Protest at the Lobby Restaurant, Invasion Day 2012

Protesting against politicians who rudely and publicly suggest to Aboriginal Australians that they might abandon one of the means of their ongoing struggle – the 40 year old Tent Embassy – seems unacceptable to white colonial Australians and their housies who demand politeness from those whom they oppress. At the Lobby restaurant, protesters from the Tent Embassy were angered by Tony Abbott’s comment made earlier in the day that it was “probably time to move on from that”. In the context of Invasion and Survival Day, nationalist white colonial chest-thumping and four year long criminal Northern Territory Intervention whereby basic human rights of Aboriginal Australians are withdrawn, Abbott’s comment predictably was regarded as offensive.

Mr Anderson said the comments were disrespectful.

“He said the Aboriginal embassy had to go; we heard it on a radio broadcast,” he said.

“We thought no way, so we circled around the building.”

He said the protesters wanted the leaders to clarify their position and whether Mr Abbott was serious about removing the embassy.

“You’ve got 1,000 people here peacefully protesting, and to make a statement about tearing down the embassy – it’s just madness on the part of Tony Abbott.

“What he said amounts to inciting racial riots.

Barbara Shaw, who told Aboriginal Tent Embassy protesters the whereabouts of Opposition leader Tony Abbott at the Lobby, said she did not realise Prime Minister Julia Gillard would be present at the restaurant which protesters later picketed.

Ms Shaw says she couldn’t predict what would happen.

“I don’t regret it at all because nothing came of it,” she said.

“People wanted to make a little bit of noise and that is what they did.”

Ms Shaw says she did not realise the Prime Minister was with the Opposition Leader until after the restaurant incident.

But she says she does not regret telling people where Mr Abbott could be found.

“I basically informed the crowd of his whereabouts and they went,” she said.

“So I’m not responsible for people’s actions.

“It is up to people to do what they want to do.”

An eye witness relates the affair at the Lobby Restaurant.

A contingent of about 100 protesters made their way up the road to The Lobby and surrounded it. Though they were loud and noisy they were non-violent. Security blocked the protesters from getting close to the restaurant for a while but it didn’t take long for a few protesters to break the line and soon the rest had gotten close up against the restaurant’s walls. As the walls of The Lobby are made of glass the protesters could look in and see Mr Abbott and the others pretending not to hear them and, after about ten or fifteen minutes Julia Gillard’s white jacket was recognised and the protesters realised that she was in there along with Mr Abbott.

The aim of the protest had been to get Mr. Abbott to come out and talk to the crowd – now it wanted to get Ms. Gillard to come out and do the same as well. Yet they continued to ignore the protesters, drink champagne and take photos of one another while their constituents tried to get their attention.

A short time later a contingent of riot police and protective service officers arrived at the restaurant. All up there were about 50 to 60 officers there and protesters watched on as a group of about 20 riot police hurtled past them in V-formation, bursting into the restaurant and then locking themselves inside.

When I spoke to Sam she said that the protesters thought the riot police were arranging to form a sort of guard around the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader so that they could come out and talk to the crowd but, as the rest of the media has shown, the riot police’s real objective was to ‘escort’ the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader to their cars.

As more protesters made their way to the restaurant, the riot police charged out the doors, practically dragging Ms Gillard along, while the onlookers began to shout “where are you going?” and “why won’t you talk to us?” As the cars drove off, some people threw plastic water bottles and water at the cars.

At this point things began to get fairly nasty; one protester was knocked into the rose bushes and one gigantic cop started brandishing a can of tear gas or capsicum spray (reports differ on this point) in people’s faces and shoved Sam, another girl and a female photo-journalist in the head. When Sam told him to calm down he reportedly bared his teeth and grinned so widely his eyes nearly popped out of his head; to many on site it was fairly clear that the officer was barely under control.

