This morning on Let’s Talk we have three strong ladies from the Grandmothers Against Removals group in New South Wales – Gomeroi women Sue Ellen Tighe, Jennifer Swan and Debbie Swan.
They have been campaigning to halt the ever increasing rates of Aboriginal child removal in New South Wales – and it’s personal.
Both Sue Ellen and Jennifer have been trying to get their grandchildren back, while Debbie worked in the NSW child protection system for 13 years and knows the system both from the inside and outside.
Kate Beaumont is President of the National Welfare Rights Network, the peak community organisation in social security law, policy and administration.
We discussed the cashless debit card, or ‘Healthy Welfare Card’ which was rushed through federal Parliament this week. The card quarantines 80 percent of a person’s welfare payment onto a debit card, which they can’t use for alcohol, gambling or cash transactions.
It will be rolled out in the majority-Aboriginal population of Ceduna in South Australia. The NWRN has real concerns about the logistics and lack of information surrounding the card.
For more information on NWRN, click here.
Marc Newhouse is from Death in Custody Watch WA, and joined Amy McQuire on the programme to talk about the death in custody of Yamitji woman Julieka Dhu, who passed away in a South Hedland watchhouse after being jailed for $1000 in unpaid parking fines.
After a year of campaigning, Ms Dhu’s family have secured a coronial inquest, which kicks off on Friday October 23rd. Death in Custody Watch WA is running a crowd-funding campaign in order to have a presence at the inquest, to not only support the family but also bare witness to what happens.
The group is a non-for-profit and receives no government funding. It relies solely on the generosity on its supporters and members of the public.
To support Death in Custody Watch WA’s campaign, click here.
Gomeroi man Daryn McKenna helped found the Miramaa Aboriginal Language and Technology Centre, with the Street Warriors’ Abie Wright back in 2003. It’s based in Newcastle, and began as a way to revitalise and preserve the Awabakal language. In those 10 years, the centre has spearheaded the use of the Miramaa programme, which provides a tool for Indigenous communities across the nation, and the world, to help revitalise endangered languages.
The Miramaa centre also hosts the bi-annual Puliima National Indigenous Languages and Technology Forum, which begins this week in Melbourne.
For more info on the forum, click here.
Amy McQuire spoke to Melinda Hammond, the Nutrition Team Leader at the Apunipima Cape York Health Council. We spoke about ‘food insecurity’ or the ‘diet of the poor’ – the hidden hunger affecting Cape York.
Apunipima provides health services to 11 communities in Cape York.
You can find out more here.
Stephen Kinnane is a Miriuwung academic and a researcher from the University of Notre Dame. Dr Kinnane’s grandmother was forced onto one of the largest government-run institutions in Western Australia – Moore River Native Settlement, where she had up to 75 percent of her wage or payment ‘managed’.
She is one of thousands of Aboriginal workers who had their money stolen under a form of slavery. It wasn’t only wages, but also child endowments, pensions and maternity payments. Earlier this year, ABC’s Background Briefing programme revealed the Barnett government had sat on a report recommending $71 million be paid out in compensation to Aboriginal people who had their payments withheld. They sat on it for 4 years before announcing a scheme which allocated $2000 individual payments, for in some cases, a lifetime of stolen wages. Many missed out because the requirements were too restrictive.
The Aboriginal Legal Service of WA is currently considering a class action.
We spoke to Dr Kinnane from Perth.
If you’d like more information – check out ABC’s Background Briefing.
Aimee McVeigh is a human rights lawyer with experience working with Aboriginal women and children in both the Northern Territory and Queensland. She is currently involved in a campaign which is pushing the Labor government to legislate for a Human Rights Act, to act as a ‘safety net’ ensuring governments must consider the rights of all Queenslanders before it passes laws.
Labor has already committed to a parliamentary inquiry, and now Ms McVeigh says there is a real opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to push for certain rights – one of these rights is the right to self-determination, which Victoria is seriously considering including in its own human rights legislation.
