Wednesday, 12 August 2009


On the sidebar of this blog, dear Networker, you will find a click through to the Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia). This site has a wealth of information about the Northern Territory Emergency Response otherwise known as The Intervention and which the Rudd Government likes to refer to as the Close the Gap Campaign, taken from the original Oxfam project. I wonder what Oxfam thinks of the Rudd Government use of their project name when they don't do anything i.e. build and/or refurbish housing to deal with Aboriginal overcrowding and health issues.

Anyway, dear Networker, WGAR have sent out a timeline to-day which I publish below. What I am finiding is that many people, sympathetic to the well-being of Aboriginal people but without any Aboriginal connections in the Northern Territory, have been supportive and uncritical of, first, the Howard Governments Intervention and the Rudd Government's continuation of the same policy with little or no alteration.

Now, when complaints against The Intervention are reaching a crescendo, people are in the early stages of taking notice but may have missed a few landmarks along the way. So I am publishing the timeline here to assist Networkers to get a handle on what has happened to date. Now, it can be difficult to make up for lost time if you have not been paying close attention, Networkers, but this should be a launching pad. So stay tuned and in the loop. There is stuff in the newspapers and on Radio National on the ABC and on ABC TV. On the sidebar are links to WGAR; the National Indigenous Times; and Koori Mail. And, of course, don't forget to come back to The Network.


WGAR website:

Aboriginal Housing under the Northern Territory Intervention
NT Labor Government faces crisis
Other Aboriginal articles


- Background to Northern Territory Intervention

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Stop the Intervention website:

Rollback the Intervention website:

Working Group for Aboriginal Rights website:
[see WGAR NT Intervention e-newsletter archive]

- Analysis

National Indigenous Times:
The Big Read: Jenny's House
6 Aug 09: "It's not exactly clear when the rot began to set in on Jenny Macklin's black housing policies. Maybe it was in March 2008, when the Minister for Indigenous Affairs was warned by her own colleagues that the Northern Territory intervention 'national emergency housing program' wouldn't actually build any homes for years, and would force the price of construction sky-high. ... Whenever it started, however it started, it's clear today that Jenny Macklin - the Minister for Housing and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs - has had a great deal of trouble actually building
houses for black people." Amy McQuire

- Radio

ABC AM: Galarrwuy Yunupingu unveils Indigenous housing program
8 Aug 09: "The Federal Government is trying to fend off growing criticism of its $700 million Indigenous housing
program, which hasn't delivered a single house in two years. The Arnhem Land Indigenous leader, Galarrwuy
Yunupingu, says he's lost faith in governments to deliver homes for Indigenous people. Yesterday he unveiled the
fruits of his own construction program in Arnhem Land."[includes comments by Galarrwuy Yunupingu, John Paterson
and Jenny Macklin]

ABC PM: Indigenous leader declares govts irrelevant in improving Indigenous housing
7 Aug 09: "The Arnhem Land Indigenous leader Galarrwuy Yunupingu has declared governments irrelevant when it comes to improving housing in Indigenous communities. There's growing frustration in the Northern Territory that the $700 million federal Indigenous housing program is yet to deliver one house after two years. The delays even led the
territory's Indigenous Policy Minister Alison Anderson to leave the Labor Party."[includes interview with Galarrwuy Yunupingu]

- News

National Indigenous Times:
Aboriginal leader lashes back-door assimilation
10 Aug 09: "Aboriginal people are not native animals and building houses for them is only another attempt to
assimilate Indigenous Australians into white society, Aboriginal activist and leader Rosalie Kunoth-Monks says. Passions flared on Saturday at the Garma Festival of Traditional Culture in Gulkula, eastern Arnhem Land, as
Indigenous leaders and academics spoke out against the Northern Territory intervention."

ABC: Desert community 'unhappy' with lease deal
10 Aug 09: "The new president of the Central Desert Shire says he does not believe his community wants to sign a
40-year lease with the Commonwealth. ... Norbert Patrick Jampijinpa from Lajamanu says his community is worried
about what the deal would mean for them."

Green Left: Ampilatwatja walk-out stays strong
9 Aug 09: "As part of the federal government’s intervention into Northern Territory Aboriginal communities, the
Aboriginal land on which Ampilatwatja stands has been acquired by the government on a five-year lease. Ampilatwatja residents believed the lease would mean they would get new public housing and repairs to infrastructure
in exchange." Peter Robson

See: WGAR News:
30 Aboriginal Elders Walk-off to Protest NT Intervention (20 Jul 09)
[scroll down page]

Australian: Building their own homes is future,25197,25899079-5006790,00.html
8 Aug 09: "ABORIGINAL leader Galarrwuy Yunupingu has questioned the federal and Northern Territory governments'
ability to achieve their ambitious goals in Aboriginal housing and has urged indigenous people in northeast Arnhem
Land to build their own houses instead."