Then the police began to link arms to form a line against the protesters and the protesters followed suit, ending up with a Mexican standoff. Some of the Indigenous Elders called for the protesters to return to the Tent Embassy but a female Elder began a non-violent sit-down protest in the road just down from the café and soon a line of Indigenous women, female Elders and non-Indigenous women had been formed across the road.

The women declared that they were not going to be intimidated by the police and that they would not move until the police stood down. While some of the other protesters returned to the Tent Embassy, a large group (including some of the Occupy Melbourne contingent) remained to watch on and support their fellow activists until the police eventually gave in and stood down.

As the remaining protesters made their way back to the Tent Embassy they were greeted by applause and the female protesters went through a cleansing smoke ceremony.

Several eye witnesses in the report above confirm there was no violence amongst the protesters, and it was the police who were violent. The white colonial Gubbahs have failed to sanction their own, instead blaming the protesters.

John Passant, another eye witness says:

The cops reacted as they always do when confronted by angry Aboriginal people.

The riot squad and the Prime Minister’s protection unit brutalised the crowd to clear a path for Gillard and Abbott, the two politicians of the Northern Territory invasion, the two politicians of hate, the two politicians of dispossession, the two politicians of aboriginal genocide.

Why is non-violence never expected of settler colonial oppressors?

Abbott now claims he was misconstrued yet his words retain the implication that there is no longer a need for the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.

Mr Abbott said he never suggested it was time for the Aboriginal tent embassy itself to “move on”.

“I was asked a question (and) I made the point, a lot’s happened in 40 years and I think we have moved on from the issues … that caused the Aboriginal tent embassy to be setup,” he said

However, the goals of the Tent Embassy are far from being met.

According to Channel 9 hyperbolic reportage, Australia’s leaders were “shoved” and “pushed” “in a mad dash” to safety.

The only ‘violence’ was caused by police, captured below as police assaulted protesters, despite the reportage playing up a ‘security threat’:

Gingerella shoe

Aboriginal Australians have a long, proud and often ignored tradition of resistance to white settler colonialism.

‘Aboriginal Australians have been no different from the Palestinians in fighting back against ethnic cleansing and settler-colonisation. Our people actually carried out an extensive armed resistance to European settler colonialism. This resistance began the moment Cook set foot on Australian soil in 1770 – the Gweagal people attacked Cook’s landing party with spears and woomeras. From that moment on Aboriginal resistance never ceased.

Prior to Invasion Day 2012, Michael Anderson, the “last survivor of the four young Black Power men who set up the Aboriginal Embassy in 1972” said he had “received intelligence that there is a move to destroy him personally and the Aboriginal sovereignty movement in which he plays a large role”.

Recently, during a visit by my mother and sister to Goodooga, my mother warned me that I need to be very well protected, because the government will find Aboriginal people to cause disruption to the sovereignty movement and threaten my life.

I have a very good idea of where the trouble will come from, as police intelligence is aware of the threat to my life and the sovereignty movement and that the people involved will commence a campaign to first character assassinate me to win support to reject me, thereby nullifying the sovereignty movement, by creating enormous divisions; which would permit the Australian government to say publically: Aborigines will never come together as a united body to fight for their sovereign status.

The First Nations Parliament wishes to return Julia’s shoe, lost during the rush to her vehicle.

Paul Coe, spokesperson for the First Nations Parliament, an organisation which has been re-established as a result of the anniversary celebrations, said Embassy activists were disgusted at the behavior of police.

“We’re appalled at the violence we saw today directed against the Prime Minister, and the tactics police employed to try and intimidate members of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, who were peacefully protesting at a family gathering.

“There was no need for that number of police to be there, or to have that level of menace or intimidation.

“They overreacted without assessing whether or not there was any risk to the Prime Minister. The only violence came from police.

“There was no risk to the Prime Minister of Australia. No-one here would have hurt the Prime Minister. Even the Opposition leader was safe.

