Darwin

The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network released this statement on February 27. * * * The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) has called on the government to immediately halt all transfers of asylum seekers to offshore detention centres until the report into allegations of sexual abuse on Nauru has been released. The Moss Inquiry report was provided to the Minister for Immigration and Border protection on February 9, but its findings have not been made public, and there has been no timeframe provided for its release.
Legal experts have criticised new child protection laws pushed through Northern Territory parliament on February 18 for not including safeguards to protect Aboriginal culture and risking a repeat of the damage done to the Stolen Generations. The new legislation allows children who are removed from their parents by the Department of Children and Families to be placed on Permanent Care Orders, which would mean that their carers would have control over most decisions to do with the child, free from judicial or DCF review.
The Refugee Action Coalition released this statement on February 5. *** Fifteen Iranian asylum seekers are on their 19th day of hunger strike in Darwin’s Wickham Point detention centre. Meanwhile, Martin, who has been on hunger strike since November last year, is very weak and close to death. Martin and the 15 are part of a group of about 35 Iranian asylum seekers who are being held indefinitely in detention. The government is unable to remove them to Iran because the Iranian government refuses to accept forced removals from Australia.
The Northern Territory government released the draft report of the independent Review of Indigenous Education in the Northern Territory on February 7.  The government’s website says the review aimed to “get an informed understanding of the impact of current programs and initiatives”. If the report’s recommendations are indicative of government intent, education for remote Aboriginal children in the NT looks set to suffer more blows.
Hundreds of residents rallied on January 26 in response to a proposal to build a large residential island between 200 metres and one kilometre off Nightcliff Beach. The proposal, dubbed “Nightcliff Island”, was revealed in Northern Territory parliament in June last year. Approval has only been given for exploration at this point but environmentalists are concerned about the impact on fauna-rich mangroves in the area.
About 26 schools were closed on November 12 when 2000 Northern Territory teachers went on strike as part of ongoing industrial action to secure better pay and conditions. Australian Education Union president Matthew Cranitch told the November 12
About 40 people gathered at Reg Hillier House in Darwin’s rural area on August 15 to discuss threats posed by petroleum companies wanting to explore for oil and gas. Applications for exploration under the Petroleum Act, which could include oil or gas, have reached the outer rural areas including the entire Cox Peninsula, parts of Humpty Doo and Howard Springs, the Dundee area and Litchfield National Park. Exploration may involve using the controversial method of horizontal hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) if shale gas is found.
Delegates arriving at the Australia-China Minerals Investment Summit in Darwin on May 17 were met with about 20 protesters. The group had a strong message for those going into the convention centre: “Stop uranium mining, lock the gates on shale oil and gas, go solar!”
The Northern Territory women’s policy minister, Alison Anderson, told a gathering at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne that “domestic violence has reached a crisis point”, the ABC reported on April 4.
The Northern Territory government passed new mandatory sentencing laws on February 14 that will increase the minimum time offenders spend in prison and restrict judges’ right to suspend sentences for certain crimes. NT justice minister John Elferink told AAP on February 14: "These new mandatory minimum sentences correct the failed attempt by the former Labor government to be tough on crime."
About 120 people attended a public meeting on February 20 to discuss concerns about shale oil and gas exploration in the Northern Territory. The meeting was organised by the Environment Centre NT and brought together a broad panel of speakers — representing the breadth of concern in the community about new and controversial methods of extracting unconventional gas.
About 20 refugee supporters gathered outside the immigration department's office in Darwin on September 12 to protest against the federal Labor government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Nauru. The protest, organised by the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN), had an added urgency as immigration minister Chris Bowen announced on September 10 people would be transferred at the end of the week.
About a dozen refugee supporters gathered at the fence of the Darwin Airport Lodge on September 8. The protest, organised by the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN), was organised in response to some refugees in the detention centre — including children — recently being told they will soon be sent to Nauru for processing. The federal Labor government locks up asylum-seeking women, families and unaccompanied children in the Darwin Airport Lodge.
The remote Northern Territory Aboriginal community of Amoonguna said on August 23 that it wants its power back and refused to renew a five-year government lease, which expired on August 17. Amoonguna, 15 kilometres south of Alice Springs, has also started legal action to remove all government workers from its land.
Up to 200 Bagot community residents and supporters rallied outside Country-Liberal Party MLA Dave Tollner’s office on August 16, angry over his plans to “normalise” their home. Bagot was a reserve established in 1938 and included a residential facility for Stolen Generations children.
One hundred people joined a Maritime Union of Australia (MUA)-initiated protest against the proposed Muckaty nuclear waste dump on July 12 at Stokes Hill Wharf. MUA NT branch manager Thomas Mayor said wharfies would stand in solidarity with traditional owners who opposed the dump. The protest was held at Stokes Hill Wharf because waste would likely be shipped through the port if the waste dump goes ahead. Mayor said that the waste presented an unacceptable risk.

Pages

Subscribe to Darwin