Australian aboriginal issues

Twenty years since the death of Australian Trotskyist and Aboriginal worker, Comrade Yabu Bilyana

By Linda Tenenbaum, 15 April 2019

On April 5, 1999, Yabu Bilyana, the first indigenous Australian to join the International Committee of the Fourth International, died at the age of 54. This obituary was written by then Socialist Equality Party assistant national secretary, Linda Tenenbaum, and published by the WSWS on April 7, 1999.

Message of condolence from David North

“He based his life on the ideals of justice, equality and human solidarity”

15 April 2019

“Had he not been so tragically disabled by illness, Yabu undoubtedly would have played a major role in the expansion of the party’s influence in the working class.”

Yabu Bilyana addresses ICFI World Conference: “Genocide of indigenous peoples is still practiced throughout Australia”

By Yabu Bilyana, 15 April 2019

Bilyana exposed the ongoing oppression of Australia’s Aboriginal population and the whitewash carried out by the Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody.

Western Australia: Indigenous boys drown trying to escape police

By Richard Phillips, 19 September 2018

The two teenagers were so terrified of being taken into police custody that they tried to escape by swimming across a dangerous river.

Sweet Country: Bitter truths about Aboriginal dispossession in Australia

By George Morley, 13 March 2018

Warwick Thornton’s second feature is a visually striking and powerful historical drama, which confronts audiences with some ugly truths about Australia’s colonial past.

Ten years on: The fraud of Australian parliament’s “stolen generations” apology

By Mike Head, 17 February 2018

The appalling social situation confronting Australia’s indigenous people is one of the sharpest features of a broader impoverishment of the working class.

Australia’s 1967 referendum, fifty years on

By Richard Phillips, 23 August 2017

In 1967 millions of Australians voted to change the constitution, in the hope that it would bring an end to the nearly two centuries of brutal oppression of the country’s Aboriginal population.

Australia: Video reveals agonising death of Aboriginal woman in custody

By Zac Hambides, 29 December 2016

Although racism undoubtedly plays a role in the cruel treatment of indigenous people by the police, Dhu’s death points to the high rate of deaths for all prisoners.

Fifty years since the Aboriginal stockmen’s strike

By Richard Phillips, 3 December 2016

While Australia’s political elite hails the 1966 Wave Hill walkout strike, tens of thousands of Aboriginal people continue to live in dire poverty.

Australia’s “Closing the Gap” fraud: Indigenous conditions worsen

By Mary Beadnell, 18 February 2016

Deteriorating social conditions are hitting the entire working class, with Aborigines among the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.

Australian government trials new “welfare card”

By Susan Allan, 4 November 2015

Once more, Aboriginal people are being used as guinea pigs for measures designed to dismantle welfare entitlements throughout the working class.

Utopia: A confronting but politically flawed documentary

By Susan Allan, 31 May 2014

John Pilger presents a stark picture of Aboriginal disadvantage and oppression but blames racism, not capitalism.

Thousands of native children died in Canada’s residential schools

By Vic Neufeld, 8 March 2013

Allegations of murder, cruelty and genocide in Canada’s now-defunct residential school system for native children has sparked an ongoing “history war”.

Canadian aboriginal leadership collaborates with police

By Carl Bronski, 6 March 2013

The abyss is widening between the hundreds of thousands of natives facing deprivation and the official leadership of the aboriginal community.

Australia: Bipartisan fraud on “closing the gap” of Aboriginal poverty

By Richard Phillips, 21 February 2013

Behind the cynical claims of concern in parliament, the shocking social conditions are the direct responsibility of successive governments over the past two centuries.

Australia: Gillard imposes Aboriginal celebrity as Senate candidate

By Richard Phillips, 31 January 2013

The appointment is part of Labor’s efforts to “revamp” its image in the lead up to the federal election.

Canada’s native peoples protest chronic poverty and government attacks

By Carl Bronski, 31 December 2012

A groundswell of protests has emerged against poverty and government measures aimed at opening up native people’s lands to capitalist resource-extraction.

An interview with Tony Krawitz, director of The Tall Man

“It is an important story about justice in this country”

By Mike Head, 5 March 2012

The WSWS spoke to Tony Krawitz about The Tall Man, his first full-length documentary.

The Tall Man: Probing a prisoner’s death on Australia’s Palm Island

By Mike Head, 5 March 2012

The documentary points to the connection between the social conditions facing indigenous people and the injustice of Cameron Doomadgee’s killing.

Australia: Labor to extend NT “intervention” for a decade

By Susan Allan, 12 December 2011

Labor’s new legislation for the Northern Territory is part of a dramatic escalation of the assault on the social conditions and basic rights of all sections of the working class.

Australian government deepens Northern Territory “intervention”

By Susan Allan, 21 July 2011

The Labor government has launched a “second stage” of the intervention, which has become a key testing ground for a continuous assault on welfare recipients, indigenous and non-indigenous alike.

