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The Voice of Indigenous Australia
Labor’s Linda Burney.

Opposition grows to cashless welfare card

ABORIGINAL academic Marcia Langton and members of the Australian Labor Party have done an about face in their support of the cashless welfare card.

Professor Langton, who originally supported trials of the card, is now describing it as a tragic failure because it has failed to include Aboriginal leaders in its implementation.

The Labor Party, which has supported income management in Northern Territory communities, has also said it will only support further roll-outs of the card if the scheme is made voluntary.

Professor Langton, speaking to the National Press Club recently, said it was a tragedy that the federal government departments responsible had not implemented the scheme in accordance with the commitments they made to Indigenous leaders.

“They’ve let them down badly and now the system has been brought into disrepute by the viciousness of its implementation,” she said.

Professor Langton said the idea of the cards, along with other welfare reforms, was to wean people off social security and make them useful members of the economy.

Labor’s Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services Linda Burney said the Opposition would propose two amendments to the legislation, one to make the program voluntary and a second to ensure a proper and independent inquiry into the effectiveness of the card.

Latest News Stories

Labor’s Linda Burney.

Opposition grows to cashless welfare card

Wednesday, 9 October 2019 1:44 pm

ABORIGINAL academic Marcia Langton and members of the Australian Labor Party have done an about face in their support of the cashless welfare card.

Professor Langton, who originally supported trials of the card, is now describing it as a tragic failure because it has failed to include Aboriginal leaders in its implementation.

The Labor Party, which has supported income management in Northern Territory communities, has also said it will only support further roll-outs of the card if the scheme is made voluntary.

Professor Langton, speaking to the National Press Club recently, said it was a tragedy that the federal government departments responsible had not implemented the scheme in accordance with the commitments they made to Indigenous leaders.

“They’ve let them down badly and now the system has been brought into disrepute by the viciousness of its implementation,” she said.

Professor Langton said the idea of the cards, along with other welfare reforms, was to wean people off social security and make them useful members of the economy.

Labor’s Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services Linda Burney said the Opposition would propose two amendments to the legislation, one to make the program voluntary and a second to ensure a proper and independent inquiry into the effectiveness of the card.

Up to 300 people gathered at corroborees along the way. Picture courtesy of Zebedee Parkes from Green Left Weekly.

Convoy demands water for our rivers

Wednesday, 9 October 2019 1:42 pm

A CONVOY of Aboriginal traditional owners and their supporters have been travelling through inland NSW to raise the plight of Aboriginal communities cut off from natural river flows.

The Water for Rivers convey has been led by Murruwari Budijiti Elder Bruce Shillingsworth, who said the river catchments were in crisis and artesian basins were being poisoned.

Along the way, corroborees were held in Walgett, Brewarrina, Bourke, Wilcannia and Menindee, with 300 supporters gathering at each town.

The convoy was made up of two coaches and fifty cars.

Mr Shillingsworth said the convey was calling for Aboriginal water rights ‘in the vein of the 1960s Freedom Rides’.

Kutcha Edwards and Archie Roach in a scene from Kutcha’s Carpool Koorioke.

Kutcha and his mates take musical journey

Wednesday, 9 October 2019 1:41 pm

A NEW Youtube series has been launched which takes viewers through the streets of Fitzroy in Melbourne on a car ride with some of Australia’s most recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performers.

Kutcha’s Carpool Koorioke, an unashamed take-off of American James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke, features Mutti Mutti songman Kutcha Edwards at the wheel.

Kutcha takes his passengers on musical journeys through Wurundjeri country, deep in Melbourne’s latte belt (Fitzroy and Collingwood).

In series one, which was launched on Youtube on 1 October, Kutcha is joined in the car by Archie Roach, and later Uncle Jack Charles.

Other episodes feature Dan Sultan, Alice Skye, Bart Willoughby, Bunna Lawrie, Emily Wurramara and Elaine Crombie.

Nunukul Yuggera, the winners of last year’s Dance Rites. Picture: Anna Kucera

Dance Rites returns to Opera House

Wednesday, 9 October 2019 1:38 pm

IN November, Australia’s fifth annual national First Nations dance competition Dance Rites returns to the Sydney Opera House Forecourt over two days for a free, cross-generational celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance, language and culture.

Taking place over the weekend of 23-24 November, Dance Rites 2019 will welcome more than 300 performers from all corners of Australia to one of the world’s most spectacular outdoor stages, Bennelong Point. Formerly known as Tubowgule, Bennelong Point has been a meeting place for storytelling, ritual celebration and dance for tens of thousands of years.

The dance groups – many spanning generations and an array of distinctive nations and clans – will travel to Sydney to participate in this event designed to safeguard, revitalise and share First Nations cultural practices impacted by more than 200 years of colonisation. 

Bessie and ‘her girls’ – Firekeepers of Kakadu, one of the films featuring at the Byron Bay Film Festival this month.

Aboriginal films a feature of Byron festival

Wednesday, 9 October 2019 1:36 pm

THIS year’s Byron Bay Film Festival has a strong list of Aboriginal films, including In My Blood it Runs, Warburdar Bununu: Water Shield, Elders and Shame.

Firekeepers of Kakadu, made by Della Golding, of Tweed Heads, a short documentary on Bininj people of Kakadu, who maintain a traditional life, as they have for 65,000 years. As they hunt and forage in preparation for a great food festival, we witness how they continue to balance biodiversity in an unforgiving landscape, and the challenges they face keeping their culture alive.

Byron Bay Film Festival runs from October 18-27 at Palace Byron Bay, Byron Community Centre, Pighouse Flicks, Brunswick Picture House and the Regent Cinema, Murwillumbah.

Shania and Russel learned about puppy care in Kintore.

Remote companion animals are in award-winning hands

Wednesday, 25 September 2019 2:56 pm

ANIMAL Management in Remote and Rural Indigenous Communities (AMRRIC) has received a prestigious award for managing companion animal health in Indigenous communities.

AMRRIC chief executive Dr Brooke Rankmore accepted the Innovation in Rescue award at the Jetpets Companion Animal Rescue Awards ceremony held at the Gold Coast.

“We are a partnership organisation and we’re proud to share this recognition with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and their people, and with our other program partners,” she said. “This award is also a testament to our dedicated staff, volunteers and veterinary program partners, who travel to some of the most remote corners of Australia, working in what are sometimes very challenging conditions.”

AMRRIC, an NT-based not-for-profit organisation, won the award for their One Health program model which recognises the links between human, animal and environmental health and wellbeing.