“I’d remind the Prime Minister and the Opposition leader that in 1972 the then leader of the Opposition Gough Whitlam and the late Lionel Murphy came and met with us in the tents. They never felt threatened.

“We wish to return the shoe to her as a gesture of friendship and in the spirit of cooperation. We hope she will turn up here tomorrow to accept it in the same spirit.

“It’s to show we mean no harm and will not tolerate any threats or intimidation against the Prime Minister of Australia.

“I am appalled that the Prime Minister felt intimidated or threatened in any way because the Prime Minister of Australia should not have to endure or tolerate any of those kinds of behavior directed at her, be it from police or anyone else.

“The shoe is now a symbol of trust between two nations of people.”

Mr Coe said the First Nations Parliament would be established with a year.

“We’re sending letters out to our lawmen and women asking them to meet with First Nations to convene our parliament and to draft our constitution.”

The organisation came about after meetings at the Tent Embassy celebrations.

“We have re-asserted our First Nation sovereign rights through the re-establishment of the First Nations Parliament (the AP was first formed in 1972),” Mr Coe said.

Julia may have lost a shoe, but Tony lost everything, with his fearful, racist paternalism exposed.


Julia’s shoe has been returned to her via a security guard at Parliament House.


Michael Anderson may not have been too far off the mark, considering the tenor of today’s Australian Editorial, extolling colonial-friendly Aboriginal ‘leaders’ and minimising present Indigenous disadvantage and demands. The editorial censuriously accuses protesters of bullying while tutting about free speech, which the protesters were exercising:

“In short, as Mr Abbott suggested, events have moved beyond the grievances of the tent embassy. The former Labor premier of NSW, Bob Carr, wrote bluntly yesterday that it should be “packed up”. Brave and sensible indigenous leaders such as Warren Mundine and Mick Gooda have observed how the protest has been a blow against free speech. The bullying antics are aimed at silencing opponents. Even if someone had called for the tent embassy to be “torn down”, they should not be met with intimidation. “

Thus do the rightwing appropriate righteous victimhood. The Australian editor bleats blithely onward:

“As Meryl Tankard Reist, Ian Plimer or even Andrew Bolt can attest, the modern illiberal Left seems to care little for free speech unless that speech echoes their views. This is a disturbing tendency that The Weekend Australian will always seek to expose and counter. If Australia Day is to mean anything, we must embrace open minds, free speech and common sense. “

Yet who is responsible for this misleading headline which an average Australian might consider an incitement?

Comment has been sought from Ms Sattler.

Mr Anderson said the Tent Embassy would pursue a legal challenge against the British Government.

He said the embassy had lawyers in London who would take their concerns to the European Court of Human Rights and possibly the International Court of Justice.

”England still has some residual obligation in Australia.

”So what we’re doing now is we’re investigating the legal ramifications of that 1875 Act which recognises when Queen Victoria said she did not claim sovereignty or dominion over Aboriginal lands of this country and the people.

”Our objective is to go after England because they failed to implement their law in this country.”

Mr Anderson said he had been advised that the Tent Embassy had the capacity to sue the British Government in the court system.

Ms Sattler, who was present at Thursday’s protest at the Canberra tent embassy, is yet to address claims she was Mr Hodge’s mystery contact.


Mr Abbott yesterday tried to distance himself from his remarks, saying he did not advocate tearing down the tent embassy.

But conservative think tank Menzies House, co-founded by Mr Abbott’s colleague Cory Bernardi, has set up a petition calling for the embassy’s closure.

Some Aboriginal leaders have condemned the tent embassy activists, describing their behaviour as “appalling”.

But tent embassy co-founder Michael Anderson defended the violent protest and said the embassy was still important to promote Aboriginal rights.

Ms Gillard slammed the ugly scenes on Thursday.

“What I utterly condemn is when protests turn violent the way we saw the violence (on Thursday), and particularly disrupting an event which was to honour some extraordinary Australians,” she said.

