16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence – Needs Based Funding Critical.


The Campaign

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is a global campaign actioning over thirty years of international awareness on violence against women and girls. The campaign runs from the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, November 25 until December 10 falling on Human Rights Day. The United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 initiative supports this year’s theme of Invest to Prevent Violence against Women & Girls, which aims to increase awareness and strengthen advocacy and resources based on lived experiences of women and girls and sector knowledge.

UN Women Australia reports that the campaign was started by activists at the inauguration of the Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 due to the high rates of violence and homicide of women and girls around the world.

Currently in the Northern Territory, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience family, domestic and sexual violence 13 times the rate of non-Indigenous women and intimate partner homicide rates are seven times the national average.

In Mparntwe (Alice Springs) Herstory consultant Kayla Glynn Braun says the 16 Days of Activism Campaign is important for awareness because violence against women is a community issue. CAAMA Radio’s Jenni Hubert spoke with Kayla on the launch of the campaign.

Jenni Hubert CAAMA Radio Broadcaster Producer.

What is needs-based funding?

Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group reports domestic and sexual violence services are calling for needs-based funding to address the crisis in the Northern Territory receiving 1.8% of federal funding for action against domestic, family, and sexual violence (DFSV).

Family Violence Prevention Program Manager Dr Chay Brown says the current model of federal funding for the domestic, family, and sexual violence (DFSV) sector in Australia is based on population size. She says the Northern Territory’s population is spread across large remote areas, which makes access to DFSV services more challenging and expensive to deliver. Workers on the frontline are calling for culturally safe housing, violence prevention education, trauma-based recovery and legal support.

This year on September 26th, the Northern Territory’s family domestic and sexual violence sector held a day of action against domestic violence with their call to action being long-term needs-based funding that will provide these core services not to be included under National Partnership Agreements that don’t cover delivery service on the ground for their communities. Dr Brown says the one-off two-year funding round does not meet these needs.

Women in Lajamanu calling for action on Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence in the Northern Territory.

The sector’s call to action includes.

  1. An immediate injection of a minimum additional $180 million over 5 years, per the Northern Territory Government’s recommendation.
  2. The immediate establishment and ongoing funding of a Northern Territory-specific DFSV peak organisation;
  3. The allocation of %50 of new public housing to victim-survivors of DFSV

A system in crisis

Speaking with Kirstyn Lindsay for CAAMA Dr Chay Brown discussed her recent experience giving evidence into the landmark coronial inquest of four First Nations women in the Northern Territory murdered by intimate partners. The Northern Territory’s coroner, Elisabeth Armitage revealed that the Northern Territory government had rejected proposals from government agencies for $180m over five years to fund women’s shelters, behavior change programs and policy reform. These services have proven crucial in family violence prevention and community support.

Dr Brown says that 20 million dollars over two years places women and their children at risk and that collaboration between the Federal and Northern Territory governments alongside service providers would reduce police callout times, build women’s shelters and be able to pay award wages for staff working in Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence services instead of reducing wages due to underfunding.

The Northern Territory FDSV sector is currently asking the Federal Minister for Social Services Minister Rishworth to meet with them and visit their communities so she can see what is happening on the ground for the women and the sector services.

The Minister was not available for an interview for CAAMA Radio to respond to the call-to-action request and a full breakdown of the Northern Territory funding by the Commonwealth Government was provided in an email by her department.

On November 27, 2023, OAM to the Minister for Social Services Luke John Anthony Gosling, tabled a question in federal parliament for details on the $147 million in funding the Commonwealth Government provided for family, domestic, and sexual violence initiatives in the Northern Territory.

In the Northern Territory, only two Men’s behavior change programs are funded in Alice Springs and Darwin. These programs are vital for cultural support for men to address their use of violence. Dr Chay Brown says these programs need experienced specialised staff to manage the programs in the communities as well as safety mechanisms set up for women and children while the men are working through the program.

Dr Brown says the Northern Territory FDSV sector is asking the federal and Northern Territory government to collaborate with the sector on the funding issues so women’s lives can be saved, and communities have a say in what their needs are concerning cultural and physical safety in the future.

Community in Galiwinku community coming together on the Day of Action Against Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence. September 2023.

