Darwin

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Refugees resist transfer to Nauru

Clashes erupted on April 15 at the Wickham Point detention centre in Darwin when refugees resisted attempts to send them back to the Australian-run concentration camp in Nauru where they have suffered serious human rights abuses.

Suspend offshore refugee transfers

The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network released this statement on February 27.

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The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) has called on the government to immediately halt all transfers of asylum seekers to offshore detention centres until the report into allegations of sexual abuse on Nauru has been released.

The Moss Inquiry report was provided to the Minister for Immigration and Border protection on February 9, but its findings have not been made public, and there has been no timeframe provided for its release.

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.

Refugee hunger striker nears death

The Refugee Action Coalition released this statement on February 5.

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Fifteen Iranian asylum seekers are on their 19th day of hunger strike in Darwin’s Wickham Point detention centre.

Meanwhile, Martin, who has been on hunger strike since November last year, is very weak and close to death.

Martin and the 15 are part of a group of about 35 Iranian asylum seekers who are being held indefinitely in detention. The government is unable to remove them to Iran because the Iranian government refuses to accept forced removals from Australia.

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.

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.”

Rural Darwin fired up over gas plans

About 40 people gathered at Reg Hillier House in Darwin’s rural area on August 15 to discuss threats posed by petroleum companies wanting to explore for oil and gas.

Applications for exploration under the Petroleum Act, which could include oil or gas, have reached the outer rural areas including the entire Cox Peninsula, parts of Humpty Doo and Howard Springs, the Dundee area and Litchfield National Park. Exploration may involve using the controversial method of horizontal hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) if shale gas is found.

Don’t frack the Northern Territory

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!”

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