'Return Bay of Fires to Aboriginal control!'

July 11, 2009

On July 10, 100 people rallied for Aboriginal rights as part of National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) week.

The rally, organised by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC), called for action from the state Labor government of Premier David Bartlett, including the return of the area known as the Bay of Fires to Aboriginal control.

The rally heard from a range of speakers including Nala Mansell-McKenna and Michael Mansell from the TAC, state Greens leader Nick McKim, , and Duncan Meerding from the Socialist Alliance.

Bartlett was invited to speak at the rally, but declined. The Liberals, however, sent a speaker.

McKim explained the need for solidarity between the conservation and Aboriginal rights movements. He committed his party to supporting the Bay of Fires being returned to Aboriginal control.

Mansell-McKenna acknowledged the gains the Aboriginal rights movement had won, including Tasmania being the first and only state to compensate the Stolen Generations. She also noted the plight of Aboriginal people at present and how this had been caused by past and present government policies.

She called on the state government to spend Commonwealth funding for Aboriginal policies on what that funding was for — Aboriginal people.

Meerding said: "I hope the Liberal and Labor parties are listening, because we need a treaty and we need it now. We need to see an end to the racist Northern Territory intervention."

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