NACCHO political news:Nova Peris blasts Noel Pearson over support for NT intervention

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Labor Senate candidate for the Northern Territory Nova Peris hands out how-to-vote cards at a mobile polling booth on Goulburn Island, east of Darwin, yesterday. Picture: Amos Aikman Source: TheAustralian

ALP Senate candidate Nova Peris has lashed out at indigenous leader Noel Pearson over his support for the “demeaning” Northern Territory intervention, a Howard government policy adapted by Labor.

The indigenous dual Olympian said the NT Emergency Response had “ripped the heart” out of the Territory, and denied Labor’s Stronger Futures legislation including cornerstones of the NTER was the same.

Coalition NT senator and opposition indigenous affairs spokesman Nigel Scullion accused Ms Peris of being out of touch with “strong women” in remote communities, who had spoken out in favour of the intervention, and of trying to rewrite history.

Ms Peris made the comments on the first day of remote mobile polling for the 2013 federal election, in response to questions about Mr Pearson’s view that only a conservative leader could deliver a successful referendum on constitutional recognition of Australia’s first people.

Shown the remarks, revealed in The Australian yesterday, Ms Peris replied that while everyone was entitled to their opinion, Mr Pearson’s “certainly doesn’t fit with the people of the Northern Territory — that was made clear when he supported the intervention”.

“I’m on record saying there were certain issues across the Territory (at the time), but that the way the whole intervention was done, it was just demeaning, and it ripped the heart out of all Australia and out of the Territory,” she said.

“I have no doubt that the intervention has certainly hurt Aboriginal people in the NT.”

Mr Pearson did not respond to requests for comment.

When introduced in the last months of the Howard government, the intervention targeted child and alcohol abuse as well as pornography in 73 remote communities. Welfare payments were quarantined to pay for food, rent and other essentials and the Racial Discrimination Act suspended.

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