At the NCCA
As the Northern Territory Intervention continues it is often hard for those of us in other parts of Australia to really understand how it impacts on the daily lives of Aboriginal people. We often hear in the media about such things as the increase in numbers of teachers; that law and order has improved; that there are improvements in health; that so many jobs have been created and so many houses have been built. We may also hear from those who question these reported benefits. We may hear from welfare bodies; from inquiries such as a recent NT inquiry into child welfare; from shadow ministers who question Government claims; from academics; from International Human Rights bodies and experts; from Churches and from organizations such as NATSIEC. These other sources of information are important and often highlight contradictions, they challenge Government claims, and they criticize the policies that are having such impacts on the communities. Rarely though do we have the opportunity to hear directly, without interpretation, from Aboriginal people themselves.
This happened on the 7th of February when, thanks to the efforts of ‘concerned Australians’, a large audience in Melbourne had the opportunity to listen directly to Elders from the NT.
As well as hearing directly from the Elders two important statements were released. One was from the Elders themselves, and highlighted the pain they and their communities are experiencing as a direct result of the Intervention. In this statement they appeal to all Australians to “walk with us in true equality” and help put an end to the “nightmare that Northern Territory Aboriginal People are experiencing on a daily basis”.
Download the Elders statement here elders_statement_feb_11009.pdf
The second statement was signed by several leading Australians. This statement called for the Government to start afresh and to comply with our international obligations and also to reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act in an unqualified form.
Download the statement by leading Australians here The_Statement_by_Eminent_Australians.doc
Report on the evening by NATSIEC staff download here. Report_on_conversation_with_Elders.pdf