Australian news, and some related international items

Abbott self-publicises on Aboriginal land: he cuts funding to Aboriginal Child and Family Centres

Aboriginal family and children’s centres in limbo SMH, September 14, 2014  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.

September 15, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

While Abbott struts about in Arnhem Land, Aboriginal legal aid funds are cut

Abbott’s Top End trip: Indigenous legal aid agency seeks meeting with PM to discuss funding cuts, ABC News, 12 Sept 14 By political reporter Anna Henderson Tony Abbott will face fresh questions about the federal budget and spending on Indigenous affairs when he touches down in north-east Arnhem Land on Sunday at the start of a week-long trip to the Top End.

Some organisations are already taking action to find savings even before knowing the scope of their potential budget cuts.

For decades the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) has been providing legal aid in the remote town of Nhulunbuy, on the northern tip of Arnhem Land, as well as in the nearby community of Yirrkala and surrounding outstations.

But the agency is set to close its doors in Nhulunbuy at the end of the year, in anticipation of severe budget cuts, and is seeking a meeting with the Prime Minister during his visit…….

Eighty per cent of inmates in Territory jails are Aboriginal. In the juvenile justice system, it is 95 per cent.

The closure of the NAAJA office means those needing to see a lawyer face-to-face will have to fly or make the massive drive to Darwin, or wait for a fly-in fly-out lawyer to come to them.

The agency’s principal lawyer, Jonathon Hunyor, said the other option was a phone consultation with someone in Darwin.

“Often the issues that our clients bring to us are very complicated, they can be very sensitive and they can be very personal,” he said.

“So issues like child protection or issues like a medical complication where bad service was provided by the hospital, or a family law issue where someone is the victim of abuse.

“They are very difficult things to talk about and they don’t want to have to talk about them over the phone.”

He said ultimately Indigenous clients would not get the representation they deserved, “which means that Aboriginal people get second-rate justice”.  ………

Ms Yunupingu fears those seeking legal advice may travel to Darwin on their own, without family support……….

May’s federal budget included plans to strip half a billion dollars from Indigenous programs administered by the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Health portfolios.

September 15, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Australian government actively setting up bribes to Aboriginal communities to host nuclear waste dump

briberyGovernment ‘not short of choice’ for nuke dump site ABC Online Indigenous By Gail Liston and staff writers September 08, 2014 Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane is “confident” nuclear waste being stored under buildings in Sydney and Melbourne could still be headed for the NT.

The ABC understands traditional owners from central Australia are in talks to nominate a site in the Tanami Desert, 540 kilometres west of Alice Springs for a facility to house nuclear waste, in the wake of a site near Tennant Creek being withdrawn in the middle of a federal court challenge.

Earlier this year the Minister offered NT Aboriginal land councils an opportunity to nominate a site, which he said would be “worth millions and millions of dollars to whoever is successful”, after the Federal Government withdrew its nomination of Muckaty Station north of Tennant Creek.

Mr Macfarlane said he would only consider nominations that were uncontested, after theMuckaty nomination process which he later described as a disaster.

Asked if he was aware of a group from the Tanami offering land to build the site, Mr Macfarlane refused to answer directly.

“I am not going to talk about potential applications while the existing process is in operation. The Central and Northern Land Councils still have the best part of 20 days to supply me with a site,” he said.

“I can say I won’t be short of choice if this process goes beyond the current process with the Central and Northern Land Councils.”

I am receiving offers from potential sites from right across Australia,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“I am confident that if we don’t succeed in the current process we’ll succeed in the subsequent process to identify a site and build a repository so that nuclear waste that is currently being stored in shipping containers and car parks underneath CBD buildings in Sydney and Melbourne will have a proper place to be stored.”

The ABC has been told a delegation from the Central Land Council will start consultations with the traditional owners later this week.

The Tanami Road is the only way to access the site, but a 254 kilometre stretch remains unsealed.

Sealing the road is one of the key recommendations in the Federal Government’s plans for developing Northern Australia but could cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Nat Wasley from the Beyond Nuclear Initiative says the Minister is trying to bribe desperate people into accepting nuclear waste. “He gave till the end of September, so it is not surprising that people are looking to have meetings and find out more information before that deadline,” he said.

