The Socialist Alliance extends its unwavering support to the Yolngu Nations and all other clans and nations across the Northern Territory, as they mourn the passing of the Stronger Futures legislation.
Against the repeated wishes of Aboriginal people, the federal Labor government, supported by the Coalition, slipped the legislation through the Senate at 2am on June 29.
A last ditch attempt to refer to legislation to the Parliamentary Committee for Human Rights failed, as did the Greens' amendments that sought to remove the more punitive and damaging aspects of the laws.
New evidence has emerged highlighting the ineffectiveness of income management — one of the key planks of the Stronger Futures package. For example, an Ombudsman report found that 95% of referrals to the “vulnerable” income management scheme in the NT lacked an evidence base.
But this government is driven by a racist and neoliberal ideology, not by evidence-based best practice.
Yolngu Nations spokesperson Djiniyini Gondarra has flagged a possible High Court challenge. Community leaders across Arnhem Land and down through the centre, while reeling with grief and anger at yet another slap in the face, are vowing to continue the fight.
Across Aboriginal communities in the NT, any vestiges of trust in the major parties to respect the wishes of the First Peoples of Australia has been lost. “Politics-as-usual” has failed the First Peoples.
The Socialist Alliance will continue to be a strong supporter of the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to exercise self-determination and community control. We pledge our support to Aboriginal communities resisting signing long-term leases and extend our solidarity to the next stage of their struggle.