We need a new life design in the NT

Malcolm Fraser implemented Self-Government for the NT in 1978 as, his words, “an experiment” in the Territory of the Commonwealth of Australia.

This experiment was done without the slightest preliminary study of social and environmental impacts, nor any examination of the moral and ethical considerations in relation to First Peoples.

The culturally one-sided form of government was imposed on First Peoples by the Commonwealth Governmemt without the freely given consent of First Peoples. There was no plebiscite regarding this crucial aspect of self-determination.  

The Paul Everingham CLP government, from 1978 on, wasted no time in getting stuck in to “black-bashing”. That set the “white master” tone for the last  4 decades, notwithstanding ALP governments and a number of indigenous people occupying government positions within the non-indigenous power structure.

The time to take a long hard look at the impacts of this experiment on the well-being of First Peoples, and to ask them what needs to be done to improve their well-being, was some decades ago.

I feel we have passed the stage of calling for an inquiry into Fraser’s experiment. It is a neo-colonial arrangement which, if it belongs anywhere, belongs in the past.

Of course, no such real reform action has ever been contemplated by any Australian Government. I doubt if it ever will – without a real peoples movement forcing them to catch up with life’s realities.

That’s us.

New Peoples Movement

We need to design, in a genuine spirit of cultural partnership with First Peoples,  a new model of governance for the well-being for the whole of life in the NT.

This peoples movement for change will not originate with the Commonwealth Government, nor the Northern Territory Government. Nor can those on the payroll of the state act as spokespeople or leaders of a peoples movement. They speak a familiar master narrative all to well.

This new peoples movement starts with us and can only be maintained by us (despite the apparent odds being stacked against us).

New forms of representation,co-existing sovereignty, two-laws, recognition of indigenous law, proper management of country … there is a long backlog of issues which a lazy political  system, grown fat and seeking to buy more time for its outmoded ways, consigned to the “too hard” basket.

New – and leaner – times are upon us.

So, my question is “What next?” in this 21st century real life challenge?

Bruce (Japaljari) Reyburn

July 2016

NT Aboriginal organisations call – dissolve NT Government

Media Release.

A coalition of Northern Territory Aboriginal organisations today called for the federal Parliament to step in to dissolve the NT Government, following the exposure of the NT Government’s barbaric abuse of children in detention.
“Any government that enacts policies designed to harm children and enables a culture of brutalisation and cover-ups, surrenders its right to govern,” said spokesperson John Paterson.
The federal Parliament has ultimate control over NT matters and can act to dissolve the current NT Government and bring on an urgent NT election.
“We also urge the Prime Minister to ensure the NT Government plays no role in the development or oversight of the Royal Commission.
It must be entirely independent of the NT Government, and chaired by an appropriate independent expert and must have Aboriginal representation from the NT.
Local organisations and those working in this sector must have input into the terms of reference.

The terms of reference must:

• Encompass the entire NT youth justice system, not just issues relating to detention facilities;

• Examine all previous enquiries relating to youth justice in the NT for cover ups and uncover why the recommendations were not implemented.

• Not limit how far into the past the Commission can inquire.

We also call for further immediate interim actions:

• The Commonwealth must appoint an alternative provider of youth detention and child protection/out of home care for the NT. The NT Government cannot continue to deliver these services while our kids remain at risk.

• The youth currently on remand should also be removed from the Darwin and Alice Springs detention facilities immediately and placed in appropriate secure accommodation.

• The office of the NT Children’s Commissioner must be appropriately and adequately resourced to perform her statutory duties.

“That harm is being done to our children and our community in our name is unacceptable. Those responsible, including ministers, advisers, bureaucrats and corrections employees need to be held to account”, spokesperson Olga Havnen said.

“The NT Government has led a concerted and sustained campaign demonising young people and to pass draconian laws inconsistent with recommendations made by successive inquiries, including those of the NT Children’s Commissioner.

“We are seeking urgent discussions with the Prime Minister to ensure this Royal Commission actually meets the needs of those most affected, and ultimately creates the momentum for reform of the entire youth justice system in the NT.”
Source:  www.amsant.org.au

Time now to move to secure our best futures

Rather than arguing about past mistaken methods British used to colonise here, better now to take serious action to redress the serious problems caused by those mistaken methods.

The time for pretence in this regard is long over, as it is for the divisive politics of previous centuries. 

It is only when we attend to redressing the damage done to First Peoples lives, well-being and living countries by British authorities, and their colonial heirs, that we can secure a sound foundation for all life in this country.

This had to be done in a genuine and healing spirit of cultural partnership with First Peoples.

The time for pretence in this regard is long over, as it is for the divisive and adolescent politics of previous centuries. 

Fully mature people are required to fill our vital decision-making positions.

Those who aspire to lead us must demonstrate a commitment and proven ability to healing life.  We look to incoming Senator Pat Dodson in this regard. 