“We are also seeing the situation where the Minister is dangling a carrot yet again in front of communities who desperately do need funding for outstations, roads and housing.

“I’m not sure of the exact location of the site that is being looked but it would be a concern if the Government is considering taking nuclear waste along unsealed roads for the very reason that it can’t find other ways to manage nuclear waste.”

Government keen to avoid another Muckaty……….

Mr Macfarlane later said the process to nominate Muckaty Station was “a disaster” but there was interest from Aboriginal land owners elsewhere.

He said if there were no takers for a dump in the NT by September he would open the bidding to the rest of the country, but warned any potential site would need to be undisputed.

“I’ll throw it open to anyone in Australia who can provide me with a block of land free of dispute and challenge that is environmentally suitable and that will be keenly sought after by a whole range of people – individuals, private property owners.”

September 9, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wastes | 1 Comment

Central Australia’s Aboriginal leaders proclaim that their land is not a nuclear waste dump


handsoffOur country ‘not a dump’  Centralian Advocate- Alice Springs NT – by Sasha Petrova – 05/09/2014, 
A GROUP of prominent Central Australian Aboriginal leaders have come together to proclaim that they will “never accept a nuclear dump on NT Aboriginal Lands”.
CEO of Tangentyere Council Walter Shaw and Chairman of Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation Noel Kruger are among the nearly 20 native title holders who have signed a statement that “enough is enough” and they are sick of traditional owners being blackmailed to host Australia’s nuclear waste storage facility.
“We have heard that people are being approached with the suggestion a nuclear dump could draw funding for bitumen roads and outstation housing,” the statement said.
“The Commonwealth Department of Education also offered scholarships as part of the Muckaty proposal.”
It is planned that the open letter will be circulated across the community and sent to relevant Northern Territory and Federal government representatives.

Continue reading

September 6, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

AUDIO: Injustices to black and white Australians – guinea pigs in Maralinga nuclear bomb tests

Atomic-Bomb-SmHear-This-wayAUDIO: Maralinga: Australia’s experience of nuclear testing ABC Radio p.m Mark Colvin reported this story on Friday, September 5, 2014 DAVID MARK: It happened in the 1950s. But the truth about a series of nuclear tests in which Britain let off atomic bombs at Maralinga in the South Australian desert only started to emerge in the ’70s.

Even now, there are still survivors demanding justice. Many are now dead, but there are still fears about the effects of the big doses of radiation they absorbed having on their children and even their grandchildren.

The journalist Frank Walker has written a book about Maralinga and he told Mark Colvin about what Australian servicemen actually experienced at the test site. ………… Continue reading

September 6, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Northern Territory Aboriginal leaders want clear answers on compulsory land acquisition

handsoffNorthern Land Council Chief Executive Joe Morrison said the Government needed to explain where it stood on the issue.

“Surely if there’s going to be any suggestions about compulsorily acquiring lands gained under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act then they need to make that public,” he said.

Northern Australia report: Aboriginal land compulsory acquisition paragraph withdrawn from NT Government Response, ABC News, By Felicity James , 5 Sept 14, A paragraph calling for powers to compulsorily acquire Aboriginal land was withdrawn from the NT Government’s Response to the Green Paper on Developing Northern Australia, it has emerged.

The Federal Government tabled its recommendations on the Pivot North: Inquiry into the development of Northern Australia in Parliament on Thursday.

The Northern Territory Government Response was released to the media the same day and included a section on land tenure in the NT.

It said: “Given the Australian Government’s primacy in the area of Northern Territory Indigenous land tenure, the Northern Territory Government urges the Australian Government to expedite discussions with the Northern Territory Government and other stakeholders on the following in the interest of the development of northern Australia and its residents, particularly those in remote communities.”

It then had a list of requests for the Federal Government, and the first request called for the capacity to compulsorily acquire land held under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

In a version sent to the ABC by a Government media adviser it contained the following paragraph that did not appear in the final document.

