Forget the Preamble, what Australia needs is a Treaty Woollydays, Derek Barry January 3, 2014“………..A Treaty is a political document between sovereign people and it was this difficulty that saw John Howard reject the idea as far back as 1988 as an absurd proposition that “a nation should make a treaty with some of its own citizens.” Yet the idea is far from absurd to the many Indigenous people who see this as the first step in the recognition of the wars and dispossession of their country and the genocide that followed. It was Howard’s assimilatory ideas in the face of historical evidence that were blatantly contradictory and hence absurd. Howard’s culture of forgetting was shared by his later immigration Minister Phillip Ruddock who told ABC in October 1998 there couldn’t be a treaty because there never had been a war in this country.
Ruddock’s idea of war was flawed as was his view of a Treaty. A Treaty (also known by its Yolgnu name Makarrata meaning thigh) was long established as an appropriate way by which whites could acknowledge Aboriginal equality and prior ownership. In 1979 an Aboriginal treaty committee was formed by prominent whites almost all came from political and intellectual left. Then Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser offered to discuss treaty conditions with Aborigines while 8 years later his successor Bob Hawke spoke of ‘a compact of understanding’. But this whitefella idea of a treaty was rejected by the Federation of Aboriginal Land Councils because of insufficient consultation with Aborigines, doubts of its significance and consequences and because it would legalise occupation and use of sovereign Aboriginal lands by the Australian settler state…… https://woollydays.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/forget-the-preamble-what-australia-needs-is-a-treaty/
Joh’s cabinet anxious about Labor rise, news.com.au Wednesday January 1, 2014 “…….Attorney-General Sam Doumany said the election of the Hawke government had paved the way for the Commonwealth to start making new sexual and racial discrimination laws.
His warning came in the wake of a 1982 High Court decision which found the Bjelke-Petersen government was acting discriminatorily by blocking the purchase of land by Aboriginal people in northern Queensland.
He said the High Court would ‘no longer provide any great protection’ because the majority of justices were ‘opposed to the long-term interests of the states’…..
The disposal of radioactive sand left over from sand mining was also at the fore as the government grappled with where to dump the substance, which had a half-life of 10,000 million years….. http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/johs-cabinet-anxious-about-labor-rise/story-e6frfku9-1226792829851
Why cabinet sought only a partial clean-up of British nuclear test site Archives give new insight into Hawke government’s response to royal commission on weapons testing in Maralinga region Paul Chadwick theguardian.com, Wednesday 1 January 2014
- Gareth Evans, the energy minister at the time, said ‘a non-confrontational approach’ had been adopted in dealing with the Thatcher government.
The complete rehabilitation of areas of Australia used to test British nuclear weapons may not be possible, the Hawke cabinet was advised in 1986.
Cabinet was warned that a full clean-up may have been more expensive than the British government would be willing to contemplate, according to documents released this week by theNational Archives.
They provide new insights into the Hawke government’s response to the recommendations of the McClelland royal commission into British nuclear tests in Australia. Continue reading
Cabinet rejected the royal commission’s recommendation for the creation of a new register of persons who may have been exposed to “black mist” or radiation at the tests.
The actions of previous Australian government [sic] in shepherding Aboriginal people from their traditional lands for the purpose of conducting atomic tests were both immoral and appallingly executed.
Why cabinet sought only a partial clean-up of British nuclear test site Paul Chadwick theguardian.com, Wednesday 1 January 2014 ”…………An aerial survey of radioactivity around the test sites would be followed by a more detailed ground survey. Five studies would “define the areas – hopefully quite small – which must remain surrounded by fences, and further outer areas in which activities such as food gathering and excavation should not occur”.
A report by technical experts attached to the cabinet submission states: “Aboriginals living and gathering food on the Maralinga lands may be exposed [to contaminants] … in three major ways – by inhalation, by ingestion and by entry of contaminated material through open flesh wounds and abrasions.”
The experts considered options for burial of contaminated soil. They noted that since one of the contaminants had a half life of 24,000 years it was a prerequisite to make a prediction about the sort of changes in the earth expected to occur in the Maralinga area in the timeframe. Continue reading
Cabinet Papers 1986-87: The struggle for indigenous land rights, SMH, Damien Murphy, 28 Dec 13, The Hawke Government continued to grapple with the sensitive issue of indigenous land rights. In March 1986 Aboriginal Affairs Minister Clyde Holding told Cabinet that NSW, Queensland and South Australia had enacted legislation and Victoria was preparing to do so, but that Tasmania and Western Australia rejected the concept of land rights legislation in principle…….
