Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

At long last, Australia could be getting a Treaty with First Nation people

Could Australia soon recognise sovereigns other than the Queen?

‘It’s the last ex-British colony to not ratify a treaty with its First Nations people
but that may be changing.’

by Gabriella Marchant 
29 Jul 2018

‘ … “Treaty is [an agreement] between two sovereigns and to be asking the government to at least
acknowledge that Aboriginal people … maintain their sovereignty [supreme authority],
I don’t think that’s too much to ask,” says Gunnai-Gunditjmara woman Lidia Thorpe,
Greens member of parliament in Victoria state.

‘”You know there’s this tokenistic gesture all the time to blackfellas in this country.
If you want true reconciliation and true healing then let’s be real about it
and stop these tokenistic gestures.”

‘Indeed, a treaty was the only thing indigenous leaders from Australia’s Yolngu nation
brought up with Prince Charles on his most recent visit. …

What is a treaty?

‘A treaty – defined as an “international agreement concluded between two states”
in 1969’s Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties – would require the
government to legitimise Aboriginal nations as separate to the nation of Australia.
From there, they must negotiate decisions that affect them
as equals and on equal terms.  

Associate Professor Dominic O’Sullivan, whose work centres on indigenous governance,
says unlike neighbouring New Zealand,
treaties were never a part of Australia’s settler history.

‘”Terra nullius was used to justify the British claim to sovereignty.

‘”Britain couldn’t identify an organised political or social order
among the indigenous population, and under international law,
these were required for a people to hold sovereignty,” O’Sullivan says.

‘”One could argue that it suited [the colony’s first Governor] Philip not to look too hard..” …

‘Obstacles remain, however, on a national level.
The current federal government has not addressed the call for
an Indigenous process similar to a treaty, makarrata, which after two years
of consultation was presented in an open letter, the Uluru Statement of the Heart.

‘”[Prime Minister] Turnbull’s government has been completely inactive in this space
and really quite offensive I think, particularly on the Uluru Statement,”
says Victorian Ged Kearney, whose opposition party supports Makaratta. … ‘

Read much much more of Gabriella Marchant‘s comprehensive, well-researched & in depth feature in Al Jazeera News:
www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/australia-recognise-sovereigns-queen-180711052948923.html

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August 6, 2018 - Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL

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