Opposition attack dog Christopher Pyne said he would be surprised if Mr Hodges acted alone.

Activists from Canberra’s tent embassy were furious with Mr Abbott after wrongly believing he had called for the protest camp to be disbanded.

They rushed a nearby restaurant upon hearing Mr Abbott was inside.

Earlier, radio presenter Ray Hadley reported a staffer to Ms Gillard had rung Aboriginal tent embassy protester Barbara Shaw, or another protester, that Mr Abbott had called for the embassy to be torn down.

“Once she was told that, she was also told Mr Abbott was across the road (and) ‘maybe you can give them a bit of a liven up’,” the 2GB presenter told his audience.

The statement from Ms Gillard’s office did not address the allegation that Mr Hodges sought to inform tent embassy activists of Mr Abbott’s alleged comments.

Mr Abbott earlier declared he’d been “verballed”, saying he had not said the tent embassy should be removed.

“I never said that and I don’t think that,” he said.

“I made the point that a lot has happened in 40 years and I think that we have moved on from the issues of 40 years ago which caused the Aboriginal tent embassy to be set up.”

Ms Shaw, who told the protesters Mr Abbott wanted the tent embassy disbanded, said she heard of Mr Abbott’s comments from “a fly on the wall”.

Related Links

Australia Day shame

After Ms Gillard was bundled into a waiting car and whisked away, a protester displayed one of Ms Gillard’s blue high-heel shoes, which had fallen off during her hasty exit, and shouted: ”Gingerella, come get your shoe!”

A day for celebration, not a day to dwell : vacuous patronisation by a Gubbah or migaloo sharing Abbott’s mindset

White supremacist alert – Darrin Hodges touting housie Mundine as a valid representative of Indigenous Australians.
It is right to be angry; it is right to protest – land rights now!
Abbott says Tent Embassy should remain

Senior indigenous leaders such as social justice commissioner Mick Gooda and Warren Mundine are dismayed at what happened on Thursday,

but a tent embassy organiser called them “handpicked puppets” who did not represent grassroots Aboriginal people.

Michael Anderson, the last surviving member of the original four that established the tent embassy in 1972, denied the ugly protest had set back the indigenous movement.

“You fellas can … dwell on that and stay there, but right now we’re passed that,” he said.

“We’re over it, so get over it and move on.”

Davies’ article marred by incorrect designation of Australian Aboriginals as ‘Aborigines’ – (see Luke L. Pearson’s article) Aussie Day ‘riot’: perspective and balance hard to find

The protest was not violent. It was certainly rowdy and confronting. The protesters chanted loudly and angrily, and some beat time on the glass walls of the restaurant. There was some pushing and shoving as the VIP cars finally moved out. Police on the day said there were “scuffles” and no arrests would be made.

You know there has never been any compensation, nor has the legal situation fundamentally changed. The contemptuous white attitude of the past persists today in the intervention in the Northern Territory, which was imposed by Tony Abbott’s party and continued by the Prime Minister’s party.

The intervention blatantly belies Abbott’s and Gillard’s claims that things are better than 40 years ago and that most Australians have respect for Indigenous people. Respect would involve looking together for a way forward, not draconian and racist income management and displacement from traditional country.

Change Australia Day: Mansell Mr Mansell said Aboriginal people would support any date other than January 26.

‘No evidence of criminal act’: AFP will not investigate disclosure of Abbott’s location

In a statement issued today, Ms Sattler said the News Ltd reports were “inaccurate”.

“As I said in my statement yesterday, Tony Hodges from the Prime Minister’s office told me what Tony Abbott had said – that people should ‘move on’ from the tent embassy,” she said.

“Yesterday the Prime Minister gave an accurate account of my role.”

End the Racist Intervention Insist Northern Territory Elders and Community Representatives

Statement by Northern Territory Elders and Community Representatives – No More! Enough is Enough!

