Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Aboriginal demands for a Treaty, not just Constitutional recognition

I do believe that Treaty is the mechanism in which we can hold the government to account for past and present atrocities; it is our means of asserting our sovereignty and ensuring the structures that will see our communities flourish are funded. 

The Treaty model I support is one where parallel to the existing Australian framework is an Indigenous organisational framework brought about by the signing of a treaty. In the same way, mainstream Australia has local government councils, Indigenous nations can have their own nation councils to deal with local issues.

The Uluru walkout: Constitutional recognition, Treaty and structural change, Independent Australia  Natalie Cromb 26 May 2017Yesterday, several Indigenous delegates walked out of a Constitutional recognition summit. Indigenous affairs editor Natalie Cromb explains why, before proposing a better way. 

Indigenous Australians have for some time been discussing Constitutional recognition via the well-known Recognise campaign, as well as some smaller conservative offshoots, which have alternative Constitutional recognition models.

This week, a national First People’s summit has been holding a Constitutional convention to discuss constitutional recognition at Uluru in the Northern Territory. Yesterday, seven delegates and a large number of their supporters walked out of this Convention.

SBS reported their reasons why:

Victorian delegate, Lydia Thorpe, said her delegation had come to represent a number of nations with the greatest respect and integrity, and hopeful to reach an agreement – but said such an agreement was no longer possible.

“We as sovereign First Nations people reject constitutional recognition. We do not recognise occupying power or their sovereignty, because it serves to disempower, and takes away our voice,” she said.

“We need to protect and preserve our sovereignty.”

“We demand a sovereign treaty with an independent sovereign treaty commission, and appropriate funds allocated……..

ical point to the success or failure of any cause — the truth and the wide acceptance of truth as fact. The average Australian simply does not know about the fight for equality and rights that the Indigenous people have been waging for 229 years.

Treaty — but why?

I have been an advocate for Treaty since I was a child, so my bias is self-evident. However, I do believe that Treaty is the mechanism in which we can hold the government to account for past and present atrocities; it is our means of asserting our sovereignty and ensuring the structures that will see our communities flourish are funded.

Under the current arrangement, we are at the whim of the government with respect to which policies are imposed upon communities — the vast majority of which are done without any community consultation, but rather as an extension of ethnocentric condescension in a bid to push the assimilation agenda.

One of the foundational principles of a treaty would be self-determination. Without communities in the driver’s seat of their future, the gap will continue to widen between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

We have spoken about Treaty and know it is the answer for our people and we need to come together now – unity for our children and children’s children, but most of all – for our ancestors that paid for this land with their blood. We need to think, speak and act collectively for our people. Treaty will not cure all that ails our people, but it starts a new chapter, reinvigorates pride and gives us an opportunity to take the first steps toward a new foundational document rather than amending the existing one borne of oppression.

Non-Indigenous Australians would prefer not to think of the past due to guilt or shame or apathy, however, this does not need to continue. The act of creating a treaty between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia would provide not only a basis for which future relations are established, but it will create a legacy for future generations to look upon with pride. Whilst the history of this nation is turbulent, it does not have to be looked upon with shame forever. Rather than continuing the status quo of oppression, the current generation of people in this country can be a part of something that brings the country pride.

Australia can become a nation proud of its rich cultural history and all that it entails by enacting a treaty which effectively conciliates the issues of contention between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. It can be the final declaration and acknowledgement of Indigenous sovereignty and a compact that dictates future relations and entrenches the requisite protections for Indigenous people.

A treaty is not a cure all, I know this, but it is the chance to be on a level playing field in deciding the future of this country for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Let our legacy be of hope.

Treaty – what model?

The existing models used in New Zealand and North America are models we can draw upon and learn from, however, they have little practical application in Australia. Australia has over 200 nations of Indigenous peoples and, for Treaty to be successful, all nations need to be properly consulted, engaged and represented.

The model that I support is one that builds into the existing structural framework. We have an executive, judiciary and legislature that is supposed to represent all members of society, but given that Indigenous people make up less than 3 per cent of the population and are without a national representative body with the ability to impact policy (and it has been that way since the abolishment of ATSIC 12 years ago) the wellbeing of Indigenous people is in decline and policies are being made “for” Indigenous people without any input from the people affected.

The Treaty model I support is one where parallel to the existing Australian framework is an Indigenous organisational framework brought about by the signing of a treaty. In the same way, mainstream Australia has local government councils, Indigenous nations can have their own nation councils to deal with local issues. https://independentaustralia.net/australia/australia-display/constitutional-recognition-treaty-and-structural-change,10332

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May 26, 2017 - Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL

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