Monday, 30 March 2015

Women's refuges in NSW: destroyed last year - restored this year?

Call For Inquiry Into Women's Refuge Changes

By Wendy Bacon and Elise Dalley

Problems have continued to emerge since NSW handed a number of refuges over to faith-based organisations. Wendy Bacon and Elise Dalley report. 

As more evidence emerges of crises in women’s refuges around NSW, campaigning group Save Our Women’s Services (SOS) has called for an independent inquiry.
“When the Premier Mike Baird became leader in April last year, he said one of his three key commitments was protecting the vulnerable. Unfortunately, the devastation of women’s services in NSW has failed to live up to that commitment,” SOS said.

After the LNP government announced its ‘Going Home Staying Home’ policy in 2012 women’s refuges, including those that had operated successfully for years, were required to tender for funds to deliver their services. The result was that many refuges were handed over from feminist or community control to faith-based organisations.

“Faith-based organisations do a lot of important work but women’s refuges were set up separately from church-based organisations more than 40 years ago to provide choice in the system, and gendered expertise,” SOS said.

The coalition of women and women’s services has released a set of five requests for the incoming Parliament to help improve on the ground services for women and children. 

These include:
1. A Parliamentary Inquiry to be held into the impact of Going Home Staying Home on women and children.
2. All refuges to be funded appropriately to have a mandatory staff member on site or on call 24/7.
3. Youth refuges and Service Support Fund Services to receive the funding necessary to cover their operating costs, ie. Indexation and mandatory Award pay increases.
4. Contracts to be extended to five years instead of three.
5. Community services should not be put out to competitive tender in future.

Further reading:
Long-term women's advocate Eva Cox is not convinced the large providers will be able to replicate the intensive support offered by the smaller operators.
''The big agencies are the Walmarts of the welfare sector,'' she said. ''They are doing exactly the same thing to the smaller agencies as Walmart does to the high-street shops. They just absorb them. I think the government is playing into that idea that you can take a cookie-cutter approach to welfare when all the evidence shows it doesn't work.''
She points out that the women's refuge movement was established in the 1970s because large providers could not offer the specialist support required by women and children leaving abusive homes.
''The reason we set these refuges up in the first place is because they don't fit under a generalist homelessness model,'' she said. ''These women and their children need much more than just a roof over their heads.''

Friday, 27 March 2015


The Redfern Community Centre in Sydney brought straight to your living room. 
Don't miss this important discussion about #Treaty.Opinion Piece | NITV (Ch 34) 7.30PM
Posted by NITV on Thursday, 26 March 2015

Treaty, yeah! Change the last letter and remove the punctuation
and it could read 

Much discussion is about Recognise and hats off to those involved. However, the Recognise campaign is putting the cart before the horse in a major way. 

Because the Abbott Government are actively promoting this it becomes, on reflection, evidence that Recognise may not be a positive thing ---- but a palm off. You see, what needs to happen and what, so it seems, our politicians refuse to deal with is the question of ‪#‎Sovereignty‬.

Our governments, ourselves - new and old settlers - need to acknowledge that we stole land from people who were sovereign self-governing nations. And how do sovereign self-governing nations settle their affairs - particularly after wars of which there were plenty in the whitefella's time even up to modern times? They sit down and discuss a treaty. 

This has never happened on this country, in this country. 

There can only be true, honest and clear recognition in Australia's constitution after treaty and all the discussion and actions that go with it. So please let us postpone the ‪#‎Recognition‬ effort and put our energies, intellects, and fellow-felling into a Treaty process. 

It will take a long time - particularly if we use Aboriginal methodology. And what is Aboriginal methodology? It means sitting down with, speaking with, every one who needs to be spoken with. The talking takes as long as it needs to take. It's not a rushed whitefella meeting with a limited agenda, time allocated to each bullet point, and an ayes and nays vote which can sometimes, even in white society, result in some people feeling left out, gob-smacked, puzzled and dissatisfied. It certainly would not be carried out in the fashion as both Lib Nat and Labor Governments conducted discussions with Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory regarding the NT Intervention. 

So get out the Yothu Yindi music and go for it 

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The Homelands Closures - videos by Eleanor Gilbert

150319-StopHomelandsClosure-Nova Peris from Eleanor Gilbert on Vimeo.

Eli Gilbert has uploaded a stack of videos.
You can find them here.

