Aboriginal Rights Coalition
Aboriginal Control of Aboriginal Affairs

Media Release: “We don’t want to be asking for another apology in 20 years”

“We don’t want to be asking for another apology in 20 years”. Support swells for Convergence on Canberra against the NT intervention on the opening day of parliament.

30/01/2008

The Convergence on Canberra on Feb 12 against the Northern Territory intervention and for Aboriginal Rights is gaining significant
momentum. Recent endorsements include the NSW Reconciliation Council, the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, NSW Teacher’s Federation, GetUp! and Amnesty International.

On the day before Kevin Rudd will say “sorry” to the stolen generations, the Convergence will stand against the continuing racism and paternalism underlying policy being rolled out in the NT.

More than 50 people from communities affected by the intervention will travel from the NT to rally with supporters and put their demand on the new government for immediate review of the policy and an end to punitive measures such as welfare quarantining and compulsory land acquisition.

“The Howard Government’s intervention was an attack on fundamental human rights”, said Greg Eatock from the Aboriginal Rights Coalition, the group who initiated the Convergence.

“On February 13 the Federal government will be saying ‘sorry’ to the stolen generations. But they are presiding over the implementation of a policy which is causing similar dispossession and suffering across the NT.”

“We acknowledge the gesture of an apology as a step in the right direction the Government needs to give substance to its words through appropriate compensation.

“We stand alongside the stolen generations, but Rudd must act now. We don’t want to be asking for another apology in twenty years for the people whose communities are being shut down and family lives torn apart by this intervention”, concluded Eatock.

Barbara Shaw, from the Mt Nancy town camp in Alice Springs has been organising a bus for community leaders in affected communities to travel to Canberra for the rally. Her welfare is currently being “quarantined” under the intervention legislation.

“Centrelink is never organised to get our food vouchers in on time. We went the long weekend without food, I was lucky to get a donation of cold meet from a journalist”.

“People are being forced to work for their food vouchers. That’s what Vincent Lingiari walked off the cattle stations for in the 60’s. We need that kind of fight again”.

“Centrelink is not providing proper services for remote communities, so people are being forced into town. Wallace rock-hole is shutting down, which community will be next?”

“Under Howard we have consistently put up programs, crying out for help, and always been knocked back. Labor must be different. We will travel to Canberra to join with our supporters and demand change”.

For further comment and information on the convergence contact:
Greg Eatock: 0432 050 240
Barb Shaw (NT): 0401 291 166

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