THE Government has won the support of Galarrwuy Yunupingu, the Northern
Territory's most powerful Aboriginal leader, for its radical intervention in
remote indigenous communities.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough will announce today that he has
reached a landmark agreement with Mr Yunupingu.
The agreement is a massive breakthrough for the Howard Government, which had
been accused by Aboriginal leaders of trying to undermine the decades-long
battle for land rights.
The agreement includes land tenure reform in Arnhem Land, including some land
being leased to the Government for 99 years — a move that had been rejected by
many Aboriginal leaders.
Until Mr Yunupingu met Mr Brough in a secret meeting on his land in Arnhem
Land last month, he had been one of the fiercest critics of the intervention,
telling people at an indigenous festival only days earlier that the Government's
actions were "sickening, rotten and worrying".
The meeting is believed to have been brokered by Noel Pearson, director of
the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership, who also attended.
Details of the negotiations have been kept secret, angering other indigenous
leaders who have been campaigning against the intervention.
But Mr Yunupingu's decision to do a deal is a big win for the Government as
police start to enforce alcohol and pornography bans in 73 targeted communities
across the Northern Territory.
A former chief executive of the Northern Land Council and a one-time
Australian of the Year, Mr Yunupingu is widely respected throughout the
Territory's indigenous communities.
Mr Brough will announce details of the deal with Mr Yunupingu in Parliament
today when he introduces changes to legislation relating to the
This will include amending the Broadcasting Services Act to prohibit the
screening of adult-only television programs in prescribed areas. The Government
has received complaints from indigenous women about adult programs on cable and
He will also announce changes to ensure roadhouses meet tougher restrictions
on liquor sales and allow Defence Housing Australia to help with housing in
Mr Brough is also expected to report on the progress of the emergency