Aboriginal boxer Lionel Rose dies, aged 62

By Richard Phillips, 27 May 2011

Lionel Rose will be remembered long after the well-heeled politicians “paying their respects” have left the scene.

Labor government extends welfare quarantine powers across Australia

By Alex Messenger, 28 June 2010

Labor’s punitive new regime of “income management” comes into force this week, extending powers first applied to Aboriginal communities in 2007.

Cover-up of Palm Island Aboriginal death continues

By Mike Head, 24 June 2010

The whitewashes and legal manoeuvres are a damning indictment of the judicial system and the Queensland state Labor government, which has backed the police from the outset.

Australian government sets new precedent in Aboriginal land grab

By Robert Morgan, 23 February 2010

On February 1, the Labor government compulsorily acquired the land of the Ilpeye Ilpeye town camp, establishing a new benchmark in opening up areas presently controlled by Aboriginal communities for unrestrained capitalist exploitation.

Australian Labor government extends Aboriginal intervention, ignoring widespread opposition

By Susan Allan, 24 December 2009

Despite clear evidence that its policies are producing a social and economic disaster, the Rudd Labor government has introduced legislation to strengthen and extend the Northern Territory intervention first imposed on indigenous townships more than two years ago.

Australia: UN envoy denounced after he describes Northern Territory “intervention” as racist

By Richard Phillips, 16 September 2009

All factions of the political elite came together last month to denounce the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Rights after he criticised the federal Labor government’s policies towards Aborigines.

Australia: Aboriginal residents of Ampilatwatja walk out over housing conditions

By Susan Allan, 21 August 2009

Residents of the remote Aboriginal community of Ampilatwatja walked out of their settlement last month. The WSWS interviewed a spokesperson.

Gurrumul: an evocative and unique musical contribution

By Tony Cornwell, 7 August 2009

The most remarkable feature of Gurrumul, the recent first album by Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, is this blind Australian indigenous singer’s extraordinary voice.

Australia: Olympic gold medalist Ian Thorpe speaks out against Aboriginal “intervention”

By Richard Phillips, 29 July 2009

Powerful criticism of decades of deliberate government neglect of Australia’s poverty-stricken indigenous communities by former swimming star Ian Thorpe has been subjected to a virtual media black out.

Australia: Aboriginal disadvantage widens under Rudd government

By Susan Allan, 24 July 2009

According to the Productivity Commission’s latest report, the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians is either static or widening across 80 percent of social statistics.

Australia: Coroner attacks as a “disgrace” Aboriginal man’s death in prison van

By Joe Lopez, 29 June 2009

A coroner has described as a “disgrace” the treatment of a 46-year-old Aboriginal elder who died of heatstroke in the back of a prison van in sweltering heat with no functioning air conditioning.

Australia: Labor moves to shut down remote Aboriginal settlements

By Susan Allan, 27 June 2009

The federal and Northern Territory (NT) Labor governments last month unveiled a series of free-market measures that will deepen the poverty and suffering in indigenous communities.

Samson and Delilah: a searing portrait of life for Central Australian Aboriginal youth

By Richard Phillips, 14 May 2009

Samson and Delilah touches on many social issues—poverty, homelessness and substance abuse in Aboriginal communities—questions that Australian feature filmmakers have, up until now, largely chosen to ignore.

Revealing Australia’s dark past—The Secret War: A True History of Queensland’s Native Police

By Mary Beadnell, 2 December 2008

The Secret War: A True History of Queensland’s Native Police is a valuable exposure of the systematic military-style violence employed against Aboriginal people in the Australian state of Queensland during the second half of the nineteenth century.

Government ignores calls for restoration of Racial Discrimination Act

Australia: Labor’s reviled Aboriginal “intervention” to continue

By Richard Phillips, 19 November 2008

In another sign of its contempt for the democratic rights and social aspirations of Australia’s indigenous people, the Labor government of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has decided to continue its police-military “intervention” against Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.

Australia: Aboriginal man sentenced to seven years’ jail for protest over police killing

By Mike Head, 10 November 2008

An Aboriginal community leader was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment last Friday in the latest chapter in the shocking saga of the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee, who died in agony on the floor of a police cell on Australia’s Palm Island in 2004.

Darwin resident explains impact of Northern Territory intervention

26 June 2008

June Mills, a worker for the Long Grass Association which provides care for homeless indigenous people in Darwin, spoke with the WSWS on the impact of the Northern Territory intervention.

Northern Territory intervention: Life for Aborigines in Tenant Creek

25 June 2008

Rodney Barnes was interviewed by the World Socialist Web Site in the Northern Territory town of Tenant Creek.

Northern Territory intervention: Comments from an Aboriginal town camp

24 June 2008

Kenny Laughton speaks with the World Socialist Web Site on the conditions facing Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.

Aboriginal people denounce Northern Territory intervention

19 June 2008

Residents of Aboriginal townships speak to the World Socialist Web Site about the impact of the state intervention in the Northern Territory.