A pariah on the international scene; tougher penalties for racism needed. Marlene Hodder

IRAG meeting Mt Nancy (Marlene Hodder-front row third from the left)

Nottingham-born human rights activist and Grandmother Marlene Hodder is a Mpartwe local and has witnessed first-hand the racism her Lardil sons have experienced during their lifetime. Marlene migrated to Australia as a young woman and is concerned about the devastating rise in racism that First Nations communities have experienced during the lead-up and result of the Voice to Parliament Referendum campaign.

“We need a clear statement to say it’s not acceptable.”

In conversation with Kirstyn Lindsay, Marlene Hodder explains she didn’t receive any information on the true history of Australia when she first migrated here and she hopes that will change for newcomers. She would like to see in the wake of the referendum a federal anti-racism campaign, something that has better traction than previous campaigns with tougher penalties for people using racism against First Nations people.

“We need a clear statement to say it’s not acceptable,” she says.

Marlene also hopes to see the implementation of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights for Indigenous People UNDRIP in policy to bring change for First Nations people and accountability to people perpetrating racism.

“I think the other issue is the UN declaration of the rights of Indigenous peoples, we need to get that into law.”

Marlene says the United Nations has criticised the Australian government and is watching what happens for First Nations people and if there is a No result for the Voice to Parliament we will be a pariah (outcast) on the international human rights scene.
She believes people are being misled with racism at the forefront of the voice campaign and community interests are not at the heart of ensuring First Nations people are protected from racism and political bias.

During her lifetime she has worked tirelessly for Rollback the Intervention IRAG and on the front line for family violence prevention and youth justice working towards keeping children out of the criminal justice system and she says that racism has increased in the Northern Territory since the rollout of the Intervention; Northern Territory National Emergency Response Act 2007. Marlene says as a white fella she hasn’t had racism directed at her, but it hurts her spirit as a mother to see what her sons endure.

Sporting the term ‘keyboard warrior’ Marlene says her days of getting out on the front line have slowed down and she will support the community and the Blak sovereignty movement in the next steps after the referendum and she realises that Treaty should have been the first step.

In support of First Nations people experiencing racism throughout the Voice to Parliament campaign, Marlene Hodder says she finds it all overwhelming “I think it’s unfortunate that certain elements of government have told many untruths, they’ve added to prejudices to First Nations people, and they need to be held to account.”

Protest Canberra 2008.

Celebrating strength this Mental Health Week…MHACA has supported the Central Australia community for 30 years.


A key strength in our community has been the work of the Mental Health Association of Central Australia which has offered psychosocial support services and health promotion programs aimed at our community and assist everyone. MHACA is celebrating 30 years in Mparntwe (Alice Springs).


Stress Less in the Park is the featured event for Mental Health Week 2023. This free event focuses on mental health and wellbeing, promoting local support services that are available in our community.

Alice Springs Rodeo


An event not to be missed in the heart of Red Centre get in amongst all the action with bulls, Bronc’s Barrels and junior rodeo events plenty of entertainment for the whole family

Some of the best cowboys and cowgirls will be competing for the title of course. The 2023 Alice Springs Rodeo has made a big impact on its comeback to the Red Centre.

New reforms for the Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Act.


Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Jeswynn Yogaratnam and staff supporting Rainbow Youth for Wear It Purple Day 2023.

The newly appointed Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Jeswynn Yogaratnam is pushing for a Human Rights Act to be implemented as a policy in the Northern Territory. The International Human Rights expert has been working with the Commission to amend reforms to the Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Act 1992 with a shift in reducing discrimination on accommodation status and increased support for domestic violence survivors.  

“Most complaints are successfully dealt with through a conciliation process and that very few matters progress to a hearing due to effective conciliation.”

He says the best way forward to relieve discrimination based on race for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) to be enshrined into policy and it’s not easy to safeguard these protections because there isn’t a Human Rights Act. 

Commissioner Yogaratnam says there is some progress with the current changes to the discrimination act but there is still a long way to go. One reform to come into effect in January 2024 is the complaints representative model. The process will enable complaints to be made on systemic issues such as organisations’ policies that create disadvantages for a group of people. “Most complaints are successfully dealt with through a conciliation process and that very few matters progress to a hearing due to effective conciliation.”

Contact the Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commission to inquire. Free call 1800 813 846 or antidiscrimination@nt.gov.au

Fire management, drier conditions and the summer ahead for Central Australia.