There will be plenty of rear-guard forces seeking to maintain their priveleges rather than adopting a more elightened approach. Their outmoded methods are divisive and manipulative. We need to rise above them.

A wider peoples movement is required to provide support so we can have the real healing resources needed to accept and tackle this major life challenge. But how?

Could this be a role for the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples?

It is now time to move to secure the best for all our futures.

Cabinet Papers 1988-89 The Treaty, ATSIC, Deaths in Custody

Cabinet papers 1988-89: lost in the space race; Aboriginal treaty; body searching; tax file numbersDate

SMH January 1, 2015

Damien Murphy

The treaty that never came

Bob Hawke attended the Barunga festival in the Northern Territory in June 1988 and promised an historic treaty with the Aboriginal people.

The Hawke government had been promising to improve representation of Aboriginal interests and issues, but by 1985 attempts to frame a “national model” for land rights had stalled in compromise, amid farmer and miner opposition and distrust from Aboriginal groups. So Hawke’s treaty had more than a touch of the sun about it.

In 1987 the new minister for Aboriginal affairs, Gerry Hand, had proposed the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was established.

The commission’s workload had first been estimated as 44 reported deaths requiring investigation, but already that number had increased to 120 (99 cases were finally selected for investigation). But in February 1988, Hand and the Minister for Justice, Michael Tate, told cabinet that it would be “unacceptable” to limit the set limits to thenumber of cases to be investigated, just as it was similarly politically unwise to significantly delay the release of the commission’s findings.

The expense of additional commissioners and staff was justified by the imperative of concluding a full report as soon possible. Cabinet agreed to four commissioners; a fifth was appointed in November 1988. The terms of reference were widened.

In April 1989, when Commissioner Hal WoottonWootten had weighed whether the practices he was examining amounted to “genocide”, the cabinet was persuaded that thehandling of “public perceptions” must be a particular focus.

Whatever the prospects of a treaty, various issues were brought to the cabinet’s attention, including ranging from mining on traditional lands; the lack of any progress since the 1970s in excising “living areas” from Northern Territory stock routes; and through to the basic, entrenched and widespread social disadvantage of Aboriginal people, were brought to cabinet’s attention.

The 1988-89 budget included a 23 per cent increase in spending on within the Aboriginal affairs portfolio, with a focus on in the provision of essential services for communities.

Hand argued strenuously against the Expenditure Review Committee’s concerns that the Community Development Employment Projects scheme – by then reaching urban communities in New South Wales and Victoria – enabled recipients to “double-dip” into Family Assistance Supplements.

Hand insisted CDEP was a labour market program, not a welfare oneprogram. Though he won While winning his case on the day, Hand was on the losing side of the scheme’s longer-term assessment of the scheme.

He also Meanwhile Hand argued also for more money for ATSIC. “If ATSIC starts its life under-resourcedHand advised cabinet, we doom it to failure,” he warned the cabinet.

ATSIC finally first met the following April. John Howard closed what opponents called “the experiment with indigenous self-government” in 2004.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/cabinet-papers-198889-lost-in-the-space-race-aboriginal-treaty-body-searching-tax-file-numbers-20141218-129vzl.html#ixzz42GcAr2WT 

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English only – no Warlpiri in NT Legislative Assembly – says it all!

ABC news:

“A Northern Territory Aboriginal Minister has her request to speak her first language, Warlpiri, in Parliament denied after the NT Speaker declared the language of the assembly is English”

Full story


Having already nuked First Peoples living country … a megabuck radioactive megadump

South Australian Royal Commission report preliminary “findings”

From Sydney Morning Herald

Nuclear waste a $5 billion-a-year opportunity


“The preliminary findings from the South Australian government’s royal commission into nuclear opportunities released on Monday found that a purpose-built facility to deal with nuclear fuel rods and other waste could bring substantial benefits, particularly to that state, but would require bipartisan support at federal and state level.
Kevin Scarce, a former South Australian governor who spent almost 12 months taking evidence from 128 witnesses, found that a sophisticated storage and waste disposal facility could deliver $5 billion in revenue annually for the first 30 years, and would be “highly profitable” because of strong demand from other countries.
The finding was immediately blasted by environmentalists. The inquiry found more than 390,000 tonnes of spent rods and nuclear waste is stored temporarily worldwide and is looking for a permanent home.”


SA Royal Commission into nuclear matters paves the way for enhanced and ephemeral profits for uranium mining shareholders $$$!!! and an eternal enduring mega-toxic future for peoples living counties.

“Becoming involved in uranium processing isn’t a commercially viable option during the next decade because of an oversupplied global market and significant uncertainties. But fuel leasing, which links uranium processing with its eventual return for disposal, may be commercially attractive.” SMH

Just just repeating those key words “exciting” “opportunities” “billions” … Mandrake gestured hypnotically.

Do not mention human error, accident, corruption, party poltical funding scandal (both sides), storage leakage, lethal legacy, genetic mutations, ….

Full story