For those of you who don't know of Eli Gilbert and her work,
just a few words.
Eli Gilbert is the widow of Kevin Gilbert -
the great creative activist, Kevin Gilbert.
Kevin Gilbert was the first published Aboriginal writer and printmaker.
For more about Kevin please follow this link.
Eli follows in the footsteps of Kevin's work.
Eli and her trusty video camera, that is.
Eli has been a trusty and trusted recorder of Aboriginal strivings and protest.
Following the heartbreaking incidents of the NT Intervention,
Eli was there in many communities in the NT recording
their voice, their objections, the real happenings
of the whitefella's ignorance and intervention yet again in Aboriginal life.
Please follow the video above to vimeo
and there you will find many more of Eleanor Gilbert's work.
To me, Eleanor Gilbert is a black woman.
She just happens to have a white skin.

From Kevin Gilbert:

We Will Not Forget
We will Not Go Away
We Will Not Be Silent
We Will Not Die

This Aboriginal Sovereign Position, Legal Entitlement and Draft Treaty 
was written after consultation with Aboriginal Members of the 
Sovereign Aboriginal Coalition attended at Alice Springs
 on 19th to 21st June 1987 
and incorporating the advice of the Aboriginal Sovereign Communities 
throughout these our Sovereign Domains.

First published by Treaty '88 in 1987

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The cheque's in the mail for selected Aboriginal communities ... but we don't know who yet!!! #Scullion

Nigel Scullion speaks, releasing details of the lucky ones under his 'cut them off at the knees' model of funding Aboriginal communities, programs and services.

The document issued by Scullion to-day says:
The list of organisations recommended for funding under the IAS grant funding round is available on the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet website.

That's what it says.  Have been to the website and cannot locate the list.  If you have much more success in locating this, let me know and I will publish it.  Otherwise, till then, I think it may be a bit like the cheque is in the mail --- along with the Prime Minister's oft spruiked pension rise which has either not occurred or is indiscernible.  Are Tony Abbott's cheques bouncing?

Anyway, good luck to those who are included in the Indigenous Advancement Strategy of the LibNat Government.  Commiserations to the excluded.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015


Aboriginal communities in Australia announce
a global call to action.
Rally from Aboriginal Tent Embassy to Parliament House,
Thursday 19 March.
Assemble at Tent Embassy 11.30am 
for a 12.00pm march to Parliament.
12.30 - 2.00pm speakers.

Kimberley Aboriginal communities have declared a GLOBAL CALL TO ACTION to stop the forced closure of Aboriginal communities in Western Australia amidst the growing campaign by State and Federal Governments to withdraw their support and remove Aboriginal people from their traditional homelands.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has whipped up a great amount of fear, anxiety and doubt amongst the already marginalised First Peoples, when he said that: 
What we can’t do, is endlessly subsidise choices, if those lifestyle choices are not conducive to the kind of full participation in Australian society that everyone should have”.
Editorial Note: Please see this ABC 7.30 Report
for video, transcript, and discussion.

Abbott’s statement was in support of the declarations made by Premier of Western Australia, Colin Barnett, in a press statement released 12 November 2014, suggesting that the State could no longer support 150 Aboriginal Communities, flagging the prospective removal by the end of 2015.

We who live in the remoter areas of Australia do not believe it is a lifestyle choice but an intrinsic fundamental human right to live in our own communities and our own country. We hold significant cultural obligations to our Ancestors to maintain Sovereign ties to our lands. After successive breaches of Human Rights conventions and the forced removal of the Aboriginal Community of Oombulgurri in 2014, we maintain a vote of no confidence in both the incumbent State and Federal Governments in their actions toward Aboriginal people.

On Thursday 19 March 2015, Australians across the Nation are being asked by governments to acknowledge ‘Close the Gap’ Day – but for many of our countrymen the ‘gap’ has been significantly widened, placing increasing pressure and trauma on our people. Starting in the Kimberley at 10am, we will march not for this Government agenda, but instead to show our objection to the threatened proposed closures to Aboriginal communities.

We stand in solidarity with all other regions in Western Australia and South Australia who have the veil of threatened remote community closures hanging over their lives. We understand that the precedent for a National attack by Government toward Aboriginal people living on their homelands, has already been set in the Oombulgurri closure. We ask the national and international community to stand with us in this action, and the subsequent actions that will ensue as we mobilise effective campaigns to secure our cultural right and entitlement.
Canberra media inquiries: 
Amy McQuire: 0487 427 207 
Alice Haines: 0447 097 659 I Twitter: @sosblakaust

Official Hashtags:
#NOconsent #Lifestylechoice

For further information see the website:

Editors' note
- as well as this, take note of conservative State and Federal Governments
attempts at social control of the mainstream population: Medicare co-payments;
dismissal of the NDIS, treatment of people with disabilities -
particularly those young people who end up in nursing home aged care
because there is no place for them anywhere else;
education policies; cuts to social welfare payments to the elderly and the unemployed.
The question to be asked is why is it that Australian governments are still  unable
to treat Aboriginal people as citizens with equal rights to the goods and services
which other citizens receive.
This is the 21st Century after all - we put people in space -
we have more money awash in Australia than at any time in our history.
But we still can't meet the needs of our original inhabitants
whose land we stole.

