Australian news, and some related international items

Matt Canavan hijacks native title fight on Adani

“The system, the native title system,” Tony McAvoy, SC, Australia’s first Indigenous silk said, “coerces Aboriginal people into an agreement. It’s going to happen anyway. If we don’t agree, the native title tribunal will let it go through, and we will lose our land and won’t be compensated either. That’s the position we’re in.”
They can either agree to an ILUA, in which case the mine goes ahead and they get something out of it, or they can refuse, in which case the mine almost certainly goes ahead anyway, and they get nothing.
The mining company and its political backers engaged in a process of “manufacturing consent by exploiting dissent”.
The appeal is expected to be heard in May. The docket should read “David v Goliath”, given the relative resources of the parties involved. On one side the multibillion-dollar mining conglomerate, backed by the federal government and aided by a legislative regime skewed in its favour, and on the other, a relative handful of impecunious Indigenous custodians.

It’s a big case, not only for the W&J people, but for an entire, overheating planet.

The Saturday Paper  Mike Seccombe , 15 Feb 19, 
Just before 1pm on Tuesday, most media attention in Parliament House was focused on the government’s historic embarrassment on medical evacuations of asylum seekers. So, relatively few were there to witness another embarrassment, in the senate courtyard.
Resources Minister Matt Canavan, chief government advocate for the coal industry in general and the Adani Carmichael mine in particular, had called a media conference with representatives of the Wangan and Jagalingou people, traditional custodians of the land Adani wants to mine.

Its purpose was to promulgate the line that the traditional custodians overwhelmingly support the giant coalmine. To that end, Canavan, along with his National Party colleagues Michelle Landry and George Christensen, had invited a member of the W&J people to spruik the benefits of the mine. Continue reading


February 16, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Heated exchange at Adani media event  A press conference to showcase the support of indigenous traditional owners for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine has served to show divided opinions on the project.

A fiery war of words has broken out at a press conference designed to highlight the support of Indigenous traditional owners for Adani’s controversial Carmichael coal mine.

Spokesman for the Wangan and Jagalingou people of central Queensland, Patrick Malone, spoke up about the benefits of the project, including a boost to local employment alongside Resources Minister Matt Canavan at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday.

He stressed that traditional owners voted 294-to-1 in favour of establishing a land use agreement with Adani in 2016.

They did that because there are long-term benefits for Wangan and Jagalingou people,” Mr Malone told reporters.

But he was soon interrupted by fellow Wangan and Jagalingou representative Murrawah Johnson.

“Not appropriate,” Ms Johnson declared upon arriving at the scene.

Ms Johnson accused Mr Malone of having no right to represent her people, because of a native title claim still in dispute.

But Mr Malone rejected the view, lamenting that “loud mouth people” were overshadowing the majority view of traditional owners.

“Look after country,” Ms Johnson urged Mr Malone.

I know all about that,” he replied.

With the exchange showing no signs of cooling down, Senator Canavan swiftly wrapped up the conference, with security arriving to usher away the interrupters. They did that because there are long-term benefits for Wangan and Jagalingou people,” Mr Malone told reporters.

But he was soon interrupted by fellow Wangan and Jagalingou representative Murrawah Johnson.

“Not appropriate,” Ms Johnson declared upon arriving at the scene.

Ms Johnson accused Mr Malone of having no right to represent her people, because of a native title claim still in dispute.

But Mr Malone rejected the view, lamenting that “loud mouth people” were overshadowing the majority view of traditional owners.

“Look after country,” Ms Johnson urged Mr Malone.

“I know all about that,” he replied.

With the exchange showing no signs of cooling down, Senator Canavan swiftly wrapped up the conference, with security arriving to usher away the interrupters.

February 14, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Canavan takes cheap shots at the UN for Adani

“Canavan and Adani keep saying that Adrian Burragubba and the W&J Council don’t speak for the Traditional Owners. One thing is absolutely certain… Canavan and Adani don’t.

Neither Canavan nor Adani would know land rights if they fell over them. We will persist with our petitioning of various UN bodies because the legislation and processes in Australia fall well short of international laws and standards to which Australia is a signatory.

The Coalition Government has an appalling record on Aboriginal rights, and we operate under a worse native title regime today than when the UN CERD, more than 20 years ago, found the Howard government’s “10 point plan” changes to the Native Title Act were racially discriminatory.

The mining industry’s Resources Minister, Adani and the Coalition Government: fighters for Aboriginal Land Rights? Canavan must think we’re fools if we believe that. He is not going to run W&J business.”

February 7, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

The Constitutional Reform Package – Explained

Jessica Savage

The following is a summary of points in the video at
The original video is a powerpoint style presentation with voice-over.

This video is the final part of a 5 part series. Here are some brief notes instead of a full transcript, because the video is long.

