Aboriginal sovereignty to go to the Senate


Canberra, 1 February 2010 – The Aboriginal assertion of sovereignty is to be put to the Federal Parliament by the Greens Senator Rachel Siewert at the request of the New Way Summit convened here.

Senator Siewert made the pledge to about 120 Aboriginal delegates from across the continent.

Sovereignty was the main issue at the gathering, convened in the Australian National University by Michael Anderson.

The summit elected a task force to examine options like international and domestic sovereignty.

Paul Coe, former barrister, and an expert who has studied the issue for decades said a lot of explaining has to be done in the communities on what sovereignty could mean.

Representatives of the Gidthabal nation of northern NSW and southern Queensland won a lot of attention with sovereignty plans that have attracted international support.

Relying on research of British documents the Gidthabal affirm their sovereignty by complete rejection of British law in Australia. “Queen Elizabeth has no writ over our country,” said Mark McMurtrie.

Barbara Shaw, a member of the taskforce and campaigner for her people in Alice Springs town camps, told the summit that their conditions have worsened since Kevin Rudd’s apology. Barbara said, “Nothing is being done. All they want is the land for mining.”

She also expressed deep concern about more uranium mining and the future dumping of nuclear waste on a known fault line in her country.

Marianne Mackay, also a taskforce member who spoke on WA Deaths in Custody, said that her people argue that nothing has changed in the state since the death of a respected Elder from Laverton. Marianne also expressed grave concerns for the over representation of Aboriginal people in custody – 83%. She said that was totally unfair and change has to occur immediately.

The summit demanded the resignation Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin and for her to be replaced by an Aboriginal person selected by Aboriginal Peoples. Advice from Les Malezer, UN advocate, confirmed that this is possible and he added that the person selected needs to find a parliamentary seat within 45 days.

“Sovereignty will be the major issue of the second New Way Summit to be held in Sydney over the Easter weekend,” Michael Anderson said.

The Canberra summit has set a preliminary agenda for the taskforce to deal with:

– Deaths in Custody

– Over-policing of children and youth

– Institutional racism

– Review of child protection laws in consultation with the Aboriginal nations

– Sustainable Aboriginal economic development

– Respect for Aboriginal religion and spirituality

– Cultural tourism

– Ownership of all Aboriginal programming

Where requested the taskforce is to assist in convening state and regional meetings across the continent.

It is to publish the ‘New Way’ agenda through all media forms including the internet.

The taskforce is to develop an Aboriginal Charter of Rights and establish protocols for inter-nation relations.

It is also to establish joint working plans and relationships with external organisations, such as ANTaR, Oxfam and Amnesty International.

An issue that received a lot of attention was possible need for people to be enrolled as members of their nations.

Criticism of black people in important positions who block grassroots aspirations highlighted a need to establish who owns and controls the institutions that deliver Aboriginal services.

Contact: Michael Anderson 0427 292 492 ngurampaa@bigpond.com


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One Response to “Aboriginal sovereignty to go to the Senate”

  1. Rebekah Says:

    Good seeing a broad based agenda your meetings had, and that sovereignty is the real issue.

    I feel quite strong today a need to express what concerns me within the whole agenda, but need to qualify my contribution by saying that I have white skin, and was raised in the cultural mainstream, but have been slowly being brought back into real world culture in my dreaming starting at 1988. My concern is about the level at which all the former gaol inmates have lead their communities, within an erroneous comprehension of the nature of traditionally oriented initiatory experience.

    Since I began to assert my own indigenous/Aboriginal identity, as recent as 2002, I have had a sequence of relationships with men whom traditional people will call boys, whom have been in prison at one time or another. A few of these men are well known here in Brisbane where I have had to move to. (Am from Armidale nsw originally but living at canberra 20/41 years until around 2003, and so local Murris find it difficult to associate with me within my indigenous identity, because I had not long asserted my inner experience of my Aboriginality, before arriving here.) What concerns me most, is that the experience of gaol inmates, having more and more often been gaining the upper hand whilst in gaols, and claiming it is a black victory (that in gaols is true), is somewhat dissociated from the lives of all their families outside of gaols, but nobody is accounting well enough for the extent to which gaol inmates, are dreaming far into their futures and the futures of all of us.

    I made a submission to the recent national human rights consultation, that the treatment of gaol inmates, (which is causal to miscomprehension of real traditional initiatory experiences), is effectively preventing their ability, and their families, friends, and associates abilities (therefore everybody), from actively being obedient to legislation. Legislation cannot justify itself whilst ever the criminal justice system supports institutionalised methods of preventing obedience to legislature, and in that, the nation state is proven to be a worthless function. However, at the human rights consultation, my point is that it is a basic human rights violation to expect obedience to law, when social conditions demand disobedience of laws, often under threat of death, as evidenced in gaols.

    I provided to the consultation, much of my evidence about conditions in prisons, as it was disclosed to me. That evidence amounts to a clear picture, that every gaol inmate, is forced into sin, that is, effectively forced to break with the “true law”, as yolgnu say, of Aboriginal/indigenous custom. Of eleven men I know well, all were forced to: engage in racial hatred beyond the nature of their own character; commit acts of sodomy as well as having been raped in the most degrading ways imaginable; use drugs, including that amphetamines are in the gaol kitchens and all cooked meals, such that buying ganga or heroin is their only method of rest; accept such conditions within fear of being murdered, within fear promoting practises, which cause the opposite effect of traditional initiatory experiences, but were promoted as the same thing. That is, all the abovementioned behaviours, were imposed as the best way to minimise fear, when in fact such actions cause more fear than is normal. And so former gaol inmates have the false conviction that they are already adept at handling their fears, when in fact, they are always falling into acting out their fears and forcing everybody around them to act the same.

    Their recovery cannot happen without providence of enough financial recompense, but that providence, would need be exactingly managed within recovery programmes which are designed as methods of reintegrating the self with tradititional oriented ways. How can it happen, we all must ask, but all the while knowing that the gaol inmates have already been pulling in future dreams of such an outcome becoming real. Have they stolen their own future? Can it be remade?

    It is time for every Australian to begin to fear for their own families, within the context of us all being effected by gaol conditions. The men who live in the streets of Brisbane, have already begun to realise that the story is changing, and talk of “food fights” (in drug dealing contexts), and of money being “shrapnel”. But are gaol inmates who manage the social context of gaols, truly adept at managing? I think not, and am sure that police want us to believe in the black victory in prisons, only so as that, when the inevitable gang warfare that police stimulate, blows up in the faces of mainstream Australians, they can suppose that they’d get away with blaming it all on the black rule inside gaols. Don’t let them.

    That is all my message is. Do not let police be capable of blaming crime among white Australians, on black victories in gaols.

    thankyou for reading my message

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