Australian news, and some related international items

Canberra travellers learn of South Australian Aboriginals’ fight against nuclear waste dumping

MAGALI MCDUFFIE Over two years ago, my partner Alexander Hayes met Bruce Hammond, of the Tanganekald & Western Arrente people, South Australia, who brought to his awareness the ongoing struggles and challenges that his people and other Aboriginal communities face, particularly in light of the South Australian proposal for a nuclear waste dump in the Flinders Ranges. With over three months of logistics and planning, and at Bruce’s invitation, Alex and myself will be travelling through many different communities in South Australia, listening to the voices of people on country, who have not been consulted by the government in an appropriate manner.

So on September 24th we started our journey from Canberra to South Australia.

Our road trip took us through Wagga-Wagga, the Hay Plains, Benanee Lake, Balranald, Mildura, finally arriving in Adelaide on the morning of the 26th.  On 26 September, 2016 we had the pleasure of meeting lester-karinaand interviewing Karina Lester, Co-Manager and Aboriginal Language Worker at Mobile-Language Team, at the University of Adelaide. Karina is the daughter of well-known Yankunytjatjara Elder and Activist Yami Lester, who was blinded by the ‘black mist’ from the first Atomic Test Bomb at Emu Junction, South Australia.

Karina told us that the idea of a nuclear waste dump in South Australia is not new – her grand-mother and her family successfully fought against it back in the 1990s. But now it is on the agenda again, and Aboriginal communities whose land the nuclear dump would be built on are not being properly consulted. Even though the South Australian government is sending representatives to a hundred different communities, under the guise of consultation (Get to Know Nuclear), they are not engaging language experts and interpreters to communicate directly and effectively with these communities. Aboriginal people are therefore not getting all the information on the nuclear waste project, thereby contravening the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on Free, Prior and Informed ConsentContinue reading

September 28, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Northern Land Council delay agreement on Rio Tinto uranium exploration

handsoffLauren Mellor, 27 Sept 16 Quick update from the NT as some of you may have seen the news last week that Rio Tinto was granted exploration rights for uranium at a site called Dry Creek, part of the Garawa Wanyii Land Trust on the border of the NT and QLD in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Well-known Garawa/Wanyii Aboriginal rights activist Alec Doomadgee’s family are caretakers for the area concerned and he has been posting video updates online about the situation, saying the community are preparing to challenge the Northern Land Council’s sign off on the project with Rio Tinto (you can view some on his Facebook page and the Borroloola Change-makers page).
Opposition to the agreement is high and the community have responded quickly to the announcement calling for new meetings to clarify and reverse any decision made.
A fired-up delegation from the community including Alec have just travelled to Darwin and met with the NLC executive on Friday.
The outcome was that NLC have agreed not to proceed with the agreement sign-off until new community meetings can be called in coming weeks.
I’ve been speaking with people from Gulf communities and it looks like the ‘agreement’ was reached through a very sloppy consultation process with the NLC piggy-backing off an IPA meeting for the Garawa/Wanyii Land Trust and creating alot of confusion about the projects being discussed.
When some people requested more information about the uranium exploration project the NLC took that to mean agreement to start negotiations and as a ‘yes’ to exploration, which many will know ultimately means a yes to mining further down the track if the company wants to proceed..

September 28, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

Maralinga: art exhibition raises the question- what has changed in pro nuclear activities?

see-this.wayArt exhibition to mark 60th anniversary of nuclear testing in Maralinga asks what has changed ABC Central Victoria  By Larissa Romensky , 22 Sept 16,  A national touring exhibition of artwork marks 60 years after the British government exploded an atomic bomb in South Australia’s outback.

On September 27, 1956 the British government conducted its first atomic test at Maralinga.

In total, seven nuclear bomb blasts were detonated between 1956 and 1967 in the southern part of the Great Victoria Desert in South Australia followed by more than 600 “minor tests”.

These were not the first nuclear tests to be conducted in Australia, but the term Maralinga, an Aboriginal word for thunder, became the name associated with this chapter in Australian history.

Black Mist Burnt Country, is a national touring exhibition that revisits the events and its location through the work of more than 30 Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists.

