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21st February
2008
  

Broadcast Discrimination...

Banning Aborigines from 18 rated pay TV

Aborigine woman with a beer The Australian Federal Government has taken another step in discriminating against the Northern Territory's Aboriginal communities.

The Government has introduced a bill to amend the Broadcasting Services Act with a view to preventing pay television licensees providing channels containing R-rated programs to areas prescribed under the Commonwealth intervention.

The Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin says it addresses concerns raised by Aboriginal people in the Little Children Are Sacred report about the exposure of children to pornography.

The Minister says there'll be consultation with communities that want R-rated material restricted before action is taken.

The possession, control and supply of pornography is already banned in Aboriginal communities and town camps under the emergency response legislation passed last year.

 

18th September
2008
  

Aboriginal Abuse...

Another attempt to ban Aboriginal access to pay TV

Aborigine woman with a beer The federal opposition wants access to pornographic pay-TV programs banned from Aboriginal communities.

The coalition will use the Senate to press for the ban even though the Rudd government had already rejected a similar proposal in the House of Representatives.

South Australian Liberal senator Cory Bernardi claimed watching pornography led to child abuse.

The coalition supports a blanket ban on pornography on pay TV, he told the Senate during a debate on a government bill which deals with aspects of the Northern Territory intervention.

The coalition also believed the permit system, which traditionally had restricted access to remote Aboriginal communities, had not worked. The system was abandoned by the previous Howard government during its dramatic intervention into the Northern Territory's remote indigenous communities last year. The government is seeking to restore the system.

Senator Bernardi criticised the need for journalists to obtain ministerial approval before visiting certain communities. Problems within those communities could be addressed, if people knew about them.

 

12th November
2008
  

Update: Aboriginal Abuse...

The discriminatory Aborigine porn ban lives on

Aborigine woman with a beer Northen Territory Aborigines have been made to feel repugnant by the Federal Government's intervention, with restrictions like income quarantining a boot in the guts, says the man who headed the government review into the policy.

Peter Yu, chairman of the Northern Territory Emergency Response Review Board, said many indigenous people found the intervention punitive, coercive and racist.

Earlier this month, his board reported to the Government that controversial restricted welfare payments to Aborigines in the Territory, which require the suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act, should be abolished. It also recommended the reinstatement of permit systems for entry onto Aboriginal lands.

But the Government has opted to keep the intervention operating unchanged for at least the next year.

See also Aboriginal pawns in nanny state's porn game from theaustralian.news.com.au

These bans on pornography damaged Aboriginal culture in a very devious way. They told white Australians that black Australians were so primitive and so base that even depictions of non-violent adult sex had the potential to turn them into pedophiles and rapists.

Much of what the Howard government banned from these communities was category 1 restricted magazines, which are legally available from every newsagency, service station and convenience store in the country. If Aborigines cannot manage to control their lust while viewing magazines that sit alongside The Australian Women's Weekly in a newsagent, what sort of people are they?

Nowhere in the original Little Children are Sacred report did the authors call for bans on porn. This approach was white conservative Christian policy. The report's authors wanted more education and enforcement of the Classification Act in the NT. They knew that bans on porn in Aboriginal communities would simply say to the general public that they had a genetic predisposition to sexual assault when confronted with nudity and sexual activity. The report even stated that bans on pornography would not be effective.

In case Howard and Kevin Rudd have missed it, Aborigines had been walking around the continent without clothes on and watching others have sex out of the corner of their eye for more than 50,000 years without a problem. Yet as a result of the intervention, Aborigines in the NT are being unfairly discriminated against, both as a matter of social equity and of racial equality.

The original report that lead to the intervention stated that young children were being shown sexually explicit material in an inappropriate fashion. This was largely because many Aboriginal adults had no idea that it was an offence to do so, but mainly because of serious overcrowding. How do you watch a sexually explicit film in private when there are 30 people living in a dwelling?

 

22nd May
2009
  

Update: Continued Discrimination...

Discriminatory laws against porn to be reviewed

Australia: Northen Territories flag Australia is reviewing its discriminatory laws targeted against aboriginal communities. Proposals are designed to bring aspects of the intervention in line with racial discrimination laws.

The federal and Northern Territory racial discrimination acts were suspended by the Howard government in 2007 to make way for elements of the intervention, but the Rudd Government has committed to reinstating them this year. Human rights groups, indigenous activists and elements of the Labor Party had agitated for the change.

The Government released a discussion paper yesterday outlining the changes it would consider to controversial measures such as compulsory welfare quarantining, alcohol and pornography bans and compulsory leases over townships.