“At the very least there needs to be capacity to compulsorily acquire ALRA land for Government/strategic purposes (Territory government including independent agencies and authorities, and local government).”

But the Government says the ABC was sent the wrong version and compulsory acquisition was not mentioned in the final version sent to the Federal Government. “What was written in the paper that you’ve got a copy of, came out of the department. I was the person who removed it before it got to Cabinet,” Chief Minister Adam Giles said today.

“This isn’t a mistake. There’s a draft paper that’s come up from the department. I encourage all employees of Government to think outside the square.”

Mr Giles said the Government does not have a stance on compulsory acquisition.

“We don’t have a position, it’s never come up as requiring a position.”

The Aboriginal Land Rights Act is a piece of federal legislation that establishes collective freehold title for traditional owners, with land councils empowered to act on their behalf.

About 50 per cent of the land, and 85 per cent of the coastline, in the Northern Territory is Aboriginal land.

Chief Minister Adam Giles has previously suggested the legislation should be put under the control of the Northern Territory Government.

Gaining access to land for development is a major theme of the NT Government’s submission.

The submission said development projects on land held under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act have become “too hard”.

“To provide an example of the challenge posed to development under current arrangements, often as many as 70 per cent of outstanding mineral exploration licence applications fall under the ALRA negotiation process,” it said.

NLC: Come clean about intentions

Northern Land Council Chief Executive Joe Morrison said the Government needed to explain where it stood on the issue.

“Surely if there’s going to be any suggestions about compulsorily acquiring lands gained under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act then they need to make that public,” he said.

“They need to articulate what their policy position is and how they intend to go about engaging with the Aboriginal community and particularly traditional owners.

“We’ve got a Government that’s made its intentions clear about the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

“It’s clear that it sees it and sees the Native Title Act also as an impediment to development.

He said the Giles Government had not made a serious approach to the NLC about dealing with land tenure.

“This underhandedness is not doing anyone any good at a time when there’s enormous disparity between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and we need to get on with the business.”

Audit of all NT Crown land…….

September 6, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott’s racist remarks are deliberate, not just blunders

Woolombi Waters says Tony Abbott is at it again but don’t think for a moment these are gaffes The Stringer by Dr Woolombi Waters September 3rd, 2014 A little over a month ago it was reported Tony Abbott as the Prime Minister of Australia made a political gaffe or blunder when he stated “I guess our country owes its existence to a form of foreign investment by the British government in the then unsettled or, um, scarcely settled, Great South Land.”

But this was no blunder. It was intentional and showed the true values and beliefs of this Prime Minister. When he stated he wanted to be seen as Australia’s first Prime Minister for Aboriginal People it was about paternalism and intervention because we obviously are not capable of managing our own destiny.

According to Abbott we need to be told what to do. His personal interest though didn’t appear to last long instead relying on others, Noel Pearson, Nigel Scullion, Warren Mundine and Andrew Forrest to deal with the Aboriginal issues amongst themselves. In doing so Abbott has totally ignored any Aboriginal leaders outside this inner sanctum, including the majority of his own Indigenous Advisory Council.

Then, over the weekend he comes out stating that the arrival of the First Fleet was the “defining moment” in the history of this continent. Then he said it again, “Let me repeat that: it was the defining moment in the history of this continent.” Continue reading

September 4, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Proposed changes to Western Australia’s Aboriginal Heritage Act for benefit of mining companies

handsoffFast track approvals should be dumped: KLC ABC News 6 Aug 14 By Nicolas Perpitch Proposed changes to Western Australia’s Aboriginal Heritage Act have been labelled discriminatory, amid calls for them to be dumped and the act rewritten. In a scathing submission, the Kimberley Land Council (KLC) also warned the amendments would disenfranchise Indigenous people.

KLC chief executive Nolan Hunter said the draft bill focused power in the hands of one bureaucrat – the Department of Aboriginal Affairs’ chief executive officer. “This is a totally bureaucratic government process, so we pretty much will be disenfranchised in terms of having a say once all this is set,” he said.

“This basically discriminates against Aboriginal people. It favours the state’s position.”

