Gough Whitlam remembered: a true leader for Indigenous Australians, Guardian, 21 Oct 14
Gough Whitlam was the first prime minister to campaign so openly for Indigenous people and to listen to their concerns For Aboriginal people across the country, Gough Whitlam was our giant among former prime ministers. He was the first leader to campaign so openly for us. During his short term in office he and his government made momentous decisions to include Aboriginal people within the fabric of the nation. Continue reading
Ngiyani-ga nganbinganbi baluwaal miinba-y nginu-ngay, giirr wangaarrama-li! (We are in this together, never allow yourself to be beaten).
Enough is enough – It’s time to act by supporting the call for our true leaders The Stringer by Dr Woolombi Waters October 19th, 2014 The national call by community leaders Tauto Sansbury, Geoff Clark and Michael Mansell among others for a National Summit of legitimate First Nations leaders has the potential to change a generation. We are talking of the same influence of the Freedom Marches back in the ’60’s, the establishment of the Tent Embassy in ’72 and the Bark Petition in 1963.
But it will only change a generation if we embrace this movement as our own and realise the time for change has come. We can all be a part of history or we can continue to be victims of history. By calling for a National Gathering we are not excluding any people who share in the very real concerns of our mob, our identity and our Culture.
Very few will be given the opportunity to change history during their lives but by each and every one of us standing together we can start a movement to overcome … as together we work towards change.
We have all been called to the same stomping ground and it has come time to act. Continue reading
Aboriginal land was taken, but returning Aboriginal soldiers not entitled to soldier settlement blocks.
Racial issues were forgotten on the battlefield as allied troops united against the common enemy.
Initiatives such as the Soldier Settlement Scheme, which granted land to ex-servicemen was not extended to indigenous servicemen, despite the fact that much of the best farming land in Aboriginal reserves had been confiscated for soldier settlement blocks.
Aborigines Equal On The WWI Front, But Not At Home Central Western Daily 13 Oct 14 IT is estimated that up to 800 indigenous servicemen served in the First World War. The exact number will never be known since ethnicity was not recorded on enlistment papers.
When war broke out in 1914, many indigenous Australians who attempted to enlist were rejected on the grounds of race, their attestation papers marked ‘Unsuitable physique – Aboriginal’ or ‘Unsuitable physique – Colour’. This was in accordance with the Commonwealth Defence Act 1909 which prevented those who were not of ‘substantially European descent’ from enlisting in the armed forces. Many indigenous men enlisted under false names and/or places of birth in an attempt to evade these conditions…..
After Prime Minister Billy Hughes’ conscription referendum was defeated in October 1916 and enlistment numbers were falling, legislation was introduced allowing “half-castes” to enlist.
A Military Order stated: “Half-castes may be enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force provided that the examining medical officers are satisfied that one of the parents is of European origin.”
Indigenous Australians were present in almost every Australian campaign of World War I. At least 34 Aboriginal men fought at Gallipoli, 12 of whom were killed. They also served in trenches on the Western Front and on horseback with the Light Horse in the Middle East. Continue reading
John Pilger: War, circus and injustice down under, Green Left, Saturday, October 11, 2014 By John Pilger There are times when farce and living caricature almost consume the cynicism and mendacity in the daily life of Australia’s rulers.
Across the front pages is a photograph of a resolute Tony Abbott with Aboriginal children in Arnhem Land, in Australia’s remote north. “Domestic policy one day,” says the caption, “focus on war the next.”
Reminiscent of a vintage anthropologist, the prime minister grasps the head of an Aboriginal child trying to shake his hand. He beams, as if incredulous at the success of his twin stunts: “running the nation” from a bushland tent on the Gove Peninsula while “taking the nation to war”. Like any “reality” show, he is surrounded by cameras and manic attendants, who alert the nation to his principled and decisive acts.
But wait; the leader of all Australians must fly south to farewell the SAS, off on its latest heroic mission since its triumph in the civilian bloodfest of Afghanistan. “Pursuing sheer evil” sounds familiar; of course, an historic mercenary role is unmentionable, this time backing the latest US-installed sectarian regime in Baghdad and re-branded ex-Kurdish “terrorists”, now guarding Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Marathon Oil and Hunt Oil.
