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.

NACCHO political alert: Could Tony Abbott empower Aboriginal communities ? full speech

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TONY Abbott announced a $5 million funding commitment to the Jawun Empowered Communities Initiative in Sydney yesterday backing a radical plan devised by indigenous leader Noel Pearson to improve governance in indigenous communities.

Mr Abbott declared, in the announcement, that “the first priority of an incoming Coalition government in this area will be to get the kids to school, parents into work and the ordinary law of the land being observed

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Here is Tony Abbotts speech in full

Thanks very much Noel and thanks everyone. Thanks Shane for the welcome. This is a very significant gathering. Shane alluded to the fact that on the 26 th of January 1788, not far from here, modern Australia had its formal beginnings. A lot has gone right.

Some things have gone wrong.

But as we all know, modern Australia never quite got right the relationship with the First Australians and what’s happening here today is an important new beginning which accepts our history, which accepts the good and the bad in the past but which tries to build a better future with the Indigenous people and the rest of our community, opening our hearts to each other in a way that we haven’t always been able to do in the previous 200-odd years of our national existence.

So I am very honoured to be here and I was thrilled to put my signature on the Jawun Declaration underneath that of Jenny Macklin because it is important that we try to go forward together on something as important as this. It’s always a real thrill to be in the company of my friend Noel Pearson.

Noel and my relationship didn’t really get off to an auspicious beginning. It was back in 1998. Noel didn’t know me and I hadn’t met him. But I went to a very, very rowdy public meeting at Mosman in my electorate at the Mosman RSL and I could hardly get in. I hadn’t actually been invited as such because it was a meeting that was, frankly, pretty hostile to the Howard Government in which I was then a Parliamentary Secretary.

There were a series of speakers and the last speaker was Noel and Noel made an extraordinary, extraordinary oration. The first two-thirds of it was brilliant and I agreed with every word of it.

The last third of it was brilliant and I had a bit of trouble with it because he concluded with the phrase, “Let us get rid of this putrid government.”

I’m not going to adapt that phrase for any current purposes, but Noel – it was a very, very powerful affirmation of the need for change and it was a very powerful assault on a Government which, at that stage of its life, was still feeling its way forward when it came to Indigenous issues. Now, I’m pleased to say that, led by the former Prime Minister John Howard, we did grow very considerably in the years after 1998 and it was in fact, no less a person than the then Prime Minister who again proposed Indigenous recognition in the Constitution not long before the 2007 election.

But I concluded on that particular night in Mosman Town Hall that Noel Pearson was a person of enormous substance, great charisma and very possibly a prophet for our time and I decided that I would do my best to get to know this man and I would do my best, where I could, to work with this man and see what we could do together.

So, a couple of years later, I was in Mossman in far north Queensland on my first trip to Cape York as Minister for Employment and Minister with whole of Government responsibility for Cape York and I went into the back of a meeting of the Mossman Community Centre about half the people in that room were whitefellas, about half the people in that room were blackfellas – about 200, 300 people and Noel took to the stage.

And again it was an extraordinarily powerful presentation delivered without a note, and Noel said, look sure we were ripped off sure this was our country and it was taken away and yes we feel bad about that and yes there was an injustice about it and we should always fight for justice we should always fight for recognition but we have got to fight to live in the country that we have we have to be able live and work in Australia as it is not as it might have been but as it is, and it was a very bracing and powerful message. And I could tell that while some people in the room were warming to Noel – not everyone was

I first discovered in my own life how prophets don’t always have universal honour in their own country because why Noel was from that country, was well known from early childhood to many of the people there – not everyone agreed.

But that is the lot of someone who proposes change that is the lot of a real leader. Sometimes people who should be their best friends are not their best friends and this is the loneliness and difficulty of true leadership, and I won’t to congratulate Noel for being prepared to set out on that very lonely path which he was well and truly embarked upon back in those days.

So, throughout that period in government I stayed in close contact with Noel, made trips to the Cape, camped out on at least on occasion with the boys from the bush, Noel and we spent a couple of days trying to harvest tea tree leaves for our friend Milton to turn into tea tree oil. And then of course we lost the election and I found myself unexpectedly the Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs.