Currently the Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee (ACMC), established through the act, provides advice and recommendations to the Aboriginal Affairs Minister on heritage sites. Fast track’ authority for permits handed to CEOMinister Peter Collier revealed the draft bill in mid-June, saying the pace of economic development in recent years, particularly in mining and construction, had highlighted inadequacies in the current legislation.

The draft bill would speed up the approval process for mining and other development by giving the Department of Aboriginal Affairs chief executive officer “expedited” or “fast track” authority to declare whether or not an Aboriginal heritage site existed.

The CEO would be able to issue land use permits when he or she decided a site would not be significantly damaged or altered.

Submissions on the draft amendments have been overwhelmingly critical of the proposed changes, in particular the new fast track approvals process. The KLC and other land councils, Aboriginal corporations, the Law Society of WA, individuals and anthropologists such as La Trobe University’s Nicholas Herriman have argued the new process would largely cut out Aboriginal people.

The Law Society, in its submission, said the proposed amendments stripped the ACMC of its evaluative role and predominantly shifted power to the CEO, who was not obliged to consult with Aboriginal people or to apply anthropological expertise.

Mining and other companies could appeal decisions but no statutory right of review was provided for Aboriginal custodians or traditional owners.

“The lack of such a right again negates the claim that these amendments are increasing the strength of the voice of Aboriginal people or that the amendments increase accountability,” the Law Society said.

The Goldfields Land and Sea Council pointed out the Government had not specified the process to be followed by the CEO in making his or her decisions, raising concerns about “the validity of any decision made”.

“It remains that the most significant issue raised by the proposed amendments to the act is that the regulations that will govern how it will operate are not yet available,” the land council wrote in its submission…………

‘Streamlining development’ aim of act: council

National Native Title Council CEO Brian Wyatt said the changes were not primarily directed at heritage protection.”There’s no real will or desire by government to protect heritage. It’s all about streamlining the processes of development,” Mr Wyatt said.

The KLC also stressed a new section in the act making it a criminal offence not to declare potential heritage sites could force land councils and representative bodies to break the law. There would be fines for people, other than traditional owners, who did not report sites or objects.

Mr Hunter said traditional owners disclosed information to consultants, development proponents and representative bodies on a legal, confidential basis and that arrangement could fall foul of the new provision.

“It sets a default position where we can be subject to a criminal prosecution with very little culpability on our part,” he said.

“How can you create legislation that compels you to break the law?”

He called on the Government to dump the draft bill and start again……….

Submissions on the draft amendments to the 42-year-old act close this week following an eight-week public consultation period.

August 6, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, politics, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Green MP Robin Chapple’s submission on the Aboriginal Heritage Legislative Changes

Chapple, Robin Greens W.A.These matters are especially important given the lack of both review/appeal processes and

compensation processes in the Act and Bill for Aboriginal peoples facing damage to or

destruction of their heritage.

Dear Chief Heritage Officer

Feedback on the Aboriginal heritage legislative changes

Thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback on the Aboriginal heritage legislative


I would like first to acknowledge that the Aboriginal Heritage Amendment Bill 2014 makes

improvements, for example the extension of time in which to bring a prosecution, the

provision of express penalties where these are currently lacking, and the increased

penalties for offences.

The Bill also seems likely to deliver on its promise to deliver better quality registers, and the

inclusion of a historic record of all approvals should assist with monitoring compliance.

The Bill also seems likely to deliver on its promise to deliver faster decision making, and the

prescribing of processes for decision-making would make those processes more certain

and transparent.

However, on the draft legislation currently available, and particularly in the absence of draft

regulations, I am not at all satisfied that the legislative changes will effectively improve

either the protection of Aboriginal heritage or adequately involve Aboriginal peoples in that

process. At the end of the day, protection of Aboriginal heritage is what the Act is for. Continue reading

August 6, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, politics, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Bob Hawke sees importing nuclear waste as solution to Aboriginal disadvantage!

briberyBob Hawke: nuclear waste storage could end indigenous disadvantage.  Former prime minister says Northern Territory leader Adam Giles supports idea, despite rejection of Muckaty dump plan  in Arnhem Land, Sunday 3 August 2014 “….. Hawke said he was confident that the answer to long-standing indigenous socioeconomic problems was to allow radioactive waste to be stored on Aboriginal land, and use the revenue to improve living standards.