No parliamentary debate is allowed; no fabricated invitation from foreigners in distress is necessary, as it was in Vietnam. Speed is the essence. What with US intelligence insisting there is no threat from Islamic State to America and presumably Australia, truth may deter the mission if time is lost. If the police and media show of “anti-terror” arrests in “the plot against Sydney” fails to arouse the suspicions of the nation, nothing will………
Far from being a “friend”, Abbott’s government is continuing the theft of Aboriginal land with a confidence trick called “99-year leases”. In return for surrendering their country — the essence of Aboriginality — communities will receive morsels of rent, which the government will take from Aboriginal mining royalties. Perhaps only in Australia can such deceit masquerade as policy.
Similarly, Abbott appears to be supporting constitutional reform that will “recognise” Aboriginal people in a proposed referendum. The “Recognise” campaign consists of familiar gestures and tokenism, promoted by a PR campaign “around which the nation can rally”, according to the Sydney Morning Herald — meaning the majority, or those who care, can feel they are doing something while doing nothing.
During all the years I have been reporting and filming Aboriginal Australia, one “need” has struck me as paramount. A treaty. By that I mean an effective bill of rights: land rights, resources rights, health rights, education rights, housing rights and more. None of the “advances” of recent years, such as Native Title, has delivered the rights and services most Australians take for granted.
As Arrente/Amatjere leader Rosalie Kunoth-Monks says: “We never ceded ownership of this land. This remains our land, and we need to negotiate a lawful treaty with those who seized our land.”
A great many if not most Aboriginal Australians agree with her; and a campaign for a treaty — all but ignored by the media — is growing fast, especially among the savvy Aboriginal young unrepresented by co-opted “leaders” who tell White society what it wants to hear.
That Australia has a prime minister who described this country as “unsettled” until the British came indicates the urgency of true reform — the end of paternalism and the enactment of a treaty negotiated between equals. For until we, who came later, give back to the first Australians their nationhood, we can never claim our own. https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/57493
The Prime Minister announced the review at the Council of Australian Governments meeting in Canberra………Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles called for changes to indigenous land administration and land use to enable traditional owners to attract private-sector investment and finance for development.
He said all the operating mines in the Northern Territory had been approved before the current land rights laws were implemented in the 1970s. “The protracted and complicated processes for approving development projects on Aboriginal land are prohibiting indigenous Territorians from pulling themselves out of poverty through economic development,” Mr Giles said……..http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/coag-puts-focus-on-land-rights-to-get-territory-moving-on-jobs/story-e6frgczx-1227086931999
Another imagined future is to treat the Outback as a land ripe for unfettered development. It would divide the landscape into exploited and conserved (or neglected) sectors, and would seek to transform the areas by creating an economy highly reliant on intensive agriculture and mining.
It would seek to overcome logistical and environmental constraints of such industrialisation through government subsidies. This may create brief economic growth in a few districts. However, in the long term this approach would cause irredeemable loss to those values that make the Outback so distinctive and important.
There is a different future that instead recognises the extraordinary existing inherent value in the Outback, and supports development that adapts to and works within the environmental and other constraints of remote and dry lands
A Modern Outback — nature, people and the future of remote Australia BARRY TRAILL THE AUSTRALIAN OCTOBER 11, 2014 “…… The Outback stands out as one of the great natural places globally, a place where nature remains in abundance; a landscape where the bush still stands, where the rivers still flow and where wildlife still moves as it always has to find food and shelter in a tough environment……..
There are especially magical, mysterious, spectacular places in the Outback — Kakadu, Uluru, the Kimberley — icons that draw visitors from the nation and beyond.
But these are parts of a whole, places embedded within a vast natural landscape, and dependent on the greater landscape for their ecological health. It’s essential that we think about the Outback as an entire and modern whole because its varied landscapes now face similar problems…….
The Outback is at a crossroads economically and environmentally. Social and economic development is highly dependent on maintaining the natural health of the Outback. The condition of many landscapes and wildlife species in the Outback is dependent on active human management.
It is possible, and Australia now faces the challenge and the opportunity, to create a modern Outback that depends on nature, which in turn supports people, jobs and regional economies…….. Continue reading
according to the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, mining is returning millions to Aboriginal owned corporations. Western Australia’s Pilbara is the engine room of the nation’s mining boom. But the two billion years old 400,000 square kilometres Pilbara is home to some pretty sad poverty, all of it First Peoples – Roebourne and Wickham for starters, and any of the cluster of communities around Marble Bar, Tom Price, Nullogine, Port Hedland.
