Australian news, and some related international items

Maralinga Britain’s guinea pig land for toxic nuclear bomb testing

Australia’s Least Likely Tourist Spot: A Test Site for Atom Bombs, NYT, 


April 18, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, personal stories, reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

What is needed? – Aboriginal empowerment and self-determination

Luke Pearson: The language of blame, responsibility and accountability
 Luke Pearson
Aboriginal people are over-represented in most of the negative statistics 
and under-represented in most of the positive ones.

‘This is the fundamental reality underpinning government programs like ‘Closing the Gap’.’

‘ … There is a clear interplay between the choices we make and the
policies and practices within the society we live.

‘Understanding this relationship is crucial to finding solutions for creating the kind of society we want to live in.
It is easy to say ‘do the crime, do the time’, but when people are ‘doing time’ for unpaid fines,
then there must also be some acknowledgement that we have effectively made poverty a crime.

‘Or when non-Aboriginal people are given less prison time (or none at all) for the death of Aboriginal people
than Aboriginal people are given for failure to pay fines, then we must
acknowledge that our system is fundamentally broken, and that
laying sole responsibility on the ‘choices’ of Aboriginal people
will do nothing to address these systemic problems. …

‘Why do we talk only of ‘Closing the Gap’ instead of Aboriginal empowerment or self-determination?’

Read more of Luke Pearson‘s insightful, relevant, important & comprehensive discussion:

April 8, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

20 years’ anniversary of Mirarr traditional Aboriginal owners blockade of Jabiluka

Guardian 2nd April 2018, One of Australia’s proudest land rights struggles is passing an important
anniversary: it is 20 years since the establishment of the blockade camp at
Jabiluka in Kakadu national park.

This was the moment at which push would
come to shove at one of the world’s largest high-grade uranium deposits.
The industry would push, and people power would shove right back.

The blockade set up a confrontation between two very different kinds of power:
on the one side, the campaign was grounded in the desire for
self-determination by the Mirarr traditional Aboriginal owners,
particularly the formidable senior traditional owner Yvonne Margarula. They
were supported by a tiny handful of experienced paid staff and backed by an
international network of environment advocates, volunteer activists and

April 4, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, Opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Strong support for Sydney’s Aboriginal rally against Brewarrina nuclear dump plan

No Nuclear Dump at Brewarrina – Rally John Janson-Moore 

Photographs from a rally in Sydney, protesting against Federal Government plans to establish a nuclear waste dump at Brewarrina in North Western NSW, on Ngemba land. Traditional custodians of the land, the Ngemba, are opposed to the dump.

Speakers at the rally included organiser Natalie Wasley, Ngemba and Brewarrina representatives, Trish Frail and Natalie Eastwood, Nathan Moran from the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, Dave Sweeney from the Australian Conservation FoundationJim Green from Friends of the Earthand NSW Greens parliamentarians Jamie Parker and David Shoebridge, as well as others. The Wakagetti dance troupe provided dance performances and a smoking.

About 100 people from all around Australia then marched from Bligh Street outside the Commonwealth offices, through Sydney’s CBD to NSW Parliament House, chanting, “No bundabunda (poison) on Ngemba land”.

Three other sites, in South Australia, are also under consideration for the nuclear waste dump.  All are on Aboriginal land

March 25, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Federal nuclear waste dump, New South Wales, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Indigenous work for the dole scheme ‘failing abysmally’, worsening poverty, Greens say


By political reporter Dan Conifer 

“Whilst this program is allowed to continue,
there are kids not getting food on the table and communities
are being pushed into further poverty and disadvantage,” 

Senator Siewert said.

‘Key points:

* Greens claim scheme is worsening poverty and hunger in Aboriginal communities
* Participants receive more penalties than every other Australian jobseeker combined
* Greens senator renewed calls to scrap penalty that freezes welfare for eight weeks ‘

‘The Government has conceded the Community Development Programme (CDP) needs a “complete rejigging”.
But it has indicated an overhaul will not be fully implemented until July 2019. …

‘Remote work for the dole participants work up to three-times longer
than city-based jobseekers to receive Centrelink payments.

