Jabiluka stand 'like racist US'

Date: 25/06/99

By MURRAY HOGARTH, Environment Editor

Australia's treatment of Aborigines opposed to the Jabiluka uranium mine has been likened by an US Congresswoman to the racism experienced by black Americans in the Deep South.

Ms Cynthia McKinney has organised a petition of  US politicians to President Clinton opposing the mine and supporting Kakadu's nomination to the World Heritage in-danger list.

In an ABC radio interview yesterday, Ms McKinney described the Government's stand as "sheer arrogance ... we had the same kinds of sentiments expressed by racist Southerners when Afro-Americans were trying to get the right to vote."

The Minister for the Environment, Senator Hill, will send Government advocate Mr Howard Bamsey to the US next week to provide Ms McKinney with the "full facts" about the mine.

The US, along with Australia, is among the 21 nations which will vote on Kakadu's fate at an extraordinary meeting of the United Nations' World Heritage Committee in Paris on July 12.

Ms McKinney met this week with Ms Jacqui Katona of the Mirrar people, the traditional owners of the Jabiluka land. She is being assisted in Washington by the Sierra Club, one of America's biggest green groups.