The Australian reports:

THE Rudd Government recently passed legislation in the lower house to reintroduce the permit system regulating access to indigenous communities. It is yet to be approved by the Senate. The Australian strongly supported the abolition of the permit system under the Howard government’s Northern Territory intervention, because it was a barrier to reconciliation. Permits isolated Aborigines from the rest of society, and over the years the permits were manipulated by powerful local figures to shut out reform and reinforce the status quo. This left many in remote communities vulnerable to horrendous abuse, with offenders more likely to escape outside scrutiny for the type of activities the intervention was established to stop.

In moving to reintroduce the system, Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin, Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek and the federal member for the Northern Territory seat of Lingiari, Warren Snowdon, argued that the permits were a vital tool for stopping “rivers of grog” from entering Aboriginal communities.