‘The CDP covers three-quarters of Australia’s landmass,
and the overwhelming majority of its 33,000 participants
are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. … ‘

March 22, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Indigenous work for the dole scheme  ‘failing abysmally’, worsening poverty, Greens say

By political reporter Dan Conifer 

“Whilst this program is allowed to continue,
there are kids not getting food on the table and communities
are being pushed into further poverty and disadvantage,”
Senator Siewert said.
Key points:

* Greens claim scheme is worsening poverty and hunger in Aboriginal communities
* Participants receive more penalties than every other Australian jobseeker combined
* Greens senator renewed calls to scrap penalty that freezes welfare for eight weeks ‘

‘The Government has conceded the Community Development Programme (CDP) needs a “complete rejigging”.
But it has indicated an overhaul will not be fully implemented until July 2019. … ‘Remote work for the dole participants work up to three-times longer than city-based jobseekers to receive Centrelink payments.

‘The CDP covers three-quarters of Australia’s landmass,
and the overwhelming majority of its 33,000 participants
are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. … ‘

March 19, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Traditional Owners opposing Adani hold smoking ceremony at QLD Parl,  call on Premier not to extinguish native title

 8 March 2018
‘At a smoking ceremony outside Queensland Parliament today the Wangan & Jagalingou Family Council
called on the Queensland government to rule out extinguishing W&J Native Title for Adani,
the week before a crucial Wangan & Jagalingou Council’s Federal Court case commences.
High quality stills and vision can be made available.
Spokesperson Adrian Burragubba said,
“The Queensland Government has the power to extinguish our Native Title,
but they don’t have to go down this path.
Premier Palaszczuk should rule out ever extinguishing our native title for Adani.
‘“We are demanding a meeting with the Premier to explain why there is
no consent from us for Adani’s dirty land deal,
why the Queensland Government should remove its support for the Adani’s sham ILUA,
stop opposing W&J Traditional Owners in the courts
and not extinguish our native title.
‘“Adani’s destructive mine has no part in our future and would tear the heart out of our ancestral lands.
Premier Palaszczuk must pledge to not extinguish our native title for a deal with Adani. [1]
‘“We are determined to prevent our land being taken without our consent
and to protect our country and sacred places from destruction,
for an empty promise of jobs and some trinkets.
‘“We have never given consent to this mine or the surrender of our land rights
and have voted to reject a deal with Adani four times since 2012.
We will not rest until this destructive proposal is abandoned..
‘“A clear majority of Queenslanders are with us and
do not support the government pushing ahead with Adani’s mine
without the consent of Traditional Owners. [2] … ‘

March 9, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Queensland | Leave a comment

Minerals Council lobbies for changes to native title laws 

The Minerals Council of Australia is lobbying the federal government for urgent changes to native title laws which they say will remove uncertainty over the status of mining leases and tenements following recent court cases.

In a submission to the Attorney-General’s Department consultation on changes to the Native Title Act, the council said legal validation was needed for a series of agreements used for granting mining and exploration rights over land subject to……. (subscribers only)

March 9, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Australia ignores ban on nuclear weapons, although these weapons testing blinded and killed Aussies

Nuclear weapon testing killed and blinded Aussies in our own backyard  But Australia isn’t among the 122 countries that banned them.  now to love, BY KATE WAGNER 

When we hear about nuclear weapons, we think of the notorious and devastating Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, but what about Australia? For years, Indigenous communities in South Australia endured extreme nuclear weapon testing at the hands of the British government. It resulted in devastating, long-lasting health effects, if not death. But unlike the bombings in Japan, Australia’s history of atomic testing is rarely discussed.

The British and Australian governments said they chose barren, largely unpopulated areas to conduct the testing. But people were living there and, in the fallout, some suffered immediate health problems like rashes and skin infections while others were hit with autoimmune diseases later in life.

From 1947 until 1996, the Pacific underwent 315 nuclear testsand it was Indigenous people who felt the brunt of the fallout.

In Australia specifically, the UK carried out 12 major nuclear tests, even dropping a 15-kilotonned atomic device in Maralinga – a weapon with the same explosive strength as the infamous Little Boy dropped on Hiroshima, although a completely different design.

