Greens "Government lets NT Indigenous communities down again"

Media Release | Spokesperson Rachel Siewert
Friday 28th November 2008, 10:50am

The Australian Greens attempts to restore the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) in the NT failed in the Senate last night.

“I’m extremely disappointed that the Government sided with the Opposition to oppose my amendments to restore the RDA,” said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.

“The Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) is blatantly racist legislation – we knew this from the outset, when Howard and Brough required the suspension of the RDA in the first place.”

“If the NTER measures are to the benefit of Aboriginal communities then the Government has nothing to fear from restoring the RDA. Actions that are to the benefit of Indigenous communities are exempt. They should be able to stand or fall, therefore, on their own merits.”

“Given that the ALP objected to the suspension of the RDA when they were in Opposition, their lack of support for these amendments just serves to show their true colours. The Greens will continue to work to overturn this discriminatory piece of legislation,” said Senator Siewert.

“We are also very disappointed that the Senate voted against reinstating the permit system. Restoring the permit system is an important step on the path to enabling Indigenous communities to manage their own lands.”

“The Greens support the restoration of the permit system, and will continue to fight for it. This is not an issue of tourism, public access, visibility or sidelining, as has been suggested. It is about ensuring Indigenous control of Indigenous land,” she concluded.