The Constitutional Reform Package – Explained

  • I think the goal of these reforms is to herd us all together into a single treaty with universal terms. A treaty that gives Australia as much power as possible.
  • These reforms are being presented as coming from First Nations people. This is a deliberate tactic to bypass free prior and informed consent, and to make getting out of the treaty for reasons of misrepresentation difficult or impossible.
  • An important prerequisite to treaty was met in the Yulara statement. First Nations stated that their sovereignty “co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown.” This is needed because under INTERNATIONAL law, Australia’s claim of sovereignty is still based on the Crown’s claim of terra nullius. This makes it logically inconsistent for Australia, acting in the right of the Crown, to treaty under international law with people who – according to their own claim to sovereignty – do not exist. Australia is not able to enter into an treaty without first having it’s own sovereignty recognised by First Nations as being co-existent. This acknowledgement was in the Yulara Statement, hidden in plain sight.
  • The “First Nations Voice to Parliament” is more precisly – a First Nations State. To join the First Nations State, is to become a signatory to an international sovereign treaty. (Video 1 in this series explains this more)
  • To join the First Nations State, First Nation mobs must sign a contract, under the name of their own nation. Categorising and labelling nations has already begun. Note also, by signing up, sovereign mobs are also affirming that they were party to the offer made at Yulara. They are signing up to the reform package, and they are affirming that Australia’s sovereignty co-exists with their own sovereignty.
  • The First Nations State is a democratic state, this may adversly affect traditional governence structures. Putting all nations into a single, democratic body is fundamentally contrary to our law “no mob speaks for another mob”.
  • Victoria is not an international actor, so Victoria cannot make treaties at all, the Victorian constitution does not have the power.
  • Victorian treaties are not treaties with Victoria. They are domestic agreements with Victoria, wrapped up in a sovereign international treaty with Australia.
  • The terms of this international treaty with Australia are already set, it is a one-sized-fits-all deal.
  • There are no, and will be no constitutionally enshrined rights.
  • Signing up closes doors to international pathways to self-determination and independence.
  • There are other pathways to a treaty or to independence. The Yulara reforms are not the only option. Don’t be fooled if they tell you otherwise.
  • Consider asserting your sovereignty as firmly as you possibly can as a matter of urgency, even if you prefer a treaty over independence. Asserting sovereignty, and declaring independence does not rule out Treaty. The reason this is urgent, is because of the proposed modifications of the constitutional preamble. Watch the Recognition video, part 3 for more detail on this. This is very dangerous, and it’s flying almost completely under the radar. This is a danger even if the Voice referendum fails.
  • They would not have made such an elaborate, expensive scheme if we were not sovereign. It took me months to figure out what they are doing, and a few more months more figuring out how the hell to explain it! It’s very elaborate, and it takes a while to get your head around. Once you do though, you can’t unsee it.

If you have any questions, visit my blog, there is a contact form where you can write to me. That concludes this video series, I hope you enjoyed it, I hope it got you thinking, but above all – I hope that it gets people talking about the reforms, because there hasn’t been enough critical discussion or debate. I hope to make some more videos about sovereignty related topics in the future.

February 4, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Australian Aboriginal politician Jacinta Price cynical about BHP, Rio Tinto backing Uluru Statement (I would be, too!)

BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto back Uluru Statement as politician questions interest in Indigenous lands, ABC 

Key points:

  • BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have announced they support the Uluru Statement from the Heart, almost two years after it was made
  • Alice Springs town councillor Jacinta Price has questioned whether the companies were looking for a way “to look better in the eyes of Indigenous people”
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he remained opposed to a constitutionally enshrined Aboriginal voice in federal Parliament

Indigenous leaders gathered near Uluru in May 2017 to deliver the joint statement, which calls for a constitutionally enshrined Aboriginal voice in Federal Parliament, and for the laying of foundations for a treaty.

The statement was controversially rejected by the Coalition, with Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion saying it had “absolutely zero chance of success”.

But now, almost two years on, mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have announced they back it.

Uluru Statement signatory and Nyugar man David Collard heard BHP’s boss deliver the news at an event in Perth on Thursday………..

Miners want to look better in eyes of Indigenous people: Price

Rio Tinto and BHP have mining interests on traditional lands right across the country.

Not everyone is convinced their motives are pure.

Speaking to Sky News today, Central Australian Aboriginal politician Jacinta Price was cynical about the announcement.

“We need to have a bit more of a discussion; I don’t know that simply throwing your support behind something that we’re not sure what that actually looks like is helpful,” Ms Price said.

“Perhaps it is a way of these companies to look better in the eyes of Indigenous people, considering it is Indigenous people’s land they want to be involved in.”

The mining giants’ announcement comes just a few months out from a federal election.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the companies’ stance won’t change his opposition to the Statement.

“It doesn’t make a difference one way or the other,” he said.

“You assess these issues on their merits, but I’ve got to tell you, I’m more concerned about young Indigenous girls committing suicide.”

Mr Morrison said the Government would “soon” respond to a November report from a bipartisan committee about developing an Indigenous voice to Parliament.

Federal Labor has vowed to hold a referendum on the matter if it wins Government in May.

February 2, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Queensland’s First Indigenous Judge Appointed

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice The Honourable Yvette D’Ath  March 22, 2018

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath today announced the appointment of barrister Nathan Jarro as a District Court Judge in Brisbane.

Nathan Jarro will be the state’s first Indigenous judge.

“This is an important appointment for Queensland justice” Mrs D’Ath said.

“Nathan Jarro brings significant litigation experience to the role as a barrister.  He initially practised in family and criminal law but has later focused on insurance, administrative, commercial and property law.”

He has held the role of Deputy Public Interest Monitor since 2011.

“He’s also adept at alternative dispute resolution techniques as a long-standing tribunal member for the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal and Mental Health Review Tribunal,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“And he has a strong history of involvement in his community, as a current Board Director for the Queensland Theatre company, chair of the QUT Indigenous Education and Employment Consultative Committee, and former Board Director of the National Indigenous Television LTD (NITV).”

Mr Jarro received his Bachelor of Laws from QUT in 1999 and, after working as a solicitor in private practice, came to the Bar in 2004.

He has been one of Queensland’s most senior practising Indigenous lawyers, identifying as Ghangulu on his father’s side, with connections to Bidjara on his mother’s side.

He takes up his new position on Monday March 26.


