PICTURED are Concerned Australians (from left): Alastair Nicholson (Former Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia), Barbara Shaw (Alice Springs); Djapirri Murunggirritj (Yirrkala); Rev. Dr. Djiniyini Gondarra OAM (Elcho Island); Rosalie Kunoth-Monks OAM (Utopia); Japata Ryan (Kalkaringi); Harry Nelson (Yuendumu).
COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA
And now, a short excursion into the Lalaland of some Intervention foes.
Wikipedia will tell you reparations are “measures taken by the state to redress gross and systematic violations of human rights law or humanitarian law”.
For example, there is an agreement between Israel and Germany for Holocaust reparations.
So normally, reparations are given to people who have something taken away from them – sometimes a relative’s life or many relatives’ lives.
“Northern Territory Elders and Community Representatives” as they call themselves, including Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, Barbara Shaw, Harry Nelson and supported by – unfathomably – Alastair Nicholson, the former Chief Justice of the Family Court, are now seeking reparations for having received something, namely around a billion taxpayers’ dollars for housing and a string of other services and measures.
By the way, no-one has to be a beneficiary – or victim – of the Intervention: you get a job, buy a house, say “no” to welfare, send your kids to school and live like 96% of Australians do.
Reading a recent media release from the group makes one thing quite clear: the taxpayer is welcome to cough up, so long as the spending isn’t controlled by the elected government, but by the recipients themselves.
Some instructive quotes from the release which alleges the Intervention had caused “hurt, embarrassment, shame and stigma,” encompassed “a punitive policy” and has “been the source of much distress”.
• The recent consultations report shows that Government has failed to take seriously our concerns and feelings.
• Where there are problems, they must be addressed on a case by case basis and preferably with the assistance through the appropriate community channels.
• Respectful discussion and negotiation with community elders did not take place before the introduction of the Intervention.
• These are the people with whom Minister Macklin should be negotiating, rather than with the chosen few, as has been her habit.
• We believe that there should be an honest and comprehensive treaty negotiation with the Australian Government and facilitated by the United Nations.
• We demand that Government hand back to us control over our communities and provide adequate Government, long-term funding to ensure the future of Homelands.
• We will not support policies that have not been negotiated with all elders of Prescribed communities and we will not support an extension of the Intervention, or an Intervention under other names.
“The only right we now have left is to remain silent.”