[JH part of the image clipped from here]
Women for Wik has offered their opinion of the PM’s last-ditch effort to not be remembered as an imperialist, racist little weasel. (Good luck with that, Johnny!)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – FRIDAY, 12TH OCTOBER 2007
Howard’s “Reconciliation” Slammed by NT Aboriginal Women
Friday, 12 October 2007
Aboriginal women who have come to Sydney and Canberra to speak at Public Forums on the Federal Intervention in the Northern Territory are sceptical of the Prime Minister’s statement that he seeks reconciliation with Indigenous Australians.
“The statement by the Prime Minister is intellectually incoherent and inconsistent with his past practices”, said Olga Havnen, CEO of the Combined Aboriginal Organisations of the Northern Territory. “This Prime Minister does not have the credibility-or the trust of the Australian people-to lead a genuine process of reconciliation.”
“This is too little, too late. This statement is completely at odds with the Prime Minister’s interactions with Aboriginal people over the past 11 years. It is appalling for him to now acknowledge the past mistreatment of Aboriginal peoples when his government has passed NT Emergency legislation that over-rides the rights and entitlements of Aboriginal people as citizens of this nation”, said Ms Havnen.
“This statement is the death rattle of a dying government. He is clutching at straws to stay in power. The Prime Minister has been making statements like this since 1998, but what has he done in this time?” said Ms Eileen Cummings, Former Policy Advisor to the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory.
“In 1999 he said that he wanted to honour Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders for their ‘deep kinship with their lands, and for their ancient and continuing cultures.’ Ms Eileen Cummings said, “However, his actions have attacked Aboriginal culture, Aboriginal relationships to land, and the integrity of Aboriginal families. And unlike hundreds of thousands of Australians he refused say ‘sorry’ or to march for reconciliation. ”
These Aboriginal women from the Northern Territory will be speaking in Public Forums on the weekend in Canberra and Sydney.
“The Federal intervention in the Northern Territory is causing enormous confusion, bewilderment and worry for Aboriginal people. They are searching for answers-and these answers are not going to come from John Howard.” said Raelene Rosas, one of the organisers of the grassroots campaign, Women for Wik-Monitoring the Federal Action in the Northern Terrritory. “Aboriginal people don’t trust the Prime Minister, or the Indigenous Affairs Minister, Mal Brough. How can this government lead the country into reconciliation?”
“If the Prime Minister is genuine in his commitment to reconciliation he must amend immediately the NT Emergency Response legislation and the Native Title Act to remove the racially discrimination elements of these acts and to restore the integrity of the Racial Discrimination Act”, said Ms Havnen.
“While Howard has professed his commitment to ‘practical’ reconciliation to improve the socio-economic well being of Indigenous Australians, he has failed miserably by any socio-economic measure.” Ms Havnen said. “The gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians has continued to widen under the period of his leadership. What we need is genuine engagement to address not only the symbolic and the practical, but also to find accommodation about our legal and political status as first peoples.”
2-3pm, Saturday, 13th October, as part of ANTaR meeting, National Museum of Australia
2-4pm, Sunday, 14th October, Australia Hall, 150 Elizabeth Street, Sydney.
We also hope to have Aboriginal women from the NT speaking at the following meeting:
6-7pm, Friday, 19th October, Koorie Heritage Trust, 295 King Street, Melbourne
Associate Professor Claire Smith (President, World Archaeological Congress)
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