Peter Robson

GLW author Peter Robson

New NT child protection laws ‘rammed through’ parliament

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.

Rebel NT MLAs join Palmer United Party

The defection by three Aboriginal members of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly (MLAs) to the Palmer United Party (PUP) has the potential to topple the Country Liberal Party government.

The three rebel MLAs — Larisa Lee, Alison Anderson and Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu — left the CLP on March 27, saying it was failing to deliver outcomes for Aboriginal people in the NT.

The three were part of the “bush bloc” that brought the CLP to power in the 2012 election, taking the necessary seats from the incumbent ALP to form government.

Stop the scapegoating of refugees

“You don't want a wimp running border protection,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on February 21. “You want someone who is strong, who is decent, and Scott Morrison is both strong and decent.”

Abbott was defending immigration minister Scott Morrison for his actions and comments after a young asylum seeker was killed in the Manus Island detention centre on February 16.

NT gov't to further cut bilingual education

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 rally against Nightcliff Island development

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.

NT teachers continue industrial campaign

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 NT News: "I have never seen teachers so angry as they are now, they really are incensed at the cutting of teacher numbers and how that is going to affect education outcomes for kids.”

End the silence: stop deporting asylum seekers

The company responsible for running many of Australia’s refugee detention centres, Serco, has been accused of ordering asylum seekers not to speak to the media as the federal government moves to deport more asylum seekers to their country of origin.

Asylum seekers in the Darwin Airport Lodge (DAL) detention centre have been subject to intimidation and several have been moved to Christmas Island after speaking to the media.

Tax havens, gas fields and fail food bowls the new NT plan

One of the more disturbing images on federal election night was that of Coalition MP-elect Barnaby Joyce welcoming mining magnate Gina Rinehart as the special guest to his election party. Few things could reveal more clearly the strong connection between corporate power and government under Coalition rule.

It is worth noting some of the policies that Rinehart is promoting for the Northern Territory because, let’s face it, they are likely to happen.

One of her big ideas, which Kevin Rudd adopted before his election defeat, is the creation of a northern Australia tax haven.

Aboriginal rappers tell their stories in 'Real Talk'

Real Talk: Aboriginal Rappers Talk About Their Music & Country
By Mat Ward
100 pages
Download for free

Australian hip-hop pioneer Urthboy told The Music Network last year: “I was asked to write about the state of hip-hop in Australia. I’d prefer to shine a light on what may be the future of it: Indigenous Hip-Hop.

“Indigenous artists carry a profoundly engrossing and intriguing story for international audiences, yet it’s barely understood by many Australians.”

Darwin marks World Refugee Day

About 40 people gathered in Raintree Park, Darwin, to mark World Refugee Day on June 20.

Larrikiah woman June Mills opened the gathering with a rendition of Arafura Pearl, and an explanation of the Aboriginal practice of welcoming strangers to their land. Other speaker included Greens councillor Robin Knox, Tamil-Australian lawyer Kajaliny Ranjithkuma and Reverend Basil Schild.

A minute’s silence was held for the 62-year-old refugee from Afghanistan who was found dead at Darwin’s Wickham Point detention centre on June 15.

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