Statement in response to “lifestyle choices”

We are concerned by the way the Abbott Government’s policies towards Aboriginal peoples serve to continue and enhance their dispossession and colonisation. And, moreover, that bad economic decisions should take precedence over long-lasting Aboriginal practices and relationships to land. The AJDS opposes any moves by the Government to push Aboriginal peoples off their lands, as they are currently supporting the WA Government to do. The capacity for strong Aboriginal family groups, clans and communities is strongly linked to self-determination and connection to country.  Maintaining this connection fortifies the continuation of culture and languages through generations, which is not only of value to Indigenous Australians, but enriches the wider Australian population. Prime Minister Abbott’s talk of ‘lifestyle choice’ fundamentally fails to recognise the relationship between land and people. It has the potential to cause great damage to the aspirations of Indigenous Australians living on country, as well to those who aspire to return to country. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has both a responsibility and obligation to uphold the rights of Indigenous Australians.  The closure of remote Aboriginal communities, both by force and through lack of funding, is in direct violation of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to which Australia is a signatory.  Furthermore, there has been little evaluation of the costs of these proposed closures, no consultation with the people affected, and an inability by State government to address the devastating impacts from past community closures.  The proposal completely ignores the immense value of homeland and regional communities, such as significantly better health indicators. We support the statement by the Aboriginal driven campaign against the forced closures: “The cost of closing remote communities is greater than tackling issues, so instead let’s tackle the issues.”   This is an official statement issued by the AJDS on 26/3/15
A Rabbinic Autumn?<< >>Anti-racism rally, 4 April 2015

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