Hundreds of nuclear tests were conducted in Australia

They also carried out a few hundred smaller scale tests at Emu Field and Maralinga in South Australia throughout the ’50s and ’60s. Although the testing was shrouded in secrecy for decades, through oral history the Yankunytjatjara, Anangu and Pitjantjatjara people remembered the day the ground shook and the suffocating black mist rolled in.

The devastating effects of nuclear testing in South Australia is something prominent anti-nuclear activist Karina Lester knows all too well. Her father, Yami Lester, was an Aboriginal elder blinded by nuclear fallout when he was a child and he spent his life raising awareness for the dangers of nuclear weapons.

“My dad spoke of that day a lot. People in the community had skin infections, rashes, people were violently vomiting. The nuclear tests would happen in the morning and by the evening, people were already sick,” Karina told Now To Love.

“The older generations really felt the brunt of that fallout, and the younger generation too. Our young that were there at the camp, infants and young children, were really exposed to that radiation fallout as well, so death – people passed on.

“My grandmother would tell her own story about digging the graves for her parents, my great-grandparents, and they are just horrific stories.”

Even 60 years later, the effects of the testing are far from a distant memory for Karina’s family. Her sister, and fellow anti-nuclear campaigner, Rose Lester, suffers from an autoimmune disease she says was caused by the nuclear tests, and the pair’s father Yami saw his life change irreversibly just years later.

“In 1953, they conducted their nuclear testing in Emu Field. By 1957, Dad’s world was in total darkness,” Karina explained.

But it was more than just physical wounds

“Many of my older generations were loaded on a truck and moved far from their traditional lands to Yalata and Ceduna communities, or even as far as Gerard on the River Murray and then up to Port Augusta and Coober Pedy,” Karina told Now To Love.

“They were relocated off their traditional lands, moved from their homes, and it had a devastating impact on their mental health and wellbeing.

“Those lands they tested on, they were lands we traditionally used for hunting and gathering; lands we were spiritually connected to, and that was proven by Royal Commission.”

The physical and emotional pain caused by the testing was only magnified by the Australian government’s refusal to accept any wrongdoing.

“My dad heard an interview with Ernest Titterton [a British nuclear physicist] on ABC Radio saying indigenous people were informed about the testing in advance. He said that Aboriginal people had been cared for and moved away,” Karina remembers.

“Mr Titterton may have gone and spoken to the white pastoralists, but no one ever spoke to the Aboriginal community. They couldn’t, they didn’t speak our language.

“It was after that interview Dad decided he had to do something – to hold someone responsible. He talked to our people and they decided it was finally time our story was shared.”

It’s because of people like Karina’s dad Yami Lester the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was founded…………..


March 2, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Brewarrina residents step up campaign against proposed nuclear dump.

22 Feb 18 Brewarrina residents, including Ngemba people with local cultural responsibilities, are stepping up their campaign against the proposal for national nuclear waste dump in the region. 

silent vigil will be held during the Council meeting at 8:30am this Friday February 23, followed with a rally on Saturday morning at 9:30am.

In November 2017 the Brewarrina Council revealed that a delegation had traveled to Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney and subsequently engaged pro-nuclear consultant Robert Parker.

Trish Frail, a Ngemba woman who is coordinating the local campaign to oppose the dump, said the community was shocked by the proposal.

“This nuclear facility will not benefit our town, the community or the environment,” Ms Frail said. 

“Ngemba people are custodians for the Ngunnhu Fish Traps. The site is claimed to be over sixty thousand years old and is heritage listed, being the oldest man-made structure in the world.”

“The Biami Traps were once a great gathering site for all clans to trap fish and to host corroborees, initiation ceremonies, and meetings for trade and barter.”

“A lot of our younger generation are talking about moving away if a nuclear dump is built on our land, they will lose our culture and our lore, this must not happen. The young people have been helping.”

“Brewarrina will not become a nuclear dumping ground for the Australian Government. We say No Nuclear Bundabunda (poison) on Ngemba Land – Bad Poison,” Ms Frail concluded. 

