BUSLOADS of university students have converged on Alice Springs to support indigenous people seeking an end to the Federal Government’s intervention in the Northern Territory.
Students from Queensland, NSW and South Australia travelled to Central Australia this week for a meeting on the Northern Territory Emergency Response, more commonly known as the intervention, and its effects on Aborigines.
Only a handful of Aborigines, most of whom were speakers, attended the four-day meeting. An organiser said recent rain had dampened attendance.
Organiser John Hartley asked the audience of about 200 to help inform the wider community about Aboriginal culture and the people’s struggles under the intervention, now in its third year.
“The intervention is economically forcing people away from their country,” he said.
“Your political battle needs to support our cultural battle.”
Bev Manton, from the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, said Australians could talk about the intervention all they liked, but it wouldn’t change a thing.
“The intervention was a knee-jerk reaction to the Little Children Are Sacred Report,” she told the meeting.
“We need to make ourselves heard at an international level to embarrass the Federal Government.”
Students spoke about the inequality of alcohol and pornography bans imposed only on Aboriginal communities.
Organisers say they will use information gathered at the meeting to hold a law and culture meeting, including every language group in Australia, in Port Augusta in SA later this year.