Curator JD Mittman said the title refers to the “mysterious” black mist that hovered over the country after the first test at Emu Field in South Australia in 1953 that “badly” affected Aboriginal families at Wallatinna.

“[Yankunytjatjara man] Yami Lester testified that people got very sick, some died, and he lost his eyesight,” Mr Mittman said.

Burnt country was in reference to the enormous heat generated by an atomic bomb blast, 1,000 times hotter than the sun.

“The blast melts the ground to glass, also called Trinitide, after the Trinity test ," he said.

Inspired by Jonathan Kumintjarra Brown

Jonathan Kumintjara Brown was a member of the stolen generation and later in life connected with his family in South Australia and found out about the atomic testing of his traditional land.

Mr Mittman said the exhibition was originally inspired by the artist's work entitled Marilinga before the atomic test.

"The question that came to mind immediately was: if there's a work that depicts the country before the atomic tests then surely there must be work that is also about the period after or during the tests," he said.

The work in the exhibition spans seven decades from across the globe from the first atomic test in Hiroshima to the present day, from both private and public collections........

September 23, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, culture | Leave a comment

Cover-up of Australia’s Hiroshima -like story – Maralinga

This March, documents obtained exclusively by revealed that hundreds of children and grandchildren of veterans exposed to radiation were born with shocking illnesses including tumours, Down syndrome, cleft palates, cerebral palsy, autism, missing bones and heart disease.

Other veterans posted to the Maralinga nuclear test site blamed the British Nuclear Test for an unusually high number of stillbirths and miscarriages among the group.

“The rest of the Aboriginal people in this country need to know the story as well,”    “This one’s been kept very quiet.”

Nuclear will be on show at the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute in Adelaide, South Australia from 17 September to 12 November.

secret-agent-AustThe secret destruction of Australia’s Hiroshima,, SEPTEMBER 17, 2016 WHEN nuclear explosions tore through Australia’s vast, arid centre, some people living there didn’t even know it was coming.

It devastated the country for miles around, annihilating every bird, tree and animal in its path.

Even today, the effects of our very own Hiroshima are still felt by the families it ripped apart, and those suffering horrific health problems as a result.

The British military detonated seven nuclear bombs in remote Maralinga, around 800km north-west of Adelaide, plus two at Emu Fields and three off the coast near Karratha, Western Australia.

They also staged hundreds of minor trials investigating the impact of non-nuclear explosions on atomic weapons, involving tanks, gun, mannequins in uniforms and even tethered goats. In many ways, these smaller tests were equally dangerous, spraying plutonium in all directions.

Yet most Australians know very little about the blasts that shattered communities, and the dramatic story now buried under layers of dust. Continue reading

September 17, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, health, history, secrets and lies, South Australia | Leave a comment

Michael Anderson on the question of a Treaty with Aboriginal people

Anderson,MichaelOur people today are signing Indigenous Land Use Agreements, ILUAs, without truly understanding what they are surrendering to the oppressor colonial state and no-one fully informs them of the consequences. Will a treaty be the same?

Justice Willis [in R v Bonjon, Supreme Court of New South Wales 1841] adds: “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”. 

Justice Willis then reasoned that: “Aboriginal people remained ‘unconquered and free, entitled to be regarded as ‘self-governing communities’. Their rights ‘as distinct people’ could not be considered to have been ‘tacitly surrendered’. As they were ‘by no means devoid of legal capacity’ and had ‘laws and usages of their own’, ‘treaties should be made with them’. The colonists were ‘uninvited intruders’, the Aborigines ‘the native sovereigns of the soil’ “

We are under occupation by a foreign power, which keeps us in our place by superior force Ghillar, Michael Anderson Bathurst, Put clearly, Australia does not have its own sovereignty. Under its British constitution all governments in Australia are caretakers in occupation and govern for the non-Aboriginal people who call themselves Australians. In point of fact federal, state and territory governments govern in right of the crown of Britain. Former prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott appear demented when opposing treaties. 

