New Way Summit delegates unanimously reject government sponsored Rep body

Canberra, 31 January 2010 –The New Way Summit of 150 Aboriginal people has unanimously opposed the proposed Rudd government sponsored national Aboriginal representative body to be known as ‘The First Nations Congress’ being organised by the former Human Rights Commissioner, Tom Calma.

The summit heard angry comment that it would be just a perpetuation of white government control of Aboriginal lives.

The summit heard that this so-called representative body will have the power to deny Aboriginal people the right to determine their leaders.

There was strong objection to a so-called ‘Ethics Council’ having been hand-picked and putting candidates through highly stringent character checks that do not apply to non-Aboriginal politicians.

The summit heard much anger expressed at elitist Aboriginals in important government jobs blocking Aboriginal aspirations and supporting assimilationist policies.

Michael Anderson, the convenor of the summit said, “The participants, who came from across the continent, urged in the strongest way that the Aboriginal collaborators and traitors be named and shamed through the internet for all to see and this will be done through a descriptive biography.” This was loudly acclaimed.

In a Skype linkup to the conference room from the Northern Territory, Richard Downs, who led the Ampilatwatja walk-off away from the controls of the NT intervention, strongly backed the proposal. He said that these people have done irreparable harm to Aboriginal Peoples across this country and must be cut down in their tracks.

Lez Malezer, UN advocate, informed the summit that Australia is in breach of every UN human rights covenant and must be held accountable. Many delegates were surprised at how many rights international law recognises.

The conference participants established a taskforce to take this New Way radical movement forward on behalf of the grassroots communities.

One of its first major tasks is to examine and educate the nations about sovereignty options.

Contact: Michael Anderson 0427 292 492 Ph: 02 6829 6355

6 Responses to “New Way Summit delegates unanimously reject government sponsored Rep body”

  1. just curious Says:

    I am both surprised and disappointed that there is hardly any media coverage. I have checked the websites of the NIT, SMH, ABC, and Australian (just to take a few) but there is nothing. How come?
    Is there going to be a summary of the summit available on the internet?

  2. Sounds like 150 self-selected people, out of a possible 500,000 or so? Doesn’t seem like a very ‘representative’ or democratic approach to me. If they were ‘delegates’, by what open and accountable processes were they chosen by their communities?

    Of course, small groups or networks of likeminded people have the right to meet and discuss issues and make decisions and act on them; but they cannot be expected to be taken too seriously unless they demonstrate their openness, democratic processes and accountability. Public shaming can cut two ways in this type of situation. Are we looking at a character assassination approach occurring against various Aboriginal leaders?

    • Hi

      I attended the summit as a black media representative, for the SBS Aboriginal Program. The only media there was us and the Koori Mail.

      We will have forthcoming podcasts of individual interviews online within a couple of days.

      To my knowledge, none of these people were “handpicked”. They are simply the ones who made the time, and made the trip to Canberra to attend. They were not “chosen” by government or any organisation. They were grassroots people with views, ideas and a desire to get together to start working from the ground up rather than top down approach. (Which as we know has been spectacularly devastating).

      So how representative then are the 37 “Indigenous leaders” (I quote Minister Macklin) who then had meetings in Canberra last Wednesday and Thursday about communities? These people are employed by the Commonwealth and I make absolutely no statements about them as individuals – but no-one is talking about lack of representation with these people.

      If you haven’t seen the information, visit Minister Macklin’s website for the information.

  3. […] New Way Summit delegates unanimously reject government sponsored Rep body…31 Jan 10: “The New Way Summit of 150 Aboriginal people has unanimously opposed the proposed […]

  4. Thanks for the tip Michelle. I hadn’t heard abou Jenny Macklin’s initiative, or her meeting with the 37 IEOs. had a look at her press release ( see it at ), and was impressed that at least she is endeavouring to put some resources into funding Indigenous leadership skills through a number of programs.

    The 37 people mentioned in her PR are not characterised as “indigenous leaders”, but as public servants (“Indigenous engagement officers”) who provide guidance and advice to the government, which is appropriate for public servants, and who are undertaking courses in leadership development. I guess the proof will be in the puddings.

    Macklin says that “The Australian Government has begun an intensive effort to promote Indigenous leadership as part of its commitment to forge a new relationship, based on mutual trust and respect, with Indigenous Australians.”

    This is not necessarily a bad thing, if it is done competently and in a reasonably objective way.

    Macklin outlines a number of other similar projects, and points out that “Across the country, a new wave of Indigenous leadership is emerging, keen to take responsibility for the future of their communities and foster the personal responsibility that is at the heart of family life and the foundation of strong communities.”

    This confirms my observations, and I imagine this new wave of emerging leaders would include many of the people who were at the New Way Summit conference with you.

    The fact that the government is prepared to assist in this process by resourcing leadership skills development for hundreds of these people is a welcome sign.

    Personally, I don’t think that many of these people are going to be duped into becoming government lackeys as a result – more likely the opposite will prove to be true, and they will wind up being constructive critics and campaigners for justice and better programs.

  5. […] WGAR: New Way Summit delegates unanimously reject government sponsored Rep body (31 Jan 10)… […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: