12 Years of the Northern Territory Intervention

Photographs from yesterday’s rally at Hyde Park in Sydney, Gadigal, commemorating 12 years since the Northern Territory Intervention began.

In 2007, the then federal government sent troops into Aboriginal communities on the back of dubious claims about those communities. Today, the NT Intervention endures, repackaged as a race-based set of laws which the government calls, ‘Stronger Futures’.

MC-ing the rally was Muruwari and Budjiti man Bruce Shillingsworth. Other speakers read out letters from Aboriginal community leaders from the Northern Territory, condemning the Intervention.

After speeches, the rally marched from Hyde Park to Belmore Park through the city.

The rally was organised by the Stop The Intervention Collective Sydney (STICS). A statement from STICS is posted below the images.

*click through images for full screen view

A statement from the organisers, STICS:

“An open letter to Ken Wyatt, Minister for Indigenous Australians, states ‘21st June 2019 marks 12 years since the start of the Northern Territory Intervention (now called Stronger Futures). Although Aboriginal people have become conditioned to the detrimental impacts of those racist laws, the trauma is deeply entrenched and continues.’ This is part of a longer statement from three staunch First Nations women from Central Australia, Elaine Kngwarraye Peckham, Barbara R Shaw and Marie Ellis. ‘The voices of people struggling under these racist laws have not been heard, or their pleas have been distorted to impose further repressive laws on them’.

This open letter is a cry for empowerment of Aboriginal communities through local governance. It calls for an end to excessive policing, to increased incarceration rates, to the removal of children from their communities, to pressure to sign over land and to the imposition of compulsory income management and more; all of which are entrenching a sense of helplessness in future generations.

Now a new attack on sovereignty and self-determination has emerged. The NT government has just released proposed fracking maps covering 50% of the territory. The impoverishment caused by the Intervention has made communities vulnerable. Still the grassroots are fighting, holding protests and sending delegations to governments and the corporations coming for their land. In return for fracking they are being offered what should be the basic human rights of all- housing, health, education, cultural support. What a disgrace!

Twelve years ago, Arrente Gurdanji woman Patricia Turner said the government were implementing the Intervention as ‘a trojan horse to resume total control of our lands’.”