Melbourne 4 November, 2011

United First People’s Law men and women who are born leaders representing people of Prescribed Areas in the Northern Territory make this statement. Once again, they have gathered to openly discuss the future of our generation who have been subjugated by the lies and innuendo of the Federal Government, set out in the Stronger Futures document (October 2011).

The Stronger Futures report has created a lot of anger and frustration due to the lack of process and the ignorant way in which the views of the people have been reported. We therefore reject this report.

We will not support an extension of the Intervention legislation. We did not ask for it. In fact we call for a genuine Apology from the Federal Government for the hurt, embarrassment, shame and stigma, and for the illegal removal of the Racial Discrimination Act. It is our intention to officially call upon Government for reparation.

The recent consultations report shows that Government has failed to take seriously our concerns and feelings. This report is simply a reflection of pre-determined policy decisions. This is shown clearly by the absence of any commitment to bilingual learning programmes as well as the proposal to introduce welfare cuts and fines to parent of non-attending school children. Once again a punitive policy that is neither in the best interests of the child or the family.

Blanket measures have been central to the Northern Territory Intervention and have been the source of much distress. Where there are problems, they must be addressed on a case by case basis and preferably with the assistance through the appropriate community channels.

Since August 2007 till 2011, more than 45,000 First Nations Peoples living in the Prescribed Areas were traumatised when a Bill was passed through both Houses of Parliament (The House of Representatives and the Senate).

This legislation suspended the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 to put in place the Northern Territory Emergency Response. The Australian Greens were the only party to oppose the legislation.

These actions have placed Australia in breach of its international treaty obligations to the First Nations Peoples. Respectful discussion and negotiation with community elders did not take place before the introduction of the Intervention.

Discussions on a diplomatic basis are essential. There are elders in every Aboriginal Nation invested by the authority of the majority. These are the people with whom Minister Macklin should be negotiating, rather than with the chosen few, as has been her habit.

There has NEVER been acquiescence in the taking of our lands by stealth. Aboriginal people are sovereign people of this Nation. The process that will lead to legal recognition of customary law should be immediately commenced.

We believe that there should be an honest and comprehensive treaty negotiation with the Australian Government and facilitated by the United Nations.

We have a right under international law to self determination and after almost five years of the oppression of the Intervention, we demand that Government hand back to us control over our communities and provide adequate Government, long-term funding to ensure the future of Homelands.

Community Councils have suffered from years of underfunding. The same is happening today with the Shires that have been imposed on us. There is a lack of funding for our Core Service.There is no capacity for Aboriginal communities to engage in long-term services planning without the certainty of long-term funding.

We have had enough! We need our independence to live our lives and plan our futures without the constant oppression and threats which have become central to the relationship between Government and Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. We will not support policies that have not been negotiates with all elders of Prescribed communities and we will not support an extension of the Intervention, or an Intervention under other names.

Since the Apology and since reconciliation, the level of incarceration of Aboriginal men has increased three-fold; our families are being punished for failure to attend a foreign school design; our capacity to govern our own lives has been totally disempowered; Aboriginal youth suicide rates in the Northern Territory are higher than anywhere else in Australia; and our people have been demonized, labelled and branded. This is not what an apology is and it is not reconciliation. These outcomes are the very opposite to their intent.

Australia is in breach of its international treaty obligations to the first nation’s people through it membership to the United Nations in the elimination of racial discrimination.

We as leaders of the Northern Territory acknowledge other peoples’ views. We acknowledge that some may agree and some may disagree with parts or all of the ‘intervention’; whatever the name the Government chooses to call it. The only right we now have left is to remain silent.

We as Aboriginal people call on the international community to hold Australia to account for its continuing crimes against humanity for its treatments of its first nation’s people. Again, we say to our visits by the Minister’s department; this is not consultation. Proper consultation is about listening and inviting and including the views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Consultation is about outcomes that are progressive and agreeable to all parties.

