STOP & LISTEN ON NEW NT LAWS CAMPAIGN UPDATE
Congress opposes the new laws to continue the Intervention in the Northern Territory (the Stronger Futures package).
These bills were introduced to the parliament without being tested against Australia’s human rights obligations (the Parliamentary Scrutiny (Human Rights) Act 2011), as is now required for all new Australian legislation.
We established an electronic letter campaign so supporters of Aboriginal people in the NT who oppose the new laws, could send a message to their Senators. The letter asks Senators to advise what they are doing to have these bills withdrawn and to ensure that Aboriginal people are consulted properly on any future legislation.
The Australian newspaper reported on our campaign – see the story below.
Congress wrote this Letter to the Editor in response to the story
May 4th 2012
I write in relation to the story about Congress (3/05/12) as I would like it recorded that our organisation’s current campaign about the NT invention is not about “humiliating” the Gillard government or the Opposition.
Our Stop & Listen campaign is to have the Stronger Futures bills withdrawn and subject to a human rights test in line with all other legislation introduced post 2011.
As a national representative body, we will work with the Government, Opposition and other parliamentarians to protect Aboriginal peoples and in this case our peoples in the Northern Territory.
Our advocacy to MPs and Senators on this legislation, including speaking at domestic forums and international ones is a fundamental aspect of a good democracy. I encourage every Australian to join us in welcoming the extra services and funds but to oppose these unjust laws.
Intervention laws face human rights hurdle
by: Patricia Karvelas
From: The Australian
May 04, 2012
THE National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples has threatened to use “domestic and international human rights forums” to humiliate the Gillard government over the next stage of its radical intervention into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.
The new peak Aboriginal representative body, which is partly funded by the federal government and has discussion meetings with Julia Gillard, is becoming increasingly active in opposing Labor’s approach to indigenous affairs.
Congress co-chair Jody Broun said the congress would use domestic and international human rights forums “to apply further pressure”.
The congress is against the new intervention laws because they have not been tested for human rights violations.
Ms Broun and co-chair Les Malezer said more Aboriginal people were calling for the laws before parliament to be scrapped, most recently the Yolngu Nations Assembly, which represents 8000 traditional owners in west, central and east Arnhem Land.
Rec Coverage 28 Day pass
“Here is another significant group of our peoples, directly affected by the laws, who are actually calling this legislation racist in their letter to the Prime Minister,” Mr Malezer said.
“This is a strong and simple message to the government that these laws must be independently reviewed to ensure they do not breach human rights standards and international obligations.
“The government has wilful deafness on such a fundamental issue, even after critical reports on the intervention by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples. Compulsory income management remains offensive and does not support local decision-making, governance or self-determination.”
Ms Broun said she hoped the laws would not be rushed through under cover of the budget. “There is very deep emotional damage and distrust that continues in our communities since the first intervention,” Ms Broun said.
“I welcome the support of eminent Australians such as former prime minister Malcolm Fraser and many other individuals and organisations who are joining the congress and our members in opposing these laws.”
There’s still time to get a message to your Senators as these bills will not be debated again until early June.
Please click here to make your Senators aware of these bills.