AustLII Home | Databases | WorldLII | Search | Feedback

Indigenous Law Bulletin

Indigenous Law Bulletin
You are here:  AustLII >> Databases >> Indigenous Law Bulletin >> 2007 >> [2007] IndigLawB 32

Database Search | Name Search | Recent Articles | Noteup | LawCite | Author Info | Download | Help

Houston, Jacqui --- "Federal Government's National Emergency in the Northern Territory" [2007] IndigLawB 32; (2007) 6(28) Indigenous Law Bulletin 2

Federal Government’s National Emergency in the Northern Territory

compiled by Jacqui Houston

On 21 June 2007, the Federal Government announced a ‘National Emergency’ in Northern Territory (‘NT’) Aboriginal communities. While the Recent Happenings section toward the end of this edition contains some detail of the Government’s plan, it was impossible to limit the reaction to the Government’s announcement to one or two pages of grabs. Here, we have compiled just a small number of the responses to the plan.

‘There are real questions abut whether these measures breach long-standing protections such as the Racial Discrimination Act. These are not just “niceties” that can be cast aside, they are protections that came about due to the lessons of history.’

Senator Lyn Allison - 21 June 2007

‘There needs to be a balance between enforcement and control on one hand; and encouragement and development on the other.’

Dr John Wakerman, Chairperson, National Rural Health Alliance Inc - 21 June 2007

‘… [I]t will take years to amend the underlying problems and invest the amount of money that’s required to help correct the situation in Aboriginal communities.’

Dr Peter Beaumont, President, Australian Medical Association (NT) - 21 June 2007.

‘I, like all Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, want to see every Indigenous child enjoying the basic right to live free from violence in a safe and supportive home and community.’

Tom Calma, HREOC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commissioner - 22 June 2007

‘How will people be assisted to safely come off their alcohol or substance addiction? Where are the rehabilitation services? Where are the trauma counselling and support services for families?’

Tom Calma, HREOC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commissioner - 22 June 2007

‘Permits have never prevented child care officers of police or any other government official from visiting Indigenous communities… Permits have been a major tool in regulating access to communities – something that will be a key issue in preventing grog running with alcohol restrictions in place.’

Tom Calma, HREOC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commissioner - 22 June 2007

‘As medical professionals, we question the notion that you can treat poverty, dispossession, marginalisation and despair (the root causes of substance misuse and sexual, physical and emotional abuse) with interventions that further contribute to poverty, dispossession, marginalisation and despair.’

Dr Mark Wenitong, President, The Australian Indigenous Doctors Association Inc - 22 June 2007

‘We welcome any just initiative that promotes the safety, wellbeing, health and equality of opportunity for our children. However, these issues are by no means new and have been raised with governments for a very long time.’

Dr Mark Wenitong, President, The Australian Indigenous Doctors Association Inc - 22 June 2007

‘Given the layers of trauma in communities, a healing approach [to health checks] must be taken otherwise we will just repeat the past under a different guise.’

Associate Professor Helen Milroy - 22 June 2007

‘I spoke to the Prime Minister about child abuse in the territory four years ago. He told me then that states and territories were doing fine.’

Muriel Bamblett, Chair, Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care Inc - 22 June 2007

‘What’s at threat now is our civil right to be self-determining and manage and look after our own affairs.’

Dennis Eggington, Chief Executive, Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia - 22 June 2007

‘Under the smokescreen of helping children, the federal government is taking the opportunity to impose its ideological agenda in relation to Aboriginal land.’

David Ross, Director, Central Land Council - 22 June 2007

‘[This is] a tragedy I think for the country as a whole that John Howard would take this sledgehammer approach.’

Alexis Wright, Waanyi woman and Winner of the 2007 Miles Franklin Literary Award - 22 June 2007

‘Is this another Tampa?’

Michelle Grattan and Jo Chandler, The Age - 23 June 2007

‘Unless you want to keep people in perpetual bondage, you have got to get people on their own feet – self-motivated and engaged.’

Fred Chaney, board member, Reconciliation Australia - 23 June 2007

‘I think by any definition of racism, this is racist.’

Jon Stanhope, Chief Minister, Australian Capital Territory - 23 June 2007

‘It allows you to [purchase only] those items which the Government deems to be the ones that are right and reasonable and proper for people to receive.’

Mal Brough, Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister on the proposed EFTPOS system as part of welfare reform - 23 June 2007

‘One could ask “why now?”’

Malcolm Fraser, former Prime Minister - 25 June 2007

‘[W]e are determined to get this done quickly, but to do it effectively and to do it without any undue concern by the locals.’

Mal Brough, Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister - 25 June 2007

‘[W]hat we need is a war cabinet.’

Kevin Rudd, Opposition Leader - 27 June 2007

‘They want to flee, to get out of there. That’s the level of panic and fear that this has caused out in the communities.’

Olga Havnen - 27 June 2007

‘The Combined Aboriginal Organisations in Alice Springs … believe[s] that this government is using child sexual abuse as the Trojan horse to resume total control of our land.’

Pat Turner, Coordinator, Combined Aboriginal Organisations of the Northern Territory - 27 June 2007

‘We’ve been suspicious of the way that Aboriginal affairs have been going ever since there was the equal opportunity and wage decisions… made back in the sixties.’

Sandy McTaggart, President, Pastoralists and Graziers Association - 27 June 2007

‘We didn’t arrive with a battleship… Now they are having the gunships sent in.’

Rex Wild QC, co-author of Little Children Are Sacred - 28 June 2007

AustLII: Copyright Policy | Disclaimers | Privacy Policy | Feedback