Peter Robson

Aboriginal activists launched a “peace walk” on January 9 from Sydney to the steps of Parliament House in Canberra in protest against the continuation of the NT intervention and the mining of nuclear materials on Aboriginal land — policies that they label “Rudd’s betrayal of Aboriginal people”.
On December 13, 100 people gathered on the Town Council lawns in Alice Springs to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The action was organised by the Intervention Rollback Action Group (IRAG) and endorsed by the full council of the Central Lands Council.
The recent conviction and sentencing of Aboriginal man Lex Wotton has brought back into public discussion the shameful continuing suffering — and death — of Australia’s Indigenous people at the hands of the law.
Jillian Marsh is a member of the Adnyamathanha community in the Flinders Ranges and active in the Australian Nuclear-Free Alliance. She recently traveled to Germany to receive the 2008 Nuclear-Free Future award, and is writing a thesis entitled A look at the approval of Beverley Mine and the ways that decisions are made when mining takes place in Adnyamathanha country. Marsh spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Peter Robson about the expansion of the nuclear industry in South Australia and the Northern Territory.
Palm Island Aboriginal man Lex Wotton was sentenced to six years’ jail for “riot with destruction” on November 7 — just four days after 22 police officers received “bravery awards” for their role in the 2004 Palm Island protests.
On October 24, Palm Island community leader Lex Wotton was found guilty of “riot with destruction” in a trial where police were accused by the defence counsel of “lying through their teeth”. Wotton is due to be sentenced on November 7.
Federal indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin announced on October 23 that the Labor government will not implement the key proposals of the independent review into the Northern Territory intervention. Aboriginal critics have described the decision as the government turning its back on Aboriginal people.
An independent review into the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER), or NT intervention, has been accused of being “watered down” before its final release in order to not embarrass the federal Labor government.
The Reserve Bank (RBA) of Australia announced on October 7 that they would cut the official interest rate by 1% — the largest single cut since 1992 — in response to the US financial crisis.
On September 24, Greens Senator Rachel Siewert tabled legislation that would establish a fund to compensate members and families of the Stolen Generations, but the Rudd Labor government is unlikely to support it.
In the lead-up to the release of a report from the federal government’s review into the Northern Territory intervention, the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association has blasted the policy. AIDA describes it as discriminatory, damaging to people’s health and completely unable to alter conditions of child abuse or neglect in remote Aboriginal communities.
On August 27, education minister Julia Gillard tabled legislation enabling welfare recipients’ payments to be denied for up to three months if their children were regularly absent from school.
More than 200 people attended the preview screening of This is Our Country Too on August 13 at the NSW Teacher’s Federation Auditorium. The event was organised by the Stop The Intervention Coalition, Sydney.
“As near as we can tell looking at the historical record, there’s been ice in the Arctic in the summer for at least 16 million years”, Don Perovich, a geophysicist with the US army’s Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, told the August 4 Four Corners program. Arctic ice melt over this year’s northern summer has been at record levels, leaving the amount of ice remaining alarmingly low.
SYDNEY — A speakout and concert is being organised for August 16 to unite campaigns for Aboriginal rights in Australia.
Millions of Australian workers have faced the worst losses in their superannuation since 1992. Super funds have shown losses of on average 6.4% for the last financial year, with some showing losses as high as 15%, putting workers’ retirement funds in jeopardy.

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