INTRODUCTION: Australia Aborigines held a protest meeting to complain they had been unable to talk to African or other third world leaders during the Commonwealth Conference being held in Melbourne.
LV & CU INTERIOR Commonwealth Heads of State gathered in foyer prior to meeting (3 shots)
LV, SV & LV PAN Ministers seated around conference table
LV Gary Foley standing on platform of protest meeting
CU & SV Foley speaking in English with Aborigines seated in audience listening (5 shots)
SV & CU (MUTE) ABC LIBRARY FILM Aboriginal living conditions (11 shots)
CU Mick Miller speaking
SV (MUTE) Aborigine walking past house walking past house with broken windows
LV & CU Police station and van (2 shots)
CU PULL BACK SV Bottle of alcohol with Aborigines seated around
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Australia Aborigines held a protest meeting to complain they had been unable to talk to African or other third world leaders during the Commonwealth Conference being held in Melbourne. The Conference, which has been discussing apartheid has not, apparently, related the question to the Aborigines in Australia.
SYNOPSIS: The leaders of the 41 countries gathered in Melbourne for the Commonwealth Conference have started their talks after 48 hours of official receptions, lunches and dinners. Unofficial lobbying and talks have been taking place which probably have as much influence on the members as the more formal functions. The seating arrangements at the conference were in alphabetical order, but this placed Nigeria next to New Zealand. Since the recent South African Rugby tour of New Zealand is still a cause of much concern, the Nigerian delegate refused the seat and some hasty re-arrangement of place names was made. The Aborigines held a news conference to protest that the conference had not discussed what their spokesman Gary Foley called the oppressed black people of Australia. He claimed that the situation in Australia was almost identical to that of South Africa, but that it had not been discussed. He felt the Commonwealth leaders were being hypocritical.
Australia has 150,000 Aborigines and their grievances are a cause of immense embarrassment to the Australian government, as host nation to the conference. A recent World Council of Church Report condemned successive Australian governments saying that the Aborigines had been defrauded of their land rights and treated as inferiors in matters of housing, health, education and employment. The Aborigines are calling for a boycott of next year's Commonwealth Games, to be held in Queensland. Mick Miller of the North Queensland Land Council said that if the Games are not boycotted, there will be demonstrations to disrupt them.
He said that Queensland is as bad as South Africa and that people particularly Africans should not come for the Commonwealth Games. The publication of a recent report showed that 14 times more Aborigines are put in jail than whites. The reports said that either Aborigines were the most criminal people in the world or there was something wrong with the system. Aborigines have complained of police harassment in the past and the report seems to bear this out.