Doing a little research, I came across this web site that reveals that Rudd has committed to continue what is called the Military Intervention into the Northern Territory, and concurrently, the suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act will continue, although Rudd has signaled he is open to change.
KEVIN Rudd has signalled his willingness to change parts of the Howard government's takeover of Northern Territory indigenous communities, after the new territory Chief Minister yesterday demanded he water down the plan, including its tough restrictions on alcohol sales.
On the same day Mr Rudd foreshadowed a formal apology to members of the Stolen Generation, the incoming prime minister said through a spokesman he was open to altering John Howard's unprecedented intervention.
These include reintroducing the controversial permit system, which regulates non-indigenous access to communities, and modifying rather than scrapping the Community Development Employment Projects work-for-the-dole scheme.
While stressing his commitment to the thrust of the takeover, Mr Rudd said he was happy to negotiate with the NT Government on alcohol restrictions after the expiry of the six-month limit placed on the intervention by Mr Howard.
The popular, Australian online Crikey explores the many problems inherent in this intervention.
Aimed at arresting an apparent epidemic in child sex abuse in aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, John Howard and Mal Brough's plan for an almost millitary intervention raised as many issues as it solved.
If you recall, a report by Pat Anderson, called "Little Children are Sacred", revealed, according to the report, a high level of sexual abuse among the Aboriginal tribes of the Northern Territory. Howard's response though, has been criticized by Anderson, and many others:
It is crucial to point out the flaws in the Howard invention:
There is a lack of a partnership approach with Indigenous communities – by essentially ignoring the local knowledge and experience.
The required physical examinations of Aboriginal children for signs of sexual abuse could have dire negative consequences on young children. Genital examination of children who have not been sexually abused to akin to abuse itself, while the examination of children who have been sexually abused could further exacerbate the issue.
Restrictions on welfare expenditure means the federal government will control 50% of all welfare payments in some communities – even if parents have not shown to be neglectful.
There is a thin and tenuous link between child abuse and the Howard government’s decision to abolish the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (ALRA) in the NT. The ALRA enables Aboriginal landowners a right to veto mining and other activities on their lands. For many, this intervention by the Howard government is nothing more than a grab for land.
Is the Military Intervention into the Northern Territory a land grab?
If Rudd is apologizing, why is he apparently going to continue the intervention, even though it has been roundly criticized, even by the original author of the study?
Toward Freedom, an online progressive website, has a collection of information on this issue:
At this point, an assessment of the underlying reasons for the government’s intervention is helpful. In June of 2007, leading up to a national election, Howard’s Liberal Party government was consistently behind the Labor Party in the opinion polls, and many people saw the over-zealous intervention as a means for Howard to gain support by falsely creating a ‘national emergency.’ However, this plan did not turn in results, and both Howard and his Liberal party were voted out of office in November 2007.
Remind you of anything closer to home?
There are mixed reviews of the apology as well, including one by Aboriginal activist Sam Watson:
"There are a number of people across the stolen generation who are calling for individual or class actions and that is their right under law and some of those people may well pursue those legal avenues.
"People who were the victims of criminal acts need to be compensated by the courts."
There were other areas that governments should also address, including deaths in custody, health, education, housing and employment.
Mr Watson said the federal government should also stop its intervention in the Northern Territory, and set up another body to replace the abolished ATSIC (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission).
Please check out the Sydney, Australia indymedia website for an update on Aboriginal activist reaction to the Rudd apology:
"Kevin Rudd has said his apology will contain an affirmation never to repeat past wrongs, but this is precisely what his government is doing rolling out Howard's intervention. He is continuing the genocidal policy of the stolen generations and the Howard years", said Mitch.
"We are back to 'flour, tea and tobacco days', being forced to work and jump through hoops for ration vouchers. Centrelink is not providing proper services for remote communities so there has been a mass exodus of our young people. My brothers have been forced into town to look for work".
This is a complicated issue, and deserving of more than one diary exploring the ramifications of continued Military Intervention into the Northern Territory. I leave you with this statement from the Socialist Equality Party on the issue:
The formal apology is certainly a “step in a new direction” but not toward ending the oppression of Australia’s indigenous population. It is a step by the Rudd Labor government toward winning the support of, and utilising, a section of Aboriginal community leaders to implement its right-wing policies—something that would have been impossible without the formal repudiation of the Howard government’s position on the stolen generations.