The man Jenny Macklin said had a “dark ages” view of women, the man who refuses to acknowledge Aboriginal custodianship at public events, has indicated his support for Labor’s changes to the NT Intervention. That Tony Abbott is willing to support the laws should indicate just how bad they are.
The laws have been designed to entrench the Intervention.Macklin’s claim that they mean the reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) is a lie. The majority of the Intervention’s measures—Government Business Managers, alcohol and pornography bans, five year compulsory leases, and extreme police powers—won’t change. The measures won’t be open to challenge using the RDA.
Each piece of legislation needs to say the RDA is applicable for it to apply—this legislation deliberately excludes it. Macklin asserts that these control mechanisms are “special measures” that benefit the community—but this cannot be tested in a court.
The hated income management has been deemed “non-discriminatory” by removing mention of the 73 currently prescribed Aboriginal communities.
Instead, the Minister will now be able to deem any community, region or even state as “disadvantaged”, and people receiving Newstart or parenting payments will be subject to the welfare quarantine. The RDA will be reinstated for this part of the laws, but not for the bulk of legislation that covers the Intervention. Not only that, but it means potentially more Aboriginal people will be income managed.
These lies need to be exposed by campaign groups across the country, and used to fire up the growing resistance to the Intervention.
A public meeting on the new laws hosted by STICS in Sydney drew over 130 people, and protests are planned for May when the laws will go to the Senate.
By Jean Parker