The future is based on our children having a quality education, but to date this continues to be a systemic failure. A quality education for our people needs to include:
• Bilingualism in schools to be returned and strengthened to ensure our children learn their traditional languages, dialects and cultural knowledges.
• Attendances need to be rewarded, rather than children and families being punished for non-attendance.
• Aboriginal teachers in classrooms and school educational leadership roles are essential to building quality, localized schooling programs. This means also equal pay and entitlements, rewards and opportunities consistent with their important roles.
• Curriculum needs to change and reflect traditional knowledges not just for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, but importantly for the broader Australian population who know very little about their own first peoples.
• Aboriginal teachers need to be treated fairly and equally to their non-Aboriginal counterparts in delivering quality education to our children. This includes the opportunity to tell oral stories of Kinship, Creation Stories, and about important cultural knowledge and skills.

Failure to accept these views and work seriously toward their inclusion will simply mean more of the same.

Rev. Dr. Djiniyini Gondarra OAM
Rosalie Kunoth-Monks OAM
Japata Ryan
Harry Nelson
Djapirri Murunggirritj
Barbara Shaw
Yananymul Mununggurr


Greens Senator Rachel Siewert: “The Government’s Stronger Futures Consultation Report wasn’t surprising, but it was deeply disappointing.”

Other relevant Statements.

Aboriginal Elders statement: 7th Feb 2011



Basic Rights not BasicsCard – Address to the Say No to Income Management Rally, Bankstown, 6th October 2011 Dr John Falzon – or watch the Video

Rev. Dr. Djiniyini Gondarra full response to Minister Jenny Macklin

Joint letter by Alastair Nicholson QC and others full response to Minister Jenny Macklin

Rt Hon. Malcolm Fraser full response to Minister Jenny Macklin

Related Links

SBS: Elders voice anger over NT intervention
“Statement by Northern Territory Elders and Community Representatives – No More! Enough is Enough!”

Aboriginals Are 13 Times More Likely To Be Incarcerated

Prison rates down, but not enough

Australia’s prison population is decreasing. But it’s a little too early to break out the champagne. The huge regional differences reveal that imprisonment is not based on the crime you commit, but the preferences of your local politicians.

The latest statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that 4% fewer people are locked up now than last year.

At first sight, this finally looks like some good news, as the general trend since the mid-eighties has been one of relentlessly rising imprisonment rates. But we need to take stock of the mad ride we have been on over this period in which the number of people behind bars increased exponentially from 86 per 100,000 adult population in 1984 to 165 in 2011.

A costly and unequal policy

And it’s an expensive business: according to the Productivity Commission, the real net operating expenditure per prisoner per day was $207 in 2009-10. There seems to have been no brake on the enthusiasm for imprisonment and it has sometimes been argued that rich western countries like Australia simply imprison as much as they do because they can.

And there seems to be no substantial sign of good news on one of the most important and intractable problems in regard to imprisonment in Australia. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners remain grossly over-represented making up a quarter (26%) of all prisoners while they only constitute 2% of the total Australian population.

Australia is not alone in this dangerous imprisonment spending spree – we are part of a global wave spreading across most of the developed world with only a few exceptions.

Around the world

The US is the unconquerable winner of this race: the rate of imprisonment in the US has increased seven fold since 1973 and stands at present at 743 per 100,000 of the total population. From here on we will use this more standard measure of imprisonment rates which uses total population as the denominator (and not just adult population).

Increases have also been substantial in other Anglo-Saxon countries such as England and Wales (152), and New Zealand (199). The Australian rate when measured per 100,000 population is 128.

Although there have also been increases in imprisonment in several mainland European jurisdictions, their imprisonment rates fluctuate around 100 and remain relatively stable (France: 102, Belgium 97), or are even decreasing (Germany 85). The Netherlands are a particularly interesting case as they witnessed a rapid increase of their imprisonment rates over the last decades – from a rate of 49 in 1992 up to 123 in 2004 – but recently experienced a significant fall of their prison numbers (decline to 94). This resulted in overcapacity in their prisons, which they have rented out to accommodate Belgian prisoners; haven’t they always been smart traders, these Dutch men?

