the abuses of the past are not repeated.

For the flyer
: please click here

Plus discussion about an upcoming forum on 21 March 2014.

STICS Forum on 21 March 2014: please click here

Background Info:

Respect and Listen - Excerpt from the Q&A session where John Pilger talks about the present child removals and the planned new adoption legislation - 20 Feb 2014

The Guardian - Tony Abbott’s cuts directly hurt Aboriginal children - 20 Feb 2014
Indigenous specialist services have been slashed by a tidal wave of cuts. This has a direct impact on the health and safety of thousands of Aboriginal children ...

The Stringer - Stolen Generations continues but worse than ever - 15 Feb 2014
Grandmothers Against Removals was formed by NSW regional Gunnedah grandmothers who
have been broken by the record number of removals by our State Governments - yes by
Governments - of their grandchildren from their Mothers. According to grandmother Hazel
Collins, the Stolen Generations continues and in numbers never-before-known. Ms Collins
travelled from regional Gunnedah, with affected families from across the State and from interstate
to NSW Parliament to raise awareness of the record number of children being removed, and the
cycle of devastation this is causing to the communities of First Nations peoples....

NITV - Gunnedah grandmothers rally against removal of Indigenous kids - 13 Feb 2014
On the sixth anniversary of the Australian government's apology to the Stolen Generations, grandmothers from Gunnedah have protested against what they say is a new generation of stolen children. ...

Canberra Times - Fears over rise in Canberra's indigenous children in care - 13 Feb 2014
Canberra's indigenous children risk becoming part of another ''stolen generation'', the head of Australia's peak Aboriginal childcare body says.
The Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care is demanding answers from the ACT government about large numbers of local indigenous children who have been taken from their families by social services.
Secretariat CEO Frank Hytten said unconscious prejudice and a lack of support for families could be contributing to the large numbers of indigenous children in care across Australia.
The latest report on government services published by the Productivity Commission found that on June 30 last year at least 140 of the 559 children in out-of-home care in Canberra were indigenous. ...

Media Release: Grandmothers demand DOCS return stolen children on anniversary of apology - 13 Feb 2014: please click here
Related flyer: please click here

ABC - Too many Aboriginal children in state care in NSW admits Family Services Minister Pru Goward - 13 Feb 2014
The New South Wales Minister for Family and Community Services has conceded the number of Aboriginal children in care around the state is too high.
Pru Goward has made the admission ahead of a rally of Aboriginal grandmothers at State Parliament today.
It is six years since the Federal Parliament's apology to the Stolen Generations, but for Aunty Hazel it has meant nothing.
She says her grandmother and aunt were forcibly removed from their families and now four of her grandchildren are in care. ...

The Guardian - Aboriginal mothers like me still fear that our children could be taken away - 21 Jan 2014
Indigenous women have been told for the better part of two centuries that we're not fit to raise children. Time and time again, we have borne the brunt of racist and cruel policies ...

WGAR News - Background to 'Keeping Them Home': Campaign against Forced Aboriginal Adoption in the NT, Australia


Keeping Them Home

The most recent data shows that the number of children being moved into out-of-home care in the Northern Territory has just about doubled since 2007. Two-thirds of these children are being placed with non-Indigenous families away from their communities.

Elder Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra, as spokesperson for Yolngu Makarr Dhuni calls for this trend to be reversed by increasing family support services in communities. He has written to the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, Adam Giles, asking him for his support. If you would like to support Dr Gondarra, please read the campaign letter below.

Letter from Dr Djiniyini Gondarra to Adam Giles: please click here

Campaign Letter: please click here

Background document: please click here

Stop the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families: please click here

Media Releases

STICS: please click here

'concerned Australians': please click here

ACM Sydney: please click here

Further Background Info/Articles:

NITV newsclip of 20 May 13 - about 6 mins into the video: please click here

WGAR Newsletter of 18 May 2013: please click here

SMH - Jeff McMullen - 15 March 2013: please click here




On the International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination and
'National Close the Gap Day'


Thursday March 21

12:30 @ office of Tanya Plibersek MP
150 Broadway, opposite Broadway shops

STOP 'Stronger Futures' - NO to 10 more years of NT Intervention
STOP the expansion of income management: Not in the NT, not in Bankstown not anywhere
STOP Black Deaths in Custody - Justice for Kwementyaye Briscoe and all victims

On the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and National Close the Gap Day

Speakers include:

Rosie Pearson, Yirrkala NT
Sue Gillett, Bankstown Aboriginal activist and STICS member
Ray Jackson, Indigenous Social Justice Association

For the poster: please click here

For the media release: please click here

The NT Intervention has been a disaster - but the government is set to expand 'income management' to cover even more people from July this year, including in Bankstown.

Government statistics show that since 2007 in the NT incarceration has increased 75%, reported rates of attempted suicide and self harm are up almost 600%, child removal rates increased 70% and there is more alcohol related domestic violence (sources below).

In 2012, the Labor government passed new legislation, Stronger Futures, that extends the main measures of the NT Intervention for another 10 years.

Stronger Futures legislation also extended income management to five new "trial sites" around Australia, including Bankstown in Sydney. But a strong campaign uniting Aboriginal people, community organisations, migrants and trade unions has stopped income management in its tracks. Virtually no one has been placed on compulsory income management in Bankstown.

The Public Service Association (PSA), who represent Child Protection workers have voted to ban income management and have made no referrals. They are refusing to be part of the expansion of the racist NT Intervention

The government is trying to break the ban. New rules mean that from July 2013, compulsory income management will apply automatically to anyone in Bankstown who is under 25 and exiting prison, along with young people who have an 'unable to live at home' status with Centrelink or who are on a 'special benefit' due to homelessness or other circumstances.

If we act now we can stop this happening and defend the rights of some of the most vulnerable people in our community - prisoners and homeless youth.

Justice for Kwementyaye Briscoe

Kwementyaye Briscoe was an Anmatyere man who died in the Alice Springs watch house on January 5, 2012. Briscoe family spokesperson Patricia Morton-Thomas says her nephew was "a victim of the NT Intervention... The NT has become a police state".

While Kwementyaye was intoxicated, police threw him head first into a counter and gave him no medical check. He never regained consciousness after the assault. He was thrown face down on a mattress and died from positional asphyxia. Police played their iPods and checked the internet while he lay dying.

Greg Barnes, President of the Australian Lawyers Alliance has written an opinion saying police could be culpable for manslaughter or 'failure to rescue' charges. 33,000 people have signed an online petition calling for police to be charged. But the DPP are refusing to investigate the case. We need to keep up the fight for Kwementyaye Briscoe and all those who have died in custody.

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination falls each year on the anniversary of a massacre of anti-Apartheid protesters. This year it is also Close the Gap day.

Join us for a protest to demand an end to Apartheid-style policies in Australia. The gap can not be closed with racism.

More info call Jean 0449 646 593


Statistics on changes in NT from 2007 - 2012 available from

Closing the Gap in the NT Monitoring Report Jan - June 2012

Productivity Commission report on Government Services 2013