NT Intervention & Jobs with Justice - Rally Inspiring

MP Adam Brandt at the Rally
Click for Gallery (28 images)

'Jobs with Justice' anti-intervention rally - Melb 29 Oct 2010

Alex Ettling MAIC 29th October 2010

The Melbourne rally at the State Library was one of the most inspiring Aboriginal rights rallies Melbourne has seen in a long time! Over 500 people took a stand against the racist NT Intervention. We demanded 'jobs with justice', we shut down the streets, we made the government take notice!

And we weren't alone. People protested all around Australia--in Alice Springs and Brisbane. We got solidarity messages from Perth too. Here is a great report about the Sydney rally:
Sydney Rally (www.smh.com.au)

To win this campaign we need more of what we saw yesterday. We need bigger, better, and more often. Now is the time to commit to getting more involved. Come along to our special 'Jobs with Justice' meeting this Monday, where we'll talk about the rally and where to go from here.

No one can do it alone, we need you to help us build a large, vibrant campaign against the NT Intervention. We want to see lots of new faces at the next meeting, with lots of ideas.

Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective (MAIC) meets every Monday, 6.30pm at the New International Bookshop (NIBS). The bookshop is easily found in the basement of the Trades Hall building (Lygon and Victoria Streets, Carlton).

What's coming up!

1st November
Shannon does a short overview of the ‘Jobs with Justice’ campaign. And we discuss where to now for MAIC and the campaign. A great meeting to come to, if you’ve never been before!

8th November
Join us for a rare screening of the documentary film ‘How The West Was Lost’.

In late 1942, a secret congress was organized by Pilbara Elders Dooley Bin Bin and Clancy McKenna, with white unionist Don McLeod in tow. Over a dozen interpreters were present to deal with the 23 languages of the many Aboriginal groups present.
This congress decided to organize a strike in the Pilbara region to demand better wages and conditions, and to draw attention to the treatment generally of Aboriginal people in Western Australia.

On 1 May 1946, Aboriginal station workers walked off sheep stations in the north-west of Western Australia, marking the beginning of a carefully organized strike that was to last three years. It is considered one of the most significant (and least known) political actions in Australian history, and went on to inspire the Land Rights movement of the 1960s.

After the film we will have discussion, including a reportback from Alex who just came back from the north-west of WA where unions and Aboriginal activists are uniting once more against Liberal Premier Colin Barnett’s ‘compulsory acquisition’ of Aboriginal land for a Liquid Petroleum Gas Hub.

18th November (Thursday event)
FORUM: The NT Intervention: Why Teachers and Communities are Breaking the Ban on Bilingual Education
6.30pm, James Hardie Theatre, Architecture Building, University of Melbourne

• Senior Indigenous Teacher from NT Bilingual School (video link)
• Rosa McKenna, Friends of Bilingual Learning, Ex principal of Yirrkala School
• Mary McKernich, Australian Education Union Victoria Councilor
• Lucy Honan, Melbourne Anti Intervention Collective

Bans on teaching in Aboriginal language for the first four hours of the school day were introduced in 2008 following the roll out of the Northern Territory Intervention in 2007. Under the guise of “closing the gap” on Aboriginal disadvantage the Racial Discrimination Act was suspended, Aboriginal community land has been seized and community organisations, jobs and access to welfare payments have been dismantled.

The attempt to decimate bilingual programs was a territory government decision, but mimics perfectly the punitive logic of the federal intervention. Communities and Aboriginal culture are being attacked for the problems caused by all governments' chronic failure to support self determination for Aboriginal people.

26th January 2011 (and the weeks leading up to it)
MAIC wants to plan something BIG on this day. It is a day of mourning for many, but it is also a day of RESISTANCE! Come along to the MAIC meetings to help be a part of organising this action.

in solidariy,
Alex for MAIC

Get Involved!
Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective (MAIC) meets every Monday, 6.30pm at the New International Bookshop (NIBS). The bookshop is easily found in the basement of the Trades Hall building (Lygon and Victoria Streets, Carlton).
www.maicollective.blogspot.com  |  MAIC Facebook


some thoughts from friday rally --blaming mining motives for NT

Hi all,

The rally of friday was a real boost in the arm for the Melbourne campaign. It was great that so many people attended, signed up to MAIC. However the major weakness of the protest was the consistent argument being put that mining interests were the drive behind the Intervention.

