Prescribed Area road sign banning liquor and pornography in Imanpa, Northern Territory, Australia

Image: Christoph 83hr3nd5 on Flickr

Lest we forget: the harmful policy legacies of the northern territory intervention

25th June 2021

On 20 June 2021, Emeritus Professor Jon Altman gave a presentation at a conference called The Endless Intervention: First Nations Speak Out. The date 21 June 2021 marks the fourteenth anniversary of the day the Howard government, with Opposition support, intervened in Indigenous affairs and population management in the Northern Territory, deploying its constitutional powers, and its fiscal and military might.

The Intervention sought to revisit and amplify a colonial attempt by the Commonwealth in the 1950s to assimilate Indigenous peoples, some then still living at or even beyond the frontier, speaking Aboriginal languages, largely adhering to their own laws, customs, beliefs and values. Government policy looked to reform those with tradition-influenced ways of living into compliant mainstream subjects.

Read Jon’s editorial from Arena here.

Image by Christoph 83hr3nd5 on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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