National Indigenous Times:
Judge delays town camp deal again
6 Aug 09: "The federal government's plan to take over the management of the Alice Springs town camps has been put on hold, after the Federal Court again delayed ruling on the legality of Labor's controversial 40-year leases. Camp
resident Barbara Shaw has sought an injunction to halt the execution of the leases with 16 Northern Territory
Indigenous housing associations."

National Indigenous Times:
Intervention film-maker accuses Macklin staff of standover tactics
6 Aug 09: "Ministerial staffers used standover tactics to try and intimidate media during consultations over the
compulsory acquisition of the Alice Springs town camps earlier this month, a prominent film-maker has claimed.
Vincent Lamberti, the man behind [the film] The Intervention, told NIT that after filming the community meeting in Alice Springs in late June he was accosted by government officials representing Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin." Madelaine Sealey

National Indigenous Times:
Still no sign of Macklin 3 weeks after walk-off
6 Aug 09: "Almost three weeks after the nation's media reported dozens of Aboriginal people had abandoned their
sewage-soaked community in protest of the failing Northern Territory intervention, residents have still not received a
visit from a single Territory or federal government bureaucrat or politician."

See: WGAR News:
30 Aboriginal Elders Walk-off to Protest NT Intervention (20 Jul 09)
[scroll down page]


- Background

WGAR News:
Will the NT Indigenous Policy Minister quit Labor? (29 Jul 09)
[scroll down page]

WGAR News:
Will Alison Anderson leave NT Labor? (1 Aug 09)
[scroll down page]

WGAR News:
Alison Anderson quits NT ALP, Marion Scrymgour to rejoin (6 Aug 09)

WGAR News:
Alison Anderson quits NT ALP, Marion Scrymgour rejoins (8 Aug 09)
[scroll down page]

- Media Monitoring

wot news: Alison Anderson News

- Opinion

Geoff Robinson: Alison Anderson and the Maori Party
9 Aug 09: "Could we compare the relation between indigenous voters and Territory Labor to that between New Zealand Labour and Maori? There the traditional alliance between Labour and Maori seems to have broken down altogether. ... If Anderson aligns herself with the Country Liberal Party she may follow in the unhappy footsteps of the Maori Party."

Australian: Speaking truth to a machine,25197,25897612-5006790,00.html
8 Aug 09: "IN a Darwin mall, Alison Anderson sits behind a table draped in the Australian flag. Her mobile phone is
running hot. In a visitors' book set up in front of her, disgruntled voters record their discontent with the Northern Territory Labor government she has just spurned as rotten." Natasha Robinson

National Indigenous Times:
Editorial: Desperate times, desperate measures
6 Aug 09: "As this edition of NIT goes to press, Henderson faces the possibility of losing government following the
resignation of Aboriginal policy minister Alison Anderson on Tuesday. Anderson had been threatening to walk after a
media storm erupted over the success (or rather failure) of the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP), a $672 million joint Commonwealth-Territory venture aimed at solving the Indigenous housing crisis. ...
It comes two weeks after NIT published details of a private memo between a Labor Senator and Minister for Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin over SIHIP." Chris Graham

National Indigenous Times:
The Box Seat: Alison in Wonderland
6 Aug 09: "Where there's smoke there's fire... and where there's Alison Anderson, there's smoke, writes BRIAN
JOHNSTONE*. Will she stay? Or, will she go? These were the burning questions pre-occupying anyone interested in the tiny polity of the Northern Territory as I started writing this column. The final answer, when it comes, is certain to
immediately determine the course of a one-year-old Labor government, Aboriginal affairs policy and politics in the
Top End and Central Australia, both now and well into the future." Brian Johnstone

- Radio

ABC AM: Fears NT political turmoil to slow Indigenous housing
10 Aug 09: "Later today the Northern Territory's Legislative Assembly is expected to set the wheels in
motion for a possible change of government within weeks. Already there's speculation about what the turmoil will
mean for the rollout of a $700 million Federal Indigenous housing scheme. The program has been running for two years but is yet to deliver one house and there are fears a change of government will even further slow it down."
[includes comments by John Paterson and Leon White]

- News

ABC: Week of uncertainty begins in NT politics
10 Aug 09: "The Northern Territory Opposition today plans to ask for a motion of no confidence in Paul Henderson's
Labor Government to be voted on in Parliament this week."