February 2, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, legal, Queensland | Leave a comment

Reparation: the colonisers’ fear of admitting the truth of invasion

Ghillar, Michael Anderson 27 January 2019 “One of the slogan chants of the Invasion/Sovereignty Day March in Sydney was “No accident, it was murder!“, referring to the continuing and spiralling number of deaths in custody. International lawyers are now referring to First Nations Peoples’ Deaths in Custody as being attributed to State-sanctioned death squads. People wanting to know need to do research on this. It is in fact an untold story that is operating world-wide, but perfected in Australia.

Another slogan was “What do we want – Land Rights; When do we want it now!” All those years ago the militant young Blacks of the 1960s and 1970s succeeded in smashing PM Billy McMahon’s policy of leasing back land to First Nations Peoples, the owners of the country. But today, with the assistance of wilfully assimilated First Nations Peoples, centralised power and ownership of land is now a reality and as the current cries now state: “Native Title is NOT Land Rights.”

The NSW Land Rights Act is not Land Rights. Other Land Trusts around Australia are not Land Rights. These Land Trusts only lease back land to their own people, as they hold the land in for the Crown. It should also be understood that this is an escheat regime, where the Crown retains ultimate title under a feudal-type system. Thus, Billy McMahon’s policy is now a reality. Land Rights is when First Nations are accepted as the true original owners and guardians of our lands, waters and sacred places. Our ownership can only be secure, if it is not vested in legislation in a minister of the Crown, making the Blacks mere custodians on behalf of the Crown. That is not Land Rights.

The final cry in Sydney this year was “Sovereignty Never Ceded“. So then, what does this truly mean?…

The full bench of the High Court did in fact breach this doctrine of the rule of treason. As Justice Willis explained over 150 years before, it is treasonous to rule the way the High Court judges did in the Mabo Case:


At paragraph 29 The Mabo judgement ruled:

In discharging its duty to declare the common law of Australia, this Court is not free to adopt rules that accord with contemporary notions of justice and human rights if their adoption would fracture the skeleton of principle which gives the body of our law its shape and internal consistency.

… Here rests the ultimate responsibility of declaring the law of the nation. Although this Court is free to depart from English precedent which was earlier followed as stating the common law of this country (21) Cook v. Cook [1986] HCA 73; (1986) 162 CLR 376, at pp 390, 394; Viro v. The Queen [1978] HCA 9; (1978) 141 CLR 88, at pp 93, 120-121, 132, 135, 150-151, 166, 174, it cannot do so where the departure would fracture what I have called the skeleton of principle. The Court is even more reluctant to depart from earlier decisions of its own (22) Jones v. The Commonwealth (1987) 61 ALJR 348, at p 349; 71 ALR 497, at pp 498–499; John v. Federal Commissioner of Taxation [1989] HCA 5; (1989) 166 CLR 417, at pp 438–439, 451–452; McKinney v. The Queen [1991] HCA 6; (1991) 171 CLR 468, at pp 481–482.

As can be seen from this ruling, the Mabo judges committed treason and demonstrated their refusal to make an unbiased decision. This apprehended bias in a judge, or in this case judges, clearly demonstrates that they were unfit for the positions they hold and/or held. This is discrimination and prejudice of the highest order and it is what reflects First Nations Peoples continued cry ‘Sovereignty Never Ceded’ … ”

January 31, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Courageous indigenous appeal to Scotland to stop sending nuclear waste – stop indigenous cultural genocide

Last ditch aborigine appeal to Scotland to stop nuclear waste transfers to Australia,    By Martin Williams  29 Jan 19, SOME of the Aborigines who live in and around a sacred burial place in South Australia can still remember the clouds of poison that were the result of Britain’s nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s.

Many of the indigenous population claimed they were exposed to radiation as a result of the post-war atomic weapons tests in the desert and received compensation from the Australian government.

But a new kind of radiation could be heading to the remote sacred area of Wallerberdina – nuclear waste. The concerns are centred over a spot 280 miles north of Adelaide, which has become a potential location for Australia’s first nuclear dump.

The movement of waste is part of a deal that returns spent fuel processed at the nuclear facility currently being decommissioned to its country of origin.

Despite campaigners’ efforts it has emerged that David Peattie, chief executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), has insisted that there can be no change.

And now Aboriginal elder Regina McKenzie has made a last-ditch direct appeal to the First Minister for help to halt Dounreay’s dumping plans, calling for her “not to be part of the cultural genocide of Australian Aboriginal people”.

Mr Peattie said in a letter to UK campaigners who are fighting against the dumping: “The NDA does not have an option of retaining the waste in the UK.”

The Dounreay Waste Substitution Policy, agreed in 2012, sees waste from Australia, Belgium, Germany and Italy processed at the Scottish facility to make it safe for storage being returned to its country of origin.

The UK Government has previously confirmed that “a very small quantity of Australian-owned radioactive waste” is currently stored in the country.

Scottish Government policy allows for the substitution of the Dounreay nuclear waste with a “radiologically equivalent” amount of materials from Sellafield in Cumbria.

The proposed dump site is next to an indigenous protected area where Aborigines are still allowed to hunt, and is part of the traditional home of the Adnyamathanha people, one of several hundred indigenous groups in Australia. And Ms McKenzie, an Adnyamathanha woman who lives at Yappala in South Australia and leading campaigner against any dump, has told the Nicola Sturgeon in a letter that the substitution policy is “culturally inappropriate”.

Ms McKenzie, who has been trying to get a meeting with the First Minister since the start of last year, said: “Adnyamathanha people have lived and practised culture in our country since the beginning of time. We understand and have connections with our land in a way the Australian Government does not. It is our duty to care for our country, song/storylines for future generations.

“We know we have friends in Scotland and in the UK. My great grandfather was Joseph Thomas McKenzie from Aberdeen, so we have a great respect for our Scottish heritage. We ask that you do all in your power to cancel the agreement made with the British Government and send a message of support to our people that Scotland stands with us in our fight to protect our country.

