Aboriginal activists slam Rudd

September 27, 2008

The "new racist regime" in Australia — also "called the Rudd government" — was condemned by Aboriginal activists at a Redfern rally held on September 27, before the release of a federal government review into the "intervention" into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory and other parts of Australia.

These words were spoken by Queensland Aboriginal leader Sam Watson, who described Rudd as "just as racist, just as deadly and just as unjust" as Howard.

Redfern Aboriginal leader Lyall Munro told the 120-strong protest that "this government is no different to the previous [Howard] government".

Prominent Aboriginal deaths-in-custody activist Ray Jackson told the rally that his views about the intervention had changed. For several months after the intervention began he thought there were positive as well as "bad aspects". He said that he now condemned it wholly.

Watson said that people had united in grassroots movements against the multiple injustices of the Howard government — which resulted in its downfall — and that now it was time to "take on Rudd as well".

Munro also called to account a number of Aboriginal people who he accused of "laying in bed" with the intervention.

Munro, Watson and others paid special tribute to Palm Island man Lex Wotton who attended the demonstration and who faces court on October 6 in Queensland for his role in protesting the murder of Mulrunji Doomadgee in 2004.

The rally was organised by the Aboriginal Rights Coalition, which meets Mondays at the Redfern Community Centre.

Other Sydney events to protest the intervention included a demonstration of 35 people at Sydney Town Hall on September 25 organised by the Stop The Intervention Collective, Sydney. STICS has also organised 40-50 people to travel from Sydney to Alice Springs for a national convergence beginning on September 29.

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