The Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy (RATE) is working hard to defend its right to stay at its current location following being served with an eviction notice from the Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC) on February 20.
The eviction orders mobilised a number of supporters and media to defend the site during the past week. So far, AHC head Mick Mundine has not called in police to shut the embassy down.
Aboriginal activist Jenny Munro, a founder of RATE, offered to meet with the AHC on February 23. But the arranged meeting was cancelled by Mundine with the excuse that "too much media" were present.
Mundine has indicated that he reserves his right to evict the tent embassy residents. Despite this, he has been reported in the past as saying that RATE residents are able to “stay as long as they want.”
Tent embassy solicitor Lisa De Luca says that RATE will continue to fight Mundine on legal grounds and that they “are not laying down”. A closed meeting between Mundine and Munro has been rescheduled for March 9.
The campaign to stop Aboriginal people being thrown out of Redfern has not been easy. In defending the embassy, some RATE residents have suffered assaults by people seeking to undermine the stand taken against the social cleansing policy led by the AHC. In the next two weeks, noted De Luca, some of those prosecutions will take place in the criminal courts.
Indigenous Social Justice Association president Ray Jackson said the ongoing negotiations between AHC and RATE “does not detract from the continuing need for supporters to drop in to the embassy to publicly support the aims of the embassy to obtain a guarantee of Aboriginal low-cost accommodation for the elders and families on the block. Drop in, have a cuppa, share a yarn.”