Port Hedland is Australia’s busiest port, with ships leaving daily filled with iron ore extracted from Aboriginal land but with the profits returned to multinationals – next-to-nothing for the communities where many of the native title claimants live . Native title owners? A fool’s gold many say.
But if not billions of dollars there are millions of dollars going the way of Aboriginal corporations. Continue reading
Coniston massacre: Nigel Scullion returns site to traditional owners 86 years after killings 7 News, ANTHONY STEWART October 9, 2014, The site of Australia’s last recorded massacre of Aboriginal people has been returned to its traditional owners.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion travelled to Yurrkuru 274 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs to present native title deeds to traditional owners.
Here, in 1928, up to 100 Aboriginal people were killed near the Coniston cattle station in reprisal for the death of a white man. The murders later became known as the Coniston massacre.
Warlpiri and Anmatyerr people welcomed Senator Nigel Scullion on to their land with traditional song and dance.
Senior Anmatyerr man Teddy Long said generations of his family had been fighting to have the massacre acknowledged and the land returned. “My old man, my father been explaining to me what happened to me, the shooting days,” he said.
“In the massacre days many people were killed here and that’s why [I've] been fighting real hard for this land”
Land returned decades after Land Rights claim Traditional owners initially lodged a claim under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act for the land in 1985………
In 1928 The prime minister at the time, Stanley Bruce, launched an a board of inquiry into the actions of police and pastoralists.
It ruled the police had “acted in self-defence”……https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/25219778/coniston-massacre-nigel-scullion-returns-site-to-traditional-owners-86-years-after-killings/
Traditional owners scrutinise environment plan for Ranger uranium mine SMH October 6, 2014 Angela Macdonald-Smith The traditional owners of the Ranger uranium mine will look carefully at a draft environmental impact statement for an underground expansion lodged by Energy Resources of Australia on Friday, says Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Justin O’Brien.
He said the group, which represents the Mirarr people, would “weigh up the cultural, social and environmental considerations that will bring to bear on our decision-making”.
Rio Tinto-controlled ERA has pressed ahead with the potential expansion of the mine, near Kakadu, despite heightened fears among traditional owners over safety and health since a radioactive leak at the site late last year.
Chief executive officer Andrea Sutton said the company would “continue to seek their support” for the Ranger 3 Deeps project, which could start producing ore in December 2015……concerns over safety and health were still high since a leach tank accident last December and due to “the history of leaks and spills and accidents over many decades”.
ERA does not technically need the backing of the Mirarr traditional owners to go ahead with the underground mine, but Ms Sutton said “we certainly are seeking their support”.
Mr O’Brien said the economic dependence of Jabiru and the Mirarr people on Ranger, as well as cultural considerations would come into play in the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation’s decision, alongside the environmental issues.
The open pit at Ranger has already been depleted and is being re-filled, leaving ERA dependent on the processing of low-grade ore for production until production starts from any underground mine.
However, some analysts have voiced doubts about the underground project after ERA warned earlier this year that geotechnical conditions at the site were “less favourable than assumed”, leading to expectations it could cost more than originally anticipated.
Ms Sutton said it was too early to estimate costs for the underground project for which a pre-feasibility study is due for completion by the year-end. It is then due to be considered by the board in the first quarter of 2015……..
Making the project more difficult is the weak uranium price, which has recovered from this year’s low of $US28 ($32) to about $35 but still remains less than half of the level most analysts say is required for a new green-field mine.
However, Ranger Deeps would be a brown-field expansion and Ms Sutton said ERA was not in any case counting on a material lift in the price until “mid to late this decade”. http://www.smh.com.au/business/mining-and-resources/traditional-owners-scrutinise-environment-plan-for-ranger-uranium-mine-20141005-10qhbd.html#ixzz3FOVx41Yf
Northern Territory land councils race clock to nominate a radioactive dump site, NT News BY ZACH HOPE OCTOBER 04, 2014 TRADITIONAL owners are racing against the clock to nominate a site to house Australia’s nuclear waste before the Federal Government opens the process to a national tender.
Traditional owner Geoffrey Wangapa Barnes, from the Ngatijirri clan of the Tanami Desert, said about 50 of 60 traditional owners gave in-principle support for a site northwest of Yuendumu during a meeting with Commonwealth staff and scientists last month.
It comes as the Northern Land Council continues its talks with traditional owners of the Muckaty Land Trust for a nomination north of the controversial site scuttled in June because of clan and family divisions.
