Australian news, and some related international items

8th SNAICC National Conference- hosted by SNAICC – National Voice for our Children

2 – 5 September 2019, Adelaide Convention Centre

About the Conference

“The conference is hosted by SNAICC – National Voice for our Children. SNAICC is the national non-government peak body in Australia representing the interest of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The conference is convened to assist with the achievement of the SNAICC vision: An Australian society in which our communities are empowered to determine their own future; where the rights of our children, young people and families are protected; where our cultural identity and achievements are valued; and our children and families have access to culturally appropriate services.

As the largest Conference of its type in the southern hemisphere the SNAICC Conference provides the opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, policy makers, researchers, government representatives, other non-government organisations and industry representatives to gather and make renewed commitments to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The Conference provides a powerful and inspiring learning experience for attendees and features:

  • International and local keynote speakers
  • Over 70 concurrent sessions, yarning circles, panels and workshops
  • Displays, poster presentations, exhibitors
  • Cultural highlights and performances
  • Social events and opportunities to network and connect with peers

It is expected that the 2019 Conference will again attract a diverse audience of 1000 participants from all over the country. This will provide a dynamic networking and learning opportunity for attendees. SNAICC aims to develop a program and conference experience that is culturally rich, interactive and culturally safe.”

Strong Identity, Strong Culture and Strong Connection
Our Mob, Our Lore, Our Country – Our Way


December 13, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

The choice of Maralinga as nuclear bomb site – and the effects on Aboriginal people

Aboriginal people were still living close to the test sites and were told nothing about radiation. 

‘High rates of cancer were eventually documented in the 16,000 test workers, but no studies were done on Aboriginal people and others living in areas of fallout. It’s been called the cancer capital of Australia.’

Although many Aboriginal people were forcibly removed from their land, more than a thousand were directly affected by the bombs.

Vomiting, skin rashes, diarrhoea, fevers and, later, blood diseases and cancer were among the common conditions caused by the testing.

December 10, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Adani’s announcement they are ‘ready to go’ must be reality tested

Brisbane, Australia: Galilee Basin Traditional Owners say today’s announcement by Adani Mining that it has decided to fund its massively scaled down Carmichael project must be reality tested. They say the Queensland Government has not extinguished their native title, which is crucial to the mine proceeding.

W&J Traditional Owner and lead spokesperson Adrian Burragubba said, “Even if Adani’s announcement proves to be true, they do not have the final approvals or the financial close needed for the mine to proceed. They are also under investigation for environmental breaches on our country.

“It is a measure of Adani’s failure that they can’t obtain finance for the project they touted to our people.. We rejected it when they first came to us and we reject it now, because Adani offers nothing of worth to our people and will destroy our country forever.

“We demand a guarantee from the Queensland Government they won’t now extinguish our native title for Adani. Queensland Labor has said they recognise that the registration of the Adani ILUA is contested and they acknowledge and respect our right to have our complaints considered and determined by a court.

“We have an appeal before the full bench of the Federal Court. To act before this concludes would be to deny our rights and open the way for a grave injustice. Without our consent, the mine is not ready to proceed”.

December 3, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Queensland | Leave a comment

Noongar traditional owners challenge settlement that will extinguish native title

The ILUA extinguishes native title over the settlement area in exchange for a benefits package which includes depositing $50m a year over 12 years into the Noongar Boodja perpetual trust and transferring 320,000 hectares of freehold and leasehold land to that trust, to be developed and used by the Noongar community.

“It is not about money, it is about the land, and saving our land from mining,” Smith said. “If this deal goes through, the south-west will not be worth living in.”

December 1, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Native title win for Nanda people in Western Australia

Native title win for Nanda people in WA The Nanda people have been formally recognised by the Federal Court as the native title holders of more than 17,000 square kilometres of land in WA. A 24-year legal battle has finally ended with the Nanda people recognised as the native title holders of more than 17,000 square kilometres of land and water in Western Australia’s Mid West region.The determination area covers the tourist town of Kalbarri, Kalbarri National Park, the Zuytdorp Nature Reserve and the Toolonga Nature Reserve.

