Statement on Reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act NT

9th October 2009
The Executive of the Council of Churches of Western Australia (CCWA) welcomes the move of the Federal Government to reinstate of the Racial Discrimination Act in the Northern Territory, and calls for the Federal Government to go further to review all Aboriginal policies to ensure that they are in line with Australia’s international obligations, especially those now involved with the Northern Territory Intervention.
UN Special Rapporteur Professor James Anaya has pointed out that the Northern Territory Intervention, in its current form and in its delivery, “is incompatible with Australia’s obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Australia is a party to both treaties. The intervention is also incompatible with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Australia supports”.
The CCWA Executive represents many Christian churches in Western Australia, whose gospel values encourage us to treat all people with equity and justice.  We acknowledge the goodwill of governments in attempting to address decades of neglect in the areas of Aboriginal policy, planning and service delivery. However, we believe it is the duty and responsibility of government to ensure that legislation, policies and actions comply in all respects with international treaties and obligations to which Australia is signatory or for which it has declared its support.
Furthermore, the Executive of the CCWA calls on governments to work in genuine partnership with Aboriginal peoples, in a way that respects and recognizes the differing needs of each community. We uphold the right, and necessity, of Aboriginal people to be directly involved in the development and decision-making processes that lead to the development of services and policies that will affect their lives.
The Executive of the Council of Churches of WA calls upon Prime Minister Rudd to ensure that Professor Anaya’s report will be viewed as a valuable contribution to expert policy advice.
Contact: Revd Eira Clapton General Secretary ph 0439 931 263