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Lecture on lessons learned from Intervention

By Leanne Coleman

Dr Marion Scrymgour will deliver the 2014 Nugget Coombs Memorial Lecture Dr Marion Scrymgour will deliver the 2014 Nugget Coombs Memorial Lecture

The first Indigenous woman elected to the Northern Territory Parliament will discuss the lessons learned from the 2007 Intervention at a lecture this month at Charles Darwin University.

Dr Marion Scrymgour will deliver the 2014 Nugget Coombs Memorial Lecture entitled “Looking Back and Looking Forward After The Intervention” on Wednesday, 8 October.

“The 2007 Intervention or ‘Emergency Response’ shook all Territorians, but in particular those living in affected communities, out of a sense of complacency which had built up over decades,” Dr Scrymgour said.

She said that local and regional arrangements were swept aside in favour of centrally planned schemes and solutions.

“Individuals with years of experience trying to tackle the harms which had purportedly triggered the Intervention were sidelined, while newly minted experts expounded a morally righteous new dogma,” she said.

“Seven years down the track, the foreigners have mostly gone away again (or been replaced by others) and it’s the same old faces still trying to address the same old harms, no matter which side of the Intervention divide they stood back in 2007.”

As part of the lecture Dr Scrymgour will also comment on the national constitutional debate about recognition.

“Territorians are being asked to engage in a national constitutional debate about recognition,” she said. “Would recognition prevent a repeat of the Intervention, and what is the reality behind the rhetoric when it comes to issues which affect the day-to-day lives of Aboriginal Territorians?”

Dr Scrymgour was born in Darwin to a Tiwi mother and a father who had been removed from Central Australia as a child and later sent to the Croker Island Mission off the coast of Arnhem Land.

She became a member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly in 2001 and was appointed a Minister in 2003, holding various portfolios including Education, Family and Community Services, and Environment Heritage and the Arts. From November 2007 to February 2009 she was Deputy Chief Minister. She retired from politics in 2012.

Dr Scrymgour is currently the CEO of the Wurli Wurlinjang Health Service. She is also the Chair of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT.

The Nugget Coombs Memorial Lecture is a free public lecture co-presented by the Australian National University and CDU. The lecture will be held on Wednesday 8 October at 6:15pm in the Mal Nairn Auditorium, Red Precinct, Building 7 Casuarina campus, CDU. For more information T: 08 8920 9999.