Kim Bullimore, Melbourne
Thousands of Indigenous Australians and their supporters are expected to converge here on March 15, the first day of the Commonwealth Games. The protest, organised by the Black GST, will highlight the on-going racism and genocide against Indigenous peoples here and around the world.
Targan, one of the Black GST campaigners, told Green Left Weekly that the protest was gaining support from Aboriginal communities around Australia. Targan explained that GST — for genocide, sovereignty and treaty — were the main issues still to be resolved.
"It's about genocide, which has been ongoing since invasion. Its about sovereignty, getting some say about our land and how its used ... and Treaty gives us some recourse to law, the way the Maori people have the treaty of Wanganui", Targan said.
It did not make sense for Indigenous Australians or other Indigenous peoples in Commonwealth countries to celebrate the "Stolenwealth Games", said Targan, as "it is a virtually a celebration of Britain's colonial rule. "Everywhere Britain has gone it has raped, pillaged and plundered, and the Indigenous people of these countries have been made to suffer." Targan hopes that solidarity protests will be organised around the world on March 15.
Targan said that the Black GST campaign would not end at the Commonwealth Games because "it doesn't matter where the Indigenous people are, they are suffering" and he pointed to two nearby examples of Indigenous exploitation. "In Papua New Guinea, the waterways are being polluted by BHP Billiton, so much so, that people cannot even live two hundred kilometres down river". He also pointed to Australia's role in stealing East Timor's oil wealth.
The other reason the Black GST campaign must continue after the Commonwealth Games, Targan said, was because the Howard government has disenfranchised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by dissolving the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. "There is a vast wave of unrest throughout Indigenous Australia and we are hoping that the Black GST can fill that void", Targan concluded.
[For more information on the Black GST campaign go to <http://www.kooriweb.org/gst/>.]
From Green Left Weekly, January 25, 2006.
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