“We have previously offered to crowdfund money to travel to Scotland to raise our concerns with you in person, and we extend the offer for you to visit us here on our country at the sacred women’s waterhole Pungka Pudinah so you can hear why we must protect our country, for all of our futures.

She has said the UK should not make the mistakes they did when the nuclear tests were conducted between 1956 and 1963 at Maralinga, part of the Woomera Prohibited Area in South Australia.

“Please do not be a part in cultural genocide of Australian Aboriginal people, the past atrocities that were practiced on all the nations of Aboriginal people, must be something of the past and not committed further,” she told Ms Sturgeon.

“This waste facility is just that, cultural genocide, it will stop future generations’ access to a significant site.

“Again I ask please listen with your ears and heart, be a voice for my people and help stop cultural genocide on a minority group only trying to keep our culture strong and survive.”

The local Aboriginal people claimed they were poisoned by the tests and, in 1994, the Australian Government reached a compensation settlement with Maralinga Tjarutja of $13.5 million in settlement of all claims in relation to the nuclear testing.

Despite the governments of Australia and the UK paying for two decontamination programmes, eight years ago concerns were expressed that some areas of the Maralinga test sites are still contaminated 10 years after being declared “clean”.

Campaigner Gary Cushway, a dual Australian-British citizen living in Glasgow, said the new appeal came after the reached deadlock on any movement in ditching the substitution policy. He said: “My argument remains the same, that the material shouldn’t be returned, at least until the final destination is known.”

the Aborigines from supporters in the UK was turned down by the First Minister. Rory Hedderly, the diary team manager, wrote back: “Unfortunately, due to considerable diary pressures, the First Minister is unable to meet with Ms McKenzie at this time.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The Scottish Government believes any concerns expressed by indigenous people must be addressed and we sympathise with concerns relating to the location of the planned radioactive waste facility in Australia.

“However, this issue is a matter for the Australian authorities, who are responsible for waste arising from historic reprocessing of Australian spent fuels, carried out under contract at Dounreay.”

January 29, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics international | Leave a comment

Traditional Owners continue to resist Adani’s ‘invasion’

“Full Bench Federal Court Appeal against ‘rent a crowd’ ILUA to proceed, 28 Jan 19 

UN demands Australia explain why Adani’s project has not been suspended over rights concerns

Bankruptcy threat to W&J leader to be resisted nationally and internationally”

“W&J Traditional Owner and lead spokesperson Adrian Burragubba said: “Adani is attempting to invade, occupy and plunder our land, contravening our human rights and denying us our property, under the cover of a bogus land use agreement. Their rent-a-crowd ILUA is not supported by the legitimate W&J Traditional Owners from the Carmichael Belyando native title claim area.

“We have made sure our Federal Court appeal can proceed because we are determined to prove that Adani does not have our consent for its mine, and to ensure it is never allowed to destroy our country and our future.

“Our people have survived 230 years since the start of colonisation in this continent, and we can survive this onslaught from Adani. We are determined to defend our country from destruction”, he said.

The confirmation of the appeal comes as the UN CERD has intervened under its early warning and urgent action provisions to demand Australia answer concerns about breaches of the W&J People’s internationally protected rights. The UN expressed concern over the ‘Adani amendments’ to the Native Title Act in 2017, as well as alleged breaches of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and the failure to obtain the genuine “free, prior and informed consent” of the relevant Traditional Owners.

Ms Linda Bobongie, Chairperson of the W&J Council said: “We have called on the UN CERD to highlight our plight and to bring pressure onto the Australian and Queensland Governments to prevent these threats from Adani to our people and to our traditional lands and waters.

“The legal system is being used as a weapon against us because we have chosen to stand up to defend our lands and waters, and our rights. Discriminatory legislation, such as the Native Title Act, and punishing costs, are allowed to override our rights and leave us open to ruthless suppression by an increasingly desperate and farcical Adani”, she said.

Ms Bobongie, is writing on behalf of the Council to Mr. Michel Forst, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, and Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, over ongoing abuses in relation to the Carmichael project and Adani’s recent move to bankrupt W&J leader, Mr Adrian Burragubba.

Ms Bobongie said: “We are requesting interventions from the UN Rapporteurs, and we will be calling on social justice groups and our hundreds of thousands of supporters around Australia to back our demands.

“We ask the Queensland Government to provide protection from bankruptcy to Mr Burragubba and the other appellants. We demand Adani cease its harassment and undermining of Mr. Burragubba and cease its bankruptcy proceeding. And we call on the Commonwealth Government and Opposition to ensure that access to equal justice to defend our rights is not undermined by punitive cost orders and the kind of aggressive corporate conduct Adani is allowed to engage in.

“Australia’s legal system does not recognise that human rights defenders, such as Mr Burragubba, are acting in the public interest and we are therefore subject to potentially crippling costs. This is a recognised problem with serious consequences.

“UN Rapporteur Tauli-Corpuz has reported that ‘a global crisis is unfolding. The rapid expansion of development projects on indigenous lands without their consent is driving a drastic increase in violence and legal harassment against Indigenous Peoples… The root of this global crisis is systematic racism and the failure of governments to recognize and respect indigenous land rights’”, she said.

Mr Burragubba concluded: “Adani will not stop us by trying to silence our voice with their awful bankruptcy tactic, which is intended to intimidate us. They will not succeed. They cannot have our lands, our heritage and our children’s futures, which are worth far more than they could ever compensate us from their ill-conceived mine.” … “

January 27, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, legal | Leave a comment

RISE : Refugee Survivors and eX-detainees Invasion Day Solidarity Statement – 2019

January 21, 2019, RISE: Refugees, Survivors and eX-detainees – the FIRST self-determined advocacy and welfare organisation in Australia run by Refugees for Refugees – makes a public call for a boycott of “Australia Day”, for the seventh year in a row.