Cabinet again endorsed its 1985 Preferred National Land Rights Model, but agreed to negotiate with Western Australia on non-legislative measures such as community funding and the granting of long leases to Aboriginal reserves.
The Tasmanian and Victorian governments presented the Commonwealth with conflicting challenges. In December 1986 Mr Holding told Cabinet that Tasmania refused to recognise that Aboriginal people had any legitimate claim to land.
……….The government was concerned that the parlous state of the Aboriginal community might become an issue of moral and political embarrassment during the 1988 bicentennial celebrations……….http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/cabinet-papers-198687-the-struggle-for-indigenous-land-rights-20131228-3017r.html
a few unsettling home truths about Australia, as a far-flung outpost of what the writer B. Wongar has called the ‘Nuclear Empire’.
the plunder of native land for its enormous reserves of uranium has entrenched the country’s problematic engagement in world nuclearism and undermined its international credentials as a leading proponent of nuclear non-proliferation.
Anzac, New Mexico: Placing Australia in the Nuclear Empire, Meanjin, Robin Gerster, Dec 13 It is a lament that many Australian readers will recognise: an indigenous narrator is telling the story of colonial dispossession, from the time of white settlement to the rampant mining activity of today, expressing his helplessness in the face of an implacable force that reinscribes the very landscape it has taken over, mapped and mined………….
In August 1945, unable to boast a military role in such a king-hit to its hated enemy Japan, Australia sought another way to take a small slice of the wretched glory. Two days after the Hiroshima bombing, the claim was circulated that ‘Little Boy’ was fuelled by Australian uranium: ‘Uranium from S.A. source’, ran a story on page one of the Sydney Morning Herald. But the text itself says nothing more than the fact that uranium is vital to nuclear fission, that it had been mined at Mt Painter in South Australia, and (portentously) that supplies of the element had been ‘flown out’ from the mine’s newly constructed aerodrome. The Herald soon retracted the story, quoting Prime Minister Ben Chifley to the effect that ‘though Australia attempted to secure uranium for the atomic bomb, the production stage was never undertaken’. This was a minor humiliation in the scheme of things, but a reminder that Australia’s part in these epochal events was essentially peripheral. Undeterred, a Courier-Mail correspondent on 9 August, the day of reckoning for Nagasaki, claimed that Australia ‘gained prestige’ from the advent of the atomic bomb merely by being one of the world’s leading sources of the element.
the outrage committed against the land and communities of Aboriginal Australia.
A small community of Aborigines at a nearby station was poisoned by the fallout, though it was unacknowledged at the time and for years afterwards.
Anzac, New Mexico: Placing Australia in the Nuclear Empire, Meanjin, Robin Gerster, Dec 13 “…………The Fox Report fiasco is indicative of contradictions in Australian political attitudes to the nuclear industry. Australia refuses to contemplate nuclear power plants on its own soil, but it is happy to peddle its uranium to numerous countries in Asia and Europe. The meltdown at Fukushima in Japan in 2011 (in a reactor complex owned and operated by a big buyer of Australian uranium) temporarily rocked the markets and embarrassed advocates of nuclear energy…..
The state governments of mining mainstays such as South and Western Australia have a cheerfully gung-ho attitude to uranium. Distant Fukushima is out of mind as well as well out of sight. In addition to hosting established mega-concerns such as BHP Billiton, operator of the Olympic Dam mine near Roxby Downs, South Australia is rolling out the red carpet for new players…….
At Four Mile in the northern Flinders Ranges, another mine has been given the go-ahead. It is majority-owned by a subsidiary of Heathgate Resources, operator of the existing mine at Beverley in the same region, which is itself an affiliate of the nuclear arms maker General Atomics…. ‘Nuclear-free’ Australia has some alarming business connections. …
After the Second World War, Australia wanted to keep some atomic stuff for itself in addition to supplying the product to the United States and Britain. Continue reading
The electromagnetic pulse and ionization of the atmosphere resulting from the high-yield nuclear bomb Bravo was clearly associated with Adelaide earthquake.
The Castle Bravo nuclear explosion of 1954. Part 1: Bobby 1′s Blog 21 Nov 13 In the Adelaide, Australia earthquake in the early morning of March 1, 1954, residents of Adelaide, Australia were awakened to a violent shaking in their beds. When they went outside, they saw a brilliant glow in the east. The United States had just set off the Castle Bravo nuclear bomb on Bikini Island, 3,600 miles away.On March 1, 1954, the detonation of an estimated 15 megaton thermonuclear weapon, known as “Bravo” took place – as part of the “Castle” test series. According to the U.S. Radiochemistry Society, “the Bravo test created the worst radiological disaster in US history ….the yield of Bravo dramatically exceeded predictions, being about 2.5 times higher than the best guess and almost double the estimated maximum possible yield (6 Mt predicted, estimated yield range 4-8 Mt).” The bomb was over 1000 times more powerful than those exploded over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The Bravo crater in the atoll reef had a diameter of 6,510 ft, with a depth of 250 ft. The cloud top rose and peaked at 130,000 feet (almost 40 km) after only six minutes. Eight minutes after the test the cloud had reached its full dimensions with a diameter of 100 km, a stem 7 km thick, and a cloud bottom rising above 55,000 feet (16.5 km), and after 10 minutes had a diameter of more than 60 miles.
The radioactive fallout from Bravo covered the planet, including the Southern Hemisphere. It was a fission-fusion-fission bomb, designed to release high levels of radioactivity. Its yield was 15 megatons, but it released almost seven times as much radiation than the Russian Tsar Bomba, which had a yield of 50 megatons. Continue reading
Thus there were no treaties concluded with Aboriginal group and no arrangements were made with them to acquire their land, or to regulate dealings between them and the colonists.
Some notable colonial legislation that targeted Aboriginal peoples included:
· 1816 Martial Law (NSW). This proclamation declared Martial Law against Indigenous Australians who could then be shot on sight if armed with spears, or even unarmed, if they were within a certain distance of houses or settlements
· 1824 (Tasmania). Settlers are authorised to shoot Aboriginal peoples
· 1840 (NSW). Indigenous Australians forbidden to use firearms without the permission of a Justice of the Peace
· 1869 (Victoria). The Board for the Protection of Aborigines is established. The Governor can order the removal of any child to a reformatory or industrial school
· 1890 (NSW). In a denial of human rights the Aborigines Protection Board could forcibly take children off reserves and “resocialise” them………
Despite the veil of FIRST WORLD superiority we need to remind all First World nations that they are what they are because of the stolen riches of the countries they have turned into THIRD WORLD and continue to keep them as Third World nations by controlling world trade, the international laws, international rights and justice mechanism and the international media
Britain’s Mass Murder of Indigenous Australians (Aborigines), Lanka Web November 9th, 2013 Shenali D Waduge To those that do not know of Britain’s colonial crimes in their eyes Britain is the epitome of justice, equality, the nation that rears gentlemen of breed and holds the seat of democracy. To those that are aware of British mass murder as ordered by British Governments, the scale of cataloguing these crimes becomes a task in itself and should nullify all claims of any gentlemanly behavior.
The invasion and decimation of Aboriginal Australia was and is entirely a British affair. When Britain devastates a 65,000 year old culture in just 200 years and carries out unthinkable crimes to take over land and exterminate the indigenous population how do we term Britain other than a mass murderer? The Aboriginal experience is depressingly similar to that of Native Americans in the United States. European settlers viciously drove the Aborigines from their land, massacring thousands with impunity. Why does the world remain silent and ignorant of these crimes against humanity?
When the British arrived in Australia in 1788, Australia was NEVER a white country. It was occupied for over 65,000 years by indigenous black Australians later called ‘Aborigines’ by the British. How did these black Aborigines suddenly disappear? British colonial terrorism is the answer. How would the English, such respectable and gentlemanly people get rid of possibly close to 1million indigenous people and take over their lands after their arrival in 1788? How did the Aborigines become less than 100,000 by 1901? The very respectable English settlers cut their food resources and began genocidal massacres and David Cameron speaks to the world on HUMAN RIGHTS! Aborigines did not invade nations or take over lands – the British did and moreover these Aborigines were not warlike people – their culture and livelihood never left room for dissent of the kind that warranted defense. Continue reading
The Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act 2005 was a draconian piece of legislation that took overriding the territory to a new level. It gave the Commonwealth all the powers it needed to build a nuclear waste facility anywhere in the territory. Environment and heritage laws could be set aside, so could the Aboriginal Land Rights Act. This time Howard was determined to remove all possible resistance.
I argued that this was constitutional thuggery but my protests fell on deaf ears. My state colleagues developed temporary deafness as well. I could understand their logic; their state backyards were safe.
Trucking nuclear waste through Sydney a disaster waiting to happen October 11, 2013 Clare Martin (former chief minister of the Northern Territory.) http://www.smh.com.au/comment/trucking-nuclear-waste-through-sydney-a-disaster-waiting-to-happen-20131010-2vb0a.html
As I drove down Mona Vale Road this week on a visit to Sydney, I began to wonder what would have happened if the tanker involved in last week’s fatalities had been transporting nuclear waste. It is not a fanciful thought because that is the present federal proposal: trucking nuclear waste through Sydney streets to a new national storage facility thousands of kilometres away in central Australia.