Facebook events

Friday vigil:

Saturday rally:


February 22, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, ACTION, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Australia’s shocking cruelty to Aboriginal people with disabilities: Solitary confinement

‘The abuse of Aboriginal prisoners with disabilities in Australian jails is confronting, and ongoing.

‘In Part 3 of this special series for New Matilda, Michael Brull looks at the use of 
solitary confinement against disabled Aboriginal prisoners,
exposed in a report written by Human Rights Watch

‘Human Rights Watch (HRW) observes that under international law, solitary confinement means
confining a prisoner for 22 hours or more per day “without meaningful human contact”.
Prolonged solitary confinement occurs when solitary confinement is extended past 15 consecutive days.

‘HRW documents in its report that various specialists on international law
from various United Nations human rights organisations have found that under international law,
it is unacceptable to impose solitary confinement on people with disabilities
under any circumstances. … ‘

Read Part 3 of MichaelBrull‘s interesting, thought-provoking, comprehensive, compassionate & concerned article
focusing on the SolitaryConfinement of AboriginalPeopleWithDisabilities:

February 21, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | 1 Comment

Nuclear waste dump? A new abuse for Brewarrina’s Aboriginal people?

Brewarrina, or “Bre” as it is known, is an historic and fascinating town on the Barwon-Darling River. New South Wales.With 68% of the local population identifying as indigenous it is essentially an Aboriginal town. ….
It is hard to underestimate the importance of the Aboriginal stone fish traps which, at 40,000 years old, may be the oldest man-made structures on the planet.

Brewarrina was the scene of a huge massacre of Aboriginals. “They rounded them up like cattle, old and young, on the Quantambone plain, and shot them. It is said that there were about 400 and that was how Hospital Creek got its name”

No Nuclear Bundabunda at Brewarrina – bad poison [SIGN THE PETITION]

It is disappointing that the local Councillors and Council would even consider such an atrocity as a nuclear waste dump at Brewarrina.
If Nuclear waste was so safe why is it taken over 35years to find a site, why are they seeking to build in isolated communities with the majority off the population being Aboriginal?
Brewarrina is known worldwide for the oldest man-made structure in the world with Baiame’s Ngunnhu Fish Traps and we want to keep it that way, not to be known as a nuclear waste facility.
The local Council approached the Federal Government for this proposal without consultation with the community and without negotiation with the Local Land Council or the Ngemba Community Working Party or other local councils.
We believe the health of the community will be at risk. We are being promised 15 jobs, what is 15 jobs compared to the health of the community and the land and water.
There are other options available to boost the economy of the town such as solar power, tourism and the abattoirs.
No Nuclear Bundabunda at Brewarrina – bad poison
(please note; 7 out of 9 Councillors have supported this proposal)
Council released their survey for the proposal to go ahead.
The Greens will table our petition in Federal Parliament.

February 16, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Federal nuclear waste dump, New South Wales | 1 Comment

Wangan Jagalingou oppose Adani coal mine expansion – NO EXTINGUISHMENT OF NATIVE TITLE

Letter to the QLD Premier – there should be no extinguishment of Native Title, by Wangan Jagalingou

There should be no extinguishment of Native Title without our consent

‘The W&J Council received its most recent mandate at a meeting of the W&J claim group on 2 December 2017.
The letter informed the Government that the W&J claim group opposes the Adani Mining Pty Ltd project because of the damage that it will cause to the culture, and the lands and waters,
of the Wangan and Jagalingou People.

W&J council also oppose the registered Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with Adani Mining Pty Ltd
purported to be authorised by the Wangan and Jagalingou People
in controversial circumstances (“the Adani ILUA”).

W&J council uphold the decisions of the claim group who,
on four separate occasions (the last being at the authorisation meeting of 2 December 2017),
have rejected the Adani ILUA. …

February 14, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Queensland | Leave a comment

Close the Gap and Apology are band-aid measures – a far cry from treaties & decolonisation

Sovereign Union of First Nations and Peoples in Australia, Asserting Australia’s First Nations Sovereignty into Governance,, 12 February 2018, 

Ghillar, Michael Anderson, Convenor of the Sovereign Union, last surviving member of the founding four of the Aboriginal Embassy and Leader of the Euahlayi Nation said from Goodooga today:

“I don’t believe a modern treaty process will get any further than the National Aboriginal Conference (NAC) did, unless Sovereign First Nations declare sovereign independence through UDIs and force decolonisation through a united front. Understandably, First Nations’ assertions of sovereignty have been honed in the intervening 30 plus years. I constantly remind our people that our reality is we hold the continental Common Law, but are occupied by a foreign power ruling in right of the British Crown. Until this changes through decolonisation, Close the Gap, Apology and other government policies remain as band aid measures.”