 By Ghillar, Michael Anderson, Convenor of the Sovereign Union, last surviving member of the founding four of the Aboriginal Embassyand Head of state of the Euahlayi People’s Republic

 Former prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott confirmed yesterday (8/9/16) that they vigorously oppose any ideas of a treaty between the Commonwealth of Australia and First Nations peoples in Australia: ‘John Howard has described talk of a treaty as “appalling” ….”I’m appalled at talk about treaty, that will be so divisive and will fail,” Mr Howard said and Tony Abbott says he has never supported the idea. …”A treaty is something that two nations make with each other, and obviously Aboriginal people are the first Australians, but in the end we’re all Australians together, so I don’t support a treaty.” [ ] Continue reading

September 10, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Traditional Owners fight on: appeal Carmichael mine Federal Court decision


coal CarmichaelMine2   8 September 2016

“An appeal to the full bench of the Federal Court of Australia was filed today by -senior Traditional Owner and spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) family council, Mr Adrian Burragubba, challenging a decision of Justice Reeves in relation to the Queensland government’s issuing of mining leases for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine, handed down on 19th August 2016.

“Mr Burragubba said: “We said ‘no means no’ and so we will continue to resist this damaging coal mine that will tear the heart out of our Country. The stakes are huge.In the spirit of our ancestors, we will continue to fight for justice until the project falls over.

““The decision of the Native Title Tribunal in April 2015 to allow the issuing of the mining leases by the Queensland government took away our right to free, prior and informed consent.

It effectively allowed the government to override the decision that we made nearly two years ago to reject Adani’s ‘deal’,” Mr Burragubba said. … “

September 10, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Queensland | Leave a comment

Suppression of native title for the Mirarr people- extinguishment of rights?

Timber Creek Aboriginal custodians win historic $3.3 million payout for native title rights loss, ABC News,  By Avani Dias and Jessicah Mendes  25 Aug 16  “………Extinguishment principle ‘hard to accept’

In a separate decision, the Federal Court has partially recognised the rights of the Mirarr people to one of the longest-running native title claims in the Territory.

The court has recognised the Mirarr’s rights over sections of the township of Jabiru that have been subleased to government entities. But those rights only apply if and when the leases expire — a move described as the “suppression” of native title.

The ruling also rejected or ‘extinguished’ the Mirarr’s rights over areas of the town subleased to private companies such as Energy Resources Australia — the operators of the Ranger uranium mine.

Mr Morrison said the case had been a complicated one.

“I think it was a very difficult case but I think it also sets an important precedent to partially recognise, through suppression, native title in parts of Jabiru,” he said.

But he said the concept of a native title claim being rejected or “extinguished” could be very difficult for Aboriginal people to accept.

“Aboriginal people right around the country have said it’s an abhorrent feature of the Native Title Act, this extinguishment principle.”

August 26, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Landmark payout for Aboriginal custidians who have lost their native title rights.

Timber Creek Aboriginal custodians win historic $3.3 million payout for native title rights loss, ABC News,  By Avani Dias and Jessicah Mendes  25 Aug 16 More than 20 years after the landmark Mabo decision, the Federal Court has for the first time determined how to award compensation to traditional owners who have lost their native title rights.

Key points:

  • First time court has quantified loss of cultural attachment to land
  • Decision expected to trigger new cases
  • NLC ‘very happy’ with outcome of decision

Aboriginal custodians of Timber Creek, 600km south-west of Darwin, have been awarded $3.3 million in compensation for the loss of their native title rights. Continue reading

August 26, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Adani court decision: Traditional Owners say fight to stop QLD’s Carmichael mine continues

19 August 2016

legal actionCourt decision:

Traditional Owners say govt acted shamefully,

fight to stop Adani’s Carmichael mine continues

Defence of rights and country still has a long way to run

Senior Traditional Owner and spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) traditional owners family council, Mr Adrian Burragubba, says he is not surprised  by the decision handed down in the Federal Court in Brisbane today, while reiterating that they stand strong together and will continue to defend their human rights, and protect their traditional lands from Adani’s destructive Carmichael mine.

““The issuing by the Palaszczuk government of the mining leases, in support of Adani running roughshod over our right to say ‘no’ to this mine, was a shameful episode. We will continue to pursue all legal avenues, Australian and international, to defend our rights and stop this massive coal mine going ahead,” Mr Burragubba said.