Speaking at the Indigenous Garma festival in the Northern Territory, Hawke said he had met Adam Giles, the territory’s chief minister, to discuss the idea and had got a favourable response……..”.I believe I have the answer. I’ve discussed this proposal with Adam Giles, who tells me he’s been approached by a number of elders who, like himself, are keenly supportive of the proposal.”

Despite having some of the largest deposits of uranium in the world, Australia has maintained a long-standing opposition to nuclear power and storing radioactive waste from overseas.

In June, traditional Indigenous owners in Muckaty Station, north of Tennant Creek, triumphed in a seven-year battle to stop domestic nuclear waste being dumped on their land……..

he stressed that the solution would give Australia “the capacity for substantial new expenditure on indigenous Australians”………Dave Sweeney, a nuclear-free campaigner with the Australian Conservation Foundation, said Hawke’s proposal was a “bloody disgrace”.

“Here you’ve got a privileged white man standing up saying this rubbish should be dumped on systematically disadvantaged people’s land,” he told Guardian Australia. “It’s offensive and it’s dumb.

“For more than 20 years Aboriginal communities at multiple sites in South Australia and the NT have mobilised and defeated federal government plans for a national radioactive waste dump on their country, most recently at Muckaty. To think that they will accept an international dump is fanciful.

“To put forward that the best way to address the shameful state of the economic and structural disadvantage of the world’s oldest continuing culture is through hosting the world’s worst industrial wastes is a profound and perpetual policy failure.”

August 4, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wastes | Leave a comment

How the Aboriginal people of Maralinga lost traditional knowledge due to atomic bombing

The Radiation That Makes People Invisible: A Global Hibakusha Perspective Robert Jacobs The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 30, No. 1, August 3, 2014.

“…….Loss of traditional knowledge– In some remote places survival is dependent on centuries old understandings of the land. In Maralinga, Australia the areas where the British conducted nuclear tests between 1956 and 1963 are very difficult places to live. Traditional communities in these areas often have songs that hold and transmit essential knowledge about how to survive in such a harsh environment, such as where to find water, when to hunt specific animals, when to move to various locations. But can knowledge gathered over millennia be effectively applied to radiation disasters?

When the British relocated entire communities to areas hundreds of kilometers from their homes, the local knowledge chain was broken. It became impossible for the refugees to sustain a traditional life in areas where they had no knowledge of the rhythms of the land and animals. This removal from their lands led to ever increasing dependence on governmental assistance and severed what had been millennia of self-reliance. While self-reliance had been dramatically impacted by the brutal rule of the Australian government and its policies towards aboriginal peoples, the people living near the test site were still living on the land in the 1950s. Relocation led to the further erosion of community, familial and personal wellbeing………….

August 4, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, South Australia | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott’s top Aboriginal adviser, Warren Mundine is a nuclear industry lobbyist

Mundine-puppetEnvironmentalists respond to Warren Mundine’s attacks  1 Aug 2014, Jim Green, Indymedia Nuclear lobbyist “………..Mundine’s role as a lobbyist for all things nuclear has been particularly offensive. In June, Muckaty Traditional Owners in the NT won a famous victory, defeating the efforts of the Howard−Rudd−Gillard−Abbott governments to impose a nuclear waste dump on their land. The racism could hardly have been cruder, with bipartisan support for legislation overriding the Aboriginal Heritage Act, undermining the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, and allowing the imposition of a nuclear dump with no Aboriginal consultation or consent.

Mundine’s contribution to the eight-year battle of Muckaty Traditional Owners? Nothing. Silence.

In February 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd highlighted the life-story of Lorna Fejo − a member of the stolen generation − in the National Apology in Parliament House. At the same time, Rudd was stealing her land for a nuclear waste dump. Fejo said: “When are we going to have fair go? I’ve been stolen from my mother and now they’re stealing my land off me.”