Statement in full:

“So long as a Rhodes Scholar is running this country the vested interests of the British Crown are paramount and remain in line with mining magnate Cecil Rhodes’ legacy of educating scholars to run and exploit a country for Britain’s benefit. PM Malcolm Turnbull, a Rhodes Scholar with a Bachelor of Civil Law from Brasenose College, Oxford is the latest agent of the coloniser to ensure First Nations’ inherent sovereign rights to lands, waters and natural resources are quashed.

This is consistent with Turnbull’s continuing fiasco of the Closing the Gap agenda, which has clearly failed, despite minor improvements announced today. In reality, the Turnbull government wants to either abandon the Close the Gap program, or water down the targets, despite recent recommendations from the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), to do otherwise and properly engage with ‘Indigenous people’. [ ] & [ ]

Turnbull may talk about ‘refreshing’ Close the Gap to appear in line with the CERD recommendations of 2017, but fails to provide the requested ‘disaggregated data’ for a proper evaluation. In fact, the Turnbull government is belligerently ignoring the CERD’s 2017 findings, which were strategically released on Boxing Day, 26 December 2017. CERD was highly critical of Australia’s treatment of First Nations and Peoples and failure to address remedies.

At para 19 the CERD states:

  1. … despite statements by the State Party that it rejects the principle ofterra nulliusgrounded in the “discovery discourse”, the State party continues to conduct its relations with indigenous peoples, in a manner that is not reconcilable with their rights to self-determination and to own and control their lands and natural resources.

Once again the CERD recommends Australia ‘enter into good faith treaty negotiations’ [para20]. This is, in fact, a recognition of First Nations’ pre-existing and continuing sovereignty because the only meaning of treaty in modern international law is an agreement between sovereign Nations.

The CERD also recommends ‘that the State party move urgently to effectively protect the land rights of indigenous peoples, including by amending the Native Title Act 1993, with a view to lowering the standard of proof required and simplifying the applicable procedures. It also urges the State party to ensure that the principle of free, prior and informed consent is incorporated into the Native Title Act 1993 and into other legislation, as appropriate, and fully implemented in practice.’ [ CERD/C/AUS/CO/18-20 ] (emphasis added)

Read more of this Statement by Ghillar when it becomes available

February 14, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

I will say NO to the waste dump

Regina McKenzie Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, February 3, 2017  Back home on the Range, seeing it made a lump come into my throat, how can any one even think of putting a waste dump in such a beautiful ancient land?

We the people of this land comes from a group of nations, that were hunted in the past, the Government of them days actually supported the activity of early settlers, a five pound bounty, which was a lot of money in those days, was paid per scalp of Aboriginals, blankets that was exposed to small pox given out to unsuspecting yura’s, who then shared these gifts to the wider Aboriginal people, hence spreading the disease to people who had no immunity to it and can’t forget the water hole being poisoned, what I am getting at is back then, when we were hunted, this land was our sanctuary all the decimated nations fled into the hills, thus forming the Adnyamathanha people, adnya meaning rock and mathanaha meaning groups, it was the hills of this beautiful land that saved us,

I hear many say oh thank goodness for the missionaries they helped us ….. NO they only contained us on missions, taking control of our lives, banning the people to practice culture and making public enemies of the ones who stood strong, it was the land that gave us places to hide and why we are still here, so why do Yura’s take it for granted? why do they turn their back? why do they so cowardly bend their knee?

I will stand for the land, I will fight with every ounce of my strength, I live and breath this land, it is my solace, my love, the place where I am whole, I will say NO to the waste dump, I stand proud and I will protect my Mudah, my past, present and future

February 5, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Federal nuclear waste dump, reference, South Australia | Leave a comment