Online campaign against the closure of Aboriginal communities gains support

By Te Ao Māori News
Aboriginal children showing support for #sosblakaustralia

An online campaign against the closure of remote Aboriginal communities is gaining major traction online with politicians and celebrities alike supporting the call, including Hollywood superstar, Hugh Jackman.

#sosblakaustralia has become a viral phenomenon online and more and more people, not only in Australia but across the globe are becoming aware and vocalising their opposition to the West Australian Government’s planned closure of up to 150 remote Aboriginal Communities.

A number of rallies have been held in Australia and many supporting the cause have also called on Māori living in Australia to show stronger support for the Aboriginal communities impacted by the decision.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, fuelled anger and frustration after he backed the proposed closure on a visit to Kalgoorlie where he told media, "What we can't do is endlessly subsidise lifestyle choices. If those lifestyle choices are not conclusive to the kind of full participation in Australian society that everyone should have."

Here in New Zealand, Tāmaki Makaurau MP, Peeni Henare says he's not surprised with the Australian government's motives.

He told Te Kāea “If Aboriginal communities are ripped from their communities, and look at us Māori, we're the example of people being ripped from their communities, they'll be lost.  That's what'll happen to those in Australia if the Prime Minister there goes through with it.”

While Māori Party co-leader, Marama Fox encouraged Māori politicians to stand together on this issue and support the Aboriginal communities affected.

Marama Fox says, “We're lucky we have the Treaty, they don't have a treaty, so they're relying on their relationships to help pursue what they want and need, but we're here, we're the backbone for them against the Government.”

While support grows for Australia's First Nation, Prime Minister, Abbott says he knows what's best for the Aboriginal people of Australia. 

Abbott says, "I'm very comfortable with my credentials when it comes to doing the right thing by the Aboriginal people of Australia."

People in support of the #sosblakaustralia campaign have been encouraged to post a photo holding their message of support accompanied by the hashtag.