Stand Up 2017 Report on Conference


Standing Up Standing Strong Standing Together

The Stand Up 2017 conference held in Mparntwe-Alice Springs from 23rd-26th June was organized by the Intervention Rollback Action Group to mark ten years of the Northern Territory Intervention, now called Stronger Futures. It was preceded by a forum, public action and public speaking events in Sydney and followed by a community forum of NT elders and leaders in Melbourne on 29th June.

The purpose of bringing people together was to assess the impacts of the decade of racist laws and map a way forward for the future.

The conference opened and closed with smoking ceremonies conducted by Akeyulerre Healing Centre. Speakers came from many parts of the Northern Territory: Rosalie Kunoth Monks, Ngarla Kunoth Monks, Frank Curtis, Elaine Peckham, Barbara Shaw, Matthew Ryan, Sharon Anderson, Celeste Liddle, Dylan Voller, Veronica Lynch, Pamela Lynch, Vincent Forrester, Vanessa Poulson, Valerie Patterson, Doreen McCormack, Audrey McCormack, Valerie Martin, Sylvia Neale, Dianne Stokes, Margaret Mary Kemarre, Amelia Turner, Pat Ansell Dodds, Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM, Yingiya Mark Guyula MLA; and interstate visitors Senator Rachel Siewert, Zach Wone and Kevin ‘Bones’ Kelly (MUA), Vickie Roach, Elizabeth Jarrett, Thalia Tane, Paddy Gibson; and community members engaged in the discussions.

On the last day of the gathering a statement was put together from the content of the discussions.

Rosalie Kunoth-Monks: “You better believe it, when the Intervention first hit in 2007 community councils were decimated.” Matthew Ryan: “Trying to get the government to listen to us, is like a brick wall.” Elaine Peckham: “When the Intervention came they took away services from homelands. No health services. I had to move back to town. I didn’t want to.”
Yarrentye Arltere (Larapinta Valley) Town Camp: “Ten years too long. Ten years of hardship, neglect and broken promises. We want Aboriginal control for Aboriginal people by Aboriginal people. Apmereke Tweye and Kwertengwerle: Traditional owners and custodians: our Law, our Way.”

We need to keep our culture strong. We need to be in control of decision making. We want self-determination. After ten years the Intervention has met none of its objectives. There are more people in jail, more children being taken away, there is more unemployment.


Racist laws introduced through the Intervention have created apartheid and are still with us. Repeal the Stronger Futures laws. Repeal changes to social security law that allow for control over our money. End the ban on consideration of customary law in bail and sentencing. Bring back the permit system.


Ngarla Kunoth Monks: “We have our own structures, our voices have been put down and oppressed.” The conference calls for restoring community councils and transferring assets back to the communities from the shires. This is what will improve peoples’ lives. Town camps want more houses, more parks, childcare at the community centres, and control of their own money. There needs to be compensation for town camps. It’s time to pay the rent. HOMELANDS Veronica and Pamela Lynch: “Cultural and land management is real work.” Sharon Anderson: “Give us back ownership of our lands, so we can benefit our own people through our law and culture.” We need to create job opportunities on our homelands. We want to manage our own affairs through our own governance.

Barbara Shaw: “They took over community living areas and Aboriginal community housing rights.” We can’t be healthy without proper housing as our foundation. We want to make decisions about our own housing. We want to have community control over our housing. We desperately need more houses on all communities and homelands.


Valerie Paterson: “We believe that our children learning in their first language are more confident in themselves and learn more efficiently. We have seen this with our own eyes. We know how to teach our children both ways too.” Sylvia Neale: “One hour a day to teach their language, it’s not enough” The government must promote bilingual education, and schooling in first languages. Stop punishing parents with fines and Centrelink breaches. PRISON Rosalie Kunoth Monks: “What I call for is action line, they are our children.” Dylan Voller: “If the government wants to help us they should come down to our communities and elders and see what they have to say” There are many alternatives and improvements that could be made to the prison system. Communities can be supported to have more contact in prison and instead of prison, we need more healing spaces, Bush Mob is good. The conference believes that children should not be transferred away from Alice Springs to Darwin. We also believe that youth prisons are not helpful, and that Don Dale needs to be closed. We call for the closure of youth prisons, and a national day of action when the Royal Commission into Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory releases their final report. JOBS People used to have jobs in their communities – we need a new jobs program to bring this back. Now on CDP people are starving and being evicted from their houses. We need community control and ownership of community assets. Everyone who works needs at least the minimum wage. Real jobs must receive real wages and real conditions. We need a national movement. No more CDP. We support the First Nations Workers Alliance started by the Australian Council of Trade Unions.