Pornography bans would be continued where a resident of a community requested them. But they could be relaxed if the minister was satisfied there was no evidence of sexual abuse occurring in the past 12 months, or of children being exposed to pornography.

 

8th July
2009
  

Update: Underwhelmed by Discriminatory Legislation...

So has a porn ban cured Aboriginal society woes?

Australia: Northen Territories flag Only a handful of people have been prosecuted for possessing pornography in Northern Territory Indigenous communities, where the explicit material is banned.

The ban was one of a raft of measures, including alcohol restrictions, introduced in remote communities when the federal intervention was initiated in 2007.

The Darwin Magistrates Court today heard that only a handful of people have faced court for having the material under intervention laws. The ABC understands the number is as low as five.

 

28th August
2009
  

Update: Human Rights Go Walkabout...

UN finds Australia breaches human rights in discriminatory laws against Aborigines

UN logo Australia breached international obligations on human and indigenous rights by imposing radical restrictions on Aborigines during a crackdown on child abuse in Outback communities, a United Nations expert said.

James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on indigenous human rights, said a 12-day fact-finding tour of Australia revealed that the Aboriginal minority still suffers from entrenched racism.

His comments came as the government launched its latest attempt to address the inequality, ill health and poverty among Australia's 500,000 indigenous people. The government said it would set up a national representative body this year to advise it on policies relating to Aborigines.

Anaya, a University of Arizona human rights law professor, said he was particularly concerned by restrictions imposed on Aborigines in the Northern Territory in response to a 2006 government-commissioned report that found child sex abuse was rampant in remote indigenous communities.

The government suspended its own anti-discrimination law so it could ban alcohol and hardcore pornography in Aboriginal communities and restrict how Aborigines spend their welfare cheques. The restrictions do not apply to Australians of other races.

These measures overtly discriminate against Aboriginal peoples, infringe their right of self-determination and stigmatise already stigmatised communities, Anaya said. The measures were too broad and had been imposed for too long, despite a lack of evidence that the ban on alcohol had reduced alcohol abuse, he said.

The restrictions were incompatible with Australia's obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, he said.

Nutters voice a rather predicable solution to the discrimination

28th August 2009. Based on article from au.christiantoday.com

ACL logo Bans on X-rated pornography in Northern Territory indigenous communities should be extended to all Australian communities, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) said.

ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said that rather than lifting critically needed bans on pornography in NT communities in response to United Nation concerns that they are discriminatory, the bans needed to be applied across Australia so that they assist all communities badly affected by pornography.

The Little Children Are Sacred report released by the NT Government in June 2007 identified pornography as one of the main drivers of an epidemic of sexual abuse which included the rape of babies and a case of a 17-year-old forcing younger children to watch pornography and then act it out, Wallace said.

It once and for all put paid to suggestions that pornography isn't harmful to children.

Given the way pornography helped fuel documented cases of sexual abuse in NT indigenous communities it would be irresponsible in the extreme to put more children at risk by lifting the pornography bans there.

However, there is certainly a case to be made that the bans are discriminatory when this situation wouldn't be confined to indigenous communities. There would be many other communities in Australia - even some in our major cities - which are isolated by lack of opportunity and social disadvantage and would be as badly affected by pornography. Surely all children need protecting.

Wallace called on the Federal Government to work with all States and Territories to deal with the issue of pornography: For a start the production and sale of X-rated pornography in the ACT and the territory's thriving mail order business to the States should be banned. Attorneys-General from all jurisdictions should then be jointly deciding on a national approach to protect Australians from this serious problem.

 

24th June
2010
  

Update: Don't Mention 'Aboriginal People'...

They're to be called 'people in need of a special pornography ban'

Australia: Northen Territories flagAmnesty International has criticised new laws aimed at reinstating the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) in the Northern Territory, claiming they fail to end discrimination introduced by the intervention.

Federal parliament has recently passed laws that will reinstate the RDA next year while maintaining many of the intervention's controversial measures.

The legislation does this in two ways.

First, it quarantines the welfare payments of all vulnerable people in the territory, regardless of race.

Second, it makes alcohol and pornography bans, as well as compulsory leases, more flexible and labels them special measures for the benefit of indigenous people.

Amnesty says Labor's changes don't fully re-instate the RDA and do not reverse racially discriminatory actions already initiated under the intervention .

Despite advice from many organisations and individuals, the government has ignored the human rights violations sanctioned by these laws and left racial discrimination legal in Australia, Amnesty's indigenous rights campaigner, Rodney Dillon, said in a statement.