Northern Territory Intervention

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This issues paper will discuss the Northern Territory Intervention; how it has greatly affected Aboriginal peoples and communities; and how it is contrary to various international Human Rights standards and principles, as well as being discriminatory in nature. It is important to note the role and obligations of social workers in understanding the Government’s intention and policies, the impact of policies on peoples and communities and the consequences of significant policy change. It is a social workers’ obligation to aim for social justice, respect and equality in society including supporting issues that assist both individuals and communities, advocating for change where appropriate, and arguing against social disadvantage. There have…show more content…
Some organisations comment that whilst the intention to protect the Aboriginal communities is sound, there are outstanding concerns about its application and lack of consultation the process applied throughout (ATSIC SJC, 2008). A subsequent independent review of the Intervention was undertaken in 2008, and whilst it was very critical of the measures introduced by the Intervention, it noted that the core NTER measures should continue, although they required amendment to ensure they were consistent with human rights standards. This resulted in closer consultation with affected communities and individuals and were widely debated (Calma,…show more content…
The obligation of involving all affected Aboriginal peoples in the discussions is critical as they are the ones that will be impacted directly from new policies, allow them to understand the policy and have the choice to amend it if needed. This approach will also avoid policies being seen as punitive and discriminatory, but rather directed at empowerment. At an individual level, social workers need to understand and respect the Aboriginal peoples and culture, and be mindful of their past experiences. They can assist in ensuring that Aboriginal peoples receive access to appropriate health care and education, both for adults and children to minimise the feelings of alienation and lack of ownership of the issues. Social workers need to treat each client with respect and dignity despite their difficulties and have respect for cultural differences and boundaries. The implementation of the intervention was highly controversial given its unlawful nature which was not successful for the Aboriginal peoples. Social workers play a vital role in dealing with this issue yet It remains to be seen whether subsequent amendments and longer term Government strategies will be
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