New WGAR contact list and two events to support

From WGARNews:

Due to the success of our WGARnews, which now circulates widely, we would like to invite you to subscribe to a separate list so we can notify you of forthcoming events and provide a contact point.

To join the new list please send an email to with “SUBSCRIBE WGARcontact” in the Subject line.

Below are two events to support:

1. Thursday 13 March 2008: Call out to Centrelink offices nationwide
to highlight the severe impact of the Northern Territory Intervention/Invasion on the lives of Aboriginal people living in prescribed areas – 72 NT town camps and communities .

The Canberra callout is for 12.30 Thursday 13 March at Centrelink, 13 Lonsdale St., Braddon, ACT 2602

2. Saturday 19 April 2008: The Andi and George Band’ and ‘Winiata’ at
Tilleys, 96 Wattle St., Lyneham, ACT 2602. Doors open at 6pm, music from 8pm. This is a WGAR fundraiser towards ‘Implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’.

Background to NT intervention protest of 13th March:
Message from Barbara Shaw, Mt Nancy Town Camp, Alice Springs, NT:

“…We will be holding actions at Centrelink offices in many parts of the country on 13 March to try and get the message across that this [Northern Territory Intervention/Invasion] isn’t working….”

My name is Barbara Shaw and I live at Mt Nancy Town Camp, one of the prescribed areas in the Northern Territory. Last month I raised money and took a delegation of Central Australian Aboriginal people to Canberra to protest the invasion by the Federal Government into our communities. We met with Minister Macklin, made our protest march and statements and met with politicians in Senate meeting rooms at Parliament House where we each told our stories and asked for the intervention to please be stopped.

It is like no-one was listening and so the fight goes on in Central Australia. We are collecting stories from community members about how the quarantining of welfare payments is affecting them and making life harder. We will be holding actions at Centrelink offices in many parts of the country on 13 March to try and get the message across that this isn’t working.

The support I and my group received from around the country to help us travel to Canberra was overwhelming and demonstrates that many people also believe that this intervention is wrong.

I call on supporters to write to your local politicians asking them to please stop the intervention, bring back the Racial Discrimination Act and work with Aboriginal people to provide services and help solve the problems that exist. Control and enforcement is not the answer. With thanks, Barbara Shaw.

BACKGROUND from Aboriginal Rights Coalition, Sydney:

Exactly one month after the historic apology to the stolen generations, in which Kevin Rudd promised the Australian government would “never, never” repeat past wrongs, people around the country will take action against the ongoing injustice of the NT intervention.

Actions around Australia will target Centrelink offices at a crucial time, when a policy that has had the most acutely painful impact through this intervention – the race-based quarantining of welfare payments – is rolling out into Aboriginal communities Qld and WA and being considered by the NSW government.

Vince Forrester from Mutujulu community, has said of the laws, “We are living through Apartheid, we are back to the ration days”.

Many women from ‘prescribed communities’ speak of the intense shame they felt having to use the store cards “when everyone else has cash”, or the inability of many people, especially in remote areas, to even use the cards, leading to an effective halving of incomes, mass shortages of food and an exodus to population centres.

The cry for immediate review of the intervention has gone unanswered, the Racial Discrimination act is still suspended, Aboriginal land has been compulsorily acquired and non-Aboriginal business managers continue to have extraordinary powers, referred to as “analogous to a police state” by many from communities.

2000 people marched against the intervention on February 12 in Canberra. The following day, a wave of anti-racist sentiment was expressed around the country during the apology. We need to build on this momentum and send a strong message that the NT intervention legislation must be immediately repealed, Jenny Macklin must stop the expansion of the quarantine and commit to properly resource and consult with Aboriginal communities to address systematic, ongoing disadvantage.

For more info contact:
Sydney: Greg Eatock 0432050240 Paddy Gibson 0415800586

Aboriginal control of Aboriginal Affairs!

Immediately implement UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples!

In unity
WGAR (Working Group for Aboriginal Rights)