The rise of bushfires in the Northern Territory and across other states has been linked to worldwide temperature rising, according to climate scientists’ reports. Local bushfires in the Barkly Region of Central Australia are a sign of what is ahead for summer with introduced grass species fuelling fires after a wet winter. 

Dr Andrew Edwards Senior Research Fellow – Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research at Charles Darwin University – reports that the window of time for prescribed burning will be shorter because of much drier weather due to extreme weather conditions, such as the El Nino we’re now experiencing, caused by climate change.

Speaking with Kirstyn Lindsay, Andrew Edwards said the impact of fires that occurred in the Summer of 2019 have changed the way Country will be managed in the future. Indigenous Ranger groups from Northern Australia have been working on improving fire management, their experience has been shared with other groups across Australia.

Andrew’s research highlights that fire management must be a community effort, based on Indigenous fire knowledge to create a fire-resilient country. Communities can reduce the fuel load, restore habitat and prepare their homes and towns by removing or at least reducing introduced grassy weeds. 



Dr Andrew Edwards-Darwin Centre for Bushfire Reaearch.

Indigenous Marathon Project 2023


The Indigenous Marathon Foundation (IMF) is a health promotion charity that uses running to celebrate Indigenous resilience and achievement and create inspirational Indigenous leaders.

IMF was established in 2009 by world marathon champion, Rob de Castella, and in 2010 four Indigenous Australians created history as the first to run in the world’s biggest marathon – the New York City Marathon.

Each year, 12 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people between ages of 18-30 are selected to train for the biggest marathon in the world in November, the New York City Marathon. No prior running experience is necessary.

Four of the Northern Territory 2023 Marathon participants came into the CAAMA studio to speak about their upcoming decider training heat in Mparntwe/Alice Springs that determines whether the team will be running in New York to conquer the world’s biggest marathon. 

Class Action Listed For Trial; Northern Territory Stolen Wages members urged to come forward.


Shine Lawyers Legal Team

The Northern Territory Stolen Wages Class Action is now listed for trial in March 2025.
Minnie McDonald versus the Commonwealth of Australia has been launched on behalf of thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in the Northern Territory.

Shine Lawyers want to hear from people and their families who had their wages withheld or were unpaid during the time of the wage control legislation that was in effect from 1933 up to 1971.

“It’s important for the government to stand up and be accounted for righting the wrongs of history.”

Practice Leader Sarah Thomson is encouraging more people to come forward to lodge their case.
She says support is there for group members and that people will be believed and that it’s important for people come forward so the commonwealth government will understand how many people have been affected.

“It’s important for the government to stand up and be accounted for righting the wrongs of history.”

To contact the team at Shine to register yours or a family member’s Stolen Wages case call 1800 976 150.

If you need support call 13YARN on 13 92 76. 

Shine Lawyers Practice Leader Sarah Thomson

What’s next on being Treaty ready in the NT? Tony McAvoy SC breaks down the NT Treaty Commissions’ final recommendations.


In 2018 the Chief Minister for the Northern Territory Michael Gunner signed the Barunga Agreement with four land councils under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976 (Northern Territory) to advance the process of Treaty. The occasion was a landmark decision in the Northern Territory and a Treaty Commissioner was appointed. Yawuru Barrister Mick Dodson AM was appointed Treaty Commissioner at the time and worked in consultation with over 100 communities and started preparing a report. 

In the Barunga Agreement MOU, it was agreed that:

a) Aboriginal people, the First Nations, were the prior owners and occupiers of the land, seas and waters that are now called the Northern Territory of Australia.

b) The First Nations of the Northern Territory were self-governing in accordance with their traditional laws and customs; and that

c) First Nations peoples of the Northern Territory never ceded sovereignty of their lands, seas and waters.

It’s also agreed there has been deep injustice done to the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory, including violent dispossession, the repression of their languages and cultures, and the forcible removal of children from their families, which have left a legacy of trauma, and loss that needs to be addressed and healed.

Northern Territory Treaty Commission Final Report

Wirdi Barrister Tony McAvoy SC was then appointed acting Treaty commissioner in 2021 to deliver the final report under the Northern Territory Treaty Commissioner Act 2020 and the Northern Territory Treaty Commissioner Terms of Reference after Dodson stepped down from his role.   

“People are still upset about the loss of their community councils and the power of the super SHIRES; It took away their power to make decisions and it took away the control of their daily lives.”

