Sunday, November 25, 2007

NT Aboriginal Vote Calls Intervention into Question

The grassroots organisation Women for Wik, which has been monitoring the Federal intervention in the Northern Territory, has called on the incoming Rudd Labor government to honor its pre-election promises to Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.

"When they were at that election place, Aboriginal people said 'We don't want that CLP paper, we want that other paper, that good paper," said Rachel Willika, of Eva Valley community (left, in blue). "We didn't want that intervention government that is doing that intervention. We voted for that good government."

Newly re-elected Labor MP for Lingiari Warren Snowden received an unprecedented vote in remote communities. The Maningrida booth in the Top End got a 94 per cent vote for Labor, while four other mobile remote area voting booths returned Labor votes at a rate of between an 84 and 95 per cent.Aboriginal people from remote communities in the Northern Territory have supported Snowden's call for the re-instatement of the permit system and for cessation of the move off CDEP to work for the dole.

"That new government should stop those Centrelink people moving us on to work for the dole," said Ms Willika, "Those Centerlink people are coming to Eva Valley tomorrow. We don't like that work for the dole. We want real jobs."

"We voted for Labor to stop that intervention and to get our permit system back," said Nell Brown, senior traditional owner of Bagula clan lands, Barunga community, "We've been fighting to get our permit system back."

"We need to meet with Mr Rudd as soon as possible. We supported Labor through the electoral process, and we want address the issues," said Eileen Cummings, former Policy Advisor to the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory (centre, right).
"The Federal government took away our rights. We want these rights reinstated and we want a proper consultation process. We want to work with the Rudd Labor government to work out the best way forward for the benefit of Aboriginal people. "

"There needs to be a meeting as soon as practicable, given that aspects of this intervention are causing enormous hardships and distress', said Olga Havnen, CEO of the Combined Aboriginal Organisations of the NT."We need to re-align the intervention so that there are better outcomes at a community level, and a more effective focus on the protection of children."

"The results of this election calls into question the legal basis of the NT intervention-the circumvention of the Racial Discrimination Act on the basis that the intervention was for the good of the affected people," said Associate Professor, Claire Smith, a social scientist with 20 years research experience in remote communities in the Northern Territory."What is for the 'good' of people has to be judged by the individuals themselves. Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory have clearly judged that the intervention as currently implemented is not benefiting them."

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