Indigenous rights

Sydney rally condemns Aboriginal deaths in custody

Jim McIlroy

Sydney

The July 19 anniversary of the death in custody of Aboriginal woman Rebecca Maher was marked by a march from Hyde Park to Parliament House. The march also protested the recent death of Indigenous man Eric Whittaker, a prisoner in Parklea Prison. The action was organised by the families and the Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA).

The rally condemned the continuing killing of Aboriginal people in police and prison custody, with no one ever convicted of these crimes.

For Raymond “Bubbly” Weatherall, a Gamilaraay man from the Gunu Gunu and Biridja clans, the outcomes of the Uluru meeting at the end of May have not changed his mind about the tokenism of Constitutional Recognition.

“Throughout the campaign, as well as at the Uluru meeting, no grassroots voices had really been listened to or given proper weight in the discussion”, he told Green Left Weekly.

“The Uluru statement was just another government voice through the mouths of Black people — Megan Davis, Pat Anderson and Noel Pearson.”

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.”

Christians, Jews, Baha'is, Buddhists, Hare Krishnas and Quakers were among the religious groups represented at multi-faith gathering for climate action in Brisbane on June 27.

Anglican Dean Peter Catt spoke first arguing that Earth is part of God's creation and needs to be protected for its own sake, not simply for utilitarian reasons. This opened up a theme developed by other speakers about religious motivations for taking environmental action.

The Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Family Council (W&J) is involved in a remarkable struggle to assert their Indigenous rights in opposition to the proposed Adani Carmichael coalmine.

Despite the company’s board-level decision to proceed, the mine has not cleared all legal hurdles.

As the celebrations marking 25 years of the Mabo decision died down, the Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Bill 2017 quietly passed in the Senate on June 14, with the only opposition coming from the Greens.

The amending legislation effectively negates the Federal Court ruling of February 2 that all native title claimants had to sign off on an indigenous land use agreement (ILUA) for it to be registered.

Jose Maria Lemus, president of the Tibu Community Board in Colombia’s North of Santander state, has been killed, the Peoples’ Congress reported June 14.

His murder adds to the growing list of recently assassinated social, Indigenous and human rights activists in the South American country.

The Northern Territory government issued a declaration on May 30 under the Petroleum Act reserving the entire Watarrka (Kings Canyon) National Park from the grant of a mineral and petroleum exploration permit or license.

The Traditional Owners, the Watarrka Park Land Trust, had been campaigning for such a declaration since they were notified of a proposed grant of two Exploration Permit Applications over the entire park in 2012.

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.

The Adani company claims that a final decision to invest in the Carmichael coal mine has been made. However, campaigners have dismissed this announcement as a stunt and vowed the mine will never come into production.

Blair Palese of 350 Australia wrote to supporters on June 6: "We want to tell [Adani] that we are more committed than ever to STOP this project and ensure that sanity prevails by making sure this climate bomb never sees the light of day."

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