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6-20 Oct 2009 Speaking tour - Ampilatwatja walk-off against NT Intervention


Speaking tour - Ampilatwatja walk-off against NT Intervention

6 - 20 October 2009

National speaking tour - raising support for the Ampilatwatja walk-off against the NT Intervention.

For the latest videos: Please click here AND here

For the latest speech / statements: Please click here

For the latest info: Please click here

From October 6 - 20, Richard Downs will be speaking in major capital cities across Australia. Richard is a spokesperson for the Alyawarr people, who have walked off their community at Ampilatwatja against the NT Intervention and established a protest camp outside the boundaries of the "Prescribed Area".

Supporting Richard through the national tour is Harry Nelson, a senior Warlpiri elder. His community of Yuendumu has also been at the forefront of resistance to the Intervention - holding off the Income Management system for many months in 2008 and now refusing to sign long term leases demanded by the government.

Included below is more information on the tour and dates of major forums. Please get in contact with local organisers to find out details about other events planned in your city, or to help with publicity for the tour.

Come along to the forums and show your support. Don't miss your chance to hear these strong speakers discuss life under the Intervention and inspiring grass-roots struggles for Aboriginal rights.


Tuesday, 6 October 2009, 10 am - 12 pm
at the Redfern Community Centre
Address by Richard Downs, Spokesperson for Alyawarr Elders, Ampilatwatja
Introduction by Shane Phillips, Tribal Warrior, Redfern
Please RSVP as soon as possible to [email protected] or 0401 955 405
For the poster: click here

Tuesday, 6 October 2009, 2 pm
Richard Downs will address Amnesty International staff and supporters at the Sydney office,
Level 1, 79 Myrtle St Chippendale NSW 2008

Wednesday, 7 October 2009, 10 am
Media conference
NSW Parliament House Press Room, Macquarie Street.

Northern Territory intervention undoes 50 years of progress, says Downs
By Chi Tranter, AAP, October 07, 2009 12:13pm
THE Northern Territory intervention is a racist policy that undoes fifty years of progress, Aboriginal elder Richard Downs says....we have got one line for the black people who have these special basics green cards and you have got the other check-outs which are open to the general public.

For the full article: click here

Intervention: participation not imposition
Wednesday 07 October 2009
Greens MP Sylvia Hale today welcomed the visit to Sydney of two indigenous leaders from the Northern Territory as they campaigned against the Federal Government's intervention in the Northern Territory.

For the full article: click here

Wednesday, 7 October 2009, 6.30 PM
6.30 PM: Refreshments will be served to be followed by the Forum at 7 pm
Public Forum

NEW ROOM: Guthrie Theatre, UTS, 702 Harris St


NT Intervention in Crisis: Why Jenny Macklin must resign

Speakers include:

* Richard Downs, Alyawarr People's Walk-Off, Ampilatwatja NT
* Harry Nelson, Yuendumu Community Spokesperson
* Larissa Behrendt, NAIDOC Indigenous Person of the Year, 2009
* Chris Graham, Editor, National Indigenous Times

CONTACT: Mon Wiseman 0415 410 558 or Jean Parker 0449 646 593

E-mail: [email protected]

For the poster: click here

For the video of Chris Graham's speech: click here
For the video of Richard Downs' speech: click here

Western Sydney

Sunday, 11 October 2009, 3 pm
Wundunarrkoo Hall, 108 Ellsworth Drive, Tregear
Welcome to Country: Aunty Gloria Matthews
For the poster: click here

Southern Sydney

Monday, 12 October 2009, 6 pm
Illawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre, 22 Kenny St, Wollongong.
Welcome to Country: TBC

Contact: Liv 0401 955 405

For the poster: click here


Sydney University Campus Meeting

Tuesday, 13 October 2009, 12 pm
New Law Building, Room 026
Eastern Avenue (main pedestrian walk-way as you enter off City Road) Sydney University

Campus Forum: Resisting the NT Intervention!
Come and hear Richard Downs explain why his community has walked off their land to stop the NT Intervention.

