• 5th Global Call To Action will be held by SOS Blak Australia on Friday 27 November 2015. (Facebook)Source: Facebook
Thousands of protesters in support of SOS Blak Australia’s Stop the Forced Closure of Aboriginal Communities campaign are expected to descend on a host of Australian and international locations on Friday.
By
Yasmin Noone

26 Nov 2015 - 1:21 PM  UPDATED 26 Nov 2015 - 2:40 PM

It will mark the one year anniversary of the campaign and let the Liberal Western Australian government know it’s not backing off.

The Sydney-based protest, happening on Friday 27 November, will take place near Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate office in Edgecliff on what has been labelled on Facebook as an ‘International Day of Action to oppose the closure of Aboriginal communities’.

Mitch Torres, one of the main organisers of SOS Blak Australia,  says the purpose of the rallies is to increase pressure on the WA government to clarify the fine print of its new policy, announced in May, to roll out community reforms in consultation with Indigenous Australians and abandon all talk of community closures for good.

“The threat has not gone away,” said Ms Torres.

“We will keep watch to make sure that the voices of our people are heard.”

Protests will take place in Brisbane, Melbourne, Toowoomba, Bellingen, Perth, Los Angeles and Dublin on Friday, in Adelaide on Sunday, and Berlin on Thursday 3 December.

It is predicted that SOS Black Australia’s fifth global call to action will generate the same force of people power as those held previously, attracting tens of thousands of campaigners around the world.

“Are you ready to stand up and be counted?” reads the social media advertisement encouraging individuals and organisations from Australia and the world in support of the SOS Blak Australia cause to join the fight.

Ms Torres said the marches present a clear, consistent message to the state government “saying we are still here” and aren’t going away.

“We are watching and ensuring that our presence is still known and felt, as there’s been no clear indication from the state government that they are absolutely not closing our communities.”

What does the change in government rhetoric mean?

WA Premier Colin Barnett 'backed down' on the community closure policy earlier this year, promising to deliver reforms consultation and Aboriginal leadership that supported communities.

Ms Torres said that’s all well and good but there’s still a major concern that the only thing that has changed is the government’s language.

She added that there’s been no real policy change, only the “rhetoric has changed to ‘community reform’ so right now, we don’t know what’s happening”.

“We don’t know what community reform looks like, how the reforms will be rolled out and if there’ll be any victims from that reform.

“Communities may still be targeted by the new reforms who don’t meet a [set] of criteria.”

“These are the reasons why we still continue to march.”

She said SOS Blak Australia will keep campaigning on this issue until it sees an exercise of goodwill from the state government and real, transparent conversations take place with Indigenous communities and advocacy organisations about community reforms.

When that happens, Ms Torres said “it will give people a sense that they can relax”.

This weekend, several SOS Black Australia marches will also combine with nationwide climate change marches coinciding with the United Nations meeting in Paris, to raise even greater awareness about the legislative threat to community and environmental threat country, which opens the way for a big mining push.

"..We acknowledge our common purpose with all who stand in defence of this fragile planet," says the statement that will be read at most dual SOS Blak Australia and climate change marches on Friday.

"Of all people, we have played the longest role in caring for every aspect of country through traditional land management, ensuring that grasses grow, animals thrive and rivers run since the earliest dreaming.

"We wish to unite with all people who are defending our only planet, with nurturing and sharing being central tenets of our practices and law.

RELATED STORY:
Hugh Jackman backs WA remote communities over closures
Hugh Jackman has responded to calls for help from the Indigenous Kennedy Hill community in the Kimberley region of Western Australia by throwing his support behind remote communities.

Earlier this year, four rallies were held nationwide in response to state government threats to close down 150 Aboriginal communities and former Prime Minister Tony Abbott remark that Aboriginal people living on the land was a “lifestyle choice”.

This was preceded by Commonwealth budget cuts where funding for remote Aboriginal communities across Australia were withdrawn, passing on the funding responsibility for communities to the states.

More information: www.sosblakaustralia.com

Find out what happens on Friday via social media: @NITV #‎SOSBLAKAUSTRALIA‬ ‪#‎StandUP‬ & ‪#‎BEcounted‬