A screengrab of Yolngu artist and scholar Dhalulu Ganambarr-Stubbs in a new video against the Stronger Futures legislation.
NORTHERN TERRITORY: A prominent Yolngu artist and scholar has spoken out against the government’s plans to extend the NT intervention for another ten years, saying that it has made her people criminals in their own lands.
In the powerful video, Dhalulu Ganambarr-Stubbs states that the original intervention has failed Aboriginal people.
The Gillard government introduced the Stronger Futures legislation into Parliament in November last year. It was referred to a Senate committee.
Stronger Futures is intended to fill the gap when the original Northern Territory Emergency Response expires in August.
But it continues many controversial aspects of the original policy, and extends the controversial income
management to other communities around the country. It also is expanding the School Enrolment and Attendance Measure (SEAM), which will tie welfare payments to school attendance.
The Stronger Futures legislation was introduced following what the government claims were comprehensive consultations with communities throughout the Territory.
But debates on the legislation began last Monday in the lower house, and have now gone to the Senate.
There are concerns the policy will pass before the inquiry hands down its report in mid-March.
And the committee’s hearings, held in the Territory last month, heard concerns about the consultations.
Opposition Indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion told media that it was clear from the hearings that the federal government had not properly consulted with Aboriginal people affected, and that many people still didn’t understand the consequences of the legislation.
Ms Ganambarr-Stubbs says in the video that the intervention had meant “we lots all control over our lives”.
“Five years on, what do we see,” Ms Ganambarr-Stubbs said.
“After millions of dollars spent by the government, the policy has failed.
“Indigenous imprisonment has risen by 40 percent, school attendance has dropped.
“Our houses are still overcrowded. The number of our children being taken away by social services has increased by 38 percent.
“Cases of self-harm and suicide have doubled.
“And our people are dying younger than ever before.”
Ms Ganambarr-Stubbs calls on Australia to think about their own communities.
“Would you let this happen to your own communities, to your own families?” she said.
The video accompanies an online petition urging the government to withdraw the legislation. To see the full petition, please click here.