I rang Noel in the February of 2008 and said look mate in the years since I have been in Parliament I have visited dozens of Aboriginal Communities but I have never spent more than 18 hours at a time in one – in my judgment the key problem this whole area is not lack of good will, not lack of spending, but lack of involvement and engagement at a personal level and please would it be possible for me to spend some significant time and be useful, not just a glorified tourist, so in 2008 I was a teacher’s aide for three weeks at the school in Coen.

In 2009 I was a truancy assistant for 10 days at the school in Aurukun, an election happened in 2010 and wasn’t able to get up to Cape York then. In 2011 I spent three or four days in and around Hopevale doing the bush building program. In 2012 quite a few people of great prominence went to Aurukun and we did the books and mortar project to refurbish the library for four days, and it is my commitment that as long as my public life lasts,

I will spend a week in an Indigenous community because if it is good enough for Australians to live in it should be good enough for a Prime Minister to stay in, and it should be good enough for members of the Government to be there too. But one of the things that I became acutely conscious of with growing force through that period of Government and then over the last few years in Opposition, is this whole issue of governance in remote Indigenous communities in particular.

Aurukun is a village of about 1,500 people and there must be over 100 governmental, semi-governmental and non-governmental organisations working there, all doing in their own way an excellent job, but often tripping over each other and the poor people spend their whole life going to meetings rather than getting on with their life.

One of the shining examples of doing things differently, however, was the Family Responsibilities Commission which was working there and in three other Cape York communities thanks to the work of Noel and the Cape York Institute.

As most of you would know, this is an entity established to take charge of the welfare reform process, where a respected former magistrate advised by respected local elders, makes binding decisions on a consensus basis about what should happen to the welfare entitlements of people who, for various reasons, are not quite hitting the mark in terms of observing their responsibilities to their friends, their neighbours and their families.

And I thought to myself, “This is a very powerful lesson which, may well have applicability in other places around Australia.” I think it’s great that this Jawun process is now looking at how the lessons of Cape York and elsewhere might usefully be applied to governance more generally in the remote parts of our country.

It’s terrific to have a very geographically disparate group of people here today and it’s really encouraging to new consensus on display here today from Indigenous leaders from right around our country, different generations, the new consensus that we have to move forward in a different way. And that we need to take

responsibility for our lives. The kids need to go to school. The adults need to go to work. The ordinary law of the land needs to be respected. If all of that happens, then the oldest living cultures on this earth have a fighting chance of survival, but there is no serious chance of survival, if the people who live the life fall into this pit of despair, this pit of hopelessness, which has for so many people beckoned over the last couple of generations.

So, I think this is a very encouraging development today. I’m very blessed because over the last few years, I have become friendly with some really outstanding Indigenous people – Noel, Warren Mundine who is here today, Alison Anderson who has done such remarkable work in the Northern Territory – and as I tried to say in my talk at Garma a couple of weeks ago, I do believe that the only future for this country, is a future where black and white Australians walk forward together arm in arm.

That’s the future for our country.

I think there is a better prospect of that happening now than at any previous time in our national existence. There has been so much dirty water under the bridge. There have been so many disappointments. There have been so many false starts and yet we have made progress, progress is undeniable, but now let’s try to accelerate it, let’s try to do so much better in the next five years than we have in the last fifty.

I think we can do it. I think we can do it. I dedicate myself to working with you to try to bring this about.

[ends]

NACCHO election 2013 alert: Macklin claims Abbott’s not-so-secret plan to cut $1.6 billion from Indigenous Australians

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Throughout the election period NACCHO will present views from all sides of politics

The following is a release from the Hon Jenny Macklin

Tony Abbott’s budget reply speech last night didn’t include a single sentence on his priorities for Indigenous Australians – but that doesn’t mean Indigenous people aren’t in his sights.

Buried in his speech was Tony Abbott’s real plans for Indigenous programs and organisations:

“by not implementing any of the budget spending measures unless specified”

  • Tony Abbott, Budget in reply, 16 May 2013

Tony Abbott wants to keep it a secret, but the fact is he will make savage cuts to programs and organisations that improve the lives of Indigenous Australians.

