Stronger Futures Media Conference Audio - signatures official handover

Sound recordings by Ellie Gilbert for 'Sovereign Union'

L-R: Christine Milne, Leader of the Greens - Bishop Pat Power, Catholic Bishop - Barbara Shaw, Mt Nancy Town Camp, Alice Springs - Millingimbi elder George Gaymarani Pascoe (Maningrida, Arnhem Land)

A coalition of Aboriginal, church and community leaders came together in Canberra on the 18th June 2012 to oppose the Government's proposed legislation to extend the Northern Territory intervention for Aboriginal communities.

Australian Greens leader, Senator Christine Milne, was presented with a petition to stop the legislation, signed by 43,000 Australians. Community leaders present NT Intervention petition."

(Audio files include comments by Barbara Shaw, George Gaymarani Pascoe, Graeme Mundine and 'The Greens')

Feds urged to scrap NT intervention expansion laws

Barbara Shaw
Activist Barbara Shaw
(No Stronger Futues)

Ehssan Veiszadeh Tracker 18th June 2012

Church leaders and Aboriginal community representatives are urging the federal government to scrap a plan to extend the intervention policies targeted at Aboriginal communities.

Labor's Stronger Futures legislation is before the Senate and likely to pass with bipartisan support.

The laws will continue the intervention policies for another 10 years and include jail terms for alcohol possession, as well as a controversial program that cuts parents' welfare payments if their children do not attend school.

The measures are widely opposed by Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, who say they were not properly consulted on the government's plans and the laws are racist.

Barbara Shaw, who represents Aboriginal communities in central Australia, said communities weren't properly consulted by the government on its plans.

"No one actually wants this," she said.

"It's a waste of time and it's a waste of money.

"Everyone needs to know in Australia where the taxpayers' money is going and it's not helping our people."

Catholic bishop Pat Power urged senators on Monday to dump the bill.

He said the measures would undermine the good work done by former prime minister Kevin Rudd, who formally apologised to the Stolen Generations in 2008.

"The Aboriginal people themselves are the ones that should be calling the shots in this," Bishop Power told reporters in Canberra.

"Legislation won't be successful if it's just imposed in that way.

"It needs to be owned by the people that are most affected by it."

Ivan Roberts from the Uniting Church said the government should work to empower Aboriginal communities rather than treating them as unequals.

"Aboriginal people have been here for 40,000 years," he said.

"And they will continue to be here if we empower them to take charge of their own communities.

"They will be here not because of the intervention but in spite of the intervention."

Australian Greens leader Christine Milne said she would present a petition to parliament showing 42,000 signatories opposed to the legislation.

The Senate is expected to vote on the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Bill 2011 and the Social Security Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 later in June.