NEWS CENTRE

New national Aboriginal alliance established

Since the abolition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), Aboriginal people say they have not had a national voice to represent their concerns and solutions to Indigenous issues. In response, Aboriginal leaders and representatives from land councils, legal services, Stolen Generations organisations, health and housing bodies, the national youth forum, media organisations, bush communities and town camps met in Alice Springs recently to form the National Aboriginal Alliance (NAA).

This new Alliance has been formed in the wake of the government’s intervention in the Northern Territory so as to speak out against the Federal government’s dominance of the Indigenous policy agenda in the Northern Territory.

In a statement released on September 14, the group agreed upon the principles that will guide and underpin the Alliance. Those principles include “a rejection of the ‘discriminatory and coercive elements’ of the Commonwealth’s so-called ‘emergency intervention’ in the Northern Territory, which the group believes has little to do with the protection of Aboriginal children.

“The group urged Aboriginal peoples and communities to actively but peacefully resist the ‘intervention’, and demanded:

  • the immediate removal of Commonwealth Business Managers from Aboriginal communities in the NT
  • that the Commonwealth respects the property rights of Aboriginal people in the NT and restores the permit system
  • that the Commonwealth immediately restores integrity to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, which has been put aside under the Government’s ‘intervention’.
  • that Aboriginal communities receive equitable service delivery and infrastructure.”

Representatives from across Australia are calling for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people to support this Alliance so that Aboriginal voices will be heard, that consultation on Indigenous issues across the country will happen.

The National Aboriginal Alliance website provides valuable information about the situation in the Northern Territory and the restrictions being placed on the local Aboriginal communities. 

REFLECTION
While reading the information it may be valuable to reflect on:

  • How you feel about this information?
  • What is the information saying about our national values?
  • Would other communities in Australia accept the restrictions placed on the Aboriginal communities?
  • What do you think is the most ‘just’ approach to the issues for these remote communities and other Indigenous issues?
  • What ‘human rights’ are being ignored in these situations?
  • What can you do to support the Aboriginal people at this time?

RESOURCES:
National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)
NACCHO is Australia’s national peak body in Aboriginal health. It was established in 1974 and represents over 130 Aboriginal community-controlled health services (ACCHSs) around Australia. The development of these services represents the most significant advance in Aboriginal health policy development over this last century.

Difference Of Opinion on ABC with Jeff McMullen – Thursday at 9:25pm; Repeats can be seen on ABC2 on Saturday at 9:30pm and Wednesday at 4:30pm. Last week’s programme looked at the issues of – Has the reconciliation status quo been broken or is it another false dawn? What in roads have been made by the Federal Government intervention? Guests were Olga Havnen, Tom Calma, Dr Sue Gordon, Professor Lowitja O’Donoghue.

Living Black on SBS, Wednesdays at 6:00pm, repeated on Monday 5:30pm and Friday 3:30pm

Message Stick on ABC Mondays at 6:00pm, repeated on Sunday at 1:30pm

From: Specific Issues Committee, Indigenous Concerns (Sisters Liz Rothe, Rose Glennen). The Committee warmly invites your response to the article or the issue.
Email: indigenous.concerns@mercy.org.au

Contact: Carmel Heagerty RSM, Institute Justice Co-ordinator
Email: Institute.Justice@mercy.org.au