Federal Court Justice Debbie Mortimer held an on-country hearing at the Kalbarri foreshore on Wednesday to deliver her judgment.

Nanda Aboriginal Corporation chairman Carrum Mourambine said the hearing was emotional because some Elders had died since the original claim.

“(They) were not here to witness this historic occasion,” he said.

“This determination means that we can continue to pass on our knowledge of culture and traditional customs to future generations.”

The Nanda people native title claim is a combination of two claims.

The first was lodged with the National Native Title Tribunal in 1994 and the second came two years later, then they were combined in 2000.

The determination was by consent, which means it was reached by agreement with other parties to the claim, including the state government.

“The court’s determination will preserve, protect and recognise in contemporary Australian law what the Nanda people already know, and have always known, about their connection by traditional law and custom to their country,” Justice Mortimer said in her judgment.

“They are to be admired for their persistence and determination, in light of the many obstacles facing Aboriginal people and their communities.”

November 30, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Victorian Labor’s policies on Aboriginal issues

November 17, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, politics, Victoria | Leave a comment

Aboriginal Rights: Michael Anderson: No treaty or contract valid if the parties are at war

Ghillar, Michael Anderson, Convenor of Sovereign Union of First Nations and Peoples in Australia, and Head of State of the Euahlayi Peoples Republic Under international law and domestic contractual law–no treaty or contract can be classified as legal if we are under the ‘rules and disciplines of war’. If our First Nations Peoples are not fully aware of these facts, then any contract entered into, treaty or otherwise, can be argued to be invalid.

Ghillar, Michael Anderson, Convener 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:

The upcoming Sovereign Union Gathering of Nations sponsored by the Yorta Yorta Nation will focus on key rights that we have as First Nations Peoples of this continent. These rights are now supported by international laws and developing international customary legal norms, for example, as collated inHuman Rights at Your Fingertips published by the Federal Attorney-General’s department:

One international legal norm is the progressive recognition of redress for past wrongdoings perpetrated by ambitious French, Portuguese, English, Dutch, Spanish and German colonialists.

What is interesting, however, is understanding that the Pope in Rome was instrumental in instigating invasions of other countries. In order to settle the Spanish, Portuguese, French and English wars across the English Channel/La Manche, the key warring parties had to find a third party to mediate an end to their violent clashes against each other in the 1400s and 1500s. History shows that they turned to God’s representative on earth, the Pope, seen as the ‘divine ruler’.

It should be remembered that during the internal wars over land titles in England, the key players also turned to God’s representative, the Pope (Innocent III) and his ‘disciples’, and that to break the tyranny of King John of England, it was a Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton, who drafted the Magna Carta that King John agreed to on 15 June 1215.

Having mediated European struggles over land and resources, the Pope then issued new decrees which divided the world up for the warring parties to rape, pillage and plunder in order to end the wars in Europe. Thus began the flow of Papal Bulls (seals) whereby an order of the Pope, supposedly representing the biblical Judeo-Christian God on earth, divided the world up for kingdoms such as Portugal, Spain, England and France to invade under the Doctrine of Discovery, which became deeply entrenched. This alleged Christian right to usurp the lands and the usufructuary rights of the native inhabitants, ‘pagans’ and ‘infidels’ was decreed in The Bull Romanus Pontifex (Nicholas V), January 8, 1455 and The Bull Inter Caetera (Alexander VI), May 4, 1493 which instructed the invaders to ‘overthrow’ and ‘vanquish’ ‘barbarous’ nations, ‘and all other infidels whatsoever’ and ‘enemies of Christ wheresoever placed’ and ‘subdue certain gentile or pagan peoples living between, who are entirely free from infection by the sect of the most impious Mahomet and to preach and cause to be preached to them the unknown most sacred name of Christ’. In order ‘more zealously to pursue … this most pious and noble work’ ‘to conserve their right and possession’ it is ‘supported by … the Apostolic See with favors and graces’. The ‘Christian rule’ acquired ‘by the right of conquest’ ‘from the lands of infidels or pagans’ ‘all those provinces, islands, harbours, and seas whatsoever’. First Nations Peoples were also decreed to remain unarmed by preventing trade in ‘iron instruments, wood to be used for construction, cordage, ships and any kinds of armor’.[1]

