Aboriginal legal services offer support to Invasion Day protesters
Legal services have provided information for people attending Invasion Day rallies in Sydney and Melbourne, where police have said they will enforce Covid-19 public health rules.
The Covid-19 rules cap the number of people at a protest at 500 people in Sydney, and public outdoor gatherings at 100 people in Melbourne. Protest organisers are trying to hold the events to comply with those rules – in Melbourne, for example, protesters have been told to organise in groups of 100, and keep ten metres apart from the next group of 100.
The organisers of all protests have urged anyone who has any cold or flu symptoms, however mild, to stay at home.
In Sydney, the Aboriginal Legal Service has provided the following advice:
In Melbourne, the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service said it would provide help to any Aboriginal protesters who are stopped by police. The number is 1800 064 865.
In a statement yesterday, VALS said:
Victoria Police must not misuse Covid-19 health measures to impede the right to protest. Health experts have stated that the risk of community transmission of Covid-19 is currently low, but that people attending a protest should take precautions.
Australia’s deputy chief medical Prof Michael Kidd has been on Radio National talking about the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines. The Therapeutic Goods Administration approved the Pfizer vaccine for use in Australia yesterday.
When the vaccine arrives in the country the Therapeutic Goods Administration does its usual work looking at the batches which arrive to make sure that everything is as it should be, and then within two weeks of vaccine arriving in the country we should start to see the vaccine rolling out. Initially within those 30-50 hubs that are being set up around Australia to deliver the initial doses of the vaccine.
So, what does that mean for timing?
We hope the first doses of the vaccine will be delivered late in February.
Australia has ordered 10 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and the first delivery is 800,000 doses. When will we get the full delivery?
At the moment we don’t know exactly how long it is going to take to get the first 10m doses just that it will happen throughout the course of 2021.
Kidd said he thinks there will be “very high levels of uptake of this vaccine around the country,” despite some louder voices raising concerns.
He says that high level of uptake will particularly be seen in the first two phases, which is people working in hotel quarantine and border force, frontline healthcare workers, and people who are most at risk including those in aged and disability care.
It’s 26 January, a day in which Australians either celebrate Australian Day, recognise as Invasion Day, a day of mourning, and march to abolish Australia Day, or don’t celebrate at all.
The campaign to change the date is gathering steam, but it’s an idea mostly popular among non-Indigenous people – changing the date but still celebrating the same thing will not address the injustices perpetuated upon Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people since colonisation.
Rallies are still happening in most Australian cities today, you can find a list here.
Sexual assault survivor Grace Tame was last night named Australian of the Year, for her role in the #LetHerSpeak campaign which led to the Tasmanian government overturning a law that prevented sexual assault survivors from speaking about their experiences. She devoted her win to other sexual assault survivors, saying: “Survivors, be proud, our voices are changing history”.
Tame also called for Australia to change the date.
The decision to make tennis player Margaret Court a companion of the order of Australia – the highest honour – despite her homophobic views, has continued to cause controversy. Former ABC broadcaster Kerry O’Brien rejected his Australia Day honour in protest against the decision to honour Court. Interestingly former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who sites the vote to legalise same-sex marriage, which happened under his leadership, as the greatest achievement of his time in office, did not reject his award. He said there was “no shortage of irony” that he was made a companion of the order of Australia for his contributions to marriage equality, on the same day that Court was also honoured.
In other news, an Aboriginal woman in an ACT prison has alleged she was stripped naked by guards in front of male inmates, in what the territory’s Aboriginal health service describe as a “disgusting” abuse of human rights which “could have killed her”. The incident occurred after she became upset after being denied permission to attend her grandmother’s funeral. She alleged that officers stripped her naked by cutting off her clothes to check she had “nothing on me for my safety”. She said:
Here I ask you to remember that I am a rape victim, so you can only imagine the horror, the screams, the degrading feeling, the absolute fear and shame I was experiencing … as well as the grief and despair, disappointment of not being able to attend my grandmother’s funeral.
And in US news, Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is facing a $1.3bn lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems over his claims of election fraud. The complaint accuses the former New York City mayor of having “manufactured and disseminated” a conspiracy theory related to the company’s voting machines. Giuliani said he would file a suit in response, claiming the lawsuit is in violation of his constitutional rights.
Let’s crack on. You can contact me on twitter at @callapilla or email me at email@example.com