We eX-detainees, Asylum Seekers and Refugees from RISE condemn any group or individual who claims to be pro-refugee but celebrates “Australia Day” on the 26th of January 2019. Instead, RISE encourages all Refugees, eX-detainees, Asylum Seekers and allies to support First Nations peoples in their actions against “Australia Day”.

RISE represents over 30 refugee community groups in Australia and is the first (and one of the few) self-determined, registered, non-profit refugee organisations in Australia governed and managed by eX-detainees, Asylum Seekers and Refugees. As eX-detainees, Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Australia, we acknowledge that the land we seek protection on is the land of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples whose sovereignty was never ceded. ‘Always was, always will be Aboriginal land’.

We believe the systemic abuse of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is a result of over 200 years of discrimination as part of the white colonial genocide strategy that continues to this day and this template is now being used against our own refugee communities. How can we dismantle the white Australian government’s refugee torture camps built within and outside its colonial borders without addressing the root cause of this criminal abuse?

RISE fully supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ sovereignty and self-determination and stands in solidarity with them every day in our commitment to fighting for justice on this land on their terms.”

ReadMore at theSource


January 26, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Warren Mundine’s allegiance to the nuclear industry, rather than to the Aboriginal people

Warren Mundine’s nuclear allegiances, Jim Green, Online Opinion, 11 April 2012, more

Warren Mundine, a member and former National President of the ALP, and co-convener of the Australian Uranium Association’s Indigenous Dialogue Group, has been promoting the nuclear industry recently. Unfortunately he turns a blind eye to the industry’s crude racism, a problem that ought to be core business for the Indigenous Dialogue Group.

Mundine could have mentioned the legacy of uranium mining in the Wiluna region of WA; to pick one of many examples. Uranium exploration in the region in the 1980s left a legacy of pollution and contamination. Greatly elevated radiation levels have been recorded despite the area being ‘cleaned’ a decade ago. Even after the ‘clean up’, the site was left with rusting drums containing uranium ore. A sign reading “Danger − low level radiation ore exposed” was found lying face down in bushes.

In August 2000, coordinator of the Wiluna-based Marruwayura Aboriginal Corporation Steve Syred said that until 1993, 100−150 people were living three kilometres from the spot where high radiation levels were recorded. Syred told the Kalgoorlie Miner that the Aboriginal community had unsuccessfully resisted uranium exploration in the area in the early 1980s. Since then many people had lived in the area while the Ngangganawili Aboriginal Corporation was based near the contaminated site. Elders still hunted in the area.

Another example ignored by Mundine was in late March when the NSW government passed legislation that excluded uranium from provisions of the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 thus stripping Aboriginal Land Councils of any say in uranium mining.

Yet another example ignored by Mundine was the 2011 amendments to the S.A. Roxby Downs Indenture Act 1982. This is the legislation that governs operations at the Olympic Dam uranium and copper mine and retains exemptions from the S.A. Aboriginal Heritage Act. Traditional Owners were not even consulted in the amendments or exemptions. The S.A. government’s spokesperson in Parliament said: “BHP were satisfied with the current arrangements and insisted on the continuation of these arrangements, and the government did not consult further than that.”

That disgraceful performance illustrates a broader pattern. Aboriginal land rights and heritage protections are feeble at the best of times. But the legal rights and protections are repeatedly stripped away whenever they get in the way of nuclear or mining interests. The Olympic Dam mine is largely exempt from the S.A. Aboriginal Heritage Act and any uranium mines in NSW are to be exempt from provisions of the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act. Likewise, sub-section 40(6) of the Commonwealth’s Aboriginal Land Rights Act exempts the Ranger uranium mine in the N.T. from the Act.

Mundine claims that Australia has “a legal framework to negotiate equitably with the traditional owners on whose land many uranium deposits are found”. That claim is disingenuous.

Native Title rights were extinguished with the stroke of a pen by the Howard government to seize land for a radioactive waste dump in South Australia. Aboriginal heritage laws and Aboriginal land rights are being trashed with the current push to dump in the Northern Territory. Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson’s National Radioactive Waste Management Act overrides the Aboriginal Heritage Act, sidesteps the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, and allows for the imposition of a dump on Aboriginal land even in the absence of any consultation with or consent from Traditional Owners.

David Ross, Director of the Central Land Council, noted in a March 14 media release: “This legislation is shameful, it subverts processes under the [Aboriginal] Land Rights Act and is clearly designed to reach the outcome of a dump being located on Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory, whether that’s the best place for it or not. This legislation preserves the Muckaty nomination without acknowledging the dissent and conflict amongst the broader traditional owner group about the process and the so-called agreement. The passage of this legislation will further inflame the tensions and divisions amongst families in Tennant Creek, and cause great stress to many people in that region.”

A small number of Traditional Owners support the N.T. dump proposal. However most are opposed and the Northern Territory Government supports that opposition, key trade unions including the Australia Council of Trade Unions, church groups, medical and health organisations, and environmental groups. If push comes to shove, there will be a blockade at the site to prevent construction of the dump.

A pro bono legal team is assisting Traditional Owners with their legal challenge against the nomination of the Muckaty site. At a Federal Court hearing on March 27, a Commonwealth lawyer argued that the government’s legislation allows the nomination of a dump site to stand even if the evidence regarding traditional ownership is false.