Northern Territory News: Labor no certainty one year after poll
10 Aug 09: "A YEAR and a day after Territorians went to an election called for "political certainty", a motion of no
confidence in the Government will be introduced today. Formal notice of the motion will be given to parliament by
Opposition Leader Terry Mills at 4pm today. Parliamentary rules hold there must be three clear days before it is
voted on - with Friday looming as D-Day for Paul Henderson's Government."

ABC: 'Selfish' NT politician must quit: NLC
10 Aug 09: "In a statement released today, the Northern Land Council's chief executive, Kim Hill, described Ms
Anderson's behaviour over recent weeks as selfish. "Ms Anderson does not respect Territorians and does not trust
Territorians to govern," Mr Hill said. "Ms Anderson's selfish actions and self-indulgence has delivered
instability and chaos, not peace, order and good government. ... "

Age: 'Selfish' rebel MP must quit: Northern Land Council
10 Aug 09: "Australia's most powerful indigenous organisation today called on rebel Aboriginal MP Alison
Anderson to quit the Northern Territory Parliament in a growing backlash against her attempt to bring down Paul
Henderson's Labor Government."

National Indigenous Times:
Clare Martin "very sad" about NT Labor
10 Aug 09: "Former Northern Territory chief minister Clare Martin says she's extremely sad about what's happening to the Labor Party in Australia's far north. Asked if Labor would retain government if an election were held now, Ms
Martin did not rate her former colleagues' prospects highly."

SMH: Aborigines divided over MP's split from Labor
10 Aug 09: "THE defection of the Aboriginal MP Alison Anderson from the Northern Territory Labor Government,
which could lose power as early this week, has divided indigenous leaders and traditional clan groups."

ABC: CLP blasts Labor's jail negotiations
10 Aug 09: "The Northern Territory Opposition says the Government's willingness to negotiate on its planned $300
million prison shows it is only interested in staying power."

Australian: NT independent leans to rebel side against Henderson,25197,25906816-5006790,00.html
10 Aug 09: "THE independent MP who will this week determine the future of the Northern Territory government has "major concerns" with the rollout of Aboriginal housing and has accused Chief Minister Paul Henderson of failing to meet basic standards of governance."

Australian: Renegade Anderson accused of running her own agenda,25197,25906813-5006790,00.html
10 Aug 09: "FORMER Labor minister Alison Anderson has called for GST grants to the Northern Territory to be tied
to indigenous outcomes."

Age: NT parliament to decide govt's fate
9 Aug 09: "The former chief minister of the Northern Territory appears to hold little hope of Labor holding onto
government in the north. The party will most likely be dumped this week after the opposition introduces a
no-confidence motion on Monday."

ABC: NT Labor may be ousted next week
7 Aug 09: "The Northern Territory Opposition appears to have the numbers to push Labor out of government next week. The Country Liberals and the two independents today wrote a joint letter to the Speaker calling for Parliament to sit on Monday, one day earlier than scheduled, so they could vote on a motion of no-confidence next week."


- Opinion

National Indigenous Times:
NIT Forum: Racism is a blanket in Alice Springs
6 Aug 09: " ... news emerged last week of new by-laws being floated by the local town council, aimed at tackling
anti-social behaviour. My personal favourite is the one that allows council rangers to dispose of blankets used by
homeless people." Chris Graham, founding editor of NIT

- News

National Indigenous Times:
Sex abuse prosecutions from NT intervention limited: NLC
10 Aug 09: "The number of sexual abuse prosecutions since the Northern Territory intervention has been less than
expected and many involve people outside communities under government control, the Northern Land Council (NLC) says. NLC Chief Executive Kim Hill has dismissed some of the effects of the intervention and branded it a political stunt by the previous Howard government."

ABC: Garrett's $9m life raft for Indigenous languages
10 Aug 09: "Federal Arts Minister Peter Garrett has announced a plan to rescue over 100 threatened Indigenous languages across Australia. ... He says the funding recognises that Indigenous languages play an important role in student learning, particularly in bilingual schools. ... But he will not weigh into the debate over the future of bilingual education in the Northern Territory."

Age: $9.3m to save indigenous languages
9 Aug 09: "The federal government has pledged $9.3 million over the coming year to help take 113 indigenous languages off the critically endangered list. ... The policy will
also encourage the teaching of indigenous languages in schools, although it is understood not to alter the course
in the Northern Territory, where bilingual education is set to be scrapped in 2010."

- - -

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'WGAR News' monitors the media, including alternative media, focusing on the Australian Federal government intervention into Northern Territory (NT) Aboriginal communities along with other Aboriginal rights issues.

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WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)

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