Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy defiant in court

August 13, 2015
Protest outside the Supreme Court on August 14 in defence of the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy. Photo: Jarek Gasiorek

About fifty supporters holding Aboriginal flags and chanting “Deicorp, Deicorp we won’t stop! Get your hands off The Block” gathered on August 14 to defend the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy’s (RATE) fight for affordable Aboriginal housing on The Block.

The battle to stop commercial development in Redfern, the original site of the urban Aboriginal land rights struggle, has been waging for 15 months.

RATE is fighting attempts by the Aboriginal Housing Corporation (AHC), led by Mick Mundine, to develop the site with a $70 million commercial and residential development. Mundine took RATE to court on August 14, arguing that because The Block is privately owned by the AHC, RATE is trespassing.

The campaign has survived against all odds, and the camp and campaign has forced the government into negotiations.

Wiradjuri elder and RATE spokesperson Jenny Munro established the tent embassy and has staffed it through extreme weather and physical assaults. Community and union support has been crucial in the fight.

Munro addressed the crowd outside the court, which has reserved judgment until August 21. “Aboriginal housing must remain on The Block,” she said. “We thought we had a breakthrough yesterday, but we will get more information today.

“Our people decided 40 years ago that The Block would be ours. They put a black heart into this city. We will keep fighting till we win it.”

Murri writer, poet and RATE activist Ken Canning said: “They gave us Redfern in 1972, but people forget it is all Aboriginal land. So we go into this white man’s court today to defend ourselves against a charge of trespass.

“Deicorp, a multimillion dollar company, wants this one block of land. There are so many other bits of land. But they want it because of pure greed. It is pure capitalism at its worst. We will take this stand and not back down.”

After the rally, RATE activists went to the ACTU rally at Port Botany to present an acknowledgement of country and show support for their fight.

Supporters are encouraged to visit the embassy, and donations are very welcome.

To keep up to date with RATE go to Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy Facebook page.

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