The Doctrine of Discovery had its origin in the biblical text, which was articulated by the Papacy in Rome and circulated as supreme authority by the Papal Bulls. These Judeo-Christian decrees were the basis for the right of ‘First Discoverers’ to plunder and enslave, and in so doing asserted that the word of God had superior force over pre-existing claims and right of occupation.

Therefore, the zealous taking of lands during the imperial colonial expansion was promoted as a God-given right. The justification was that lands would be classified as terra nullius (nobody’s land)and uncivilised, if populated by those who did not believe in Jesus Christ or an equivalent.

Then comes the Mabo High Court case in 1992Limited though the questions were, the High Court took a giant step to firstly overturn existing legal precedents and to recognise the continuing proprietary interests and usufruct rights of the First Nations Peoples in Australia. But the conviction of those who made the decision was counteracted by their cowardice in refusing to recognise the decision of Chief Justice Willis in the NSW Supreme Court caseR v Bonjon 1841, in which Willis held that the colonists are the intruders and Aboriginal Peoples are the ‘sovereigns of the soil’. Willis CJ is also reported as ruling:

But the frequent conflicts that have occurred between the colonists and the Aborigines within the limits of the colony of New South Wales make it, I think, sufficiently manifest that the Aboriginal tribes are neither a conquered people, nor have tacitly acquiesced in the supremacy of the settlers. …

I repeat that I am not aware of any express enactment or treaty subjecting the Aborigines of this colony to the English colonial law, and I have shown that the Aborigines cannot be considered as Foreigners in a Kingdom which is their own.

This cowardice of the High Court judges that I speak of, is where the High Court realised that they were between a rock and a hard place with the Mabo case. At paragraph 29 they lamented:

… It is not possible, a priori, to distinguish between cases that express a skeletal principle and those which do not …

In other words, had the High Court known where this case would lead, they may not have agreed to hear the case in the first place.

So the judges in Mabo had to stretch a very long bow when they ruled that Australia was ‘settled’ on an ancient English legal foundation, which was the feudal land system. The irony of this decision falls into two categories:

·      the concept of terra nullius (or land belonging to no-one)

·      the law of feudalism and its legal impacts which are null and void, because feudalism disappeared from the English legal system in 1660.

In order to justify the alleged Crown Land ownership in Australia, the High Court resurrected a non-existent ancient land law system belonging to Britain, while feudalism has no legal authority in common law anywhere in the world, except in Australia.

The end of feudalism in England, permitted private ownership of land throughout the United Kingdom and destroyed the King’s or Queen’s right to own all the land. But by the High Court ruling that land tenure in Australia is based on feudalism, the judges could find that the king came and claimed all the land as his. This ties in with Governor Darling denouncing the Batman Treaty in Victoria, because no other person but the king could sign away land.

The related legal question is: Does ‘feudalism’ have any legal validity today?

Like the justices of the High Court, lawyers who are committed to the Bar and the Bar Association of Australia, are just big cowards and fear challenging what needs to be challenged and what is justly correct. This cowardice is represented by the lawyers following black letter law, e.g. in the Native Title Act. Don’t rock the boat!

The question that we, as First Nations People, must ask next is: Are we happy with the current situation and, if not, what is our next move?

