Indigenous rights

The Victorian parliament’s lower house (Legislative Assembly) voted on June 7 to create a framework for signing a treaty, or treaties, with Aboriginal people. While it still needs to pass the upper house (Legislative Council), it marks the first legislative commitment to treaty by an Australian parliament.

On the 20th anniversary of Sorry Day, May 26, a day to remember the forced removal of First Nations' children from their families that became known as the Stolen Generations, a delegation of First Nations' grandmothers marched on Parliament House chanting "Bring our children home".

Rather than being a landmark for progress and reconciliation the delegation of Grandmothers said that 20 years on, the situation has only worsened.

More than 600 people rallied in Sydney on May 14 to protest against Black deaths in custody after footage showing a Western Australian senior sergeant deliberately driving over 18-year-old Aboriginal man William Farmer was released. The police officer who assaulted Farmer has been stood down, but the young man sustained serious injuries as a result of the assault.

The Queensland government has reached a $30 million settlement with Palm Island residents in a class action in the Federal Court over the 2004 Palm Island riots that followed the death in police custody of Aboriginal man Cameron Doomadgee. But Doomadgee's family says no amount of money will alleviate the pain of losing him.

The state will also apologise to the community after a landmark racial discrimination case in which the Federal Court found police were racist in their response to riots that followed Doomagee's death.

Vickie Roach is a Yuin woman, a survivor of the Stolen Generation and a writer. She gave this speech at Ray Jackson’s memorial celebrations at Redfern Community Centre on April 21.

* * *

I’d first like to acknowledge the Gadigal people and the Eora nation whose land we meet on here today and pay my respect to Ancestors and Elders, past and present.

Almost 100 people gathered at the Redfern Community Centre on April 21 for an exhibition and memorial to commemorate the third anniversary of the passing of Ray Jackson.

The memorial, which was organised by Jackson’s family, with the support of friends, comrades and the Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA) started with a very emotive smoking ceremony.

Aboriginal activists and supporters have been protesting in Bundjalung Country, also known as the Gold Coast, exposing the whitewashing Commonwealth Games.

Continuing the legacy of actions against the Commonwealth Games in 1982, the “Freedom Camp” at Doug Jennings Park has been exposing the Games’ establishment elitism with actions almost every day. Aboriginal activists from Western Australia, the Northern Territory, New South Wales and north Queensland have converged on the park.

Two weeks after the Australian cricket team demonstrated the true level of integrity in Australian sport, the Commonwealth Games — dubbed the Stolenwealth Games — opened on the Gold Coast on April 4.

About 100 protesters highlighted Australia’s colonial history and the ongoing genocide of indigenous peoples as the opening ceremony got under way. The protest was organised by a national committee including Indigenous activist group Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR) and the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy.

Protesters gathered outside the Sydney studio where Channel Seven broadcasts its breakfast show Sunrise on March 16.

They were there to express their outrage at comments made by two panellists, neither of whom are Indigenous, on the show on March 13. They, and many on social media, objected when one, who had no experience in child welfare or Indigenous affairs, argued the Stolen Generations were justified because Indigenous children were being abused by their parents and a second Stolen Generation was needed.

Chile’s new president, Sebastian Pinera, of the right-wing party National Renewal (RN), has announced that he plans to “modernise” the country’s Anti-Terror Law.

Pages

Subscribe to Indigenous rights