These patterns are evident in other countries. North American Indigenous activist Winona LaDuke from the Anishinabe Nation told the Indigenous World Uranium Summit in 2006: “The greatest minds in the nuclear establishment have been searching for an answer to the radioactive waste problem for fifty years, and they’ve finally got one: haul it down a dirt road and dump it on an Indian reservation”.

Here in Australia the situation is scarcely any better than it was in the 1950s when the British were exploding nuclear bombs on Aboriginal land. Which brings us to another of Mundine’s blind spots. He could have mentioned the latest ‘clean up’ of the Maralinga nuclear test site, which was done on the cheap. Nuclear engineer and whistleblower Alan Parkinson said of the ‘clean-up’: “What was done at Maralinga was a cheap and nasty solution that wouldn’t be adopted on white-fellas land.”

Mundine’s claim to support Aboriginal empowerment is contradicted by his consistent failure to speak out when mining and nuclear interests and governments that support those interests disempower Aboriginal people.

January 24, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

“Don’t leave Dracula – Murray Darling Basin Authority Water management – in charge of the Blood Bank”

Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations, 21 Jan 19 MDBA Water management: “Don’t leave Dracula in charge of the Blood bank”

  1. Support for a Royal Commission
  2. Representation at the decision making table of MDBA
  3. Acknowledge Legal Rights of First Nations as determined in Mabo (2)
  4. Explain why different standards are set for First Nations’ Organisations
  5. Demand Criminal Prosecutions be an integral part of Royal Commission findings

Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations (NBAN) Deputy Chair, Ghillar Michael Anderson and NBAN Director Cheryl Buchanan announce NBAN’s support for Sarah Hanson-Young’s call for a Royal Commission into the mismanagement and over extraction of the waters of the Murray Darling Basin. [The Guardian, 16 January 2019]

NBAN has now learnt that the disaster that we are experiencing in the Murray/Darling Basin is a perfect electric dry storm of massive fish kills and drying riverbeds.

It is NOT caused just by the drought but is also a culmination of man-made mismanagement; corruption at the highest levels; and major development without scientific evidence-based planning in the formative years of the MDBA.

NBAN has great difficulty in understanding why the so-called experts water planners would attempt to normalise our current circumstances. First Nations now demand urgent answers and to be included in all future top-level water planning within the Murray Darling Basin……..

NBAN is critical of the fact that NSW Water planners admit that from 2012 to 2018 they did nothing to properly prepare for evidence-based planning in relation to water management in the northern basin, and that their assessments in terms of quantities of water are based on hypothetical values and assumptions. Now there is a mad rush to review water planning on the basis of A, B and C water licencing in the Barwon/Darling and there is a suggestion to amalgamate these water licences into two or one licence. NBAN’s problem with this is that there are too many vested interests in the process calling for this to happen. Water planning from NBAN’s point of view needs to be reviewed so as to plan on the basis of what real volumes of water are in each valley catchment. With all the science and technology we have in today’s society there is no excuse for hypotheticals and assumptions.

From NBAN’s perspective these admissions clearly demonstrate that there are failures by the Water Ministers responsible for due diligence in their portfolios and departments.

Playing the blame game and shirking responsibility will not help our dying rivers. Clearly, corporate water users, irrigators and mining companies are driving the agenda. For example, the Broken Hill pipeline is for the mining interests rather than the community. Then we need to take into account the Proposed Uranium Mining near Menindee.

The Board of the MDBA is made up of members who have vested interests. A clear example of this is the Chairman, Brian Andrews, (former Speaker of the House of Representatives under PM John Howard) who is an orchardist dependant on irrigation waters from the Murray River in South Australia.

NBAN further expresses deep concern for the integrity of politicians and MDBA authority members. Clearly, there is an inference in recent media reporting that what is currently going on in the MDBA is a major defrauding of the public purse, which can never be condoned. This is in tandem with water theft by irrigators who were never investigated and escape prosecution for their criminal acts. As the Sydney Morning Heraldreported on 8 March 2018:……….

Also there was the warning of water theft by irrigators in the northern basin by a former MDBA staffer Maryanne Slattery, who now works for the Australia Institute, testified to this effect at the South Australian Royal Commission, based on satellite imagery tracking the fate of environmental water flows. This experimental project called Data Cube was rudely interrupted and shut down by MDBA, because Ms Slattery was exposing the theft of environmental water by illegal diversion. It was also reported MDBA staff were denied by the MDBA Board the right to give evidence to the Royal Commission and Minister Littleproud refused to co-operate with the Commissioner, Brett Walker QC,

The greens Senator, Sarah Hanson-Young, is correct to call for a Commonwealth Government Royal Commission into the water management and expenditure of public funds in the MDB. The question that is on everybody’s lips right now is: What have they done with the $13B. Clearly, cotton growers and irrigators are getting money for nothing and continue to live on their lands drawing on other Commonwealth funds under Works and measures programs through ‘Toolkit’ measures for water efficiency.

NBAN is seriously concerned about what was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald on 9 March 2018 in . In this article it was reported that:Cry me a river: Mismanagement and corruption have left the Darling dry.

Surely, what Barnaby Joyce has done is criminal. When the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) bought Yulara village, the Commonwealth financial regulators questioned why the ILC acquired the village resort for $60M above market price. To this end the Commonwealth government chastised the ILC and lowered the market price to its correct value, thereby denying the right ILC to sell their interest at the price they paid for it, which denied them millions of dollars.

This demonstrates that there continues to be two standards: one for First Nations Peoples and one for non-First Nations Peoples. What makes this worse is the fact that sitting politicians are involved in a major profiteering scam on a scale never seen before in this country.