Friday, 13 March 2015

In times of poor and bad governance, full, accurate and detailed reporting of the full impact of government policies is a necessity.

Post by NITV.

We are defining the situation and where the problem lies.

Suggest substituting the word "country" for "town".

Tony Abbott's competence or lack thereof

Thursday, 12 March 2015

In the Abbott dictionary we hear of Leaners and Lifters. Look at what the Lifters are doing now ....

How to handle this? We are in strange times of poor governance in Australia (Federal/State/Local and Corporate Governance). We see our Federal Government claiming all sorts of virtue for itself - while embracing the most draconian policies and agendae.

Remote communities at a glance:

  • There are 274 remote communities in Western Australia and 12,113 Aboriginal people live in them
  • 507 people live in 115 of the smallest communities - an average of 4.4 people per community
  • Premier Colin Barnett flagged the closure of up to 150 communities but has not named them
  • The last community to shut down was in 2011, when Oombulgurri in the East Kimberley was shut down after a host of social problems
  • The state and federal governments contributed $30 million per year to fund services, but the Commonwealth will cease its funding contribution in two years
We are not discussing only Western Australia.
Below is a document displaying the cuts to
Aboriginal programs in the Northern Territory.
The document below can be read in its entirety on this post
by scrolling down the side.
It can also be printed from this post for further perusal.
Please go below this embedded document 
for Miss Eagle's response on Facebook.

News Feed

The Aboriginal people of Tennant Creek, Northern Territory are strong, tough, imaginative and resilient. They have had to be. The Warumungu fought one of the longest and most fierce legal battles to claimback their lands. The people living at Muckaty Station fought back against Federal Governments of Liberal Party of Australia, Nationals, and Australian Labor Party persuasion who wanted to use their land as a dump for radioactivewaste. The Muckaty mob won the day. Now a Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, who said yesterday that he is quite satisfied with his credentials in regard to Aboriginal people, has axed funding to Tennant.

Who in their rightmind would axe funding for sport and recreation in an Aboriginal community? I can only assume that this is yet another policy of politico/social control by people who haven't a clue. Or --- perhaps, if they do have a clue, their intention is to force Aboriginal people back on the grog.

Tennant Creek is a very creative place - both in whitefella and blackfella terms. Black women as Presidents of BarklyRegionalCouncil - firstly, Rosalie Kunoth-Monks and, currently, Barkly Regional Council President Barb Shaw.

This is a place which has had problems heaped upon problems but has fought to overcome those problems with energy, steadfastness, organisation, and creativity. This town, these people are a community worthy of investment - as it has proved time and again. Yet funding has been axed from the Barkly Regional Council Community Services Sports and Recreation 

Talk about cutting off a community at its knees! Tony Abbott's Aboriginal credentials, such as they may be, are now in tatters. If he believes otherwise, then let him turn up at Tennant Creek and explain himself in person. But then Tennant doesn't have any black millionaires as Yirrkala does - and that's where you prefer to go, isn't it Tony? I smiled to hear Warren Mundine and Noel Pearson speaking up about the "lifestyle choice" statements by Abbott. Would they intervene on behalf of Tennant Creek, I wonder?

Tennant has a lovely small museum, Nyinkka Nyunyu. In that museum, the curators of the museum display statements from leading Tennant Creek citizens of decades ago in regard to the Warumungu Land Claim. I trust that Nyinkka Nyunyu will keep an historic and cultural record of Tony Abbott's "lifestyle choice" statements and governments' undermining of community attempts to advance the interests of Aboriginal people within the area of the Barkly Regional Council. Such a record would be just as wonderful as the whitefella statements in response to the Warumungu Land Claim, methinks, and would put on display the lack of prescience of those who would govern and control us.

The Tennant Creek Community says it has had its heart ripped out - after 25 local workers were told their positions had been axed under the IAS. The community is angry... and accuses the Government of waging a war on...

To-morrow, Friday 13 March, the Tennant & District Times will have more on this dreadful setback to Aboriginal life and aspirations.  The link to material will be added to-morrow


Below is a reflection on Tennant Creek and its history by the respected Dean Ashenden.  Miss Eagle lived in Tennant Creek from 1993 to 1997 and knows a lot of the people and organisations referred to in the article and in the bibliography.  She was also an active member of the organisation managing the Telegraph Station. 

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