Aboriginal Rights Coalition
Aboriginal Control of Aboriginal Affairs

Media release: National protests against NT intervention target Centrelink

Tomorrow, March 13, Aboriginal people and their supporters will mobilise in ten cities and towns around the country, demanding an end to the Federal Government’s intervention in the Northern Territory. Speakers will include Greens MPs, trade union officials and representatives from the National Aboriginal Alliance.

The protests will be held at Centrelink offices, to draw attention to the injustice of welfare quarantine provisions, which apply to allAboriginal people in communities “prescribed” under the intervention.

Protests will also raise opposition to the expansion of similar welfare provisions into Western Australia and Queensland, and demand the NSW Government publicly reject suggestions they are considering a similar system.

“The welfare quarantine is causing chaos for our people. Centrelink is never organised to get food vouchers in on time, so children are going without food. People are being forced from remote communities into town. Control and enforcement is not the answer to problems we face. We are protesting around the country today to get the message across – the intervention/invasion is not working”, said Barbara Shaw from Mt Nancy Town Camp, who is organising the campaign in Alice Springs.

“Last night welfare reform legislation passed in Queensland that I am calling the Noel Pearson bill. He is the only Aboriginal person who has been consulted about this. Targetted Aboriginal communities will receive no protection under the Racial Discrimination Act”, said Les Malezer from the Foundation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Action (FAIRA), who will address the rally in Brisbane.

“People’s welfare will be controlled unless they are deemed “socially responsible”, but the government has given no indication of what this means and no new services or training programs will be available in communities. This is tyrannous, colonial style government, not democracy”.

“Exactly one month ago Kevin Rudd apologised to the stolen generations, but today we are seeing his government plough ahead with coercive and paternalistic policies that take our people back 50 years. We fought to end the ration system and control by draconian protection boards, and we will fight until these intervention laws are repealed”, said Greg Eatock from the Aboriginal Rights Coalition in Sydney.

Details of national protests, Thursday March 13:
Sydney: 12.30pm Redfern Centrelink, 140 Redfern st, contact Greg Eatock 0432050240
Brisbane: 11am South Brisbane Centrelink, 21 Cordelia St, contact Les Malezer 041971020
Canberra: 12:30pm Canberra Centrelink 13 Lonsdale st Braddon Civic, contact Ellie Gilbert 0421795639
Adelaide: 12pm Adelaide Centrelink, Topham mall, contact Kit 0439435359
Alice Springs: contact Barbara Shaw 0401291166
Darwin: 10.30am Casuarina Centrelink, 50 Bradshaw Terrace, contact Justin Tutty 0889854931
Melbourne: 1pm Heidelburg Centrelink 21 Yarra st Heidelburg, contact Michaella 0429136936
Cowra: Cowra Centrelink, Kendall st, contact Chappy 0447841560
Newcastle: 12 noon Mayfield Centrelink, Maitland rd Newcastle, contact Peta 0313351584

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