Further, the Scandinavian countries remain the poster child in this field managing to keep their prison populations consistently low (Finland 59, Sweden 78) even in our current era characterised by punitive populism.

These differences clearly demonstrate that imprisonment rates are not just a fait accompli, but that they result out of choices, made at several levels of the criminal justice process.

What is the point of prison?

So it is time to ask ourselves – and our governments – what do we have to show for it? Or how effective is our imprisonment policy? Although crime rates are also going down, can this drop in volume crime be attributed to the enthusiasm to put people behind bars?

Over the last decade, and in reaction to David Garlands’ publication of the “Culture of Control” (2001), in which he analyses crime control and criminal justice system in the UK/US over the last 30 years, various wise people have looked into this question.

There seems to be a consensus that imprisonment rates vary independently from crime rates, and that in many countries the increases in the prison population have started during a period of sustained decrease in crime rates, or when crime rates remained stable.

So, if this is the case, what can explain this extraordinary expenditure of public funds on a somewhat medieval remedy to the many and varied forms of crime in modern society?

According to many scholars focusing on this issue over the past decade, higher imprisonment rates can be linked to a combination of the following variables: the lack of a strong welfare model; a bi-partisan political model; a common law system; fear of crime; lack of trust in the government and; the presence of minorities who are considered as being problematic.

Regional differences

While one could state that some of these characteristics apply to Australia, why then are there such differences between the states? How is it that, according to the most recent figures, the Northern Territory ends up with an imprisonment rate of 719, Western Australia with 262, New South Wales with 179, while this is only 105 in Victoria?

The states in Australia appear to reflect in microcosm the variety of imprisonment rates observed across the rest of the developed world bearing no particular relation to underlying crime rates but rather policy preferences.

The way ahead

So where do we go from here? Interesting in that respect is the recent popularity of Justice Reinvestment initiatives, originating in the US, and using the funds that are normally spent on imprisoning people, to improve local services addressing the underlying causes of crime.

This might be worth considering and has clearly caught the imagination of many who are pushing for meaningful improvements in this area.

At the very least we should be asking whether we are getting value for money out of imprisonment when it comes to preventing crime, presumably its primary justification.

We need to perhaps review the “open cheque book” approach and look at what we get as a return on our investment.

However outrage over crime means that there will never be any shortage of demand for imprisonment. It then becomes a question of restraint.

But selling the benefits of that in today’s heady emotive media-dominated political environment, provides the proverbial challenge of selling refrigerators to Eskimos.

Hilde Tubex, Future Fellow, Crime Research Centre at University of Western Australia and David Indermaur, Associate Professor, Crime Research Centre at University of Western Australia

This article was originally published at The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Related Links

When freedom is fatal: the preventable deaths of recently released prisoners

Reconciliation Week 2011

Remember Eddie Mabo

Move on down the road
it leads to social justice
no more broken promises
Sing up Eddie Mabo.

Always blaming the victim
Still suffering curable disease
Time to end the genocide
remember Eddie Mabo.

Migaloo, keep your promises
cooperation or divided nation,
with the Land there’s hope
sing up Eddie Mabo.

Time for reconciliation
no more procrastination
move on down the road
remember Eddie Mabo.

Bureaucrats keep changing rules
for racist redneck fools
But Eddie Mabo knew the way
the true meaning of the Land.

Jinjirrie 1993

Eddie Koiki Mabo (c. 29 June 1936 – 21 January 1992)[1] was a Torres Strait Islander who is known for his role in campaigning for Indigenous land rights and for his role in a landmark decision of the High Court of Australia that overturned the legal fiction of terra nullius which characterised Australian law with regards to land and title.

