SOSBLAKAUSTRALIA held its third round of international action against Aboriginal community closures over the weekend of June 26 to 28. There were rallies in most capital cities in Australia, including Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, as well as London and Dunedin. Rallies in Sydney and Melbourne disrupted peak hour traffic due to rally goers marching through the city. In Sydney the march also included an Aboriginal dance troop performing at each intersection as the rally marched through the city to the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy.
Forced Closures of Aboriginal Communities
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has written to Prime Minister Tony Abbott stating its complete opposition to the forced closure of remote Aboriginal communities.
Paddy Gibson spoke at a Stop the Intervention Collective public meeting in April on the Northern Territory Intervention and Western Australian community closures. Gibson has lived in Alice Springs, researching the impact of the Intervention. He is a senior researcher with the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, University of Technology Sydney and co-editor of Solidarity magazine. This is an edited version of his speech. * * *
The Moreland council in Melbourne became the first council in Australia to pass a motion last month condemning plans for forced closures of Aboriginal communities, and to send a letter of solidarity to those communities. The motion was moved by me as a Socialist Alliance councillor on Moreland council. The motion passed unanimously, with even the Liberal party councillor voting for it. On April 28, a second Melbourne council, the Moonee Valley council, passed the same motion. The motion was moved by Jim Cusack, a Labor councillor.
When thousands of people hit Melbourne's streets on May 1 to protest planned closures of Aboriginal communities, the Herald Sun followed up its front page denunciation of a similar April 9 protest as a “selfish rabble” with a special double page-spread under the headline: “Still Selfish. Still A Rabble.”
Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett government is slowly backing away from his controversial announcement that up to 150 remote Aboriginal communities are facing closure. In what he described as “a more nuanced approach”, Barnett is now proposing a “hub and orbit” strategy that will leave some communities bigger and better resourced, others reduced in services and the smallest ones abandoned.
From Darwin to Hobart, Sydney to Perth and all points in between, thousands of people marched in rallies across Australia on May 1 to stop the Western Australian government closing 150 remote Aboriginal communities.
Hone Harawira, leader of the MANA Movement of Aotearoa (New Zealand), has called on all those who support justice to join in the Day of Action to Stop the Forced Closure of Aboriginal Communities on May 1, both in Australia and in New Zealand. He has released this statement. * * *
The Socialist Alliance stands in full solidarity with the burgeoning movement against the forced closure of remote Aboriginal communities in WA. This movement can win and if it does it will be a victory for all working people in Australia. Without any consultation, the federal government announced in September that they would cut funding that, for more than 40 years, had been provided to support these communities. The state government, equally contemptuous in their lack of consultation, then announced that up to 150 communities would have to close.
The fight against the WA government’s widely unpopular decision to close a number of remote Aboriginal communities and force Aboriginal people off their land received a further boost this week with news that activists are set to converge on the state. The Grandmothers Against Removals, a group established to respond to the continued Stolen Generation enforced by the current and previous federal governments, will converge on Perth on May 26 to lend a hand in the fight against the closures.
Moreland city council in Melbourne unanimously passed a motion opposing the closure of remote Aboriginal communities by the Western Australian government. The council will write to federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion, WA Premier Colin Barnett and local federal ministers and Victorian senators in protest. It will also send a letter of solidarity to the Aboriginal communities under threat of forced closure.
BRISBANE Join the protest against Wicked Campers’ abusive tourist slogans. Saturday April 11 at 12pm. Reddacliff Place, Brisbane. MELBOURNE Come to a rally to stop the forced closures of Aboriginal communities. Voice your outrage at Colin Barnett’s forced closure of First Nations communities in WA. Friday April 10 at 5.30pm. Parliament steps, Spring St, city. PERTH Join the counter-protest to the xenophobic “Reclaim Australia” rally. No Pasaran! Saturday April 4 at 11.30am. Solidarity Park, Harvest Tce, Perth.
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