Speaker: Richard Downs, Alyawarr People's Walk-off, Ampilatwatja NT

Contact: Daisy 0401378274

Organized by the Anti-Racism Collective



Tuesday, 13 October 2009, 4 pm
Unions NSW Training Room 1
377 Sussex St, Sydney

Ampilatwatja walk-off against the NT Intervention: a briefing for Trade Unionists

Richard Downs - Ampilatwatja community, NT
Adam Kerslake - Unions NSW, recently returned from tour of NT communities

Co-sponsored by Unions NSW Indigenous Committee, Australians for NativeTitle and Reconciliation and Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney



Friday, 9 October 2009 , 6pm
Manning Clark Lecture Theatre, Australian National University, Canberra

Listen to this firsthand account by Richard Downs of the reasons behind the Ampilatwatja (pronounced close to "Um-blood-a-watch") NT Intervention Walkoff and future strategies

Speakers include:
* Richard Downs, Alyawarr People's Walk-Off, Ampilatwatja NT;
* Harry Nelson, Yuendumu Community Spokesperson;
* Michael Anderson, Euahlayi and Co-founder of Aboriginal Embassy

Contact: Ellie Gilbert 0421 795 639

E-mail: [email protected]

For the poster: click here



Wednesday, 14 October 2009, 1pm
Joe Nap B, second floor of Union House
University of Melbourne

Thursday, 15 October 2009, 1pm
Monash University Clayton
Campus Cinema, Building 10

Friday, 16 October 2009, 10am
March Against Racism
MAYSAR Sport and Recreation Centre
184-186 Gertrude street, Fitzroy

Friday, 16 October 2009, 6pm.
Public meeting
Melbourne Youth Sport and Recreation Centre (MAYSAR)
184-186 Gertrude street, Fitzroy

‘Resistance to Invasion: the Aboriginal walk-off and protest against the Northern Territory Intervention'.

Speakers include:
Richard Downs, Harry Nelson and leading Melbourne Aboriginal activist Robbie Thorpe.

Contact: Marisol 0413597315 or Joe 0434127661

For the poster: click here



Saturday, 17 October 2009, 1.30pm
Kurlipa Hall, 174 Boundary Street, West End

Speakers include:
Richard Downs, Harry Nelson and Reverend Aunty Alex Gater, Aboriginal Women For Change

CONTACT: Sam Watson 0401 227 443 or Mark Gillespie on 07 3891 5385 / [email protected]

For the poster: click here



Help in building networks of active supporters, fundraising to support the walk-off protest camp, promotion of events and much more.

The Federal and NT Governments have come under increasing fire in recent months over the scandals emanating from the NT Intervention. In August UN Special Rapporteur Professor Anaya described it as ‘'clearly discriminatory'', and characterised the policies as "stigmatising an already stigmatised people".

Meanwhile, on the ground affected Aboriginal people are struggling to survive and resist the conditions of hardship, division and racism imposed by the legislation.

In July, echoing the dramatic land rights struggle of the 1960s and 70s, Alyawarr Elders at Ampilatwatja community, 300kms north-east of Alice Springs, walked off their community demanding an end to the Intervention and immediate action to address shocking housing conditions.

‘'Aboriginal people had no other option but to walk off the Prescribed Area...(according) them the status of being internally displaced refugees‘'We no longer have any rights to exist as humans in our own country and are outcasts in our own community'', said Richard Downs, spokesperson for the Alyawarr Elders.

More than 150 of the 300 residents have joined the protest, 3kms from the township. They are threatening to take the entire community to set up camp on ancestral lands unless their demands are met:

"Funds must go to community development, not ‘Intervention'''. "End the compulsory lease and restore land to Aboriginal control. We are now urging and calling all communities who feel they are in same situation as our community to stand up and support us and keep fighting for indigenous people's rights''.

Minister Macklin has made clear that despite the community's desperate need, no new houses will be built. Ampilatwatja residents are victim's of the Interventions ‘growth towns' policy that deems hundreds of remote communities "unviable" and is starving them of funds to drive people into ‘hub towns".

Widespread condemnation over the Indigenous housing crisis and government mismanagement of the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP) continues to escalate after revelations that from the $672 million funding, not one house has been built for Aboriginal people NT-wide.

This scandal has been explained by pro-Intervention commentators in The Australian as a failure of "red tape". But the real failure of SIHIP is explained by its racism - the deliberate exclusion of Aboriginal communities and organisations in the design and implementation of the program.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin must resign! Racist Intervention laws must be immediately repealed.

Richard Downs will be visiting Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne in October to spread the message of the Alyawarr Elders and to rally support for the walk-off and the campaign to stop the Intervention.

"Stop the compulsory welfare quarantine. The Intervention is creating racism, divisi