@AboriginalOz It’s the last day of #ReconciliationWeek & exactly 1 year away from the 20th Anniversary of the Mabo Decision. 1 year to get the Vibe back! #

Invasion Day 2011

On “Australia Day” many Australians project yobboish nationalism and drape themselves in the flag US-style, while the self-appointed elite sneer at the ‘bogans’ and ‘bevans’. Yet elitism is another form of the purulent racism with which Australia is infested, a miasm from the colonial aristocracy with roots in British class structure along with a more recent infection from the US ‘Me, me, me’ consumerist culture which values money, power and capitalist competition over community and cooperation.

At my place, we think of Australia Day as Invasion Day, the anniversary of the day our indigenous people saw white sails on the horizon, bringing Little England and its vapid social class structure, filthy diseases and other introduced species and destructive agricultural methods. This is my poem/song about the colonialists’ invasion of Australia.

Blow the Winds

Five years gone since my mate left home
he purchased his ticket to slavery
consigned him to another land
to wait for me in purgatory.
His pretty girl cried silken tears
sent to the gallows with cotton in her ears
they said she lied by the Rule of Law
born and bred a gypsy woman.

I’ll be going now, and I’ll see you soon
Sailing beneath the rising moon,
I’ll look for you in Melbourne town,
and there’s never been a heart so torn.

I stole an heiress in a field one morn
My heart’s in tatters and my hopes are gone,
In 1825, cold and wet and barely alive
I miss my woman and the babes she’s borne,
Fated to hang by a weeping judge,
Now sailing on the winds of scorn.

Blow the winds and fill the sails
take us to hell in New South Wales
The hulks are full in England
with many more like me
Bound to be Australians
with ironclad guarantees.

Me life’s not me own, I’m a Government man,
don’t remember when me term began,
the squatter’s chains rattle in me bones
to please the whims of the English throne.

Thrown into the white man’s cell
for laughin’ late and givin’ ‘em hell,
grabbed by the coppers, ripped from the land
no white fella can understand.
In 1985 another Murri suicides,
and there’s plenty more in Australia
of scoundrels such as me
Australia would be better off
if we’d hung on English trees.

Jin Jirrie

Palestine / Israel Links

Palestine Papers reveal limits of Israeli power
Condoleezza Rice: send Palestinian refugees to South America
US threat to Palestinians: change leadership and we cut funds
Livni: A lawyer ‘against law’? “Livni: I was the Minister of Justice. I am a lawyer… But I am against law – international law in particular. Law in general.”
Expelling Israel’s Arab population? Israeli negotiators, including Tzipi Livni, proposed “swapping” some of Israel’s Arab villages into a Palestinian state.
Rice: US army presence in Iraq protects Israel
Condoleezza Rice: send Palestinian refugees to South America
CFMEU & ASU support Marrickville
Palestine Papers: Why there will never be a State of Palestine
Boycott and I Choke
15 Hamas members arrested by PA
‘Haaretz’: it’s beginning to feel a lot like apartheid
US calls Israeli probe of flotilla raid ‘impartial’ – what a joke – the US tyrants back the Israeli tyrants’ lies
PA admits the memos are authentic; anger grows in the occupied territories and refugee camps across the region
Hamas initiates urgent consultations with Palestinian factions
Palestinian embassy to open in Ireland
@avinunu The criteria for obtaining US support is not whether you are democrat or dictator, but whether you are pro or anti US imperialism. #
Democracy under threat over EI funding, Dutch groups say
Lizzy Ratner: Detailing the Goldstone Report
Urge US Not to Veto Israeli Settlements Resolution
Possible source of Palestine papers leak

Other Links

Protesters take over Tahrir Sq
Obama may get power to shut down Internet without court oversight
From Nasserism to collaboration
Jan 25th Coverage.. the beginning (Part1) – photos
After Tunisia: Obama’s Impossible Dilemma in Egypt