Well, the bills which grants the Australian government power to encroach upon, invade, and determine the lives of Indigenous People in the Northern Territory has come to pass with a near-unanimous vote of 56 to 6.
Among many new privileges, the government now effectively owns all Aboriginal Land. All Indigenous on Welfare have automatically had 50% of their payments ‘quarantined.’ The government can ‘observe’ any meeting held by Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal organizations in the Territory which provide services to Aboriginal communities. The government can seize the assets of Aboriginal or non Aboriginal organizations which are providing services to communities. Alcohol, Tobacco, and Pornography is banned. And of course, Police will be increasingly present in all the communities.
Little Children are Scapegoats
“What we have is a prime minister and his ministers who don’t have a heart.”
—Pat Anderson, co-author of “Little Children are Sacred.”
As you’re probably aware by now, these laws are part of the Government of Australia’s heroic mission to save the children. Specifically, we’re told they’ve come as a result of the report titled “Little Children are Sacred” which found child abuse was rampant in indigenous communities in the NT. It’s interesting though—the report made 97 recommendations on what can be done to end the apparent rampant abuse, but this 500-page Bill, (which Mal Brough didn’t even bother to read) does not address a single one.
Even more curiously, for weeks police and military have been active in at least 20 of the targeted communities… According to operational commander Major General David Chalmers, 850 children have been examined to date. He says they’ve found “dental issues, and infections of the skin, ear, nose and throat…” but no signs of abuse.
That’s certainly a relief, since we were told that abuse was rampant. But it also raises one vital question: why is the government in such a rush to move this plan forward?
From Whenua, Fenua, Enua, Vanua – NATIONAL, August 17, 2007: The three bills which empower the federal government to intervene in the lives of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory have finally been passed into law.
In what will go down as the blackest days in the history of modern parliament, at 12:28 pm the clerk of the Senate announced: “There being 56 ayes, and 6 noes, the matter is resolve in the affirmative.”
The Coalition government used its majority in the Senate to push the legislation through, despite widespread anger among Aboriginal people across the nation and innumerable pleas for the legislation to be delayed so that Aboriginal people in the Territory could be consulted on the changes.
But in the end, it wasn’t just the Liberals who saw fit to erode the rights of Aboriginal people. Labor joined with the government to pass the laws. And it came amid the barest of scrutiny.
The three bills – which ran to more than 500 pages and will result in massive and radical changes in the lives of Aboriginal people – were scrutinised by a Senate inquiry that sat for just one day.
That inquiry handed its findings to government just two working days later.
Only the Greens and Democrats voted against the legislation, after supporting two Appropriation Bills which push $587 million into the Northern Territory. (source)
NT intervention a ‘massive betrayal’
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When ownership of land is threatened
Indigenous laws signed off by parliament
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