By LANE NICHOLS - The Dominion Post | Saturday, 14 July 2007
Activists protesting against Australian Prime Minister John Howard's
controversial crackdown on Aboriginal child abuse want the Wallabies banned
from the Rugby World Cup.
About 25 banner-wielding protesters rallied outside the Australian high
commission in Thorndon yesterday. Another rally is planned in central
Group spokeswoman Tere Harrison said the Howard government's foray into the
Northern Territory using the police and army personnel to crack down on
Aboriginal people was an illegal land grab.
"We don't believe that John Howard's agenda is the welfare of Aboriginal
people. His primary focus is the exploitation of their lands and their
"We're here to tell John Howard that he's not a friend of ours, he's not a
friend of the Aboriginal people, he's not a friend of Maori, he's not a
friend of New Zealand."
Clutching multicoloured painted hands - a protest symbol used by Aboriginal
people in Australia - the protesters used a loud-hailer to call for Mr
Howard to cease activity in the Northern Territory involving military
intervention, compulsory health checks, quarantining of welfare payments or
attempts to gain federal control of Aboriginal land.
Shouting "John Howard is a racist mutt", the group also called for the
Wallabies rugby team to be banned from this year's World Cup and urged other
governments to take a similar stance.
Sanctions should be placed on the Howard government as they had on Fiji and
other errant states, Ms Harrison said.
The group supported comments by Maori Party MP Hone Harawira that Mr Howard
was a "racist bastard imposing racist policies on a people who are not in a
position to fight back".
A high commission spokesman declined to comment