The accident made me question yet again the sense of that proposal. Is one site for low- and medium-level nuclear waste preferable to many local? Does storing the waste in remote Australia make it safer, more secure? What are the known dangers inherent in nuclear waste storage? We need to discuss these issues. Continue reading
Frontier atrocities against Australian Indigenous people were appalling. Frontier conflict is not pleasant at the best of times, but what happened in Australia has been covered up for too long. I leave you with the words of Henry Reynolds (2006) when summing up attitudes towards frontier conflict – and conflict it was – real, bloodthirsty, brutal – a battlefield and a war, waged almost silently, and with little record of it.
It can be found in almost every type of document – official reports both public and confidential, newspapers, letters, reminiscences. Settlers often counted black bodies either in anger or in anguish; members of punitive expeditions confessed to their participation in a spirit of bravado or contrition. Later observers came across bones and skulls; burnt, buried or hidden and occasionally collected and put proudly on display (Reynolds 2006: 127).
Battlefield Australia : Frontier Conflict in Early Australian Settlement by Sue Carter : HeritageDaily , September 28, 2013 It has been estimated that the first people arrived in Australia possibly around 45,000 years ago and from that time, until the settlement of Europeans on the eastern coast, the Australian Aborigines had been turning space into place for much of that time.
It is equally quite easily demonstrated that Indigenous
people were frequently massacred indiscriminately
and with impunity in Colonial Queensland and
that their remains were treated with disrespect,
if not outright contempt (Ørsted-Jensen 2011: 169)
They viewed their lives as being part of an overall design where everything had a right to live, they carved their position nestled in the landscape, and viewed their lives within it as part of a design in which Country was seen as place. Everything within the Indigenous cultural paradigm was multidimensional and people were attached emotionally, psychologically and metaphysically to the land they inhabited (Bird 1996). They sang songs regarding the history and birth of their part of Country, painted and recited stories which were passed down through generation after generation. ……..
The settlement of the continent included invisible boundaries that were known by the various tribes. Each had their own district where they belonged through spiritual and ancestral bonds and there was interaction between neighbouring tribes where their boundaries overlapped in many complex ways, through spirituality, kinship ties and interaction. A major aspect of the inter-tribal and family relationships was that of sharing; no one owned anything – it belonged to all within the group (Reynolds 2006). They lived with and on the land – protecting, nurturing and preserving – for thousands of years. Continue reading
Australia: Spotlight on indigenous affairs today: 20 September 2013 by Charles Harrison, Josephine Heesh, Patricia Monemvasitis, Peter Punch and Janine Smith Carroll & O’Dea ABORIGINAL LAND RIGHTS ACT 1983 (NSW)2013 marks the 30th anniversary of the passing of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (‘the Act‘), recently celebrated as part of NAIDOC week.
The 1983 Act, passed by the Wran Labor Government, was New South Wales’ first piece of land rights legislation. The Act followed a two year consultation period, facilitated by a Legislative Assembly Select Committee chaired by Maurice Keane, which involved 4,000 individuals across the State and received 262 submissions.
The Act significantly acknowledged prior ownership and occupancy, made unused Crown Land available to claim and established mechanisms to facilitate Aboriginal self-determination. While some Aboriginal activists at the time felt that the Act did not go far enough, the High Court’s previous Justice Kirby once characterised the Act as “little short of revolutionary”, considering its pre-Mabo context.
To mark the anniversary the History Council of NSW organised a seminar during NAIDOC week titled “ Daring ideas: Is Land Rights Enough?“. A panel of lawyers, lecturers, activists and those involved with the administration of the Act discussed and debated the Act’s current operation. There seemed to be consensus amongst the participants, and members of the audience, that while the Act represented a significant step forward, there is still a way to go to deliver meaningful land rights to Aboriginal Australians…….. http://www.mondaq.com/australia/x/263784/indigenous+peoples/Spotlight+on+indigenous+affairs+today
History of government and Aboriginal Affairs prior to 1967 and after The Stringer, by Delephene Fraser September 17th, 2013…..…….History of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC)
ATSIC became part of the Australian legislation in 1989 and the government appointed Lois (Lowitija) O Donoghue as ATSIC first Chairperson, ATSIC flung open it doors in March 1990. section 3 of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Act 1989 sets out ATSIC objectives as follows:
- To ensure maximum participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in government policy
- To promote Indigenous self-management and self-sufficiency
- To further Indigenous economic, social and cultural development, and
- To ensure co-ordination of Commonwealth, state and territory and local government policy affecting Indigenous people.
