Protest at Jenny Macklin’s office – No to compulsory acquisition of Alice Springs town camps

Indigenous activists and supporters outside office of Jenny Macklin

Indigenous activists and supporters outside office of Jenny Macklin

Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister apparently did a Ferguson when faced with a protest over her plan to compulsorily acquire the Alice Springs town camps – a notice bluetacked to the door announced the office was ‘closed for a meeting’. But perhaps it was a genuine coincidence.

Notice on door of office

Notice on door of office

For background to the protest the best source is the website Rollback the Intervention, from which this statement is taken:

Statement Opposing the Commonwealth’s Proposal to Compulsorily Acquire the Alice Springs Town Camps

We recognize the right of Tangentyere Council and town camp residents to self-determination. Town camp residents have called upon governments to address overcrowding and poverty in their communities over several years. More often than not, their demands have been ignored.

We support the recent decision by the Council to reject the Commonwealth’s proposal that would transfer control of housing and tenancy management to the Northern Territory Government. Representatives from all town camps voted to maintain community control. This is vital because of a long history of neglect and indifference to the needs of Aboriginal people by Northern Territory Housing. People rightly fear eviction and rent-increases that are beyond their capacity to pay. It is critical that Aboriginal people have the power to shape their own destinies.

We condemn Minister Macklin’s proposal for the Commonwealth to compulsorily acquire the town camps of Alice Springs. We call on the Commonwealth to respect the independence of the Tangentyere Council and to act in good faith in all of its negotiations with the Tangentyere Council.

We recognize the long struggle for land by both town camp residents and Aboriginal land holders throughout Australia. We condemn the Federal Government’s policy of withholding funding for desperately needed housing in Aboriginal communities, before Aboriginal people relinquish control of their land.

It is disgraceful that the party who championed the first land rights legislation in Australia is holding impoverished Aboriginal communities to ransom. This Government has lost its moral compass. We offer our full support to the Tangentyere Council in their struggle.
……………………………….

Media release 24 May

Takeover of Aboriginal Land marks Opening of Reconciliation Week

Today Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin marked the opening of
Reconciliation Week by announcing that Alice Springs town camps will
be compulsorily acquired. The announcement has been met with outrage
by town camp residents. The move comes after Tangentyere Council,
acting on behalf of town camp residents, rejected a 40 year lease deal
which precluded all Aboriginal control and management of camp housing
which would put decision-making and resources into the hands of
Territory Housing.

The community housing model proposed by Tangentyere Council and the
ability of residents to have input into housing management has been
flatly rejected by the government. The community housing model was to
be run by the Central Australian Affordable Housing Company, which
Minister Macklin helped establish in March last year but has now been
rejected in favour of a government takeover.

Residents represented by Tangentyere are opposed to Territory Housing
management of the camps due to the high rate of evictions and
predicted rent increases under government management. Many Aboriginal
people who have been former residents of NT Housing, have already
experienced evictions, with the most common reasons being for cooking
kangaroo tail in the backyard or for having relatives from the bush
visit. People are concerned they will have nowhere to go if evicted
from town camps under Territory Housing, which already has a three
year waiting list for new occupancy.

“This is an appalling decision by the federal government. It marks
the start of a takeover for all Aboriginal communities who reject
government leases. If the government were genuine about consultation
with communities it would not be blackmailing people with long-term
leases and the threat of compulsory acquisition” said Hilary Tyler
from the Intervention Rollback Action Group in Alice Springs.

“You can’t take someone’s land without free, prior and informed
consent. It is very hypocritical of the Government to endorse the
United Nation Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples when the
Intervention contravenes at least 26 articles. By keeping the Racial
Discrimination Act (1975) in place it goes to show the Government of
Australia is in fact racist.” says Barbara Shaw from Mt Nancy town
camp.

A rally of town camp residents targeting both the NT government and
federal government over its announcement of outstation closures and
the compulsory acquisition of Alice Springs towncamps will take place
later this week in Alice Springs.

