"Shameless, insensitive, outrageous, incredibly racist, lacking humanity, disconnected from reality"

Support for remote Aboriginal communities in Australia

Support for remote Aboriginal communities in Australia has gone global. A Sovereign Union of First Nations has appealed to the UN Secretary-General for help.French daily Le Monde wrote that Aboriginal people's anger faces the 'contempt' of their culture. Venezuela-based telesur television spread the story across South America. Geneva-based Franciscans International asked Victoria Lucia TAULI CORPUZ, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to intervene. Qatar based Al Jazeera TV broadcast the story to more than 220 million households in more than 100 countries. Aboriginal activist Ghillar Michael Anderson spoke about it on a Russian TV programme by Skype.


The Australian section of the global Sisters of Saint Joseph organisation expressed profound concern at government plans to withdraw basic services to Aboriginal communities. And the Bishops Commission for Relations with Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders emphasises that Aboriginal peoples have the right to decent services where they live.


National Indigenous Television said, "What started as a simple tweet ten days ago has evolved into an online campaign opposing the removal of Aboriginal people from their homelands.

“Thousands of supporters are still using the campaign's official hash tag 'SOSBLAKAUSTRALIA' to help those remote communities under threat in Western Australia.”

Mr Anderson wrote to Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General: “Despite a national day of protest across the whole of the Australian continent on 19 March 2015 against the forced closures of Aboriginal homeland communities in Western Australia and South Australia, the governments have arrogantly ignored our protests and continue unabated. The mainstream media in Australia are blacking out any attention as if the forced closures are not happening.


"This is a cry for help as our communities do not have the resources to stave off the Australian assault on Aboriginal Peoples and their lands. We humbly make this plea to you as the Secretary-General of the United Nations to make a formal diplomatic approach to the Australian government to remind them of their international obligations in respect to the Human Rights covenants Australia has ratified. ... We understand the international protocols associated with international diplomacy, however, the current extenuating circumstances that have now arisen in Australia, with respect to government assaults against Aboriginal Peoples and their communities, can no longer be overlooked by the international community as an internal domestic matter.”

Leaders of the Sisters of Saint Joseph (Josephites) from around Australia expressed dismay at the Commonwealth government’s plan to cease funding municipal and essential services to remote Aboriginal homelands. From July the Commonwealth will hand over these major areas of responsibility - power, water, sewerage and municipal services - to the states.

“This is a decision that we fear will cause significant hardship to some of Australia’s most disadvantaged communities,” said Josephite leader, Sister  Monica Cavanagh. “We believe that it will exacerbate further the health, educational, and social privation being suffered by Aboriginal Australians, and further undermine the progress being made to close the gap.


“Every Australian citizen has the right to the delivery of essential services, including the supply of power and water. This determination by the Commonwealth government could mean that remote areas, already severely deficient in these services, will be forced to close down as amenities are cut."


The Chairman of the Bishops Commission for Relations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Bishop Christopher Saunders, said: "Communities are under serviced and patently there is insufficient listening to the voices of people in Aboriginal communities. We are forcing Aboriginal people out of their ancestral lands to live in regional towns. The reality is that when a community is closed down people and their families have nowhere to go, so they end up on the streets, separated from their land, heritage, family, culture and spirituality."


In a joint letter to Ms. Victoria Lucia TAULI-CORPUZ, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Franciscans International & Edmund Rice International make an “urgent appeal” for her intervention, noting that the plans to close between 100 and 150 Aboriginal communities in Western Australia “will violate the human rights of the indigenous peoples”.

“The rights enshrined in article 8.2 of the UNDRIP [UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples], which stipulates that "States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for (...) any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources." ...As stipulated by the UNDRIP, the principles of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) should be respected in any government policy affecting indigenous aboriginal communities in Australia. ... "

Al Jazeera noted: "New funding laws threaten the existence of remote indigenous communities already facing profound social issues. The West Australian state government may bulldoze 150 remote indigenous communities that it says are too expensive to keep open under a new funding arrangement between federal and state authorities. Canberra has offered each state a one-time, lump-sum payment to take over the responsibility of
financing remote Aboriginal communities indefinitely."

The online platform “Independent Australia” headed its roundup of opinion published in about a dozen countries: “Abbott trashes Australia’s reputation abroad – again”.

"There is no place on the globe to escape the opprobrium and embarrassment generated by Australia's uniquely hamfisted prime minister,” wrote IA's French correspondent Alan Austin.

“Mon dieu! SHAMELESS, insensitive, outrageous, incredibly racist, intransigent, shameful, disrespectful, lacking humanity and completely disconnected from reality. These are just some of the loathsome labels attached to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, as the world’s media again shakes its head in collective disbelief and mild abhorrence."


The selection picked up comments and reporting from Britain, Dubai, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, USA and Venezuela.

BBC News quoted Indigenous leaders saying there has been no formal evaluation by the government of the costs and no consultation with the people who live there [on the homelands] about what they need or expect.


See also


A remote South Australian Aboriginal community that the state's government has been accused of abandoning will not have essential services restored because of a lack of permanent residents.


Tribes in dispute over planned huge coalmine


Proposed huge coalmine is shaping up as the biggest test of Australia's Native Title laws in almost two decades


Homeless camp raided – City of Perth in disgrace, once again  (Click here for photos)



Federal Government backs down on planned cuts to community and Indigenous legal aid centres


Prominent human rights barrister seeks international lawyers to help try Prime Minister Tony Abbott and former immigration minister Scott Morrison for crimes against humanity.


Indigenous people were subverted as savages and this was integrated into the Australian Constitution