The Intervention is not about mining, and the longer mining is made out to be the problem, the further away we are from building the sort of campaign that has the power to bury the legislation and assert aboriginal rights and self-determination. I think it was Gary Foley who rightly pointed out at the rally that NT Intervention was made out by governments to deal with the fact that self determination had been "tried and failed", but that the modern land rights movement never won genuine self-determination and were only given a 'pittance' of what they demanded.

The Intervention has been driven by an ideological agenda from the very beginning (I have pasted Tony Abbott's article "modern missionaries needed for Intervention to work" written in 2008 below); that Aboriginal culture, described as 'live museums' by Helen Hughes in Lands of Shame, and welfare dependency is the reason for aboriginal social disadvantage.

So it follows, if Aboriginal culture is the problem, aboriginal communities and the organizations that run and sustain them, need to be dismantled and dispersed into mainstream Australian society and to advance and progress. The measures of the Intervention are geared for this mainstreaming-- taking over aboriginal organisations and community councils, welfare controls, bans on language, cutting services and jobs (CDEP) in remote communities to push people into 'hub towns'. The push to assimilate aboriginal people in NT is seen by governments as policy that "works" (read Keith Windschuttle).

The content and implications of the NT Intervention are genocidal in themselves-- assimilation is the idea of wiping out a distinctive aboriginal identity and aboriginality, the policy of the stolen Generations sought to do this, and the NT Intervention is attempting the same thing.

Despite minsters like Macklin trying to maintain that the policy is 'evidenced-based', it is far from the truth-- ideological agenda's have always informed aboriginal/indigenous affiars policy, and the NT Intervention is no different. The argument that mining companies are driving the Intervention understands the Aboriginal racism of the Intervention policy as merely incidental or instrumental. But the racism we are confronting with the NT Intervention runs far deeper and broader than a particular industry and on particular sites in the NT, its a racism attempting to consolidate the illegitimacy of "Australia", which founded on Aboriginal dispossession.

The union strategy, 'jobs with justice campaign' with STICS and IRAG, is crucial to challenging the assimilation ideological agenda -- and its definitely worth fleshing this out some more in Melbourne.

I've pasted some article below that fill this out more in-depth and historically, its worth reading, and attached Mick Dodson's paper on assimilation and self-determination also.

(Jasmine Ali)

Larissa Behrendt: Juanita Nelson Memorial Lecture
Paddy Gibson: The New Politics of Assimilation
Mick Dodson: Assimilation vs. Self-determination - No contest
Tony Abbott: "Modern Missionaries needed for Intervention to Work"

Indigenous workers say they're treated like slaves

ABC News Fri Oct 29, 2010

The Federal Government denies Aboriginal people working in remote Northern Territory communities are being treated like slaves.

Hundreds of people from around the country have today rallied for the rights of Aboriginal workers.

National unions have supported the cause, with some workers walking off building sites.

In a video posted on the internet, a group of workers in the remote community of Ti Tree say they are being treated like slaves.

Anti-intervention campaigners say government changes to an employment scheme for Indigenous people has left many without work.

They say thousands of trained people are being forced to work for their welfare benefits, which are then quarantined.

Campaigner Paddy Gibson says thousands of Aboriginal people in the Territory are being forced to work for about $13 an hour and half of that is quarantined.

He says the situation is a result of changes to the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP).

"In a remote Aboriginal community, when you've turned around and cut the only program that actually would have provided employment, but then made people do the same work, but cut their wages in half or more, I think is a real injustice," he said.

But a spokeswoman for Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin says all Australian job seekers with a Centrelink payment that requires participation must engage in training or work experience.

It says the number of funded Indigenous jobs has increased by more than 2,000 in the past three years.

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