For more information – check out the campaign’s website or Facebook page at:
On Let’s Talk this morning we spoke to Jiman and Bundjalung traumatologist Prof Judy Atkinson about the work has she has been doing for three decades now in the area of Family Violence. It comes in the wake of the $100 million package to combat domestic violence announced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. But Prof Atkinson says there is a need for a different approach for First Nations community, one based in a knowledge of trauma.
October is Dwarfism Awareness Month and we had a studio full of guests- Chris Cruickshanks, a short statured entertainer and actor, David Jonker and his Gamilaroi son Jack, who both have a rare form of dwarfism, joined by wife and mother, Gamilaroi woman Elizabeth Tailby. We also had Birri Gubba woman Yarraka Bayles, who’s four-year-old son Quaden Jnr was born with dwarfism, and Koori woman Stephanie Short, who’s three-year-old son was also born with dwarfism. Stephanie and Yarraka set up Dwarfism Awareness Australia. Stephanie is the President, while Yarraka is the Indigenous consultant.
If you want to find out more about dwarfism, please visit the following sites:
Tiga and Amy kick off the programme speaking to the 2015 Young Environmentalist of the Year Amelia Telford, a 21-year-old Bundjalung and South Sea Islander woman from Tweed Heads. Amelia is also the founder and national director of Seed, the Indigenous climate action network (www.seedmob.org.au).
We also are joined by Human Rights Law Centre lawyer Ruth Barson, who has written to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Her concerns follow a report by the Northern Territory’s Children’s Commissioner Dr Howard Bath into the Don Dale Detention Centre in Darwin. Dr Bath found teenagers at the centre had been tear gassed in their cells, had hoods placed over their heads, and some were held in solitary confinement for longer than 17 days.
Amy McQuire speaks to Tapee Salee and David Byrne from the Apudthama Land Trust in Injinoo, at the top of Cape York. We yarn about self-governance, and how the community is trying to wrestle back control following the controversial amalgamations under Queensland’s Beattie government.
Paul Daley is a Walkley award winning journalist and currently works for The Guardian Australia, where he runs the Postcolonial blog. His work centres around breaking the mythology of Australian history, and he is particularly outraged over the snubbing of Aboriginal history. His piece The Bone Collectors can be read here: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/14/aboriginal-bones-being-returned-australia
Tiga and Amy discuss the ramifications of new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s announcement that his government would commit a $100 million package to reduce Domestic Violence. Will this reach the ground in Aboriginal communities?
After a long hiatus, Aunty Lilla Watson and Aunty Mary Graham join Tiga Bayles to discuss Aboriginal affairs and take it out of the ‘white frame of reference’.
Danny Teece Johnson is a Gomeroi journalist for NITV National News. He is passionate about using his video camera as a weapon to fight for his people. Today he joined Tiga and Amy to talk about his recent stories looking at suicide prevention and breaking the silence on Family Violence in our communities.
Amnesty International’s Tammy Solonec joins Tiga Bayles and Amy McQuire to discuss the WA government’s strengthening of youth mandatory detention, which could result in a jump in Aboriginal juvenile detention rates. For more information on Amnesty’s campaign against the home burglary bill, see here: http://www.amnesty.org.au/indigenous-rights/comments/37904/
Alexis Wright is a Waanyi woman from the Gulf of Carpentaria, and one of Australia’s best writers. She won the most prestigious award for literature – the Miles Franklin award – for her novel Carpentaria in 2007. She has since published The Swan Book and is working on a memoir of the legendary Tracker Tilmouth. She joined Tiga and Amy to talk about Aboriginal storytelling, and the future of our people.
Tiga Bayles and Amy McQuire talk to Sol Bellear, Chair of Redferm Aboriginal Medical Service and Consultant to NSW Aboriginal Land Council
Chris Graham is the owner and editor of New Matilda. He is the former managing editor of Tracker magazine and the National Indigenous Times, was the Associate Producer of John Pilger’s documentary Utopia, and is a Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist.
Tiga Bayles and Amy McQuire talk with developmental psychologist Professor Michael Chandler from the University of British Columbia.