Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin… the Gurundji are preparing to fight her extension of the NT intervention through the Stronger Futures legislation.
By Xavier La Canna
NORTHERN TERRITORY: An Aboriginal group who famously won land rights after walking off the Wave Hill Cattle Station say they are preparing to fight again – to stop the Stronger Future laws.
The Gurindji people from Daguragu and Kalkaringi in the Northern Territory on Thursday issued a statement saying the government should abandon the laws.
“This Intervention must be abolished, not extended for another 10 years,” it said.
“It’s clear the government wants us to leave our lands in search of work but we will keep fighting until we get the message through – our land is our life and we will not leave.”
The statement said the laws, which are expected to be passed by the Senate on Monday with the support of both ALP and Coalition senators, were racist and had caused suffering in their community.
The Stronger Futures legislation extends the former Howard government’s policy of curbing alcohol and pornography in some Aboriginal communities, and limiting courts’ consideration of cultural practices during bail and sentencing.
The ALP wants to toughen the existing laws by linking school truancy with cuts to parents’ welfare payments in those communities.
“We have lost everything and have no control,” the Gurindji said.
Gurindji man Vincent Lingiari in 1966 led a walk-off at the Wave Hill Cattle Station, 600km south of Darwin.
The move ultimately led to then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1975 to pour sand through the hands of Mr Lingiari and hand the cattle station back to the Gurindji people.
“This is Aboriginal land, handed back by Gough Whitlam to Vincent Lingiari forever,” the Gurindji said.
“We want control of our land,” the group said.
The statement by the Gurindji people follows numerous statements by other Aboriginal groups who have spoken out against the proposed laws.