Tag Archives: racism

Supporting NATSICC Statement on Intervention

We, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council National Assembly 2009, express grave concern for our brothers and sisters living under the Northern Territory Emergency Response.
We draw the attention of the Minister to the following matters of urgency:

  • Failure to alleviate poverty and third-world conditions
  • Failure to respect the basic human rights of Aboriginal peoples and communities in contravention of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Failure to provide quality of life (e.g. delayed improvement to housing, overcrowding, risk of disease)
  • Failure to consult truthfully and transparently
  • Failure to educate and skill men and women for employment that can effectively address their own needs
  • Failure to respect culture and ceremonies (e.g. sharing money, preventing travel to town to apply for money, tenancy agreements)
  • Failure to honour the distinctive natures and cultures of communities. (Strategies need to be developed in consultation with each community and according to their needs.)
  • The targeted application of income management on Aboriginal people. And so discriminating on the basis of race and place of living.
  • The thoughtless erection of crude pornography signs in places where this problem does not exist
  • Failure to heed the strong protests of such policies by numerous Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and groups across Australia.
  • Failure to recognize the lasting and devastating effects of the Intervention on the human spirit and health of Aboriginal people.
  • Failure to recognise and implement the recommendations of the 2007 Little Children are sacred Report/ to respond to the Combined NT Aboriginal Organisations and their Traditional owners.
  • Failure to note that the creation of Hubs will only exacerbate problems (loss of connectedness, and loss of family ties and communal values of life…) Homelands and outstations must be provided funds…

These failures and limitations undermine the spirit of the Prime Minister’s Apology of 13 February 2008.

We recommend ongoing genuine consultations and formation of real partnerships with the relevant parties in the N.T. We would like Government to engage regularly with Aboriginal leaders, Traditional owners, Elders and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Church Lead bodies and leaders.

 

We would like to see our cultures respected and acknowledged. Cultural integrity and self -determination are key imperatives for the way forward. We would ask that the Government be open to UN, Prof James Anaya’s statement of 27.08.09.
We would like to see the reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act in the N.T. This must be in line with human rights principals and fulfil Australia’s International Conventions and treaties.
Media Contact : Craig Arthur 0402 019 536
For Immediate Release

Commission Urges Catholics to Prioritise Human Dignity in Refugee Debate

Monday 20 April 2009

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission urged Catholics to put a priority on the human dignity of those recently seeking asylum in Australia.

This follows the new debate about Australia’s refugee policy which has emerged since a boat carrying asylum seekers headed for Australia exploded causing death and serious injury to many on board.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the Commission is concerned by a range of comments which are critical of asylum seekers and which also seek a return to harsher refugee policies.

“The Commission is concerned that some Australians are already expressing very negative sentiments towards those seeking asylum in Australia,” Mr Arndt said.

“It is also worried by those who accuse the Federal Government of encouraging greater numbers of asylum seekers to come to Australia by ‘softening’ our refugee policy,” he said.

“The most important thing we must keep in mind in this current situation is that asylum seekers coming to Australia are human beings who are fleeing from dreadful situations,” he said.

“We cannot return to policies which clearly caused enormous harm to people who were already traumatized by their experiences in their homeland,” he said.

“Subjecting people to the psychological distress caused by indefinite detention in Australia, by letting them stay indefinitely on Nauru and by putting them on temporary protection visas is inhuman,” he said.

“If we believe that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God, we cannot support actions which degrade and harm our fellow human beings,” he said.

“We ask Catholics to stand up for the human dignity of people seeking asylum,” he said.

“We cannot stand silent and allow cruel and inhuman treatment of those seeking refuge in Australia to be proposed again,” he said.

“We must all try to find out more about the horrible things that people are experiencing in places like Afghanistan and Sri Lanka and in refugee camps around the world so that we can understand why people are so desperate to come to places like Australia,” he said.

“As Christians, we must promote compassion and love, not cruelty and hate,” he said.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

NB This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right. The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Queensland Stolen Wages Decision Concern

Media Release

Tuesday 8 April 2008

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has expressed its disappointment at the Queensland Government’s recent decision on the distribution of funds from the Indigenous Wages and Savings Reparations Scheme and the now defunct Aborigine Welfare Fund.

The Scheme was established in 2002 to provide reparations payments to Indigenous workers who had wages placed in trust by the Queensland Government over a significant part of the twentieth century and never returned.

Much of the money set aside for the Scheme was not distributed and the Government undertook a process of consultation with Indigenous people over the course of 2007 to determine what would be done with unclaimed funds.

The Premier, Anna Bligh, and the Minister for Indigenous Partnerships, Lindy Nelson-Carr, recently announced that about $15 million from the Scheme would provide top-up payments of either $1500 or $3000 to claimants who have already received payments of $2000 or $4000. $21.2 million from the scheme and $10.8 million from the Aborigines Welfare Fund would be used to establish the Indigenous Queenslanders Foundation, which will provide education and sporting scholarships of up to $20000 to young Indigenous people.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that, after consulting with its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisors, the Commission urged the Government to re-imburse claimants fully for all wages placed in trust and never returned.

It also urged the Government to pay the descendants of deceased workers all wages owed in full.

“We are talking about money earned by Indigenous women and men by the sweat of their brow and taken away from them and used for other purposes,” Mr Arndt said.

“The Queensland Government’s attempts to get away with a token payment which is a small fraction of the actual amount earned by Indigenous workers is unfair,” he said.

“The only just decision would be to pay Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers in full as the New South Wales Government is doing,” he said.

“The Commission is astonished that the State Government has decided to put some of the funds in the Scheme into education scholarships scheme despite the majority of Indigenous people consulted by the Government rejecting such a proposal,” he said.

“This decision continues the same shabby treatment of Aboriginal people which saw their wages taken away from them in the first place,” he said.

“The Government must pay Indigenous workers what is owed to them in full and must pay the families of deceased workers what is owing to them too,” he said.

“It has a responsibility to provide the same standard of education to all Queensland children and should provide educational opportunities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from the Education Department’s funds and not from money which is owed to Indigenous workers,” he said.

Mr Arndt said that the Commission would talk to its Indigenous advisors about any further action it might take on the issue.

He said it would also keep in touch with Indigenous groups working on the issue and provide support where it could.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

NB This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right. The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.