Australia: Film -- `Alyawarr walk-off protest vs Northern Territory intervention'

Alyawarr walk-off protest vs Northern Territory intervention from Actively Radical TV on Vimeo.

By Actively Radical TV

August 25, 2010 -- In July 2009, the Alyawarr people in the township of Ampilatwatja, approximately 350 kilometres north-east of Alice Springs, in Central Australia, walked out of the government "proscribed area" and into the desert to set up a protest camp.

This protest action was in defiance of the Northern Territory Intervention Act 2007, brought in under the conservative Coalition government of then-prime minister John Howard. The intervention was and continued under the Australia Labor Party governments of prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. The Alyawarr community and others are calling for the intervention to be abolished and reinstatment of the Racial Discrimiation Act, which was suspended in order to bring in the racist Northern Territory Intervention Act.

The impact of the Northern Territory Intervention Act on Indigenous communities has set back Indigenous rights in Australia 50 years. The government-appointed business managers are reminiscent of the white "protectors" of the past, the intervention's forcing Indigenous people into a small number of "hub towns" is like earlier policies of forcing Indigenous people of their land and onto missions. Under the intervention, communities are being forced to sign five-year, 40-year and 99-year leases, in effect taking the land away from traditional owners and opening it up for mining exploration. Offensive signs outside communities announcing bans on alcohol and pornography, ration cards known as the Basics Card, sending in the army and police to remote communities still reeling from the impacts of the stolen generation ... and so it goes on.

In February 2010, trade unionists and left activists from around Australia travelled to Ampilatwatja to assist in the construction of a donated prototype desert house.

This film by Sydney-based Actively Radical TV documents this act of solidarity between trade unionists and Indigenous communities and looks at the impact of the Northern Territory intervention.