Having asked this question, I put it to all our First Nations Peoples, who are proposing to come to our Gathering of Nations to give thought to the following:

In Native Title applications, the question that the lawyers ask the applicant group is: ‘Do you have the ability to prove your connection to Country under your Law and customs at the time of ‘British Sovereignty’. (N.B. should state alleged British Sovereignty). If we are to prove our connection to Country at the time of alleged ‘British Sovereignty’, we need to go back to Justice Willis’s New South Wales Supreme Court decision in R v Bonjon 1841, which has never been overturned. The High Court in Mabo indirectly observed R v Bonjon 1841 (without it being mentioned) by ruling that our proprietary law rights have their authoritative origins in our own pre-existing and continuing Law and customs. As the Mabo decision ruled at paragraph 65, these rights under our Law and custom are inalienable and no foreign parliament, such as Australia and its federated States and its two mainland Territories, have the legal capacity to take them from us:

65. … Native title, though recognized by the common law, is not an institution of the common law and is not alienable by the common law..

In other words, the High Court in Mabo ruled that they are inalienable rights and that the Commonwealth Parliament and its State and Territory counterparts cannot legislate to take them away, because they are inherent sovereign rights that belong to another authoritative jurisdiction, independent of the colonial occupying power. This is why the expert on the Australian Constitution, Professor George Williams, says Aboriginal people need not ask for sovereignty, they should simply assert it under their Law and customs.

So, the next question is: How does the Australian authority maintain its power over us? The answer is very simple. What gives this answer its fluency and authority comes from the Orders issued to Governor Phillip, in which the Colonial Secretary’s Office and the British Admiralty, now known as the War Office, instructed him on 12 August 1786 to apply the ‘rules and disciplines of war’ when establishing the colony of New South Wales:

… you are to observe and follow such orders and directions from time to time as you shall receive from us, or any other of your superior officers according to the Rules and Disciplines of War … [2]

There is no evidence that this lawful instruction from England was ever repealed and the history of Australia thereafter clearly demonstrates that the State police are used as their military wing to crush Aboriginal resistance, which is made to look like acts of civil disobedience that is dealt with under the criminal law. Conversely, the Howard government did use the military to enforce the Northern Territory Intervention.

Politicians, through their propaganda and electioneering, argue for and on behalf of the public that ‘law and order’ is a key policy objective, but the electorate does not realise that the act of war is being perpetrated against our First Nations Peoples and is written into these pretended ‘law and order’ control mechanisms. This is evidenced by the fact that First Nations people sit in jails around this country in large numbers, including our youth and children, for alleged offences that non-First Nations People would never go to jail for. The colonial administrators argue this when they use the term ‘recidivism’ (the tendency of a convicted person to reoffend) and they catch our people in these nets of incarceration with the three-strike rule principle and ‘paperless arrests’, but these only apply to First Nations people, because this is who they are targeting.

The Native Title Act is in itself a law that attacks our inherent rights and, in fact, diminishes these rights to a point where they no longer exist. In short, this is yet again another act of war against First Nations Peoples.

It therefore follows under international law and domestic contractual law–no treaty or contract can be classified as legal if we are under the ‘rules and disciplines of war’.

It further follows that, if our First Nations Peoples are not fully aware of these facts, then any contract entered into, treaty or otherwise, can be argued to be invalid.

These and other issues must be addressed if we are to get the justice due to us.

It is imperative that we as First Nations People know all the wrongdoings, so as to ensure that we have a clear understanding of our legal rights now and going forward. To act in a knee-jerk reaction will cause us all to be in the same boat as the Noongar people in south-west Western Australia now find themselves.

We will be making the call, not the colonists.

Our rights, our future–never forget it.

November 15, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, legal, reference | Leave a comment

Mirrar people at last gain some control over their traditional land, as uranium miners leave

Jabiru native title claim victory for Mirarr traditional owners

Traditional owners in Jabiru, 300 kilometres east of Darwin, are celebrating after their native title rights and interests were successfully recognised under Australian law.

