Dateline Darwin

NT gas pipeline will lock in climate pollution for decades, say campaigners

The campaign against fracking in the Northern Territory ramped up a few notches last week, with the government announcing a successful bidder in the North East Gas Interconnector project coming amid allegations of a conflict of interest for a key NT government advisor.

Painting home: Proud and poignant messages from Bagot

Darwin’s Bagot community launched its Painting Home Project on November 7. It was the culmination of a seven-week collaboration between Aboriginal artists, Bagot residents, street artists from as far away as Melbourne, and other arts and cultural workers.

Darwin health professionals say 'detention harms children'

Paediatricians and health workers and researchers in Darwin gathered at the Royal Darwin Hospital campus on October 29 to make a public statement that "Detention Harms Children".

The protest followed the weekly Paediatric Grand Round meeting that focused on the impact of trauma on refugee and asylum seeker children.

Staff from Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne and Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane have held similar protests in recent weeks.

Historic land claim victory for Mithaka people

Thirteen years after launching their land claim, the Mithaka people of south-west Queensland were granted native title over more than 33,800 square kilometres of their land and waters on October 27.

This is one of the largest successful native title determinations in Queensland history: the claim area covers land and waters in the Diamantina and Barcoo shires, and in the expansive Channel Country of outback Queensland.

NT: Young people tell of solitary confinement, gassing

Disturbing allegations came to light on September 21 about the trouble-plagued Northern Territory juvenile justice system.

Fifteen-year-old Travis, who spent time at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre last year, told a youth justice forum about the humiliation and depravation inside the centre. According to the ABC, Travis said staff at Don Dale made young people fight and eat animal faeces in exchange for extra junk food.

NT communities say no to frackers

More than 300 people, and 22 horses, marched on the Northern Territory parliament on September 15 to demand a moratorium on unconventional gas production in the NT as part of the Our Land is Our Life rally.

The rally was organised by Frack-free NT and included contingents from Aboriginal communities, unions, farmers and environment groups.

Larrikeyah elder June Mills opened with a fiery welcome to country and a smoking ceremony, condemning what she called “white man’s law” that threatened water supplies and livelihoods.

Rally targets China ‘free trade’ agreement

More than 800 workers gathered in Bicentennial Park on August 23 to protest against the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement in a rally organised by the Electrical Trades Union (ETU).

ETU National Secretary Allen Hicks told the crowd Chinese companies need invest only 15% in a project worth at least $150 million to be able to bring in workers from overseas who are not subject to labour market testing.

For as little as $22.5 million, a Chinese investor in a joint venture with an Australian company can avoid paying Australian wages and conditions.

Why Kumanjayi Langdon didn’t die a free man

Kumanjayi Langdon, 59, from Yuendumu in Central Australia, died of heart failure in Darwin Police Watch House on May 21 — “on a concrete bench with two strangers” — three hours after being taken into custody following a paperless arrest “for drinking in a regulated place”.

At the inquest into Langdon’s death, Northern Territory Coroner Greg Cavenagh found he died from natural causes but should have been able to die in freedom, with his family and friends.

"In my view Kumanjayi Langdon had the right to die as a free man," Cavanagh said.

Custodianship in the 21st Century

The great power of Vincent Lingiariʼs story is that it teaches us how this land sings to us all, how it holds us and nurtures us. This is the common ground that we share.

When the Gurindji leader and his people walked off Wave Hill Station, camping by the Victoria River and then eventually by Wattie Creek at Dagaragu almost half a century ago, they understood that the land was their birthright and their destiny.

Julie Bishop: Australia cannot do anything to stop West Papuan genocide

A group of Free West Papua supporters attended a morning tea fundraiser in Darwin on August 2. The special guest was foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop. We wanted to meet her to discuss human rights in West Papua.

Bishop was the key speaker. She took a few questions from the crowd but, although she knew I wanted to speak to her, she ignored me every time.

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