More than 100 people came from all corners of the country to Redfern, Sydney for the Aboriginal Rights Coalition “Black and White, Unite and Fight” conference on 23, 24, 25 May. The conference has put the campaign on stronger footing to build opposition to the intervention. A public meeting on the Friday night attracted over 160 people.
Indigenous representatives from, Yuendumu, Alice Springs, and Bagot in Darwin gave first hand accounts of the impact of the intervention on Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory and the growing grassroots resistance there.
Speakers from every state reported on the campaign so far-Centrelink protests, collecting surveys in Darwin, union and Labor Party branch resolutions and public meetings to help get the facts and the real story of the intervention more widely known. The conference endorsed a call out for the 21 June rallies and called for ARC groups to be established as open democratic organising committees of all supporters, black and white, in every city.
Following the nationwide rallies on June 21, the campaign is set to focus on the review of the intervention by the Rudd government which is shaping up to be a whitewash. The three member board and 11 member expert group that will conduct the review, and report by September 30, is stacked with people who are pro-intervention.
There is no announced process for the review and The Minister Jenny Macklin has asked the panel to investigate whether there are any “unintended consequences have emerged” and continues to peddle the myth that the intervention is about “combating child, alcohol and drug abuse.”
For the next phase of the campaign against the intervention, ARC plans include a nationwide petition to be presented by Northern Territory Labor MP, Trish Crossin; a particular focus on extending union opposition and the round of student conferences during the semester break and another national day of action later this year. Fact sheets debunking the myths that still surround the intervention are being complied to raise public awareness. The conference called for a convergence on Canberra for the opening day of the parliament in 2009.
Young Labor Left opposes the intervention
One of the immediate outcomes of the conference has been a discussion at a national meeting of Young Labor Left which carried a resolution opposing the intervention and endorsing the June 21 rallies.