Mr Barnes, a delegate of the Central Land Council, said traditional owners were left confused when the desert meeting ended without a compensation package put on the table.
It prompted him to email Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion but he said he received no response.
Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, who has responsibility for finding the radioactive waste site, said the department staff were only at the meeting to explain the issue and not negotiate a package.
“They (the traditional owners) need to write to me and put their case but they haven’t done that,” he said…….
Mr Barnes and his uncle, ousted CLC chairman Maurie Japarta Ryan, have called for another meeting between traditional owners, scientists and the Government before the next CLC meeting in the first week of November.
Despite an arbitrary deadline expiring on September 30, the land councils still have exclusive rights to nominate a site until November 10, when Mr Macfarlane will open a tender to groups anywhere in Australia. …….http://www.ntnews.com.au/news/northern-territory/northern-territory-land-councils-race-clock-to-nominate-a-radioactive-dump-site/story-fnk0b1zt-1227079798955
Tony Abbott’s ambition to become the “Prime Minister for Aboriginal affairs” doesn’t align with his position on climate change, with First Nations communities the most vulnerable to the disastrous effects of global warming, according to a young Bundjalung environment warrior. Continue reading
Members of Ngapa Aboriginal clan complain about ‘obstruction’ to their volunteering to host nuclear waste
Pro-nuclear owners accuse land council of holding them back Amos Aikman THE AUSTRALIAN OCTOBER 01, 2014 THE Northern Land Council has blocked Aboriginal economic advancement by “obstructing” traditional owners’ attempts to gain millions of dollars in development aid by hosting nuclear waste on their land at Muckaty Station, according to a formal complaint obtained by The Australian.
A three-month window for Aboriginal land councils to bid exclusively to host a nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory expired last night with no nominations. The window was established in June after the NLC controversially withdrew a longstanding nomination to host Australia’s nuclear waste at Muckaty Station near Tennant Creek.
Anti-nuclear groups at the time hailed the decision as a victory. But members of the Ngapa clan, who are part of the Muckaty Land Trust and have not hitherto spoken publicly, told The Australian they were not properly consulted and are now contemplating taking multi-million-dollar legal action.
The group has since been trying to nominate a second site at Muckaty Station, under development since 2012 and believed to be on undisputed Ngapa land. The Australian has seen a petition dated in June, purportedly signed by 59 traditional owners, expressing support for a new nomination.
The NLC is legally obliged to act on behalf of traditional owners. But according to a formal complaint sent to Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion earlier this month, it has “failed to take any meaningful action” to support the second nomination, leading to an “impending loss of opportunity” for the Ngapa people.
Jason Bill, one of the aggrieved parties named in the complaint, told The Australianit had been a “tough road” for his family, which began moves to host a nuclear waste dump in 2005.
It is estimated traditional owners could gain between $12 million and $20m in compensation.
The complaint requests “urgent consideration is given to the unique circumstances of our clients who are currently being obstructed by the NLC from making an urgent new nomination”……..
Senator Scullion told The Australian shortly after receiving the complaint that the allegations were “of the most serious nature … and we are seeking advice on how best to investigate and pursue the matter. The traditional owners say they’ve been aggrieved by the actions of a commonwealth authority,” he said.
“This is a matter of mischief by a commonwealth authority.”
NLC chief executive Joe Morrison said his organisation had acted properly and was being thorough.
“(The Ngapa) approved dropping the original bid … I think we consulted with them appropriately.” http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/indigenous/pronuclear-owners-accuse-land-council-of-holding-them-back/story-fn9hm1pm-1227075690477
“Speaking with one voice” – WA’s changes to Aboriginal Heritage law rejected at bush meetings, anthropologist Dr Stephen Bennetts. Be careful what you pray for. By proposing to strip away protection for Aboriginal people’s heritage across the board, and throughout the State, the Barnett Government appears to have unwittingly conjured up a strong, united and angry Aboriginal coalition which is now mobilising against the AHA amendments. Crikey, 30 Sept 14 BOB GOSFORD | SEP 30, 2014
ABORIGINAL LEADERS IN THE KIMBERLEY, PILBARA AND PERTH HAVE REJECTED WA GOVERNMENT PLANS TO AMEND THE STATE’S ABORIGINAL HERITAGE ACT TO FURTHER STREAMLINE PROVISIONS UNDER SECTION 18 OF THE AHA WHICH ALLOW FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF ABORIGINAL SITES BY DEVELOPERS. Continue reading
the combined psychological impact on the remote communities affected was devastating: they went from being small places with a high degree of control over their small, welfare-based economies to being small places wholly run by outsiders with agendas of their own.