Contact: Barb Shaw on 0401 291 166, Hilary Tyler on 0419 244 012 or
Lauren Mellor on 0413 534 125

…………………………………

Today’s protest involved activists not only from Australia but also Aotearoa (and from Latin America, but no banner…):

Solidarity from Aotearoa

Solidarity from Aotearoa

As part of the protest, a reminder was added to the coat-of-arms:

Sticker added to the coat-of-arms

Sticker added to the coat-of-arms

In Sydney, a similar protest was planned at the office of Federal Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek, as well as other actions at Alice Springs and elsewhere. Reports from these will no doubt appear on the website in due course.

Waitangi Day, 6 February 2008

Outside the consulate

Representatives and supports of Indigenous peoples across the Pacific gathered outside the Aotearoa/NZ Consulate in Melbourne on 6 February as part of an international protest. In addition to speakers from Aotearoa a statement from the Aboriginal Tent Embassy was read by a representative of ISJA (Indigenous Social Justice Association) and Krautungalung elder Robbie Thorpe spoke. Others included Nick Chesterfield, long-term campaigner for Indigenous rights in the Pacific, and Marisol Salinas, who delivered a message of solidarity on behalf of the Mapuche people of Chile.
Video of this event on YouTube in three parts:

There is a full report with photographs on Whenua, Fenua, Enua, Vanua – http://uriohau.blogspot.com/2008/02/waitangi-day-kulin-nations-08.html
See also Aotearoa IMC -

http://indymedia.org.nz/newswire/display/74878/index.php

http://indymedia.org.nz/newswire/display/74877/index.php

Solidarity with Aotearoa/NZ arrestees – International Day of Action

Banner at Federation Square

Under the slogan “Activism is not Terrorism” about 70 Melburnians joined a protest rally at Federation Square at noon on Saturday 27 October – one of a series of such rallies scheduled across the world to express opposition to the recent and ongoing attacks on activists and dissent in Aotearoa/NZ. MC was long-time Indigenous Rights activist Robbie Thorpe of the Krautungalung people of the Gunnai Nation, the traditional owners of Lake Tyers. Other speakers included Sina Brown, Sina Brown, Polynesian Anti Globalisation Activist;Marisol Salinas Mapuche, Environmental Activist, Lasnet; Rayna Fahey, Treaty, Green Activist; Will Anderson from Civil Rights Defence; Liz Thompson, Ongoing G20 Arrestees Solidarity Network, FairWear; and Anthony Main, Alliance for Civil Disobedience Coordination, Socialist Party. Waiata/song was provided by Ivan Davis (Tainui). Statements were also read out by representatives of the Anarchist Black Cross ( see http://indymedia.org.nz/newswire/display/74026/index.php) and Socialist Alliance ( see http://www.greenleft.org.au/2007/729/37796) – and there was an open mic session at the end. As reported elsewhere (http://indymedia.org.nz/newswire/display/74008/index.php) there was also fundraising involving cupcakes …
See also:
http://www.indymedia.org.nz/
and:
http://www.civilrightsdefence.org.nz

There is video of the rally on EngageMedia:

http://www.engagemedia.org/Members/pc/videos/27oct07-nz-small.avi/view

Protest at NZ Consulate – Solidarity with 15 Oct arrestees

Placard outside the Consulate

The street theatre may have looked light-hearted, but there was anger as well as mockery in the air outside the building housing the NZ Consulate in Melbourne. Speakers condemned the arrests and intimidation of activists in Aotearoa, while the ‘air attack’ on the building highlighted the absurdity of the terrorism charges. There is a report with pictures at

http://indymedia.org.nz/newswire/display/73864/index.php.

For up-to-date coverage of the events see
http://indymedia.org.nz/feature/display/71723/index.php
and other postings on the Aotearoa Indymedia site.
See also http://uriohau.blogspot.com/

There is video of this protest on EngageMedia -

http://www.engagemedia.org/Members/pc/videos/16oct-nz-small.avi/view

[Additional photos posted 6 May 2014]