The Territory government and land councils each have significant real world authority over the same land mass, and therefore real roles in important decisions made about land use, tenure and development on half of the Territory’s land, which in turn comprises twenty percent of Australia’s land mass.
And Galarrwuy Yunupingu? He's about to turn 70, but still keeps a sharp eye on development and is guiding every step taken. He has straddled the whole of the Northern Territory's history of self-government, been public enemy number one, and respected elder number one, sometimes at the same time. He has hosted every prime minister since Whitlam and none claim to have bettered him.
Darwin lawyer Matt Punch takes a close look at the proposed new section 116A of the Australian Constitution and reckons both the progressives and conservatives have got it wrong.
And so to the here and now. In 2014 we again have a coalition government in Canberra. The self-proclaimed ‘Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs’ has emphasised his commitment to fixing up the constitution so that Indigenous people have a proper place in it, and in the nation. I’m not a constitutional lawyer, and there are aspects of the recent constitutional reform debate which have struck me as somewhat arcane.
The term ‘rivers of grog’ was seized upon by the media and Mr Brough. Unfortunately, the impression that seems to have taken hold down south was that the place where the rivers of grog were flowing was in remote Aboriginal communities.The intended outcome of the leasing program was the more-or-less permanent Commonwealth takeover of Aboriginal community land.
Child sex abuse is only one aspect of child protection. General child neglect and associated social dysfunction was the underlying problem which could have, and should have been focussed on by Mr Howard and Mr Brough. By using paedophilia as the emotive hook for their PR campaign, they indiscriminately and irresponsibly labelled the male population in remote Territory communities as predators of the worst kind. That was the second, again almost immediate, negative impact of the Intervention declaration.
On Saturday new NT Chief Minister Mills flew to Gove on the far north-east of the NT. This was a very different trip to last week's fly-in, fly-out trips to Nguiu, Ramingining and Wadeye. No triumph, no candidates, media or minders in tow. At the 2012 NT election the CLP didn't put a dent in the firm 32-year Labor hold on the local seat of Nhulunbuy.
I am a member of the McGinness Family – the eldest Granddaughter of Jack McGinness, freedom fighter and committed human rights campaigner. The legacy of my Gurindji family and our early day revolutionaries at Wave Hill are also part of my rich culture and heritage. We continue our fight for freedom and rights in this country.