There is no evidence that compulsory income management works. Vanessa Poulson: “I have learnt to live with basics card now but really would like to have control of my own money.” Scrap compulsory income management


It keeps going, and getting worse. With the money it takes to look after a stolen kid, communities could fix their problems themselves. Stop stealing our kids. Urgently bring back the many hundreds of children taken through the Intervention. We are going to set up a GMAR group here. (Grandmothers Against Removals). Yingiya Mark Guyula MLA can be contacted with names of stolen children and has pledged to fight to bring them home.

Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM: “Australia is the only Commonwealth country in the world that has never entered into negotiations to establish a treaty. There needs to be diplomatic dialogue between the Australian governments and the First Nations. No more kissing the government’s shoes.” There must be recognition of our sovereignty which has never been ceded, and which has been undermined by the Intervention. Our law must be recognised by the Westminster system. The governments must stop creating more policy and measures for Aboriginal people without consultation. Lift the ban on customary law.

We are ready for Makarrata. Treaty now!



This weekend is StandUp2017 a 3 day conference on the effects of the #NTIntervention over the last 10 years, with Speakers from effected communities, and across different issues: Housing, Community Governance,Education, Justice, Income Management, Stolen Generation, and Treaty.

All at the Pioneer Shed Alice Springs opposite Bunnings, North of Town.
Follow our front page for news and our facebook and twitter: @IRAG_NT

FRIDAY night 23rd June 6-9pm

Panel of people directly affected:

Elaine Peckham, Barb Shaw, Vincent Forrester

SATURDAY 24th June

8-9 breakfast

9-10: smoking/ welcome

10-11: panel: community councils, housing

11-1 workshops

a. community governance – how do we bring back control? – Ngarla Kunoth-Monks (Alekerre First Nation Cultural Trust, Utopia), Pamela and Veronica Lynch (Blacktank), Vanessa Poulson (President Karnte camp)

b.housing –what do we need and how do we get it? -Barb Shaw and Matthew Ryan (NT Aboriginal Housing)

1-2 lunch

2-3 panel: Income Management, Education

3-5 workshops

a. income management – how do we want to manage our money? – Senator Rachel Siewert (Greens)

b. education –bringing back culture and language –  Sharon Anderson (Warlpiri, Lajamanu), Valerie Patterson (Warlpiri, Lajamanu)

SUNDAY 25th June

8-9 breakfast

9-10 panel: jobs/ justice

10-12 workshops

a. jobs –how do we protect our rights? -Celeste Liddle (NTEU) (blog: Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist)

b. prisons – too many in jail – how do we work towards justice? -Dylan Voller, Vickie Roach

12-1 lunch

1-2 panel: Stolen generations/ Treaty

2-4 workshops

a. stolen generations – bringing them home – how to build a movement -Aunty Hazel

b. treaty – what do we want? -Pat Ansell Dodds (Arrernte and Anmatjere), Yingiya Mark Guyula (Yolngu MLA), Thalia Tane (Maori, Aotearoa)

MONDAY 26th June

8-9 breakfast

9-12 feedback and closing

12-1 Lunch

1-5 action



We have limited cabins for elderly/people with mobility issues, and have a campground set up less than 5 minutes walk from the Pioneer Shed for people to use. NO COST.

We will be providing 3 meals a day for people attending StandUp2017. NO COST/DONATION

We can reimburse fuel costs for travel from communities in the NT.

We are seeking volunteers to help with numerous roles such as scribes, drivers, food prep, set up and pack down, media etc.

Please contact us if you need  further details on any of the above on 0457 574419 or email: or on fb IRAG – Intervention Rollback Action Group – Alice Springs . Or comment here.

One Response to “Stand Up 2017 Report on Conference”

  1. David Welsh June 15, 2017 at 7:44 am #

    The intervention is a hoax, a scam, a grab for land and minerals to fuel this rotten society we live in. It’s time to wake up and show human respect, compassion, decency and love!

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