The Rudd Government must act swiftly if a United Nations committee finds the Northern Territory intervention is racist, leading human rights lawyer Professor George Williams says.

The UN is currently investigating a complaint by 20 Aborigines who say the intervention breaches Australia's obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

In an opinion piece published in the Sydney Morning Herald, Williams - who is Anthony Mason Professor at UNSW's Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law - said the complaint to the UN has a strong prospect of success.

He said if the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination finds against Australia, the Government will be under enormous pressure to rebuild the entire intervention.

"It will be bad enough for Australia to be again caught discriminating against its Aborigines. It will be even worse if, knowing this, we fail to remedy the situation,' he wrote.

For the original transcript of Professor Williams' article visit the Faculty of Law.

Media contact: Steve Offner | 02 9385 8107 |