In the six-month period appointed to Tony McAvoy a final report with recommendations was handed down in June 2022 after the collection of work set out by Mick Dodson and Northern Territory Deputy Commissioner Ursula Raymond.  

Speaking with Kirstyn Lindsay for CAAMA Radio Tony McAvoy SC says there were a couple of issues that the Treaty Commissioner heard loud and clear.

“People are still upset about the loss of their community councils and the power of the super shires; it took away their power to make decisions and it took away the control of their daily lives.”  

He says people are still upset about what happened in 2008 and the preference is for language groups or language speakers to form regional groups for treaty purposes and the structure on how people organise.

“People prefer localised decisions in order to make decisions about their own, secondly they have experienced that and know what can work for them.”

“The second thing that was very clear was that people want to arrange themselves according to their traditional obligations. And that meant people who had the proper right to speak for the country should be the bosses for the political decisions.”

The Northern Territory Treaty Commission’s Final Report has been framed around these concerns based on how communities feel about regional councils not being equipped to look after people’s interests.  

One of the recommendations based on these concerns is that First Nations governments should replace regional councils, so they have their own decision-making process to speak on a government-to-government level when negotiating treaties. 

The development of a process for First Nations to gain official recognition as First Nations and transition to a First Nation Government.(Northern Territory Treaty Commission Final Report Page 9 Recommendation 3).

First Nations infrastructure in Australia

The NT Treaty Commission’s Final Report refers to the British Columbia Treaty model and how it is held in high regard by the First People’s Assembly of Victoria and the Northern Territory Treaty Commission, but the processes can’t be adapted because there isn’t any infrastructure for First Nations people in Australia. 

Separate to customary law/lore Tony McAvoy SC explains that Canada and British Columbia have had an Indian band system for over 100 years being a structure based around the clans and nations. This isn’t in place in Australia and until the 70’s he says it was thought that First Nations people would die out or be grouped together under assimilation. Independent nations hadn’t been fostered in Australia until the Mabo decision when the Native Title process was introduced when claims could be made under the rights and interests of clans. 

The Northern Territory has the Land Rights process. “It doesn’t sit on all basis with the Native Title process, we’ve been rebuilding these societal structures over time but there hasn’t been a formal mechanism in the way that there has been in Canada,” Tony said.

The Final report proposes that the Treaty Commissioner Act 2020 is repealed and replaced with a Treaty and Truth Commission Act. One of the roles of this act is to recognise those First Nations structures as a mechanism in negotiating around Treaties. 

How would an Indigenous Voice to parliament place First Nations clans and nations? 

When asked if an enshrined voice to parliament would be considered as an element of infrastructure as customary law is already in place Tony Mcavoy says “It’s separate, my expectation is that if the referendum passes and a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to the Parliament and executive government is created by legislation that the representation which currently exists in Victoria under the First Peoples Assembly would be respected and they would nominate their representatives to that body.”

“In South Australia they’ve set up a structure and perhaps that would be honoured, in the ACT they have a body which is representative and speaks to the government on behalf of their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

“In the Territory and Queensland I think it might be a bit different, in the Territory I imagine there would be parts of the Territory that would want to identify their own representatives and they are entitled to do that if the process is developed on the basis that there is a number of regions, say 35 regions it may mean that people who ought to be separately represented have to be lumped in with other groups.”

Tony McAvoy says this isn’t ideal and that in Queensland regions like Cape York operates in its own way separate from the other Queensland groups. The Gulf of Carpentaria has their own political representation. 

“Ensuring that everyone gets proper representation at that national level is a difficult thing, I understand that if the referendum passes there will be a period of consultation about the establishment of that representative model, there’s a lot of hard work to get it right.”

The Commonwealth’s rights to govern the Northern Territory’s Treaty negotiations.

In section D of the Executive Summary in the Northern Territory Treaty Commission Final report (to consider what form a treaty should take), reference is made to tripartite agreements for Treaty and clan-based treaties having to have an agreement with First Nations, the Northern Territory government and the Commonwealth. 

The Northern Territory wasn’t a colony like the states prior to federation. The responsibility for the territories falls to the federal government post federation. 

“Ideally each First Nation would come to an agreement on how the commonwealth and state and territory and local government rules are going to operate around them or be exercised by them themselves. And that being negotiated at the one time.” 