Clearly having people like the Minister David Littleproud being given the portfolio of Agriculture and Water and coming from the same location where Barnaby Joyce first gained his start in Politics at the Commonwealth level does raise serious concerns about the integrity of portfolio allocations in the Commonwealth government. People like Barnaby Joyce and David Littleproud can be accused of not disclosing their full interest in farming and irrigation. There is much to be desired in these appointments as Barnaby Joyce and Littleproud are sitting members of the national party. They are elected to look after the interests of their constituents and in the case of the appointment of Barnaby Joyce and Littleproud to the Water portfolio is likened to the appointment of Dracula being appointed to be in charge of the Blood Bank.

This demonstrates that there continues to be two standards: one for First Nations Peoples and one for non-First Nations Peoples. What makes this worse is the fact that sitting politicians are involved in a major profiteering scam on a scale never seen before in this country.

Clearly having people like the Minister David Littleproud being given the portfolio of Agriculture and Water and coming from the same location where Barnaby Joyce first gained his start in Politics at the Commonwealth level does raise serious concerns about the integrity of portfolio allocations in the Commonwealth government. People like Barnaby Joyce and David Littleproud can be accused of not disclosing their full interest in farming and irrigation. There is much to be desired in these appointments as Barnaby Joyce and Littleproud are sitting members of the national party. They are elected to look after the interests of their constituents and in the case of the appointment of Barnaby Joyce and Littleproud to the Water portfolio is likened to the appointment of Dracula being appointed to be in charge of the Blood Bank.

On the 16th, the NBAN Delegation then met Dr Lindsay White, Director Northern Basin Section, Lindsay White is also responsible for Wetlands, Policy and Northern Water Use Branch Commonwealth Environmental Water Office, and Hilary Johnson, Director, Southern Basin Section, Southern Water Use, Aquatic Science and Community Engagement Branch Commonwealth Environmental Water Office.

NBAN advised the CEWO that within the river systems we have sacred waterholes where our creative water spirits live. These culturally significant water spirits are dependent on regular flows. For First nations Peoples these flows are what we call cultural flows. Without the modern development pre-Christmas rainfalls would have replenished these waterholes and they would have sufficient water to take them through the current drought or until a new rain event within the northern regions. But, with modern development and mis-management these water holes are under serious threat and our Native Fish will lose their refuges. Past river recordings prior to development demonstrate that this is the case with these waterholes. It is important to understand that these Waterholes are critical fish refuges and serve to protect species diversity and are responsible for repopulating rivers in recovery after flooding.

The Delegation sought clarification of the role of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holders. What shocked the delegation was the limitation of the CEWO, because the First Nation held the view that CEWO were responsible for not just managing environmental water flows, but also were responsible for the actual purchasing of any water requirements. Instead we were advised that the purchasing responsibilities lay with the Minister and the Department of Agriculture. Under the Current circumstances much of the responsibilities associated with managing environmental water needs lay at the feet of the Ministers responsible.

The NBAN delegation now demand that First Nations People’s must be at the table in all future water and environmental planning at all levels of government.

In calling for the royal Commission, NBAN demand that criminal prosecution be part of the terms of reference to hold those responsible, accountable, and to bring transparency into the murky process that has persisted to this day.

NBAN Sources:

January 21, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment | Leave a comment

Adani tries to bankrupt Wangan and Jagalingou man, Adrian Burragubba, I

It’s the multi-billion dollar mega-mine set for Queensland. But one man is trying to stop it going ahead. And he isn’t going away.  Charis Chang@CharisChang2 7 Jan 19Adrian Burragubba has been a thorn in Adani’s side for years and now the mining giant has had enough.  

Last month Adani filed an order seeking to bankrupt the Wangan and Jagalingou man by demanding payment of more than $600,000 in legal costs.

The extreme action follows numerous failed court actions that Mr Burragubba has been party to since 2015 to stop Adani’s coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin from going ahead.

Mr Burragubba is part of the W&J People, who have a native title claim over about 30,000sq km of land in central Queensland, west of Rockhampton, including the townships of Clermont, Alpha, Rubyvale and Capella.

He’s a vocal member of the W&J Family Council disputing the validity of the indigenous land use agreement (ILUA) which Adani has secured from the traditional owners of the land.

The W&J had been negotiating with Adani since 2011 but were unable to reach an agreement so the company applied to the National Native Title Tribunal to grant them two mining leases.

The tribunal can order that mining leases be granted even if an agreement with traditional owners has not been reached.

In October 2013, the Queensland Government gave notice it intended to grant the leases and a six-month negotiation process started between the mining company and native title holders.

Australia’s first Indigenous silk Tony McAvoy has previously criticised the native title system because the tribunal rarely rejects applications for mining leases.

Mr McAvoy is a W&J traditional owner and he said Aboriginal people were being coerced into agreements with mining companies because if an agreement was not reached, they lost their opportunity to negotiate compensation or royalties.

If we don’t agree, the native title tribunal will let it go through, and we will lose our land and won’t be compensated either. That’s the position we’re in,” Mr McAvoy told The Guardian.

….At the meeting, which Mr Burragubba has claimed is not valid, there were 294 votes to approve the agreement and only one against.

But Mr Burragubba said the company failed to explain that once native title is relinquished it cannot be reclaimed.

Our position has always been the same — that there has never been any free or informed consent with any agreement with Adani,” Mr Burragubba said in August.

However, legal action challenging the registration of the land use agreement was dismissed on August 17, 2018.

The decision was delivered after the Federal Government passed legislation to override a separate Federal Court ruling that all members of a native title group had to approve of an agreement for it to be valid.

The law change was important for Adani because its agreement did not get approval from all 12 families represented.

At that point, state and federal governments had already granted Adani all necessary state and federal approvals, although it still needs to submit groundwater and other plans.

But Mr Burragubba has refused to give up.

Another appeal was filed on September 7 and is due to be heard in May.

