Northern Territory Intervention: Join the discussion + resources

READ Dr.Jeff McMullen’s letter first here

You may have already seen the Yolŋu Nations Assembly Statement regarding Australian Federal Government Stronger Futures Bills and Northern Territory Policies, to the Leaders of the Australian Federal and Northern Territory Parliaments calling on the Senate to discard the Bills in full and instead return to a mindset of partnership based on the principles of Self-Determination. If you haven’t read it yet, you may do so at

Express your support of the Yolŋu Nations Assembly Statement in their call to abandon the Stronger Futures legislation. You can find a few statements – with many more to be added this evening – at

URGENT ATTENTION: Stronger Futures bills listed for tomorrow morning –
growing concerns regarding the legislation – Stand for Freedom
Dear All,
With the Stronger Futures bills scheduled for debate tomorrow morning,
May, would you please urge Senators and MPs not to support the bills in
their current form.
For the programme:
Courtesy of Dianne, you may find a sample letter at the end of this email.
Jeff McMullen’s appeal for all to support the Stand For Freedom campaign and
petition, you can find at

The Campaign link:
Further info and links to Take Action:
You can find the Yolŋuw Makarr Dhuni (Yolŋu Nations Assembly) Statement
regarding Australian Federal Government Stronger Futures Bills and Northern Territory
Policies, to the Leaders of the Australian Federal and Northern Territory Parliaments at

Click to access Stronger_Futures_Statement_Yolngu.pdf

Catholic Church’s Statement:
”The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia (made up
of some 8,000 sisters, brothers and religious priests), urge the Federal Government to
abandon the Stronger Futures legislation”.

Click to access Bishops_and_Religious_question_legislation.pdf

A range of community, church and human rights organisations’ media
releases which focus on the growing concerns of thousands of Australians
regarding the Stronger Futures legislation can be found at
You may find Graeme Mundine’s speech launching the “NT Consultations Report
2011: By Quotations” book in Sydney last Friday at
WGAR News: “Stronger futures or stolen futures – Bishops and Religious question
legislation” ACBC
UTSpeaks Public Lecture: More Intervention – Will the Government’s Stronger
Futures law reforms aid indigenous communities or further divide Australia’s people?
Digital recording with synced powerpoint presentation at
Best wishes,
Dianne’s email and sample letter
Hi everyone,
I attach a copy of an email I have just sent to every NSW Senator. You are welcome to use whatever
bits of it to do the same. As I say in it there is some speculation the Stronger Futures Bill may be put
before the Senate this week so if you are going to act, act quickly…
I recommend writing to each Senator individually and make sure you put your own name and address
at the end – not mine!
(And Senator Rhiannon, as a Green, is already opposing this. You might like to send her a separate
note of support)
With best wishes,
Dear Senator ———,
There is some speculation that the Stronger Futures legislation may be put before the
Senate this week, undercover, as it were, of the distraction afforded by the budget.
Even if the suspicion of such underhand tactics is unfounded, whenever the Senate
considers this Bill, I appeal to you to vote against it on many grounds:-
1) the so-called consultation process undertaken around it is flawed. As documented by
Concerned Australians in their NT Consultations Report 2011. many of the issues raised by
communities have not been reflected in the final legislation. No preoccupation with home
ownership is reported. It may have been an exercise in listening but not in hearing.
Reportedly, interpretation services were only actively employed in three meetings and most
were conducted “more like a controlled chat run by departmental officers”.
2) it breaches the Racial Discrimination Act: there is no underlying informed consent by the
Aboriginal people for this new legislation. Instead, a clear statement has been made by the
Yolŋu Nations Assembly, which represents the people of 8 nations in the Western, Central
and East Arnhem Land areas of the Northern Territory, that they actively oppose it.
3) it is paternalistic and discriminatory: applying different laws, such as a blanket ban on
alcohol, to Aboriginal communities
4) it will stymie self-determination for another generation: it does not support communities’
preferences for the development of homelands, ongoing learning of language, preservation
of their culture and connection with land, all fundamentals of the Declaration of the Rights of
Indigenous People.
5) it fails to recognise the stalling of the reconciliation process and address the alienation
and ongoing sense of grievance felt by many Aboriginal people.
The Northern Territory Intervention has had no impact on closing the “gap” in Indigenous
health outcomes, incarceration rates, suicides and self-harm, indeed the latter two have
reportedly increased by 40%.
It has not worked and I urge you, as my State Senator, to rise above partisanship and act in
the interests of Australia’s longest suffering people by voting against the continuation of its
policies as proposed by the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory (Consequential and
Transitional Provisions) Bill 2011.
Yours sincerely
You name and address

Further evidence at what the intervention is getting wrong can be found in this very moving short doc: A Personal Journey by Bev Manton
For a great discussion, politicians put on the spot check out this Q&A
With only a few days  notification consultations in the NT are to commence today.  Most Aboriginal communities are unaware.There are other serious concerns as noted by the 3 attachments. The Stronger Futures letter was delivered to Minister Macklin and the PM Gillard yesterday. Malcolm Fraser press release had widespread coverage yesterday (see below) .
May we please  ask for your support once again by sending brief messages of concern.Please contact PM Gillard and Minister Macklin.Letters are better than emails if you can manage this, or phone and request a message be left at their electoral office, perhaps leave  your name.    If time permits you may also  perhaps phone / write to your  local member too, to follow up in this
PM Gillard

