"Stop stealing our children!" Aboriginal protest in Brisbane

Stop Stealing Our Children

The first protest march ahead of the G20 Leaders' Summit has been held in Brisbane.

About 100 members and supporters of the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy gathered for the "Stop Stealing Our Children" rally at the Roma Street Forum on Monday morning for the first in a series of protests organised to coincide with the G20 meeting.

The protesters were flanked by police as they made their way through the CBD yelling, "What do we want? Our children back. When do we want it? Now."


They said, like the Stolen Generations, indigenous children were still being taken from their families, with about 14,000 children living in out-of-home care in Australia.

Aunty Hazel told 612 ABC Brisbane protesters called upon the government to entrust indigenous Australians with the responsibility of raising their own children.

"How we parent is different and that needs to be acknowledged," she said.


"We want control of the care and protection of our families, our children and our communities ... We want solid ground to stand on, to raise our children in our cultural way."

Aunty Rhonda said the Department of Child Safety too readily removed indigenous children from their families.

"They need to acknowledge...that we have wisdom and knowledge to rare our children up in the best way possible and they need to leave them alone and leave them there," Aunty Rhonda told 612 ABC Brisbane.


The protesters made their way along Roma, Edward and Adelaide Streets and over the Victoria Bridge, before the rally ended at Musgrave Park in South Brisbane.

Professor Grace Smallwood from Townsville is among many indigenous Australians who have travelled to Brisbane to take part in the rallies.

She attended similar protests in Brisbane during the 1982 Commonwealth Games.

"I'm a visitor here, like I was a visitor in 1982. We were here in '82 and before the Commonwealth Games people both black and white converged on this very park," she told 612 ABC Brisbane.

She said the G20 meeting was a rare opportunity to share the story of indigenous Australians with the world.

"The world press is here. They want to talk to first nation Australians," she said.

"First nation Australian people are 2.7 per cent of the population [but have] 14 times higher incarceration rates, our males dying 25 years before other Australians, our females 20 years before and our infant mortality rate is still very high."

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Alarming data on the removal of Aboriginal children from their families in the Northern Territory reveals the number has grown by more than three times since the Howard coalition Government Intervention in 2007.


Paddy Gibson a Central Australian based researcher with the University of Technology Sydney says with almost 800 Aboriginal kids in the NT now in out of home care, the aggressive attitude is not improving outcomes and there are no indicators to demonstrate things are getting better.


Mr Gibson says under the watch of the current Minister for Child Protection, John Elferink, the system has seen its biggest influx of kids.


At http://caama.com.au/ (scroll down to NT Aboriginal child removal) is an interview with Gibson, 12 minutes 16 seconds long.