Garma tells us it is time for Australia to become home to those whose ancestors have been here for 65,000 years and to those who came later. But first there must be an acknowledgment that the land was taken by force. There was war, genocide and atrocities from both sides. To heal, there must be recognition of war, loss and grief followed by a treaty, a makarrata. That need not undermine the sovereignty of the Australian nation if couched correctly. Surely, it is not beyond the wit and wisdom of our best lawyers, conservative and progressive alike, to achieve that.
As the government and opposition seek to establish their economic credentials in the lead-up to the next federal election, we can expect to hear plenty about the relative performances of the Coalition and Labor Party with regard to government deficits and debt. On Q&A, shadow minister for finance Jim Chalmers claimed that “under the current Government, we have had net debt double”. Is that right?
A former Northern Territory Education Department bureaucrat who cost taxpayers thousands in a payout for engaging in derogatory emails about a bullied teacher has been handed a consultancy contract that did not go through a competitive process.
Former Palmerston Regional School director Hylton Hayes was awarded the $19,000 contract two weeks before then-education minister Eva Lawler left the portfolio during a Cabinet reshuffle last month. Mr Hayes is a friend and campaign volunteer of Ms Lawler’s.
When Joan M Dhamarrandji talks to people in Galiwin’ku about why they should participate in democracy and vote she tells them that electing leaders has been a part of Aboriginal culture for thousands of years.
Ms Dhamarrandji, an Aboriginal woman from Galiwin’ku on tropical Elcho Island off the Arnhem Land coast, is working for the Australian Electoral Commission to educate people about how the democratic process works and why it is important.
Senior indigenous leader Galarrwuy Yunupingu has admonished Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten for the slow pace of indigenous constitutional recognition, almost a year after he believed both men were going to make the issue a priority in the parliament.
Penning a heartfelt chairman’s essay for his Yothu Yindi Foundation’s annual Garma Festival in August, Mr Yunupingu, a leader of Northeast Arnhem Land’s Yolngu people, expresses disappointment that the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader have not translated their forceful words at last year’s event into adequate action.
The Barunga Statement, despite having been effectively ignored for the last 30 years, has been given life by the Northern Territory government which has announced that it will, consistent with the demands incorporated in the statement, begin negotiations with the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory for a treaty.
While differing in content and structure, the Barunga and Uluru Statements are in essence concerned with the same issues, namely self-determination, self-management, sovereignty, land rights, truth telling, an historical reckoning and justice. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia are calling for these rights to be recognised and guaranteed through a treaty or a makarrata.
The Territory Labor Government introduced changes in Parliament this week to the Community Benefit Fund to ensure it benefits more Territorians.
Attorney-General Natasha Fyles said Territorians want our vital community organisations to receive the funding they deserve through a well-administered Community Benefit Fund.
Australia’s human rights record has been “woeful rather than exemplary”, National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples co-chair Jackie Huggins has told a United Nations forum.
She said statements by Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade about Australia’s proud human rights record and support for Indigenous people was “hypocritical in the extreme”.
Independent Northern Territory MP Yingiya Mark Guyula, a Yolngu leader from Arnhem Land, asked the UN to intervene on the behalf of Aboriginal people.
He told the UN Yolngu people had very little control or autonomy and their collective rights were being destroyed by government licensing regimes, the inability to contest government land council decisions and policies that were forcing Yolngu people into hub towns.
“My people are crying out for justice and we are not being heard,” Mr Guyula said.
The Turnbull Government will provide new funding to boost services in the Northern Territory, having reached agreement with the Northern Territory Government on future funding for remote indigenous housing, public hospitals, and housing and homelessness. To help the Northern Territory Government deliver essential services, including to remote communities, the Turnbull Government will provide financial assistance of $259.6 million.
People living in poor and overcrowded conditions in remote communities in the NT face major uncertainty as a housing funding impasse between the Territory and federal governments intensifies, the Northern Land Council has warned.
The clock is ticking on the two governments to reach an agreement before June 30, the first expiry date for subleases that give the Territory Government responsibility for all aspects of Indigenous housing, including tenancy management and repairs and maintenance.
Numerous reports have shown that poor and overcrowded housing in remote Indigenous communities contributes to issues such as ill-health, higher rates of child abuse and poor school attendance.