“Wangan and Jagalingou council representatives, including Mr Burragubba, are currently challenging the leasesthat have been issued by the Palaszczuk government for the Adani Carmichael coal mine ina Judicial Review in the Queensland Supreme Court. The matter will be heard in November; and further legal actions are underway. …

Lawyer for Mr Burragubba, Mr Benedict Coyne said: “My client will take some time to review the reasons for judgment, and consider his appeal options in the context of numerous other legal avenues he is pursuing for justice for his people, both domestically and internationally.” …

August 19, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, legal, Queensland | Leave a comment

Indigenous challenge to Adani Carmichael coal mine dismissed by Federal Court

coal CarmichaelMine2 Andrew Kos 19 August 2016

“The Federal Court has dismissed a challenge from a Queensland traditional owner to mining leases for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.

“A member of the Wangan and Jagalingou people was trying to put a stop to the multi-billion-dollar Galilee basin project.

Senior traditional owner for the Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners, Adrian Burragubba argued that a determination made in April 2015 by the National Native Title Tribunal, relating to the proposed granting of two mining leases, was made incorrectly.

“He argued the approval of mining leases would extinguish native title over parts of the group’s lands.

“Mr Burragubba made the application for judicial review against the Queensland Government, Adani and the National Native Title Tribunal. …

“In his judgement, Justice John Reeves concluded that none of Mr Burragubba’s grounds of review had merit. “Justice Reeves said the tribunal did not fail to observe the rules of natural justice or constructively fail to exercise its jurisdiction. …

“While I respect the judgement of Justice Reeves, we will seek advice from our legal team on an appeal,” Mr Burragubba said. … “

August 19, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, legal, Queensland | 1 Comment

Aboriginal people will fight planned Vimy uranium mine, despite EPA’s approoval of it

Indigenous people living in the area have a bad history with uranium developments. It’s a few hundred kilometres from Cundalee, the mission where Spinifex people from the Great Victoria Desert were placed after being pushed off their traditional lands by the British government’s nuclear testing program in Maralinga, South Australia, in the 1950s and 60s

handsoffPilanguru people to fight on as uranium mine gets environmental approval
Traditional owners say the Indigenous community has not been adequately consulted about Vimy Resources’ planned Mulga Rock open-pit mine,
Guardian, , 15 Aug 16, Traditional owners have vowed to fight a proposed uranium mine at Mulga Rock, about 240km west of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, which was given conditional environmental approval on Monday.

The Environmental Protection Authority of WA recommended the Barnett government approve construction of the open-pit mine and uranium processing plant, operated by Perth-based Vimy Resources Limited, after a three-month public environmental review. Continue reading

August 17, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Mulga Rock uranium plan faces serious opposition

handsoff Environment groups and Traditional Owners have vowed to fight the proposed Mulga Rock uranium mine, 260 kilometres north-east of Kalgoorlie, despite today’s recommendation by the state EPA that the Environment Minister approve the mine.

Environment groups and Traditional Owners said the mine threatened the pristine environmentally and culturally significant area.

Bruce Hogan from the Council of Tribal Elders and Chair of Pilanguru Native Title Group said “We use to go out there with our Elders. We can’t see how this mine could go ahead. The seven sister’s tjukupa (dreaming) goes through there and the two wadis (lore men) went through that area too. The elders use to take us there for cultural practice, they would leave us there for a few days and then come back to pick us up. We don’t want that mine to go ahead. We will fight against that mine at Mulga Rock.”

Conservation Council Nuclear Free Campaigner Mia Pepper said “Conservation groups will be lodging an official appeal against this recommendation by the EPA.

“The Mulga Rock uranium proposal is unsafe and unwanted. The company has continually dismissed the cultural values and importance of the area and has failed to properly consult with Traditional Owners.”

“The Mulga Rock area is a rare and significant environment and part of the Yellow Sandplain Priority Ecological Community. The planned mine threatens a number of rare and endangered species. Taking this unique and pristine desert ecosystem and turning it into a polluted, radioactive uranium mine is not a proposal that should ever be entertained” Ms Pepper concluded.