Mundine’s response to Lorna Fejo’s plight? Nothing. Silence.

When Muckaty Traditional Owners finally won their battle, Marlene Nungarrayi Bennett said: “Today will go down in the history books of Indigenous Australia on par with the Wave Hill Walk-off, Mabo and Blue Mud Bay. We have shown the Commonwealth and the NLC [Northern Land Council] that we will stand strong for this country.”

And it was indeed a famous victory. No thanks to Warren Mundine. He could have spoken up for Muckaty Traditional Owners in his previous role as National President of the ALP; he could have spoken up as a self-styled Aboriginal ‘leader'; he could have spoken up as a Director of the Australian Uranium Association and co-convenor of the Association’s ‘Indigenous Dialogue Group’ (which made no effort to establish dialogue with indigenous people); and he could have  spoken up as head of the Indigenous Advisory Council. But he remained silent for eight long years.

Mundine says Australia has “a legal framework to negotiate equitably with the traditional owners on whose land many uranium deposits are found.” Bullshit. Only in the NT do Traditional Owners have any right of veto over mining. And even then, sub-section 40(6) of the Commonwealth’s Aboriginal Land Rights Act specifically exempts the Ranger uranium mine in the NT from the Act and thus removed the right of veto that Mirarr Traditional Owners would otherwise have enjoyed.

Another example ignored by Mundine: in 2012 the NSW government passed legislation which excludes uranium from provisions of the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983. Nothing equitable about that.

And another example ignored by Mundine: In 2011 the SA Parliament passed amendments to the SA Roxby Downs Indenture Act 1982, legislation governing the Olympic Dam copper/uranium mine. The amendments retain exemptions from the SA Aboriginal Heritage Act. Traditional Owners were not even consulted. The SA government’s spokesperson in Parliament said: “BHP were satisfied with the current arrangements and insisted on the continuation of these arrangements, and the government did not consult further than that.” Nothing equitable about that.

And on it goes. The Western Australian government is in the process of weakening the WA Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 at the behest of the mining industry. Nothing equitable about that….”


August 1, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Warren Mundine’s allegiance is to Tony Abbott, not to the Aboriginal people

Mundine-and-AbbottEnvironmentalists respond to Warren Mundine’s attacks  1 Aug 2014, Jim Green, Indymedia

“……….Tony Abbott’s ‘kindred spirit’  Abbott describes himself as John Howard’s political love-child and he describes Mundine as a “kindred spirit”. Mundine’s willingness to provide political cover for Abbott knows no bounds. Abbott said Australia was “unsettled or, um, scarcely settled” before European invasion and Mundine said he knows Abbott’s “heart is in the right place” and ”we just need to do a bit more education, within the government, on this area.”

Mundine said that the Abbott government’s cuts of more than $500 million from indigenous spending over the next five years are not as bad as had been planned while praising the government for listening to the Indigenous Advisory Council. And when confronted with hostility from indigenous people for his role on the Indigenous Advisory Council, Mundine said he doesn’t represent anyone but Prime Minister Tony Abbott!

Gary Foley wrote about Mundine’s “bromance” with Tony Abbott in Tracker magazine in August 2013: “It would seem at the present time that the former National President of the ALP, Mr Warren Mundine, has momentarily eclipsed the Cape York Crusader Noel Pearson as the Aboriginal Man of the Moment. Whilst Mr Mundine may lack the intellectual firepower of Noel Pearson, he has nevertheless elbowed his way to the front of the pack with his dazzling late-life conversion to the cause of all things Tony Abbott. Mundine’s strategic realignment to become best buddies with Abbott at the beginning of the 2013 federal election campaign may have been a surprise to some, but only those who have not been taking notice of Mundine’s mundane comments on Aboriginal matters over the past few decades.”

Abbott said he wants to be a ”Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs” and wants to make a ”new engagement” with indigenous people one of the ”hallmarks” of his government. But there’s nothing new about finding opportunists like Mundine to provide political cover for a racist government. That tactic is tried and tested. Only the names change…….