This pattern extended across the board: services, housing, jobs as well. With the Intervention came the gradual shut-down of the locally focused, long-running and much-modified Community Development Employment Program
A decade after ATSIC was axed, Aborigines still have little say NICOLAS ROTHWELL THE AUSTRALIAN SEPTEMBER 27, 2014 A DECADE ago, after a protracted period of reviews, critical reports and controversies, then-prime minister John Howard announced, with bipartisan support, the abolition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. “The experiment in elected representation for indigenous people has been a failure,” he declared. It was the start of a cascading process of disempowerment that has continued unabated ever since.
Fresh slogans and watchwords were heard in Canberra back then: there was much talk of combating remote community chaos through “shared responsibility agreements”, of increasing economic opportunity and freeing indigenous people from the passive welfare trap. But at the peak of the federal bureaucracy a new phase was dawning in indigenous affairs: one of increased control and surveillance, of close statistical monitoring and constraint, the better to effect social reform at the scale of an entire population group.
This deep, persisting mismatch between announced aims and actual methods defines the landscape of indigenous politics to this day. In place of self-determination and reconciliation, the rhetoric of recognition and empowerment now fills the air — but autonomy and institutional power have been withdrawn from Aboriginal groups and communities, step by relentless step.
A clear blueprint for the next stage in this process was unveiled with the release in late July of the artfully titled report by Andrew Forrest, Creating Parity, which in pursuit of its program of full equality of opportunity recommends blanket welfare income management and intensive oversight of infants and young children in “target” indigenous communities……… Continue reading
Aboriginal family and children’s centres in limbo SMH, September 14, 2014 Julie Power The future of some of the most disadvantaged children across Australia is now in limbo, following the federal government’s withdrawal of funding from 38 Aboriginal Child and Family Centres.
“We are in no man’s land. No one wants to take ownership,” said Catherine Edwards-Bott, the executive director of the indigenous-run Brewarrina Business Co-operative. The co-op manages two Aboriginal Child and Family Centres in the poorest local government areas in NSW.
These centres were previously funded under the $300 million “closing the gap” partnership between the states and the federal government to provide early childhood services and health programs to Aboriginal children and their families……..
26 have no long-term guarantee of funding. Some had barely opened before funding was axed. Some had not moved into custom-built premises. Two out of the 38 have received nothing since the National Partnership Agreement, introduced three years ago, was cut in June 2014. Another 11 centres have been given some limited funding that will last between six months and two years.
“To say it is a mess is an understatement. To say that Aboriginal people feel betrayed is an understatement,” said Frank Hytten, the chief executive of the Secretariat for National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC). “This is yet another betrayal by white fellas of Aboriginal people. Promises made and promises broken.”
Many people were overlooking the centres’ role as community-managed hubs……
A Victorian centre, Bubup Wilam at Thomastown, has attracted 58 children since it opened, with many going on to the local primary school that did not even know these children lived in the area. Half of its 26 staff members are Aboriginal. Like many of the centres, Bubup Wilam runs an early learning program, health checks, nutrition and family support services.
In Fitzroy Crossing, the Baya Gawiy early childcare centre – with similar services to Bubup Wilam – will close in late December if no other funding is found.
Its manager, Sarah Cleaves, said the centre played a huge role in getting Aboriginal children ready for school. “Many of our children have early life trauma, some have foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, or they are developmentally delayed. So the integrated service provision is designed to get them to start school on par with other Australian children.”
In addition to providing the children with 80 per cent of their nutritional needs, the centre’s program was designed to create an early love of learning and teach children about structure, show them how to sit down and listen to a teacher.
“If they haven’t been to a centre like ours, they hit school and they see it as alien,” Ms Cleaves said.
The centre’s closure will also mean many Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal professionals whose children attend the childcare centre may have to leave the remote town because there are no other childcare services in the Kimberleys.
“We have a manager of Centrelink [child], the [children of the] only permanent GP in town, health services … and other services who run BP roadhouse, their children all come to us,” she said. http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/aboriginal-family-and-childrens-centres-in-limbo-20140912-10fvqb.html#ixzz3DPzDPmkr