treaty

The quest for Aboriginal sovereignty challenges non-Indigenous Australia to let go of any perceived right to define what sovereignty is, writes Peter Griffin.

Prominent Aboriginal elder Wayne Wharton is making a tilt for the senate in Queensland this election, campaigning on issues such as justice for Aboriginal people, justice reinvestment and an improved aged care system.

Wharton told Green Left Weekly: “The systems that we’ve had for the last 230 years is broken, they’re useless.”

These include the legal system which, he says, is based on a “feudal system of punishment” instead of rehabilitation, and the two-party system, in which the big parties have become dominated by “top-end-of-town corruption”.

Gunnai-Gunditjmara woman Lidia Thorpe is a life-long Indigenous activist who among other things helped lead the successful campaign to save Nowa Nowa Gorge in East Gippsland. In the lead up to Invasion Day, Thorpe spoke with 3CR’s Green Left Radio presenter Jacob Andrewartha.

Sam Watson, a leading Murri activist from Brisbane, has been involved in Aboriginal rights struggles since the 1960s.

He is a prominent author, playwright and filmmaker, and is the Aboriginal affairs spokesperson for Socialist Alliance. A Birri Gubba man, he was previously an academic at the University of Queensland, and received honours for his 1990 novel The Kadaitchi Sung and acclaim for his 1995 film Black Man Down.

Watson spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Jim McIlroy about the issues confronting Aboriginal people.

Moreland City Council took a big step forward on September 13 when it voted to drop all references to January 26 as Australia Day out of respect for Aboriginal people. But it stopped short of cancelling its official Australia Day citizenship ceremony.

Thanks to a passing reference in this column only a week ago about statues and other monuments featuring colonial "founding fathers" that participated in massacres of Aboriginal people and other wrongs, I got lumped into Andrew Bolt's collection of "statue haters".

Others in the corporate media suggested that even having the discussion was like Nazi book burning. Right. And we're the ones disrespecting history!

The descendants of Gurindji workers who participated in the historic walk-off at Wave Hill Station in the Northern Territory have used its 51st anniversary celebration to endorse the Uluru Statement from the Heart and call for a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous voice in parliament.

The following is a statement issued by participants of the StandUp2017 conference that concluded with a rally in Mbantua (Alice Springs) on June 26.

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Rosalie Kunoth Monks: “You better believe it, when the Intervention first hit in 2007 community councils were decimated.”

Matthew Ryan: “Trying to get the government to listen to us, is like a brick wall.”

As we celebrate the courage and the achievements of Eddie Koiki Mabo we all walk in his determined footsteps in our hope for a brighter future. The Mabo family asked me to paint you a picture of how Australia can offer an example to the world, if we achieve what that passionate man dreamed of, if we do it with reason and common sense, and if we show the care and respect that will create here in the 21st Century a Great Society like none the world has ever seen.

This statement was posted on the National Tertiary Education Union website on May 30. The author, Adam Frogley is NTEU National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Coordinator and a Taungurung man from the Kulin Nations.

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A packed audience listened as young Aboriginal women spoke about the rise of the Aboriginal rights movement and the struggle for Treaty at the Redfern Community Centre on March 22. Chaired by Jeff McMullen, the discussion was held as the federal government organises an Indigenous-led Referendum Council meeting to be held in Uluru in May.

Lynda-June Coe from Fighting in Solidarity Toward Treaties (FISTT) opened the forum by saying Treaty was the way forward and land rights were key.

Last week the ABC broadcast Recognition: Yes or No?, a program following the joint travels of federal Labor MP Linda Burney and conservative commentator Andrew Bolt as they debate whether Indigenous peoples should be “recognised” in Australia’s Constitution.

Viewers are told at the outset that they will be asked to vote in a referendum on constitutional reform. The program claims this referendum “could unite or divide our nation” and asks: “How will you vote?”

A meeting of 500 First Nations representatives voted on February 3 to reject Constitutional recognition and to begin talks on self-determination and a treaty with the Victorian government. The proposed treaty would be a legal document covering Aboriginal affairs and services and addressing past injustices. It would be the first such agreement in Australia and follows similar arrangements with First Peoples in Canada, the US and New Zealand. Dja Dja Warrung elder Gary Murray said the national debate around Constitutional recognition was just "a distraction".
The Freedom Movement, which was born at the Freedom Summit at the Old Telegraph outside of Mparntwe (Alice Springs) last November, will gather once more from September 11 to 13. Members of tribal nations, including Arrente leader Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, will be present. Narungga Elder Tauto Sansbury said: “We need to show a united front on this important issue of sovereignty in our country, which has been railroaded by the Recognition campaign, a diversion from the real issues, and will not deliver for all traditional owners.”
More than 150 people filled the Redfern Community Centre on March 20 to discuss a treaty for Australia’s first people. Organised by Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney (STICS), the event was hosted by veteran journalist Jeff McMullen and televised by National Indigenous TV. As coverage of female Aboriginal voices are rare among mainstream discourses, their retelling of their pasts and hopes for the future captivated the room.
Tasmanian Aboriginal activist Michael Mansell said he was grateful for the thoughts behind his Australia Day award nomination but that he “would be a hypocrite to accept it”. Mansell has been outspoken about the offensiveness of Australia’s national day celebrating the invasion and dispossession of Australia’s Aboriginal people. He has participated in Invasion Day rallies held by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre for many years.
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