Tony McAvoy says The Northern Territory government is not established by its own constitution or letters patent by the British Crown, but it is established by the Commonwealth legislation called the Northern Territory (Self Government Act) 1978

“The federal government can change that at any time, what it also means is that individual groups can have direct relationships with the commonwealth that might not be as easy in the states. For matters such as health, housing, education it’s conceivable that a First Nation could have a direct relationship with the government to provide those services with the community without the Northern Territory’s involvement.”

In his view both the territory or state government should be at the table because there are different constitutional responsibilities, if they aren’t both at the table then issues will fall through the gaps and there’s a need for communities to get some finality in their negotiations and not have to go through their negotiations with the state or territory then have to negotiate with the commonwealth.” A process Tony McAvoy SC says is unfair for communities to have to do that. 

“Ideally each First Nation would come to an agreement on how the commonwealth and state and territory and local government rules are going to operate around them or be exercised by them themselves. And that being negotiated at the one time.” 

He says that the result of this is that negotiations take a long time and in British Columbia those negotiations have taken twenty to thirty years, and he doesn’t think they have to take that long here. 

“A lot of the groundwork has been done in British Columbia and we know what the topics are it generally would be about the political will and the policy and legislative sittings right for those agreements to be negotiated.”

What is Treaty ready?  

In Chapter three of the NT Treaty Commissions’ Final Report Treaty Making Framework, Treaty Readiness is a consideration as a priority for Treaty negotiations. 

Throughout the Treaty process, concerted effort must be taken to ensure both government and First Nations are moving closer to becoming ‘Treaty-ready’. There are two aspects to Treaty readiness: readiness to negotiate and readiness to implement. 

Tony McAvoy explains that Treaty ready is when a group’s politics are sufficiently in order to engage in what is always a stressful process.

That means some people will have a deeper understanding of what the treaty process is, that there are structures for support for negotiators, there are structures to allow for feedback for community members of First Nations who are kept informed on what’s going on and brought along with the process, really the stability of internal governments.”

“What we know is that negotiations processes we know from Indigenous Land Use Agreements that negotiations processes with big mining companies or the government are very stressful because there’s a lot at stake, people are very concerned,” he says “I don’t say this about the Northern Territory government because I haven’t had that experience but It’s not uncommon to issue some grant to one group within a community while in some community and cause instability in the First Nations itself. 

He says communities have to be able to withstand that pressure; they have to have the systems to manage that and keep communications going and keep a steady strategic objective in mind.

“My knowledge of First Nations peopleS’ aspirations for their mob, that’s what they want. They want to be in control of their own destiny which shouldn’t be surprising to anybody.”

The Treaty Commission would like to see an early transition of First Nations into First Nations governments. There needs to be the structure and resources and that there is access to communications, and it becomes a government-to-government negotiation. 

The modern treaty process in British Columbia ends up in some form of self-government with the relevant First nations. 

“My knowledge of First Nations people’s aspirations for their mob, that’s what they want. They want to be in control of their own destiny which shouldn’t be surprising to anybody.”

Tony questions why people should have to wait for twenty years to achieve these agreements and he believes these government structures should have already started by now. 

He says in some nations this work is already in progress but for some First Nations there is a lot of work to do before getting to that point. There is no intention for those ready to be held back and support should be there for groups not Treaty ready. 

Power to the people showcases the voices of young people people living on Warumungu manu / Jurnkkurakkurr / Tennant Creek.

Approach it through facts! A new Human rights resource on the Voice to Parliament referendum.


The Australian Human Rights Commission have released a resource kit for all Australians to understand what the Voice referendum means through the lens of human rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Understanding the Referendum from a Human Rights Perspective is an educational resource featuring nine chapters addressing how to minimise harm, promote cultural humility and steers the conversation on human rights principles based on facts so people can make informed decisions when voting on the proposed Voice to Parliament.

President of the Australian Human Rights Commission Emertis Professor Rosalind Croucher AM says the resource kit is a contribution from the human rights commission to provide the Australian public information on human rights from a nonpartisan perspective on the Voice proposal. 

Nine documents are available from the resource:

The Uluru Statement from the Heart

Minimising Harm in conversations about the referendum

Indigenous Rights & the Voice.

The history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples advocating for the right to be heard.

Symbolic change or substantive reform

Self-determination and indigenous peoples

The Voice and human rights

Referendums and constitutional change

Support services

Australian Human Rights Commission President Rosalind Croucher AM