This week marks 10 years since the Australian Federal government unilaterally enforced a set of far-reaching laws specifically aimed at Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory. Many communities claim this move was a a pretext for a land grab and to further undermine Aboriginal connection to their ancestral lands and their culture.
Below are some photographs of the speakers at today's forum discussing the 10th Anniversary of the Intervention in the Northern Territory, presented by Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology Sydney.
One of the most reverberating comments about the Intervention, which included the landing of army troops into Aboriginal communities, was made by speaker Kylie Sambo. "It felt like an invasion..." she said.
From the organizers:
"The Northern Territory Intervention, launched by John Howard in June 2007, was the biggest attack on Aboriginal rights in many generations. The Australian Army was sent into Aboriginal communities and the Racial Discrimination Act was suspended to push through a host of draconian measures to allow the Commonwealth to take control of Aboriginal people and their lands.
A decade later, the Intervention has disappeared from public debate, but Aboriginal communities continue to deal with severe breaches of their human rights. Many of the measures remain in place, extended until at least 2022 under ‘Stronger Futures’ legislation. Conditions in communities have deteriorated, with many social indicators such as rates of incarceration, child removal, attempted suicide and school attendance going backwards. Intervention policies such as the quarantining of welfare payments and withdrawal of resources from remote Aboriginal communities have spread out across Australia."
Speakers included Pat Turner, Stephen Bunbadgee Hodder-Watt and Kylie Sambo. The forum was hosted by Prof. Larissa Behrendt.