Aboriginal Rights Coalition
Aboriginal Control of Aboriginal Affairs

Protest March 13 – Stop the Racist Quarantines! End the Intervention!

Support Aboriginal communities in the NT & demand an end to Howard’s racist Intervention legislation.

At the last federal election Aboriginal communities overwhelming voted Labor in a bid to end the racist, punitive and paternalistic intervention legislation, implemented by the Howard Government in a desperate attempt to hold onto Government.

Eileen Hoosan, resident of Mt Nancy town camp has argued, “These laws are like apartheid South Africa”, referring to the race based ‘welfare quarantine’ and dubbed these measures another ‘invasion’ that attacks fundamental human rights of Aboriginal people. “It’s reintroducing the ration system from forty years ago”.

Despite claims that the intervention was a response to rampant child sexual abuse no new services have received funding. Instead $88 million has been spent administering the welfare quarantining with 50% of all Centrelink payments to residents of ‘prescribed Aboriginal communities’ being withheld.

The race based intervention has required the suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act and has overridden the Northern Territory Land Rights Act.

Many women from ‘prescribed communities’ speak of the intense shame they feel and the difficulty people have had queuing with hundreds of others for hours for ration cards with many then missing out. Aboriginal community members must spend the exact amount of quarantined money which can only be spent at a limited range of stores, Woolworths, Kmart or Coles, with any unspent store voucher money returning to the Government.

Community members also complain that the welfare quarantines have caused problems getting food and many people are moving away from their communities to population centres as a result.

While the Federal Labor Government has reinstated some aspects of the permit system it has just announced the extension of welfare quarantining into many more Aboriginal communities, including the urban areas Darwin, Palmerston and Adelaide River, now impacting on some 6,500 people.

Aboriginal communities are calling for an end to this racist military intervention and for the Labor Government to honour its recent commitment stated in the Labor Government’s historic apology and at the ALP National Platform adopted in 2007, to work with Aboriginal communities and to adequately fund services and infra-structure in these communities.

Protest against the NT Intervention! Stop Racist Welfare Quarantines!
Rally 12:30 Thursday 13 March @ Redfern Centrelink, 140 Redfern st

The Aboriginal Rights Coalition (ARC) meets on Mondays 6pm on the bottom floor of the Redfern Community Centre, on The Block. Contact Greg Eatock on 0432050240 for more details.

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