In order to achieve these objectives, ASTIC was to:
· Advise governments at all levels on Indigenous issues
· Advocate the recognition of Indigenous rights on behalf of Indigenous peoples regionally and nationally and internationally
· Deliver and monitor some of the Commonwealth government Indigenous programs and services. Continue reading
Rudd and Abbott charge the north Eureka Street Dean Ashenden | 19 August 2013 “……..Credit for getting this history under way goes to the pastoral grandees of the colony of South Australia. In the 1860s they funded an obsessive-compulsive alcoholic Scotsman to find out what lay between their northern border and the far coast, and how it could be got. John McDouall Stuart’s six expeditions found little to encourage them, but lust trumped reason, and South Australia set itself to be the first colony in history to found a colony. The two would fuse, in time, to become the Great Central State.
Dreams of imperial glory and speculative fortunes turned almost immediately into a long-running mixture of farce and nightmare. Eventually South Australia got lucky. In 1911 it managed to palm off its colony onto the newly-constituted Commonwealth of Australia. Astonishingly, the Commonwealth even agreed to pay serious money for it, nearly four million pounds, plus another 2.2 million for a railway line that had not even reached South Australia’s northern border, let alone made any money.
Believing, as had the South Australians before them, that there must be a way to turn space into land, the Commonwealth did what South Australia had done, with the same result. An official inquiry report in 1937 was scathing. It found that in the 25 years since the takeover the federal government had spent more than 15 million pounds and was heading further into the red. The previous year’s production had brought in 100 000 pounds less than the Government’s outlay for the year of 600,000 pounds.
But the inquirers nonetheless found that it can be done, if it’s done right. It prescribed the familiar medicine: ports, roads, bridges, railways, ports, industry development boards, the lot.
Much of what the inquiry wanted soon came to pass, but not in result of its proposals. In 1939, war saw tens of thousands of troops stream north to build roads, airfields, a port and other infrastructure. For the first time the white population exceeded the black.
Soon motor vehicles, aircraft, air conditioning and buckets of public money transformed the look and feel of the Territory, but ‘development’ remained elusive. In the Territory, and more particularly in neighbouring tropical Queensland and Western Australia, mining was the only big earner, not necessarily to the advantage of government revenues.
The kind of on-the-ground industries apparently envisaged by Rudd and Abbott — horticulture and agriculture particularly — were confined to coastal enclaves or to the margins of viability. Much of the north proved too hot, too wet, too dry, too far from markets, too barren or too pestilential, with the happy consequence that the frontier failed to do its grim work.
Instead of a near-obliteration of Aboriginal populations of the kind seen on the eastern and southern seaboards, northern Australia witnessed a slow-motion saga of sporadic violence and accommodation, of advance and retreat. Neither side ever looked liked winning, and neither ever looked like giving up.
In the aftermath of the Coniston massacres of 1928 both sides abandoned violence for other means, and since then both have used the law, politics, money and public opinion in hundreds of struggles over land and ‘culture’, some famous or notorious, most not, one side straining to gain ground, the other to resist and to recover.
That 160-year struggle now seems to be reaching a new stage. We like to think that the devastation of one population and culture by another is all in the past, but the apparent failure of Rudd and Abbott to notice that northern Australia is shared country suggests that there might be more to come.http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=37087#.UhP0g9Jwo6I
Dig for secrets: the lesson of Maralinga’s Vixen B The Conversation, Liz Tynan, 26 July 13 ”……lack of knowledge about the British nuclear tests in Australia is not surprising. The tests were not part of the national conversation for many years. Even when older people remember that nuclear tests were held here, no-one knows the story of the most secret tests of all, the ones that left the most contamination: Vixen B.
Maralinga is a particularly striking example of what can happen when media are unable to report government activities comprehensively. The media have a responsibility to deal with complex scientific and technological issues that governments may be trying to hide. While Maralinga was an example of extreme secrecy, the same kind of secrecy could at any time be enacted again. With the Edward Snowden case, we have seen what can happen when journalists become complicit in government secrecy, and we have learned the press must be more rigorous in challenging cover-ups.
At Maralinga, part of our territory became the most highly contaminated land in the world. But the Australian public had no way of granting informed consent because no-one knew it was happening. Remediating the environmental contamination was delayed for decades for the same reason. While arguments might be mounted for the need for total secrecy at the time (although these arguments are debatable in the case of Vixen B), there was no reason to keep the aftermath totally secret as well. Continue reading