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Upcoming NT Intervention Protests

19 June, 2009
We haven’t posted anything on the NT Intervention for some time but the issue is still very much alive.  A report on SBS news last night included some interviews with Aboriginal women from Bagot,  an urban community in Darwin, on their views of the intervention.  Two key points stuck out for me based on those interviews:
  1. The prohibitions of alcohol use appear to be leading to new population movements as people attempt to escape regulatory mechanisms.  This means that the effects of the Intervention are uneven, with problems being exacerbated rather than reduced in some areas.
  2. The paternalistic nature of the Intervention, with its enforced quarantining and management of all welfare income, means that “model” members of communities — those who are best able to manage their funds independently — are resentful about being treated as though they were not capable of looking after themselves.   If the Government’s goals are pedagogical, i.e. aimed at producing new kinds of subjects closer to the bourgeois ideal of the self-managing individual, it’s problematic that those people most closely resembling that kind of subject are punished and feel disempowered.  The predictable result of such a policy would be the increasing institutionalisation of welfare dependence.
Meanwhile, anti-Intervention protests have been organised for this weekend.  Here are the details:
On June 20, marking two years of the Northern Territory Intervention, demonstrations will be held across the country in defense of Aboriginal Rights .
See the Youtube promo at
Darwin: 11am Raintree Park contact Dave 0407209520
Sydney: 10:30 Belmore Park contact Monique on 0415410558
Brisbane: 11.00am Queen’s park contact Rob 0424265730 or Sam 0401227443
Melbourne: 12pm outside the State Library Cnr Swanston/La Trobe sts.
Perth: 12 noon Wesley Church.
This rally will have a focus on Aboriginal death’s in custody, demanding justice for Mr Ward.
One Comment leave one →
  1. TheOtherview permalink
    28 July, 2009 12:51 pm

    Protests against the intervention miss the point. Beefs about the paternalistic tone of the intervention conveniently forget that this is simply replacing one paternalistic self managed approach with a Federal one, and the latter has a lot more resources and professionalism to address much neglected problems like alcohol abuse, child sex abuse, welfare wastage and the like.

    Although I agree there is a risk that responsible members of these communities are lumped in and treated as if they were the worst members, the fact is several years of self managed communities have resulted in squalor, ill health and financial mismanagement. By all means allow these communities to be self goverened but theres no point in adopting this approach before the skills required to do this have been taught and suitable people found to run with these roles. Have you ever BEEN to one of these communities?

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