 Werribee Office:
Shop 2, 36 Synnot Street
Werribee Vic 3030
Postal Address:
PO Locked Bag 14
Werribee Vic 3030Tel: (03) 9742 5800
Fax: (03) 9741 6213 

Minister Jenny Macklin

Heidelberg Office:
149 Burgundy Street
Heidelberg Vic 3084Postal Address:
PO Box 316
Heidelberg Vic 3084Tel: (03) 9459 1411
Fax: (03) 9457 5721
Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM Announcement of 26th June
Reaction with Malcolm’s press release of 27th June. – scroll down has link to dailytelegr – has on its websites links to the following

Released by: Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM  0427 140 232

Response to the Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s announcement of a Second Intervention in the Northern Territory


The Government and the people of Australia are only able to achieve true reconciliation with Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory if the environment for negotiation is changed and justice, that was so brutally removed by the Intervention, is restored.  Only through respectful dialogue and working together can we call Australia a nation based on the principles of democracy.

Future negotiations will rely upon:

1. The Aboriginal people in the 73 prescribed communities of the Northern Territory do not welcome any further consultation with the Government until it acknowledges the failures of the current Intervention.

2. The Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory will only endorse a new initiative by the Government to improve the lives of Aboriginal people if the Government first establishes a diplomatic and respectful dialogue, negotiation and relationship with the traditional lawmen and lawwomen in the communities to be affected. These are the people that are seen as the true leaders by their communities, who are charged with maintaining ceremony, language, law and order. They must be properly consulted before any new initiative can take place in their communities.

3. The name “Intervention” and “Emergency Response” must be removed from any future initiative, which should instead focus on the goals of Education and Empowerment of Aboriginal People in the Northern Territory. It must dispel the prejudice and racial discrimination of Aboriginal people that is embedded in the Intervention, and which has created deep emotional pain and shame amongst Aboriginal people.

4. Any initiative aimed at education and training must support the right of Aboriginal people to maintain their Indigenous languages, cultural practices and the capacity to live and work on country.

5. To effectively support appropriate and beneficial development in Aboriginal communities, the Government must replace Government Business Managers with mentors that support and facilitate education, capacity-building and locally-controlled development in Aboriginal communities.

This is the will of the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory.

Letter to the government by Alastair Nicholson AO

The Hon Jenny Macklin MP,

Minister for Families, Housing Community Services and

Indigenous Affairs,

Parliament House,

Canberra, ACT.

Dear Minister,

We note on 22 June, the release of Stronger Futures discussion paper which sets out a new round of consultations/conversations with Aboriginal people at public meetings in Regional Centres and in Communities.

We also note that there are contained in Stronger Futures a series of issues to which there are questions attached, 33 in all, which will guide the consultations. This document of 28 pages including the questions, is provided to Aboriginal communities in the English language.

For these consultations to mark the beginning of a new era of cooperation, it seems to us that these critical questions, through which Government hopes to determine the views of the people, should be provided in languages common to the five Regions of consultation and in hard copy for the purpose of circulation to those living in homelands and without computer access. Government should be responsible for ensuring that all communities have copies of the discussion paper well in advance of any consultations.

It is understood from the Department that the itinerary for these consultations is not yet available.    However it is our understanding that it is intended that they will commence within a matter of days. If this is so this would clearly be unfair and counterproductive. We consider it essential to provide a minimum of one month before commencing such consultations in order to enable community leaders to hold discussions with their people, some of whom will be required to travel considerable distances.

We also consider that it is essential for consultations to be translated through competent interpreters and for the necessary material to be made available well in advance of their commencement.

Further, we consider that such consultations should all be recorded and be available for public perusal to ensure their transparency. There is already a perception, arising from the perceived inadequacy of earlier consultations, that the Government’s approach to consultations is simply an exercise designed to achieve an already determined outcome. We think that it would be most unfortunate if these consultations were to be considered as falling within the same category.

A media release has today been issued by former Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, addressing the issue. Please see attached.

We are asking, Minister, that there is a new approach to engagement with Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory which takes into account language barriers, the inability of many to read the written language, and the overall problems of communication. We understand that already suggestions have been made by Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM for changing the environment of the communication and we ask you to take those suggestions into account. It is important to all Australians that these consultations are conducted in the spirit of cooperation.


Alastair Nicholson AO

And on behalf of:     Professor Jon Altman, Rev. Shayne Blackman, Catholic Religious Australia (180 congregations), Rev. Dr. Djiniyini Gondarra OAM, Most Rev Philip Freier, Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne,  Hon. Paul Guest QC,  Michele Harris OAM,   Rosalie Kunoth Monks OAM,                          Rev Alistair Macrea, President of the Uniting Church of Australia,  Assoc. Professor Sarah Maddison,                     Dr. Jeff McMullen AM,  Graeme Mundine, George Newhouse, Peter Norden SJ AO,  Sisters of Charity of Australia,  Sisters of Saint Joseph, Brother Paul Smith AM, Nerida Tinkler RSM, President Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia, Carmel Heagerty RSM Justice Coordinator, Hon Ian Viner AO QC,

2 Responses to Northern Territory Intervention: Join the discussion + resources

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