Tag Archives: politics

About Letters Patent re Sth Australia

The result of a long campaign by those who wished to establish a colony according to the principles of systematic colonisation, the South Australia Act of 1834 empowered the King to erect South Australia into one or more British Provinces, and to provide for its colonisation and government.  The preamble to the Act included a description of the lands on which such Provinces were to be erected as ‘waste and unoccupied Lands, which are supposed to be fit for the Purposes of Colonization’.

A period of intense negotiation followed between those planning to establish the Province of South Australia and the Colonial Office, which administered Britain’s colonies.  One of the topics under discussion was provisions for the Aboriginal inhabitants, particularly in relation to their proprietary rights to land, rights which those in the Colonial Office believed were beyond dispute. The Colonization Commissioners, seeking to establish the Province, disputed that such rights would be found to exist, believing that Aboriginal people did not ‘occupy’ the land in a way that would be recognised by British institutions.GRG2_64_0_1_1_img001

Negotiations between the Commissioners and the Colonial Office continued. Finally, when the Letters Patent establishing the Province were signed on 19 February, 1836, they included the clause:

Provided always, that nothing in these our letters patent contained shall affect or be construed to affect the rights of any Aboriginal Natives of the said Province to the actual occupation or enjoyment in their own Persons or in the Persons of their Descendants of any Lands therein now actually occupied or enjoyed by such Natives.

The first of the South Australian Company’s ships, the John Pirie, set sail for South Australia just three days later.

In 1838 the South Australia Act was amended, and wording conforming to (and referring to) the Letters Patent was inserted.

Colonisation of the new province of South Australia proceeded with little regard for the words of the Letters Patent relating to Aboriginal rights to land. In 2011, the Letters Patent are again the source of discussion and controversy as the significance and legal meaning of the document are debated.

Source: Bound For South Australia

 Also view…

The White Sheep of The Family?

original title: Warren Mundine: The white sheep of the family? by Dr Gary Foley

Warren Mundine’s new “bromance” with Tony Abbott has surprised some, but not Dr Gary Foley, who has watched Mundine steadily tread a path to the Right for years.

ImageTony Abbott and Warren Mundine: a “bromance” between “kindred spirits”?

It would seem at the present time that the former National President of the ALP, Mr Warren Mundine, has momentarily eclipsed the Cape York Crusader Noel Pearson as the Aboriginal Man of the Moment.
Whilst Mr Mundine may lack the intellectual firepower of Noel Pearson, he has nevertheless elbowed his way to the front of the pack with his dazzling late-life conversion to the cause of all things Tony Abbott. Mundine’s strategic realignment to become best buddies with Abbott at the beginning of the 2013 federal election campaign may have been a surprise to some, but only those who have not been taking notice of Mundine’s mundane comments on Aboriginal matters over the past few decades.
It is therefore instructive to recall Warren’s political trajectory over the long term if we are to begin to try and make sense of the political stance he has arrived at today. We must do this if we are to ascertain when Warren is driven by pure political opportunism alone, or whether there is some internal logic and rationale to his strange political path over the years. After all, here is a man who emerged from a respected Aboriginal family on the north coast of NSW; a family who collectively over many decades have been honourably involved in the struggle for justice for our people.
At his stage I should declare my interests and advise the reader that Warren is a distant relative of mine, and that this has tempered this article to the extent that I am treading cautiously in an attempt to not offend too many members of my extended family. At the same time I believe that it is important for Aboriginal people to subject Aboriginal leaders in positions of power and influence to a level of scrutiny that a biased and ignorant mainstream media often fails to, so readers need to be aware of the tightrope I walk as I write this article. Having stated that disclaimer, I would also point out that I have long referred to Warren as the “white sheep of our family” without seeming to upset too many relatives. Continue reading The White Sheep of The Family?

Yeh, What Do Aboriginals Want?

