NATIONAL: The federal opposition is about to team up with the Labor government to extend the Howard-era Northern Territory intervention program for a decade.
Debate on government’s Stronger Futures Bill was continuing in the Senate on Thursday night.
Democratic Labor Party senator John Madigan told the chamber the government was “imposing penalties from afar” rather than working at the grassroots to help communities help themselves.
Senator Madigan said that close to $1 billion had been spent on the intervention so far with little success.
He raised concerns the punitive measures disempowered people.
“The fact the suicide rate has doubled in NT communities since the intervention began should not be discounted,” he told the chamber.
Greens senator Lee Rhiannon told the Senate that Labor was “trashing its proud history in indigenous affairs”, singling out former prime minister Paul Keating’s famous Redfern speech and Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generations.