Key points:

  • Native Title application first lodged on behalf of the Mirrar people in 1998
  • Determination gives native title parties security to ensure their rights are protected
  • As mining interests leave, traditional owners hope to revitalise the struggling town

Generations of Mirarr people have lived traditionally and used the land within the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park for thousands of years.

In 2017, researchers uncovered a wealth of artefacts on Mirarr country which indicated humans reached Australia at least 65,000 years ago — up to 18,000 years earlier than archaeologists previously thought.

Today, a special on-country hearing will be held to present the Mirarr native title holders, led by five senior women, with hard copies of the native title determination over areas of the Jabiru township. Continue reading

November 9, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Aboriginal landowners say delay in nuclear waste dump vote may bring more opposition to the plan

Any election delay to nuclear waste dump vote ‘more time to lobby’

Traditional Owners hope any extra time over a community ballot will allow opposition to grow.

A site for Australia’s first nuclear waste dump will not be decided until after the next federal election, Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick says.

Two sites near Kimba, 460 kilometres northwest of Adelaide, and one site near Hawker in the Flinders Ranges have been shortlisted.

Community ballots were scheduled for August 20 and stalled by a legal challenge from the Barngarla people.

They argued all Traditional Owners should be eligible to vote, including those not living within the shire’s boundaries.

The next court hearing has been scheduled for January 30.

Mr Patrick said that Resources Minister Matt Canavan does not want the issue to overlap with the federal election.

“He doesn’t want a ballot in Kimba and Hawker happening at around about the same time as the election, he said it sort of confuses the issues,” the Centre Alliance senator told NITV News.

“In my view they simply won’t want to agitate this issue as there is huge division in both communities. They won’t want to agitate this issue this side of the election.”

Regina McKenzie, an Adnyamathanha Elder who opposes the waste dump, hopes to preserve her people’s songlines.

“I would love to see the Traditional Owners be respected and consulted the appropriate way,” she said.

Vince Coulthard, CEO of the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association, has welcomed the ballot being postponed.

“The current government isn’t listening to us as Traditional Owners,” he said.

“This is in some ways good for us. It gives us more time to lobby.”

November 8, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Indigenous groups call for investigation into Scullion fund stoush

‘Congress of first peoples wants PM office to review minister’s
use of money earmarked for Aboriginal advancement’ 
Lorena Allam Sat 3 Nov 2018  

‘Indigenous groups are calling for a full investigation into
Nigel Scullion’s “totally inappropriate use of Aboriginal-earmarked funds”,
following revelations that as minister he approved grants
to NT lobby groups to argue against land claims. … ‘

Read Much Much More of LorenaAllam’s groundbreaking, challenging, interesting, comprehensive, well-researched article:

November 5, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Aboriginal National Congress Criticises Indigenous Affairs Minister,  Seeks Answers For Redirecting Funds

01st November 2018

The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples criticises and seeks answers from Nigel Scullion, Minister of Indigenous Affairs, for allocating the Indigenous Advancement Strategy funds to industry groups to oppose land rights claims.  We have had long standing concerns that funds allocated by the federal parliament specifically to benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are often siphoned off by administrative authorities and do not reach their target and this proves that our concerns need to be addressed.

The grants come from the Indigenous Advancement Strategy, a $4.9 billion policy shake up brought in by Abbott Government to cut red tape but have been a failure as the whole process is deeply flawed and needs to come under full internal review by Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The funds amounting to $500,000 that need to be used for uplifting our peoples in remote communities have been given to the NT Seafood Council $150,000, NT Amateur Fishermen’s Association $170,000 and NT Cattlemen’s Association $165,000. Mr Scullion has highlighted that these funds be used towards legal fees to argue the negative impact by the land right claims.

Dr Jackie Huggins, co-chair, National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples said, “The current government has shown in the past and continues to show their lack of empathy and interest in the advancement of Nation’s First Peoples. This money needs to be utilised for closing the gap and improving the life of our peoples, instead is being harnessed to use against our land claims.”

