Australian senate approves Aboriginal intervention by 10 years


The government's radical 10-year extension of the Northern Territory intervention has passed the Senate after a long overnight debate.

The government has made amendments to confirm that police can issue infringement notices for the possession and supply of small quantities of alcohol.

Amendments also ensure that only authorities that can give a notice to place a person on income management under the new state and territory referral measure meet specific conditions, including that they have appropriate review processes.


Stronger Futures is the Gillard government's $3.4 billion investment in the Northern Territory to tackle the unacceptable levels of disadvantage too many people still experience.


Most measures in the Stronger Futures legislation will be in place for 10 years.


Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said this will help to provide stability and certainty for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.


"The Stronger Futures measures will be independently reviewed in three years from commencement of the legislation," she said.

"While progress has been made on the, the situation in the Northern Territory remains critical."


Indigenous leader Dr Djiniyini Gondarra from east Arnhem Land and Rosalie Kunoth Monks from central Australia have jointly declared a day of mourning for Aboriginal people following the passing of the laws.


"For those of us living in the Northern Territory the anguish of the past five years of intervention has been almost unbearable," Dr Djiniyini told AAP.


Greens senator Lee Rhiannon said Labor was trashing its proud history in indigenous affairs, particularly the goodwill from former prime minister Kevin Rudd's apology and Paul Keating's Redfern speech.


National Congress of Australia's First People spokeswoman Jody Broun was disappointed the government did not allow a parliamentary committee to subject the laws to a human rights test.


Australian Lawyers Alliance national president Greg Barns said the Stronger Futures laws were further disenfranchising indigenous communities.


Additional reporting: AAP

Zeige Kommentare: ausgeklappt | moderiert

Graeme Mundine, Executive Director of the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, Sydney Archdiocese, has lamented the Senate's passing of the Stronger Futures Legislation on Thursday evening. "This is a sad day for all Aboriginal people in Australia and it is a sad day for democracy," Mr Mundine said.

"The Stronger Futures legislation has now passed through both Houses of Parliament despite comprehensive opposition from Northern Territory Aboriginal Nations, community groups, Churches, welfare groups and others.

More than 43,000 people have signed a petition and more than 450 submissions were made to the Senate inquiry. International Human Rights bodies have criticized the legislation and countless letters have been sent to Parliamentarians. Most importantly, Aboriginal people have made it clear that issues can be better addressed through respectful partnerships rather than through racist and discriminatory legislation.

"Civil society has played its part in our democratic process, but Government and Opposition Parliamentarians have failed in their responsibilities. They have ignored the voice of the people and pushed their own ill-informed and racist agenda.

"Djiniyini Gondarra and Rosalie Kunoth Monks said in a statement this week that if the Bills pass "it will be a day of mourning for all Aboriginal peoples. This legislation will be the cause of great suffering in our hearts". I share their pain as do so many other Australians, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, who have stood up for what is right. I say to everybody in the Northern Territory you are not alone we feel immense sorrow about this injustice and we won't give up.

"We may have lost this battle, but we will continue to seek justice. Even if our domestic law and Parliamentary process fails to protect us Australia has obligations under International Law and is signatory to several human rights conventions. We must hold our Government accountable to those Conventions.

We have been fighting for our rights for over 200 years and we will continue to fight for our rights for however long it takes," Mr Mundine concluded.

Dr Gabrielle Russell-Mundine

Research and Project Coordinator

Aboriginal Catholic Ministry

Sydney Archdiocese

PO Box 121

Alexandria NSW 1435

M: 0407 133 904

T: 02 9698 4265