Rally in defence of native title
By John Nebauer
MELBOURNE — About 1000 people braved the rain to rally in opposition to the Howard government's 10-point plan to amend the Native Title Act on December 13. The rally, called by Campaign Against Racism, also opposed the opening of the Jabiluka uranium mine and the cuts to Abstudy.
The protest was chaired by Bridget Riggs from Campaign Against Racism, and was addressed by Sid Spindler, former Democrats senator and member of Defenders of Native Title, Leigh Hubbard, secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall Council, and Jeff Clark, Victorian ATSIC commissioner with the native title portfolio.
Richard Franklin, who was involved in the stolen generations inquiry, welcomed the rally.
Riggs told Green Left Weekly that the demonstration was a success "because it brought together a number of groups which are all opposed to Howard's plan for native title. These links will be important in helping to build a broad, united campaign.
"We need to continue to mobilise, to demonstrate to the government that the 10-point plan is racist and doesn't have the support of the majority of people. The prospects for the campaign look good. We were flooded with people who want to get involved in Campaign Against Racism."
After the rally, a spirited march made its way to Liberal Party headquarters, where a speak-out was held. Speakers included Charmaine Clark from the Australian Greens, Ben Courtice from the Democratic Socialist Party and David Glanz from the International Socialist Organisation.