Mr. Kevin Rudd
Prime Minister of Australia
Dear Prime Minister,
We refer to the reports below for your information and action.
Former chief justice of the Family Court of Australia Alastair Nicholson is to be congratulated for raising his concern that you have broken your promise in restoring the Racial Discrimination Act and the miss-treatment of the original owners of this land.
We have also written to you on a number of occasions with regard to this immoral racial discrimination against indigenous Australians but you preferred to ignore our warnings.
Would you like to comment about professor Nicholson's report, please?
Unity Party WA
Ph/Fax: 61 893681884
Environmental Friendly - Save the trees - Use Email.
Can you afford to give Telstra/Bigpond a try?
Income program a cloak for racism: professor
ADELE HORIN - February 10, 2010
THE federal government's plan to extend income management of welfare payments beyond the Northern Territory is a ''clumsily disguised and cynical attempt'' to perpetuate racial discrimination against indigenous Australians, a former chief justice of the Family Court of Australia said yesterday.
Alastair Nicholson, now an honorary professorial fellow in law at the University of Melbourne, said he considered it ''highly unlikely'' the proposed powers would ever be used against welfare recipients generally.
''The real targets of the income management scheme are likely to be Aboriginal people, including Aboriginal people living beyond the Northern Territory.''
Professor Nicholson was speaking at the launch in Melbourne of the book This Is What We Said, which contains accounts from Aborigines affected by the Northern Territory emergency intervention. The measures were introduced by the Howard government in 2007 and nullified the Racial Discrimination Act in the affected communities.
In strong criticism of the Rudd government, which had promised to restore the Racial Discrimination Act, Professor Nicholson said its proposed legislation perpetuated the discrimination.
He said an analysis showed Aboriginal people already subject to income management would continue to be so for a further 12 months after the proposed law came into effect.
''For these people, who include most of the Aboriginal population of the Northern Territory, it is as if the repeal of the RDA … never happened.''
As well, the ''purported'' extension of income management beyond the Northern Territory and to other groups was ''little more than a ruse to overcome the provisions of the RDA''.
The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, said: ''Income management is delivering benefits across the country for indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, including increased school attendance in some Cape York communities, people spending more on food, including fresh fruit and vegetables, in the Northern Territory, and an increase in the number of families being referred for income management by child protection authorities in metropolitan Perth.''
She said that as part of the government's welfare changes, non-discriminatory income management would be be introduced first in the Northern Territory, and after evaluation, to vulnerable communities across Australia.
Under the plan long-term welfare recipients, including sole parents and young people who live in areas designated as ''disadvantaged'', will have 50-70 per cent of their allowance quarantined to be spent on designated items in specified shops.
Professor Nicholson said the measure would punish welfare recipients as a class, and was a ''sloppy, cheap and unfair solution'' that reflected lazy politics. It showed how far the government was prepared to go to maintain its income management regime.
However, though income management would be applicable throughout Australia, it was clear the criteria in the bill were designed in such a way as ''to target Aboriginal people without expressly saying so'' and might now encompass others as well.
Aboriginal health 'world's worst'
April 02, 2007 07:08am - Perthnow
AUSTRALIA has been ranked at the bottom of a league table of wealthy nations working to improve the health of its indigenous people.
The report, report to be published today by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and Oxfam Australia, found New Zealand, Canada and the US had narrowed the life expectancy gap between non-indigenous and indigenous people to approximately seven years.
But in Australia, Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders are still dying nearly 20-years younger than non-Aboriginal Australians.
Oxfam said Australia lagged behind other wealthy nations in redressing the imbalance in indigenous health on a range of fronts.
The aid agency said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infant mortality rates were more than 50 per cent higher than for indigenous children in the USA and New Zealand.
Low birth weights were also more than double the incidence of those of indigenous populations in Canada and the US, as well as 60 per cent higher than in New Zealand's indigenous population.
Executive Director of Oxfam Australia, Andrew Hewett, said the health indicators were a national scandal.
"At what point do we stand up and start shouting?" he said.
"It's scandalous that in a country as wealthy as Australia we cannot solve a health crisis affecting less than three-per cent of the population."
Oxfam said federal and state governments needed to invest an extra $350 million to $500 million each year into primary health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to correct the slide.
White man's rule, black man's injustice
April 6, 2007 - smh
A death in a remote town in the Northern Territory has exposed faultlines in the justice system, writes Lindsay Murdoch.
