On Wednesday, 21st June in Redfern, Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney (STICS) will host a public forum – The Intervention: 10 years of Australia’s Shame – featuring two powerful First Nations voices coming down from the Northern Territory and one from the Eastern States. Following the forum, there will be a protest rally on 24th June.
‘Ten years ago, the Howard Government imposed the Northern Territory Intervention on thousands of Aboriginal people. In the absence of prior consultation, the Commonwealth imposed income management, seized control of Aboriginal lands and suspended the Racial Discrimination Act. On this tenth anniversary of John Howard’s announcement of the Intervention, it is timely for all Australians to reflect on our brothers and sisters in the Northern Territory. Together, we must fight for their voices to be heard and respected,’ Nicole Watson, who will be a speaker, has said.
Yolngu Nations Assembly Spokesperson, Yingiya Mark Guyula, Member for Nhulunbuy NT Legislative Assembly, and a speaker at last year’s STICS forum stated, ‘10 years since the Federal Government Intervention and everyone needs to remember that we experience the failings of that invasion every day.’
Under the Intervention, incarceration, youth detention, child removal, suicicide and self-harm have increased at alarming rates. Communities face defunding/closure and punitive work for the dole programmes have exacerbated the shameful levels of poverty.
‘The Intervention was allegedly based on ‘protection of women and children’ but most of the billion dollar focus has been towards punitive and paternalistic bureaucracies. Now we’re seeing these detrimental policies being introduced across the country without much benefit to the communities they impact most. How much longer will we put up with the most disadvantaged and disempowered peoples being used by the most powerful people to line their own pockets?’ questioned guest speaker Stephen Bunbadgee Hodder-Watt.
Policies of the NT Intervention and Stronger Futures contravene some of the most fundamental human rights, as enshrined in the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which include the right to self-determination.
‘We are an occupied country. We never ceded our sovereignty. We need to stand united rather than divided’, Amelia Kunoth-Monks, also a speaker at the forum, has said.
Relations between First Nations People and Government are at an all-time low. A call to change that relationship was clearly stated in the Uluru statement. No more token ‘Recognition’, no more imposition of discriminatory laws. First Nations people are ‘Asking To Be Heard’ with the Uluru Statement. Aboriginal People are asking for a complete reset of relations with this country’s lawmakers, a truth and justice process and a voice in policies that affect their well-being and social and political agency.
The 21st June forum will be a rare opportunity to hear from speakers who have lived under this regime for 10 long years. The time is long overdue to hear the voices of the people who know best how to look after their communities and move forward with dignity and respect!
Amelia Kunoth-Monks, East Arrernte
Nicole Watson, Birri-Gubba
Stephen Bunbadgee Hodder-Watt, Lardil (Mornington Island)
Facilitator: Jeff McMullen, Journalist and Film-maker
Wednesday, 21st June 2017, 5.30 pm for 6.00 pm start,
Redfern Community Centre, 29-53 Hugo Street Redfern.
Rally details: 24th June, 1.30pm. Meet at Archibald Fountain, Hyde Park, march to Redfern Park