Adani tried to stop the most recent action, which was originally scheduled for February, by asking the court to force W&J representatives to pay $160,000 in security costs or have their appeal dismissed.

Adani’s lawyers said it had tried to recoup payment of $637,000 in legal fees from previous cases and had been unsuccessful. While the court agreed to the payment, it reduced the amount to $50,000 that must be paid by the end of January.

The decision was a blow to Adani, partly because its move also saw the court case delayed further and it will be heard in May instead.

After weathering years of legal actions from the W&J Family Council and other environmental activist groups, Adani appears to have had enough and is playing hardball.

January 8, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Adani’s attack on Aboriginal leader morally reprehensible

Traditional Owners support leader, Adrian Burragubba

Adani’s bankruptcy petition is corporate bullying, abuse of process

W&J call on Qld Government to investigate Adani’s sham dealings

Adani are out to punish the Traditional Owner leading the fight against their Carmichael Mine and the opening up of the Galilee Basin. In a show of abject moral failure and corporate bullying, Adani has instituted bankruptcy proceedings against W&J leader and spokesperson Adrian Burragubba, simply for retribution, said W&J Traditional Owners Family Council chairperson Linda Bobongie.

“Our people will stand with Mr Burragubba at this trying time. He is a courageous leader who has put our people, country and cultural heritage before his own and his families personal needs. He speaks for many of the rightful Traditional Owners of Wangan and Jagalingou Country and we will not be frightened by Adani’s latest abuse of power.

We have enormous support for our Federal Court appeal against Adani’s rent-a-crowd ILUA. Over 128,000 people have signed our petition and millions of Australians who oppose the Carmichael Mine continue to back our campaign because they also care about Aboriginal rights in this country.

We will prosecute Adani to the limit and make sure they wear their illegitimate claims as a burden upon their brief corporate history in Australia.  But we cannot rely on the legal system alone for justice.

We call on the Queensland Government to urgently inquire into the corruption of process that led to the disputed land deal. We demand that the Queensland Government refrain from any action to support Adani and from extinguishing our native title while investigating this grave injustice.

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. They should underwrite this process to ensure that Adani cannot bankrupt any of the appellants before the matter is heard, and they make proper inquiries of their own.

Adani are trying to prevent justice and hide behind a veil of supposed charity. Nothing could be more sickening than to have this corporate bully lecture us about our own people. They never have the courage to front up. It’s always done through anonymous media spokespeople or high priced lawyers.

We demand to know the Adani bosses who initiated this action. Was it Lucas Dow, the new CEO of Adani Mining, or was it Jeyakumar Janakaraj, CEO & Country Head Australia, or was it Gautam Adani himself who authorised this shameless attack on our people?

We are seeking the assistance of the UN Special Rapporteurs for Indigenous Peoples Rights and for Human Rights Defenders. The heads of corporations like Adani have a responsibility to respect human rights that are protected under international law. These responsibilities exist independently of a country’s abilities or willingness to fulfil its own obligations with respect to the rights of Indigenous peoples. We expect Adani’s bosses to answer for their actions.

Adani has no moral claim over us, and no legitimate claim for money. Their deceit is practiced. From the hollow protest about a vote of 294 – 1, as though this is believable, and Traditional Owners property rights and human rights can be wiped out forever by a one-off stacked meeting; to employing or contracting with people who oversaw the collapse of our $1m trust fund, such as Ms Irene Simpson and Mr Patrick Malone, directors of Cato Galilee, which entered into an unauthorised Memorandum of Understanding with Adani; to the PR exercises on jobs and partnership with ‘fake W&J people’. (Tony Johnson who appears in this Adani video is from the Gooreng Gooreng Nation on the Port Curtis Coast).

Adani claims to have a valid ILUA with the W&J people yet have failed to engage the authorised native title party at any time in more than two years, and have not paid $1.3m they are obligated to under the terms of their own contract.

Adani would bankrupt our people, prop up those who would breach our trust, and withhold what they owe just to score a cheap political point.

Our people will continue to seek justice in the face of this profound inequity. We will call on all First Nations people, and members of the Australian and international communities for support. And we will challenge the decision of Justice Reeves because we know the Adani ILUA is a gross distortion of the will of the W&J People”, Ms Bobongie concluded.

Source Document:

January 5, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

The biggest porky pies: How fake news has shaped our history

Read more at the By Julia Baird host of The Drum on ABCTV & a journalist and author  29 December 2018 

“We can fact check lies – but who will tell the stories of those who have been ignored, stereotypes and scrubbed out of history? First Nations people have been fed fake news and lies about their history and their present for centuries. As have we all. And the impact of this endures.

Myths like: there is only one Aboriginal culture, voice, or viewpoint.. That Aboriginal people are inherently violent, lazy, drunk. That the impact of colonisation has long passed. That the first inhabitants of this land were simply hunter-gatherers. That Australia was just a wilderness before Europeans arrived.

The truth is starkly different. In his brilliant book Dark EmuIndigenous historian Bruce Pascoe documented how Aboriginal peoples lived here for millennia before Cook arrived, establishing a sophisticated, cultivated form of land management, carefully tended irrigation and extensive farming and fish-trapping practices – with villages with wells, dams, permanent buildings made of clay-coated wood and elaborate cemeteries – operating as a cluster of distinct but connected democracies. A land carefully tilled, a land built upon, a land that sustained an economy, a land that was theirs. … ”

Read much much much more at the Source:

Review of ‘DarkEmu by BrucePascoe’
‘Required re-education readings’ BookReview by BenCourtice!msg/wgar-news/WH0DXuU9ntk/8XeB5QOuAAAJ;context-place=forum/wgar-news

December 30, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment