Utopia: An inside story


CEO of the Ampilatwatja Health Clinic Dave Smith is interviewed by internationally renowned journalist John Pilger, for the film Utopia, which premieres in Australia in January 2014.

CEO of the Ampilatwatja Health Clinic Dave Smith is interviewed by internationally renowned journalist John Pilger, for the film Utopia, which premieres in Australia in January 2014.

IN JANUARY 2014, the nation’s most famous ex-pat journalist John Pilger will launch his latest film in Australia. Two years in the making, Utopia is a feature length documentary that chronicles the ongoing plight of the First Australians and their fight for justice.

The film has a number of important themes. First, it serves as a testament to the struggle of Aboriginal people, and the truth that there has been a long resistance to the effects of invasion despite mainstream Australia’s determination to sanitize its past. Second, the film lambastes Australia for its failure to not only come to grips with its brutal history, but its frequent refusal to even acknowledge it. Thirdly, the film seeks to show that very little has changed since Pilger made his first film about Aboriginal Australia – Secret Country – in 1985. Utopia shines a light on the denial of justice to Aboriginal Australians – the withholding of basic rights like treaty and self-determination – but also the denial of basic services which all Australians expect as a right of citizenry. [Read more…]

Labor and Liberal wasted millions


Indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin poses with Aboriginal dancers from Arnhem Land Benny (left) and David Wilford in Canberra on April 3, 2009 at the ceremony to endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin poses with Aboriginal dancers from Arnhem Land Benny (left) and David Wilford in Canberra on April 3, 2009 at the ceremony to endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Northern Territory Senator Nigel Scullion last month accused Indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin of wasting $150 million on Labor’s Alice Springs Transformation Plan, slamming her for letting down residents of the town camps. But CHIRS GRAHAM* reports that both sides of politics have let town campers down. [Read more…]

BEER GOGGLES: Taxpayer’s shout for a failed policy of grog restrictions


WITH recent changes of government in both Queensland and the Northern Territory, alcohol restrictions in Aboriginal communities have been hotly debated in mainstream media. But ironically, the government’s seeking to relax grog bans are both conservative, the traditional political home of those who support government control of black lives. CHRIS GRAHAM* delves into the politics of grog, and the reasons why some still support grog bans, despite strong evidence which shows they don’t work. [Read more…]

Who put the con back in consultation?


NATIONAL: There are at least three reasons why the federal government’s consultations on the Stronger Futures legislation should be condemned. Firstly, the government never really intended to consult in any meaningful way with Aboriginal people. Secondly, when they were shamed into doing it, the consultation process they delivered was a sham. And finally, Aboriginal people never needed to be consulted in the first place – they’d already made their views known on the NT intervention at two federal elections, and in terms that were unmistakeable. CHRIS GRAHAM analyses the farce that was the Australian democratic process on the passage of the Stronger Futures laws. [Read more…]

BRINGING BACK THE BROUGH: 10 of the worst things Mal did in office


Mal Brough has won Liberal National Party pre-selection for the seat of Fisher, virtually guaranteeing him a seat in federal parliament in 2013… unless voters find out about his past performance, of course.

THE best predictor of someone’s future behaviour is their past behaviour. Which means that with Mal Brough winning pre-selection for the federal seat of Fisher, parliament is in for a sideshow the likes of which it hasn’t seen since… well, the last time Brough was there.

Brough’s win in the Liberal National Party’s pre-selection for the seat of Fisher means he’ll almost certainly be back in federal parliament by 2013.

But contrary to widespread media reports, Fisher is not a safe seat. It holds a margin of less than eight percent, way down on the glory days of 20-plus percent in 2004 which it enjoyed under Peter Slipper. [Read more…]

BAD AUNTY: The truth about the NT intervention and the case for an independent media


THE Northern Territory intervention was extended last month by the Gillard government for another decade with the support of the Liberals and Nationals, despite the fact the policy is failing badly. And it couldn’t have happened without the support of the nation’s media, one institution in particular. The ABC, also known as Aunty. [Read more…]

NSW Labor condemns federal party policy on income management


The annual NSW state Labor conference, staged at Town Hall in Sydney.

IN A SIGN that the political cracks are starting to appear, the NSW Labor Party’s annual state conference has passed a resolution calling on federal Labor to abandon compulsory income management across the nation, and instead direct funding to boost social services and job creation. [Read more…]

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