Aboriginal Rights Coalition
Aboriginal Control of Aboriginal Affairs

Public Forum: After Sorry – Where to for Aboriginal Rights?

Monday 25th February, Redfern Community Centre, 6pm.

Speakers:

  • Bev Manton, Chairperson, NSW Aboriginal Land Council
  • Phil Bradley, NSW Teachers Federation and Reconciliation for Western Sydney
  • Shane Phillips, Aboriginal Rights Coalition
  • Nicole Watson, UTS

Following Kevin Rudd’s apology there has been a marked wave of progressive sentiment on issues of Indigenous justice throughout the country. After 11 long years of setbacks and blatant racism under Howard, there has finally been an important step in the right direction.

Yet there is still much to be done. Up to two thousand people rallied the day before the apology against the ongoing injustice of the NT intervention, with the support of a broad range of Aboriginal organisations, unions, human rights and social justice groups. A meeting of the National Aboriginal Alliance took forward the project of building a strong political voice for Aboriginal people. People from affected communities gave moving testimony:

Eileen Shaw, resident of Mt Nancy town camp argued, “These laws are like apartheid South Africa”, referring to the race based ‘welfare quarantine’ which has seen 50% of all Centrelink payments to residents of ‘prescribed Aboriginal communities’ withheld.

Many other women from ‘prescribed communities’ spoke of the intense shame they felt having to use the store cards “when everyone else has cash”, or the inability of many people, especially in remote areas, to even use the cards, leading to an effective halving of incomes, mass shortages of food and an exodus to population centres.

The cry for immediate review of the intervention has gone unanswered, the Racial Discrimination act is still suspended, Aboriginal land has been compulsorily acquired and Non-aboriginal business managers continue to have extraordinary powers, referred to as “analogous to a police state” by many from communities.

There has been a call for broad, diverse rallies on the first anniversary of the intervention in July. There are actions being organised at Centrelinks throughout the country on March 13th, highlighting the issue of welfare quarantines.

Come along to this forum to help build our power & to discuss the way forward for the movement for Aboriginal rights.

For more info contact:
Greg 0432050240
Paddy 0415800586

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