Amnesty calls for 'shaming' of Australia over poverty

Amnesty International yesterday called for the Australian government to be shamed on the world stage because of the high level of poverty among Aboriginal people.

In a stinging rebuke which will clearly embarrass the Labor administration, the Amnesty's secretary general Salil Shetty said conditions were "almost inhumane" after touring some of the poorest Aboriginal settlements in the country.

He said: "I've been to many places in bad shape in Africa, Asia and Latin America, but what makes it stark here is when you remind yourself you're actually in one of the richest countries in the world."

His tour included the ironically named, Utopia, a desolate community of 1,200 people 150 miles north of Alice Springs. Many inhabitants live in humpies, shelters constructed from wood, corrugated iron and a tarpaulin cover, which are freezing in winter and stiflingly hot in summer. A two-bedroom home he visited had 15 people living in it.