“The planned mine does not enjoy bi-partisan state political support, broad social license or favourable market conditions,” said ACF campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“Vimy Resources faces many hurdles and roadblocks. Today’s EPA recommendation is a long way from a green light for mining yellow cake at Mulga Rock.”

August 15, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Dr Stan Grant. From Reconciliation to Rights: Shaping a Bigger Australia

Stan Grant Wallace Wurth Lecture: From Reconciliation to Rights ~ UNSWTV, YouTube

Dr Stan Grant delivers the Wallace Wurth Lecture at UNSW Sydney,  a powerful and emotive speech entitled “From Reconciliation to Rights: Shaping a Bigger Australia.’

“The speech comes in the wake of damning allegations about the treatment of Indigenous childrenin the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in Australia’s Northern Territory.

The Australian Government immediately called a Royal Commission.

“Dr Grant, however, argues the need for a national truth and reconciliation commission  “a full reckoning of our Nation’s past that may set loose the chains of history that bind this country’s first and today most miserably impoverished people.”

“He also calls for a treaty with Indigenous Australians, similar to those in New Zealand, the United States.”

Important questions are posed for all Australians to consider including the need to look to the examples of New Zealand, the United States and Canada and negotiate a treaty with the Indigenous population.

“What a damning state of affairs,” he said, “to be the only Commonwealth nation not to enshrine the sovereign rights of its first peoples.”





August 15, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

In Western Australia Native title win for the Ngurra Kayanta people.

thumbs-upNative title win in WA’s remote desert  AAP on August 11, 2016,

 A native title claim for a 20,000sq km area in a remote part of the Great Sandy Desert in Western Australia has been won by the Ngurra Kayanta people.

They first applied for native title over the land, which straddles the Shire of East Pilbara and the Shire of Halls Creek, in December 2012.

Federal Court of Australia Justice Michael Barker said none of the claimants now lived permanently in the area but continued to adhere to traditional laws and customs by visiting and maintaining a physical association with the country, and passing on traditional songs, stories and knowledge of sites to children and grandchildren.

“The claimants have maintained a presence in the determination area since the acquisition of British sovereignty,” Justice Barker said. “In addition, evidence of the continuing physical or spiritual involvement of the claimants in the determination area is accepted to conclude that this connection has not been severed.

“Ultimately, the state is satisfied that the material presented is sufficient to evidence the maintenance of connection according to traditional laws and customs.”

August 13, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Native title claims over Lake Torrens area not extinguished, but were dismissed by Federal Court

SA native title claims dismissed,
 Valerina Changarathil, The Advertiser August 10, 2016 
THE Federal Court yesterday dismissed three overlapping native title claims near key exploration projects in the state’s mid-north, but the issue is far from resolved with some groups assessing their appeal options.

The claims by the Kokatha, Adnyamanthanha and Barngarla people were over the lands and waters of Lake Torrens — Australia’s second largest salt lake — which is in proximity to OZ Minerals’ proposed Carrapateena copper-gold project, Argonaut Resources’ and Aeris Resources’ jointly proposed Torrens iron-oxide, copper-gold project and BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam operations.

A native title application is a claim for legal recognition that a group hold rights and interests in an area of land and/or water according to their traditional laws and customs.

Justice J Mansfield yesterday said he was not “persuaded that a determination of native title in favour of any of the three applicants should be made in respect of any part of the claim area”.

“While the archaeological evidence in this matter supports Aboriginal activity and use on and around the western shore of Lake Torrens of considerable antiquity, I have not found the archaeological evidence in this matter persuasive of a particular conclusion directed in favour of one or other of the three applicants,” he said.

He was not satisfied the Kokatha people occupied or possessed the claim area according to their traditional laws and customs at sovereignty and while the ethno-historical records provided some support for the Adnyamathanha (Kuyani) and Barngarla peoples’ connections to part of the claim area, it was difficult to date it back to the time of sovereignty or establish a continual connection to the present time.

SA Native Title Services, a solicitor for the Kokatha people, said that while applications were dismissed, there was no finding that native title rights and interests did not exist or were extinguished……..

August 12, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, South Australia | Leave a comment