Speaking tour increases support for Ampilatwatja walk-off

By Hamish Chitts

During October, Richard Downs, an elder of the Alyawarra-speaking community from the Northern Territory township of Ampilatwatja (300km north-east of Alice Springs) toured major eastern Australian cities to raise support for a protest camp established 3km from the township. A group of 30 elders and leaders from Ampilatwatja had set up the camp after walking off their land on July 14 to protest against the racist Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) being perpetrated against their and other remote Aboriginal communities by the Rudd Labor government.

Sci-fi flick gives confronting take on racism

District 9
Directed by Neill Blomkamp
Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
Starring Shralto Copley, Jason Cope and Robert Hobbs
111 minutes; in cinemas nationally

Reviewed by Dani Barley

ALP strangles Aboriginal communities for land

By Hamish Chitts

Recent reports and revelations have conclusively shown that the Rudd Labor government is using the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) policy to dispossess Aboriginal people. Under the Australian government’s “emergency protection measures”, the situation for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory has become worse. The government and the corporate media then blame Aboriginal culture for the dire situation, rather than the government’s own systemic neglect of the provision of adequate services, and the resulting extreme poverty of Aboriginal communities.

Indian students confront racist attacks

By James Crafti

Sravan Kumar Theerthala, a 25-year-old Indian student studying in Melbourne, was stabbed through the head with a screwdriver on May 23 leaving him comatose and in intensive care. The day after Theerthala was attacked, Indian student Rajesh Kumar, also 25, received burns to a third of his body after a petrol bomb attack in Sydney. The following day, Baljinder Singh, another 25-year-old Indian student was stabbed at an inner Melbourne train station. During the following week, Indian student Ashish Sood was admitted to a Melbourne hospital after having been beaten up by 15 young people.

WA coroner slams Indigenous death in custody

By Virginia Brown

A “disgrace” and custody conditions “not fit for humans” were among the June 12 findings of Western Australian state coroner Alistair Hope on the January 27, 2008, death of 46-year-old Warburton Aboriginal elder Ian Ward. Ward’s death in the custody of a company contracted by the state government has shed further light on the racism surrounding Australia’s justice system, and the failure of successive federal and state governments to implement the recommendations of the 1987-91 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

Macklin seizes Alice Springs Aboriginal town camps

By Hamish Chitts

Whenever Australian capitalist politicians have talked about protection, welfare and reconciliation in relation to Aboriginal people they have actually meant dispossession, forced cultural assimilation and racial oppression. The capitalist class knows that much of its wealth has been gained at the expense of Aboriginal people through the takeover of their lands. The only way these rulers were able to take possession of the Australian continent was through a 200-year campaign of ethnic cleansing of its original inhabitants.

Reject the 'border protection' hysteria: Let the refugees in!

By Shua Garfield

The tragic April 16 explosion on a boat carrying Afghan asylum seekers from Indonesia has refocused public attention on the Australian government’s refugee and “border protection” policies. The explosion — which killed 5 of the 47 asylum seekers on the boat — occurred while an Australian navy vessel was taking the boat to Christmas Island. In the first four months of 2009, 10 boats carrying 438 asylum seekers have arrived in Australia’s territorial waters. This compares to 162 asylum seekers arriving by boat in 2008 and 148 in 2007.

Mona Mona people fight Qld government land grab

By Hamish Chitts

In the small community of Mona Mona, just north of Cairns, some 150 people met last December 9 with Linda Aplet, the director-general of the Queensland government’s Department of Communities. Aplet told the gathering that 1600 hectares of Mona Mona land would be reduced to a mere 100 ha, to be held in trust by Mona Mona people, while the bulk of the land would be made into a national park. The people of Mona Mona would no longer be able to live on their land and would be allowed to camp on the 100 ha only on weekends.

Labor opens Christmas Island refugee detention prison

By Kerry Vernon

On January 20, a boat carrying 20 asylum seekers was intercepted by Australian navy patrol boat HMAS Maryborough, 39 kilometres from Ashmore Island in Australia’s far north-west. The asylum seekers were taken nearly 2000 km to the immigration detention prison on Christmas Island.

Labor steps up racist NT land grab

By Hamish Chitts

After PM Kevin Rudd’s February 13 official apology to the Stolen Generations, media outlets around the world hailed him as a great humanitarian friend of Aboriginal people. That day’s New York Times reported that “Rudd opened a new chapter in Australia’s tortured relations with its indigenous peoples on Wednesday with a comprehensive and moving apology for past wrongs and a call for bipartisan action to improve the lives of Australia’s Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.” In his official apology, Rudd spoke of creating a “future where this parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.”