White man's justice meant nothing in Wadeye as fists, rocks, sticks and hammers flew, spilling blood into the outback's red dust on a scorching hot afternoon. It was payback time. By mid-afternoon almost 300 people had gathered at a football oval in one of Australia's most isolated communities, for a fight between two clan-based gangs.
Detective Senior Constable Carmen Butcher knew she would not be able to stop the brutality when she and two other officers went to the oval, because for centuries this was the way Aboriginal people had settled their disputes here, 350 kilometres south-west of Darwin.
"Generally when something happens in the community they tend to try and sort it out themselves by fighting, and usually if they have a large fight there's nothing we can do about it," Butcher said later.
But nobody counted on the actions of the former Pauline Hanson supporter Robert Whittington, a newcomer to Wadeye, who also went to the oval that October day in 2002. The acting sergeant-in-charge of Wadeye's police station raised his pistol and fired at least four shots in quick succession, killing 18-year-old Robert Jongmin and wounding another youth, witnesses said.
Moments later, Butcher confronted Jongmin's father, Ambrose, who was armed with a wheel brace and hammer. "I stopped him and spoke to him and just said to him that it's not the way … get rid of the weapons and let the police deal with it," Butcher told him.
Jongmin, 54, listened. But the respected clan leader now says his decision to turn his back on his people's traditional payback, which includes spearings, and allow white man's law to deliver justice for his son's killing was a mistake that ruined his life. Jongmin says his son had never been in trouble with police, unlike many local youths, and that he was a hero because he ran onto the oval to wrestle a shotgun from a youth who was threatening to shoot people. Whittington opened fire after the shotgun discharged into the ground, witnesses said. "Look at what happened … my son [did that] and was shot in the back by a policeman," Jongmin says.
Jongmin wants the Northern Territory Government to set up an independent inquiry into the way police and lawyers handled the shooting after Whittington walked free, even though a magistrate had found a prima face case for murder after hearing weeks of evidence. He also wants the Northern Territory Government to pass retrospective legislation so that Whittington can face new charges.
Whittington was supposed to stand trial last year after the Director of Public Prosecutions' office reduced the murder charge to committing a dangerous act causing death. But just as a jury was about to start hearing evidence, the trial judge, Dean Mildren, noticed what the bevy of case lawyers had not. Whittington had not been charged with an offence within two months of the shooting. He dismissed the charge.
Lawyers say the territory's justice system failed the Jongmin family and Wadeye, a long-troubled community struggling to end the gang violence that last year turned its streets into a war zone. Other serious criminal charges hung over Whittington, who was suspended on full pay, for 4½ years although he could have been dismissed for breaching the Police Administration Act in 2002.
Jongmin can't look at photographs of Robert, his youngest son. He can't speak his name. "My life was ruined. I am slowly trying to pick myself up," he says.
Jongmin says the police should have kept away from payback business "like they had done over all the years". "A policeman is here for five minutes - bang, bang, bang."
Jongmin says he has not received an apology for the death of his son. "How can they do that with what he [Whittington] done … face to face with me. I don't think so," he says. "What's the use of an apology from a white man? My son is gone. He should be here with us now."
Since the shooting, the police have ordered residents not to use traditional payback violence to settle disputes and have adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards inter-clan violence. But the dismissal of charges against Whittington has undermined these efforts. At least one clan leader offered to be speared to settle lingering problems between the two gangs over Robert Jongmin's death.
Sean Bowden, a Darwin lawyer representing Jongmin, says there are aspects of the case the family wants independently investigated. "The family is seeking justice and to obtain justice the family feels that Mr Whittington should face a jury on the charges that were brought against him," Bowden says.
In a letter to Jongmin last month, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Richard Coates, said there was evidence Whittington "should not have fired his pistol when he did". Coates said Whittington had said in an unreleased statement he thought when he fired the pistol the wounded youth, Tobias Worumbu, had shot Robert Jongmin "and that was why he fired his pistol at Mr Worumbu".
The Jongmin family last month asked Coates to appeal the dismissal of the charge against Whittington to the High Court. Coates did not reply to the request before the time limit for the appeal to be lodged had expired.
Whittington, whose legal costs have been paid by the NT Government, is back on duty in Darwin. An inquest into Robert Jongmin's death has been set for August 7, and the Jongmin family will co-operate.