“The government has again let our most vulnerable families and communities down; the reality is that the successive governments’ failures continue to drive our people further into poverty and denies the next generations a better future.” said, Mr Rod Little, co-chair, National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.

The revolving door of prime ministers and Indigenous affairs ministers over the years and cuts of more than $500 million to Indigenous affairs in the 2014 federal budget have all had a devastating impact. Now, with the money for the Indigenous Advancement Strategy being diverted to legal fees to argue land right claims, just goes to show the government turning a blind eye to the issues impacting our peoples.

November 5, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Traditional Owners launch campaign challenging Origin Energy over NT fracking consents

16 October 2018 ‘A group of Traditional Owners from the Northern Territory are in Sydney this week
to challenge Origin Energy over claims it has consent for controversial gas fracking plans
across some of the Northern Territory’s most pristine
landscapes, waterways and iconic tourism regions.

Traditional Owners, the Protect Country Alliance and supporters will address
a press conference prior to the AGM, coinciding with the launch of a national campaign
calling on Origin to drop plans to frack the Northern Territory. …

Stuart Nuggett [TraditionalOwner] has travelled from the remote township of Elliott
to attend the AGM on behalf of his community, a region at the heart of Origin’s fracking permit acreage:
‘“Our communities haven’t been given enough information about what Origin is planning for our region.
We are worried about the risks fracking brings.
I have concerns over what the impact could be on water. Water is life.
I want the company to listen to our concerns and act on them.”

May August is an Alawa grandmother and Traditional Owner
for land under the Origin exploration permits:
‘“We don’t want fracking to start in our area because we have seen
the damage Origin and other companies have done elsewhere in Australia. … ‘

October 23, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, environment, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Labor to oppose remote work-for-dole bill

‘The Labor caucus has agreed to oppose changes to
a controversial remote employment program, urging the government
to consult with Indigenous Australians.’

Labor has confirmed it will oppose changes to a remote work-for-the-dole program,
believing the adjustments do little to fix the “discriminatory” scheme.

‘The Greens have also rejected the changes, leaving the government
with a very tough task getting its plans through parliament. 

‘More than 80 per cent of participants in the
Community Development Program (CDP) are Indigenous. …

Labor is worried introducing the national compliance framework
to remote communities will do further harm to
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. …

‘”What is the government trying to hide?
The government is sitting on the final evaluation of CDP,
which they have admitted is complete,”
Greens senator Rachel Siewert said.’…

October 18, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Ngadjuri Aboriginal Leader speaks out against South Australian nuclear waste transport and dumping

October 16, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Traditional owners to tell Origin Energy it has not gained consent for fracking on their land 

ABC,  By Jane Bardon 16 Oct 18 A group of Indigenous traditional owners from remote parts of the Northern Territory will travel to Origin Energy’s annual general meeting in Sydney on Wednesday to tell shareholders they have not given permission for the company to frack their land for gas.

Key points:

  • A group of Indigenous traditional owners will soon tell Origin Energy shareholders they did not give consent for its planned developments
  • They will ask the company to review consent agreements
  • But the company is confident traditional owners already gave consent

Origin Energy gained official approvals for gas exploration, including test fracking, in the gas-rich Beetaloo Basin, both from traditional owners through the Northern Land Council, and the Northern Territory Government.

But some of the traditional owners plan to tell the shareholder meeting they oppose fracking, and did not give their “free, prior and informed consent”.

They hope to tell the meeting when permission for fracking was sought by Origin Energy, they did not fully understand the company’s explanations of processes, or the potential size of developments potentially numbering hundreds of wells.

“The letter that we’re bringing up to Origin, we want that to be recognised, and to be respected for who we are,” Alawa traditional owner Naomi Wilfred said.

The Alawa traditional owner, whose country includes Nutwood Downs in the northern part of Origin Energy’s EP98 permit area, said she is worried about potential environmental impacts if production goes ahead……..

October 16, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory | Leave a comment