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Human Rights Essay: Northern Territory Intervention

2305 words - 10 pages

Human Rights Essay
Northern Territory Intervention
The Northern Territory Intervention was a series of emergency measures put in place which are designed to stabilise and protect communities in the identified crisis areas. The measures were targeted at confronting the welfare of indigenous children namely in the area of child abuse and family violence (Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, 2007). The measures to be included in the NTI (Northern Territory Intervention) ascribed by the national Government are as follows:
* Introducing widespread alcohol restricitons on Northern Territory Aboriginal land;
* Introducing welfare reforms designed to reduce the flow of cash going ...view middle of the document...

The local and state Government bodies are required to undertake and invest in the following actions to support the scheme:
* Provide resources to increase the scope of the scheme by servicing and protecting the persons in the range of State and Territory responsibility and support;
* Develop a framework around addressing the issues of alcohol and substance abuse;
* Resume all special leases over town camps in the major urban areas where lease conditions have been breached, with the Australian Government acting in this area if the NT Government fails to do so; and
* Remove customary law as a mitigating factor for sentencing and bail conditions.
(Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, 2007)

The scheme though ambitious, was initially designed to last upwards of 5 years involving a massive scope which included most Aboriginal townships and town camps in the Northern Territory area. This scheme was to also include a Government assigned task force assigned to oversee the logistics and planning. The body was made up primarily of specialists and child protection experts headed by Dr Sue Gordon AM. (Community Services and indigenous Affairs, 2007).

The Northern Territory emergency intervention required legislation to pass:

* Northern Territory National Emergency Response Act 2007;
* Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2007;
* Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2007;
* Appropriation Act (No. 1) 2007-2008; and
* Appropriation Act (No. 2) 2007-2008.

The emergency response utilized the recommendations of 'The Little Children are Sacred' report which was publicly released by the Northern Territory government on June 15, 2007; June 21, the Australian Government announced the implementation of the measures; August 7, the above legislation is fast tracked through the federal parliament and implemented with little consultation.

As was highlighted previously, the rushed policy and legislation led to little or no preparation for an evaluation framework to be developed and implemented. By providing Indigenous leaders, elders and relevant bureaucracies in the planning and facilitation of the evaluation framework, the potential for public back lash could have been lessened and an inclusive strategy set in place.

The legislation and indigenous policy has been characterised as a 'wicked problem'; Rittel and Webber (1973) have defined this concept as ill-defined design and planning issues are classified as 'wicked' due to the often messy, aggressive and instrincally complex nature of problems. Conklin (2003) has defined four characteristics of this concept:

* The issue is not fully comprehended until after a solution is found;
* Stakeholders have drastically different opinions and views of understanding the problem;
* The framework and resources available to solve the problem are dynamic and change over time; and
* The...

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