ATSIC abolished – but is there another option?


The Federal government is this week running the gauntlet of Indigenous people’s anger over the planned abolition of ATSIC. Indigenous Affairs Minister Amanda Vanstone met with crowds of protestors as she attended meetings with the Northern Land Council and Aboriginal legal aid groups in Darwin on Monday. And the Prime Minister was met with a more ancient form of protest in western Victoria, when an Aboriginal woman dressed in possum skin “pointed the bone” at him yesterday. Mr. Howard says he’s going to remain calm in the face of the curse, but suspended ATSIC Chair, Geoff Clark – who was there when the PM came onto his country – says he hopes the confrontation will alter the PM’s viewpoint on indigenous affairs. Lloyd Wiles spoke to Mr. Clark on Radio 4AAA, just after the protest. But not everyone believes the end is nigh for federally-funded elected representation of indigenous people – reduced now to a government-appointed indigenous council with a limited advisory role. The Secretary of the 14-year old Aboriginal Provisional Government, Michael Mansell, says the answer is for Aboriginal people to fund their own struggle for a voice. The Aboriginal Provisional Government was formed close to the time ATSIC was established by a federal Labor government. The APG was created by Aboriginal people with a desire to take control of their own future and long-term would like to see an Aboriginal government responsible for their own people. Mr. Mansell was interviewed on CAMMA radio by Paul Wiles, about the government plans to abolish ATSIC.

The Aboriginal Provisional Government

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