July 1, 2013, my response to this article “What do these blacks want? An education? Send them back to the bush where they belong.” @ The Stringer

…I got to the part where I feel the need to say something … we cannot exclude the role of the acculturated Aboriginals themselves who have all the trappings views and beliefs, aspirations and goals of capitalistic-competitiveness as of the average mr & ms citizen, same goals, same world-view, the assimilated, who play a vital role in the game of status quo, deriding and ignorant of the “ways” they are supposed to be “guardians” of, and are either willing or subconsciously colluding participants in the deconstruction of the essence of Aboriginal society and culture, its spirituality, its “spirit” the Tjukurrpa It-Self … nowhere in the current, contemporary “leadership” is the core of the culture itself “Aboriginality is Spirituality” being spoken of or “protected”

… the rhetoric and vision is not an Aboriginal world-view … “education” is now just preparation for living in the main, it is mainstream, Anglo-Australian values, USA-corporate values, eco/ego-centred … ask them, and see what comes out of their mouths … there can be no compromise between the 2 totally opposite paradigms, world-view and way of life… a spirit-centred culture and “Way” is not an “economic centred way” one is materialism, the physical, the other sees and experiences all life in a totally different manner, a “way” of existence in cooperation with the earth and “all” that is rapidly fading from living memory …

what we have now are the remnants, the bits & pieces, the ill, the corrupted, the dis-eased, and a few left amongst us who truly know and hold dear to their essence, what the majority have lost … a dispirited, de-spirited, and dis-eased body of people and descendants … rolling down the highway of beliefs that we are supposedly creating opportunity for all …

and, as an aside… as a child and as a teenager, I lived with those people in those camps you mention, and I will never forget, ever… how much my ancestors and that side of my family and identity have been belittled and bludgeoned into no choice except join the mob, the sheeple, or die in abject poverty, the poverty of spirit … the disease of the mind and body … let’s not exempt nor excuse or overlook the “saboteurs” within our own camps, the “trustees” of the Prison Warden, the re-presenters of mainstream modern ideology and beliefs amongst Aboriginal rank & file… as the Yanks keep saying, “our way of life” meaning “their way of life” or nothing …

Assim_sm

Cultural Respect, maybe

“The term ‘cultural respect’ refers to the recognition, protection and continued advancement of the inherent rights, cultures and traditions of Aboriginal people. Cultural respect is achieved when cultural differences are respected.”

Source: Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (2004): Cultural Respect Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health 2004-2009 p. 7

IMO: It’s a pity that many in the Aboriginal affairs arena, know the talk, but rarely, if at all put it into practise!

Govt to Shutdown Aboriginal Settlements

This is an earlier news story that I’ve rescued for the record. Much of this has already transpired since the time it was written:

Australia: Labor moves to shut down remote Aboriginal settlements

By Susan Allan, 27 June 2009

The federal and Northern Territory (NT) Labor governments last month unveiled a series of free-market measures that will deepen the poverty and suffering in indigenous communities.

Working Future [another economic driven ploy to disintegrate Aboriginal spiritual culture] announced by the NT government on May 20, seeks, under the auspices of the federal government’s NT intervention, to force the estimated 10,000 Aboriginal people living in some 580 remote “homeland” settlements into 20 special settlements or so-called “economic hubs”. The homeland communities have been defined as “non-viable”.

Echoing both the former Howard government, and the current Labor government, which has adopted Howard’s 2007 police-military intervention as its own, NT chief minister Paul Henderson claimed that his government would end “indigenous disadvantage” by creating “reservoirs of opportunity” in the 20 hub towns.

In reality, Working Future is aimed at clearing the way for mining, pastoral and tourism interests at the direct expense of Aboriginal [culture and way of life] communities. The policy flows directly from the Rudd government’s earlier decision to prioritise 26 indigenous communities across the country for new housing and infrastructure, marking a drive to shut down many settlements.

The homeland or “outstations” movement emerged in the 1970s when small groups of Aboriginal people began establishing settlements on traditional lands in an attempt to escape the social dysfunction, alcoholism and substance abuse prevalent in many camps on the fringes of larger towns. Recognising that this movement could be utilised to ease social tensions and isolate indigenous people from the working class, federal governments granted the settlements minimal funding for basic dwellings.

