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.
In the early hours of June 29, the Australian Senate passed legislation that is expected to entrench assimilation, disadvantage and racism for another decade in the Northern Territory. Aboriginal leaders across the NT declared a period of mourning after the new laws – called Stronger Futures – were passed as they reel from the decision, take stock and plan to up the ante in their fight against the latest neoliberal assault on their communities.
The Darwin Aboriginal Rights Coalition released the statement below on June 21. * * * Aboriginal people across the Northern Territory have spoken out against the Stronger Futures laws, which they say continue the discriminatory and racist laws launched with the NT intervention 5 years ago today.
“One spill could kill our country” Muckaty traditional owner Penny Phillips told 100 people at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on May 30. The meeting was organised by Anti-Nuclear NT to condemn legislation passed by the federal government on March 13 that names Muckaty station, 200km north of Tennant Creek as the site for a proposed nuclear waste dump. The meeting was opened by Larrakeyah woman Donna Jackson whose traditional lands cover the East Arm Wharf, which is one area the waste could be taken through to get to the Muckaty site.
Federal resources minister Martin Ferguson released a report on May 14 into Australia’s gas reserves. The report signalled a huge expansion of gas mining in the NT and bad news for the environment. Two new areas have been opened for gas exploration: shale gas exploration in the central NT, and conventional offshore gas exploration north-west of Darwin. Both of these present serious environmental problems. The shale gas industry relies on capturing gas by pumping sand, water and chemicals into the ground — a process commonly known as fracking.