Unions back anti-Intervention lobby of ALP conference

The Stop the Intervention Collective in Sydney organised a strong lobby of the national ALP conference on Thursday July 30. About 150 people turned out to the lunchtime rally.
George Newhouse, former Labor mayor for Waverly, is a human rights lawyer representing people from the prescribed NT communities. He lambasted Minister Jenny Macklin’s push to takeover the Alice Springs town camps. “I can’t recall a single ALP minister ever taking pride in winding back Indigenous land rights…”
Adam Kerslake, deputy secretary of Unions NSW, attacked the racism of the policy. “People are being targeted just because they’re black. Why stop there? They talk about alcohol – why not put everyone under 25 on this quarantine?”
John Sutton, the national President of the CFMEU said he was proud of the substantial donations his union had made to statement against the town camp takeover, published in The Australian newspaper that day. Other endorsements included the Victorian Trades Hall Council and SA Unions.
Audrey McCormack from the Prescribed Area People’s Alliance traveled from the NT to lobby against the Intervention and threats to impose a nuclear waste dump on Aboriginal communities. Audrey approached Minister Jenny Macklin at a fringe event, but the Minister refused to even acknowledge her requests.
Contingents came to the rally from the PSA, the CFMEU and the NSW Teacher’s Federation. Endorsements and messages of support came from a number of Labor party branches, including Summer Hill, Darlington and branches on the Central Coast.
Support within the party however, does not yet carry the weight to break through into official conference proceedings.
The Indigenous section was a whitewash, with no debate. The new ALP platform removes many former party commitments, including support for bi-lingual education and implementation of the recommendations of the 1992 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
By Paddy Gibson

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