Thursday, July 19, 2007

Howard's assault into indigenous communities is Land Grab

2007-07-18 1:01 PM +0800
July 16, 2007: The Howard Government's assault into indigenous communities in the Northern Territory is to access valuable uranium deposits, and not to protect children from abuse, a rally was told in Melbourne last week. More than a hundred community organisations have since criticised the government's plan.

They have described it as a land grab...
Robbie Thorpe, who was also part of the Black GST and Camp Sovereignty protests during the Stolenwealth Games in Melbourne last year, says the Howard is not interested in the welfare of indigenous children.

"It's the only bit of land the commonwealth government hasn't got access to and there are minerals like uranium there," Mr Thorpe told the rally. "That's what it's about. How can you believe Howard? He don't give a f**k about our kids."

He said Indigenous Australians had suffered from 100 years of abuse. "You have taken our people to the brink. "There has been 100 years of human rights' crimes against our people," he said. "Things are not going to change until there is a treaty in this country."

500 people joined the rally. The protest was part of a national day of action being held in capital cities and Alice Springs. In Perth, 120 people rallied. The crowd heard from Ray Jackson from the Indigenous Social Justice Association, Mark Newhouse from the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee and Mark Lawrence from Friends of Australian Rock Art.

About 200 people of all ages and races took part in a demonstration through Canberra to protest against the intervention in Northern Territory communities, likening it to the "Children Overboard" scandal of 2001, or as a land grab or election stunt.

One of the founding members of the Aboriginal tent embassy, Isabell Coe, said the days of Aboriginal people being used as a "political football" had to come to an end. "...what he is doing is disgusting, it is one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen," she said about John Howard's invasion of Aboriginal Lands.

In Sydney, protesters were angry about the compulsory acquisition of remote indigenous communities and the abolition of the permit system, which they consider a land grab. Aboriginal leader Pat Turner said a six-month intervention would be acceptable but had to be done in partnership with local Aborigines.

Mick Dobson says the federal government does not need to seize land from indigenous communities to combat child abuse in the Northern Territory. He said today he feared the government's seizure of 73 communities in the NT was a land grab. "That's what I'm worried about," Prof Dodson said.

"I don't for the life of me understand what the connection between child abuse and land tenure is, why the land tenure has to be given up, albeit for a short period of time according to the prime minister. The two things are not connected," he said to corporate media. "Why steal the land to deal with child sexual abuse?"

Prof Dodson said he, like his brother Pat Dodson, was finding it hard to trust the government on indigenous issues.


News Ltd
Canberra Times
Sydney Morning Herald

Perth Independent Media Centre

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