A new documentary that aims to expose the racism behind the NT intervention screened in Surry Hills on August 13.
This is Our Country Too takes the controversial 2007 Northern Territory Intervention as its starting point as it investigates Australia’s treatment of indigenous peoples and depicts their struggle for justice, equality and self-determination.
Presented by Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney, the 59-minute film from director/producer Ishmahil Blagrove, Jr features interviews with prominent Aboriginal leaders Pat Turner, Charlie Perkins, Pat Dodson, actor/artist David Gulpilil and Minister of Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin, as it poses the question: How will Australia reconcile with indigenous people’
Despite the review of the NT intervention currently being conducted, the Federal Government recently extended the welfare quarantine by another year in the four communities first brought under the scheme. It has also made clear its intention to refuse services to communities considered “unviable”, leaving many fearing imminent dispossession.
Walter Shaw, a young Aboriginal activist from Mt Nancy town camp, a ‘prescribed area’ in Alice Springs, and Redfern community leader Shane Phillips, featured in the film.
Shaw spoke of how the intervention has impacted on people’s lives.
‘The intervention has made many social problems worse because it hasn’t dealt with the underlying problems but it has stripped us of our rights,’ he said.
‘We are experiencing heavy-handed approaches by local police. They can walk into our houses to look for alcohol and porn without telling us they are coming. We are totally disempowered.’
According to Shaw, the intervention is also having a negative impact on older people who do not understand the income management cards and what to do, and are finding it difficult to access their full pensions.
‘I would like the government to repeal the intervention, restore the Racial Discrimination Act and the permit system and adopt a co-operative approach in consultation with the NT government and the communities,’ he said.
This is Our Country Too is a riceNpeas film. Founded in 1999, riceNpeas is an independent film production company that specialises in social documentaries, guerilla journalism and thought-provoking film.
Visit http://www.ricenpeas.com/docs/this_is_our_country_too.html for more information.