The project started out in June 2007, in response to the Howard Government’s controversial ‘Emergency Intervention’ into Aboriginal communities in Australia’s remote Northern Territory. All in the name of ‘protecting children’, the Intervention took away all existing Aboriginal land rights, suspended the Racial Discrimination Act and placed over 70 communities under compulsory government control. Subsequent government measures have had little to do with directly improving the wellbeing of children, but instead have disempowered traditional owners, opened up access to valuable Aboriginal land, and sought to forcibly assimilate Aboriginal culture.
No Aboriginal people living in these communities have had any say in these decisions being made about their lives, their lands and their future. And mainstream media has ignored their voices, and their plight.
In February 2008, the Labor government made a much-publicised National Apology for previous injustices wrought upon the Australia’s First Peoples. Since then, however, it has continued to undermine their human and cultural rights; in particular their rights to have proper access to basic services, to maintain their own languages, to be involved in the decisions that affect them, and to remain living on their ancestral homelands.
On 13th March 2009, the United Nations Committee on Human Rights declared that Australian Government policy was in breach of international law. Following such international shame, the Australian Government quickly endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, only to continue to breach many of its articles in subsequent policies.
The film has developed into a powerful journey into Australia’s indigenous relations, from colonisation until the present day. It looks at Australia’s ongoing policies of paternalism and assimilation, explains the real issues underlying Indigenous disadvantage in this “lucky” country, and upholds the right of First Australians to dignity, culture and empowerment in their own country.
Featuring the voices of youth, men, women and elders from remote communities in the Northern Territory, Aboriginal leaders and personalities from across the country, as well as academics, lawyers and international activists, the film opens the way for dialogue on how Australia can move forward with genuine respect and partnership with its First Peoples. Into a future where solutions come from working together, rather than being dictated from Parliament thousands of kilometres away.
A movement is building across the country to stand up for what is right for the oldest living culture on Earth.
This film is at the heart of that movement.
Thanks to MATT SMITH for bringing this to our attention.