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Howard plays cynical games with Aboriginal communities

Metiria Turei MP
Metiria Turei MP
metiria [dot] turei [at] parliament [dot] govt [dot] nz (Email)

Green Party MP Metiria Turei has denounced the Howard's government's emergency use of force against Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, and called for international solidarity with planned protest action by Aboriginal activists against this abuse of their human rights and status as the indigenous people of Australia.

"It is important that the international community makes its feelings heard loud and clear to the Howard government," Mrs Turei says.

"For decades, Australia has had a shameful record of treatment of Aboriginals, as reflected in the deaths in custody cases, their lower life expectancy and so on. This fresh outrage — where government force is being used in the guise of social assistance — marks a new low in the history of racism in that country.

"The use of force against Aboriginals is pandering in election year to the worst instincts of the Australian electorate — much as John Howard whipped up anti-immigrant hostility for electoral advantage over the Tampa affair.

"As the Australian newspaper reported today, there are critics who argue this use of force is really a land grab of Aboriginal territory for the benefit of mining companies.

"In the course of the government intervention, Aboriginal children will be subjected to physically and psychologically invasive probes and medical examinations looking for signs of sexual abuse, irrespective of their home and family circumstances.

"The world needs to let John Howard know that this kind of intervention is unacceptable in a civilized society. The genuine social and economic needs of Aboriginal communities should not be subordinated to a brutal and cynical round of election year politicking," Mrs Turei says.

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