The Act and its associated amending legislation, which quickly became known as ‘the intervention’, introduced a range of racist and highly paternalistic measures to ‘prescribed areas’ of the Northern Territory, all of which were aboriginal communities. Those measures included a total ban on the possession and consumption of alcohol, compulsory income management for all welfare recipients (ration cards), compulsory installation of anti-pornography filters on all public computers as well as obligatory record-keeping of all computer users, the cutting back of the permit system for entry onto aboriginal land, the federal government takeover of local services and community stores as well as a ministerial power to suspend all elected councillors, the ban on Northern Territory courts from taking customary law into account when dealing with bail applications and sentencing, and compulsory rent-free five year leases of aboriginal land to the federal government. As an emergency piece of legislation the Act had a sunset clause of five years.
Southern Poverty Law Center
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