This week’s Budget continued the Gillard Labor Government’s unprecedented investments to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

The Budget included $1.6 billion in funding for improved health, education, essential services, welfare reform, recognition and advocacy.

Funding included:

  • $777 million for a new National Partnership Agreement to improve health services for Indigenous Australians;
  • $22 million to help young Indigenous people finish secondary school and go onto university, including a $10 million boost to the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation;
  • More than $24 million to continue the Cape York Welfare reform measures, building on the significant gains we’ve already made for Indigenous families in these communities;
  • $12 million to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, which assist people in the juvenile and criminal justice system and help Indigenous women to escape domestic violence;
  • More than $44 million to help deliver services in about 340 remote Indigenous communities, including power, water and road maintenance;
  • $15 million to continue supporting the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, which provides Indigenous people with a strong national voice;
  • More than $6 million to refurbish hostels that provide Indigenous people with safe and affordable temporary accommodation; and
  • $1.3 million to continue building support for the recognition of Indigenous people in our Constitution.

This funding directly improves the lives of Indigenous people – so why does Tony Abbott want to take it all away?

It’s clear that Tony Abbott will cut services to the bone if he is elected Prime Minister – and Indigenous people won’t be spared.

He wants to keep it a secret – but the truth is already out.

“Coalition sources confirm Aboriginal Affairs will see the axe wielded, should Tony Abbott take Government in September.”

  • Paul Bongiorno, Ten News, 19 April 2013

After years of underinvestment and neglect under the Howard Government, this Labor Government has made unprecedented investments to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage, with more than $5.2 billion in funding for employment, education, health services, community development and community safety.

We have set out a clear pathway to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage, and we’re making the investments that are needed to get there. The progress we’ve made over the past five years in partnership with Indigenous people has delivered encouraging results.

Mr Abbott puts all of this progress at risk.

Only Labor can be trusted to deliver for Indigenous Australians.

NACCHO news alert:Abbott must guarantee he won’t cut Indigenous funding-Macklin

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NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alerts will in the lead update to the 2013 Federal Election September 14  publish press releases from all political parties in the areas of Aboriginal Health and social determinants.

The press release below from the office of  Minister Macklin (pictured above) follows the incident last week when Dr Mark Roberts Chief policy officer from Tony Abbotts office was demoted after threatening to “cut the throat” of a prominent Australian’s non-profit organisation by cancelling funding once in power.

Dr Roberts reportedly made the threat to Australian Indigenous Education Foundation chief Andrew Penfold at a Sydney dinner on Thursday.AIEF Foundation provides scholarships to help educate 2000 Indigenous children and supports others in financial need.

PRESS RELEASE

Coalition  sources have confirmed that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott will slash vital funding that improves the lives of Indigenous Australians.

“While Dr Roberts’ funding threat may have been in the heat of the moment, Coalition sources confirm Aboriginal Affairs will see the axe wielded, should Tony Abbott take Government in September.”

–       Paul Bongiorno, Ten News, 19 April 2013

Tony Abbott must guarantee today that no funding invested in programs for Indigenous people would go if he is elected.

After years of underinvestment and neglect under the Howard Government, this Labor Government has made unprecedented investments to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage, with more than $5.2 billion in funding for employment, education, health services, community development and community safety.

Just this week, the Government committed $777 million to renew our work to close the gap on Indigenous health outcomes.

Meanwhile, one of Tony Abbott’s most senior staff was using violent language against the respected head of an organisation supporting Indigenous people, and threatening to cut their funding “when in Government.”

The Gillard Government’s unprecedented investments to close the gap are making a difference. This year we are meeting our first closing the gap target, with more Indigenous children having access to pre-school or kindergarten than ever before, and our target of halving the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five by 2018 is also on track to be met.

The progress we’ve made in partnership with Indigenous people is at risk under a conservative Abbott Government.

Tony Abbott and the Liberals can’t be trusted to deliver for Indigenous people.

We welcome comments below