August 1, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Huge Aboriginal death toll when Europeans invaded – should be recognised

Australian War Memorial should recognise revised Aboriginal death toll: researcher, Brisbane Times July 17, 2014  Brisbane Times and Sun-Herald journalist New research that has calculated an Aboriginal death toll of more than 65,000 in Queensland alone during the so-called frontier wars has renewed calls for formal recognition at the Australian War Memorial.

But the AWM in Canberra has dismissed the idea, saying recognition should instead be in the National Museum.

The research, presented to the Australian Historical Association’s Conflict in History conference last week at the University of Queensland, estimated 66,680 deaths between 1788 and 1930.

Of those deaths, 65,180 were indigenous, which is more than six times what was previously thought. The report’s co-author, historian Professor Raymond Evans, said the calculations were based on official records, witnesses’ reports and the number of patrols undertaken by the colonial Queensland government’s Native Police.

Professor Evans said the 65,180 figure was “conservative” and could be as high as 115,000.

“This is just Queensland – imagine what the nation-wide figure could be,” he said.

“If you say it’s a war, you at least allow the fact that Aboriginal people fought hard to defend their lands, so you can say they were warriors and they were fighting for their country. “They were fighting for Australia, for their land.”

Professor Evans said the estimated death toll was at least on a par with Australian casualties during World War I.

“The Australian War Memorial should recognise this as a war. It’s got such a high death rate, it was fought over a long period of time and it was fought between different communities, different nations, for territory,” he said.

“It’s a fight for land and territorial possession and it has many features of warfare and, of course, a huge death rate.”

July 21, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Queensland | Leave a comment

History of the Aboriginal fight against nuclear waste dumping in South Australia

South-Australia-nuclearhandsoffThe nuclear war against Australia’s Aboriginal people, Ecologist  Jim Green 14th July 2014 Dumping on South Australia “……….The failed attempt to establish a dump at Muckaty followed the failed attempt to establish a dump in South Australia. In 1998, the Howard government announced its intention to build a nuclear waste dump near Woomera in South Australia.

Leading the battle against the dump were the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, a council of senior Aboriginal women from northern SA. Many of the Kungkas personally suffered the impacts of the British nuclear bomb tests at Maralinga and Emu in the 1950s.

The proposed dump generated such controversy in SA that the federal government hired a public relations company. Correspondence between the company and the government was released under Freedom of Information laws.

In one exchange, a government official asked the PR company to remove sand-dunes from a photo to be used in a brochure. The explanation provided by the government official was that: “Dunes are a sensitive area with respect to Aboriginal Heritage”.

The sand-dunes were removed from the photo, only for the government official to ask if the horizon could be straightened up as well. ‘Terra nullius’!

In 2003, the federal government used the Lands Acquisition Act 1989 to seize land for the dump. Native Title rights and interests were extinguished with the stroke of a pen. This took place with no forewarning and no consultation with Aboriginal people.

Victory in the Federal Court

The Kungkas continued to implore the federal government to ‘get their ears out of their pockets’, and after six years the government did just that.

In the lead-up to the 2004 federal election – after a Federal Court ruling that the federal government had acted illegally in stripping Traditional Owners of their native title rights, and with the dump issue biting politically in SA – the Howard government decided to cut its losses and abandon the dump plan.

The Kungkas wrote in an open letter: “People said that you can’t win against the Government. Just a few women. We just kept talking and telling them to get their ears out of their pockets and listen. We never said we were going to give up. Government has big money to buy their way out but we never gave up.”

The Kungkas victory had broader ramifications – it was a set-back for everyone who likes the idea of stripping Aboriginal people of their land and their land rights, and it was a set-back for the nuclear power lobby.

Senator Nick Minchin, one of the Howard government ministers in charge of the failed attempt to impose a nuclear dump in SA, said in 2005:

“My experience with dealing with just low-level radioactive waste from our research reactor tells me it would be impossible to get any sort of consensus in this country around the management of the high-level waste a nuclear [power] reactor would produce.”

Minchin told a Liberal Party council meeting that “we must avoid being lumbered as the party that favours nuclear energy in this country” and that “we would be political mugs if we got sucked into this”……..



July 19, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment


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