The NT government will now freeze funding for existing settlements at $36 million and axe grants to homelands not occupied for more than eight months of the year. Homeland residents requiring regular access to health, education and other basic social services will have little option but to leave [and not just their homes].

While the NT government claims it will provide transport to pre-school, primary and secondary schools in the hub towns, scores of remote homeland schools are expected to close. Students who live further away from the hubs will be sent to boarding schools or hostels. The already overcrowded and grossly under-resourced settlements defined as “hubs” will be funded by a miniscule $160 million grant over the next five years. This represents just over $1.5 million per year for each community, nowhere near enough to provide the social facilities required for the anticipated influx of people.

Henderson declared that the hubs would be successful only “if private businesses can get secure tenure on Aboriginal land” [another ploy and condition to over-ride custodial & traditional rights to land]. Private investors, he said, would be given security of land tenure and generous tax incentives. All of the hubs are located on traditional Aboriginal lands and government funding is conditional [economic blackmail, no less] on traditional owners and land councils signing long-term leases in favour of the territory government. The hubs will be run by business managers previously installed under the Howard government’s intervention.

Federal indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin [yeh right!] congratulated the NT government for driving “fundamental reform” and then announced that the Rudd government would compulsorily acquire 15 town camps on the fringes of the central Australian city of Alice Springs . Currently managed by Tangentyere Council, a local Aboriginal body, the camps are home to about 2,000 indigenous residents. The camps’ average home occupancy rate is 10 people.

Macklin ordered the acquisition because Tangentyere Council refused to sign over a 40-year lease to the government in exchange for federal funds for new houses, repair and maintenance of existing dwellings, road upgrades and some infrastructure. Decades of government under-funding have ensured that basic social services are largely non-existent in the town camps.

Labor’s acquisition of the camps sends a clear message to Aboriginal communities, including those in the “economic hubs”, that they will receive similar treatment unless they conform to government dictates. [is this another example of Reconciliation on the dominant cultures terms?] Macklin declared the acquisition was not temporary or under a 40-year lease, but “forever”.

Tangentyere rejected similar lease demands from the Howard government in 2006, when residents feared their rents would be raised beyond their capacity to pay and they could face eviction. These concerns increased in February this year when Macklin directed state and territory housing ministers not to spend federal funds on public housing in remote Aboriginal communities until “tenancy management reforms” were implemented.

Major mining, agribusiness and tourist corporations have long demanded unrestricted access to Aboriginal land, an end to communal ownership and a ready supply of cheap labour.

The move to disperse homeland settlements replicates proposals elaborated in 2007 by Helen Hughes from the Centre for Independent Studies, a right-wing free-market think tank. Hughes’s book Lands of Shame called for drastic cuts to Aboriginal social welfare and an end to all government funding of so-called unviable homelands.

Announcing Working Future last month, NT indigenous affairs minister Alison Anderson told the media the government could not “put infrastructure in every community” and previous attempts to “fill gaps with money” had “failed and will continue to fail”. Homeland residents would be taken “out of the welfare cycle” and would “have to get used to it”.

The fraud of the Rudd government’s 2008 parliamentary apology to Aboriginal people for past injustices could not be clearer. Just over a year after officially expressing regret for the removal of previous generations of indigenous children from their families, the Labor government and its NT counterpart are embarking on a program of herding entire communities off their traditional lands.

Working Future has encountered opposition from NT Aboriginal communities, legal rights organisations and medical academics. Many fear that dislocation from the remote homelands will produce more homelessness, petrol sniffing, alcoholism and other social problems.

The Laynhapuy Homelands Association, which manages outstations in Arnhem Land, denounced Working Future as another crime against Australia ’s indigenous population [Aboriginals will do, thanks]. Association official Waturr Gumana told ABC radio: “The stolen generations—this is happening again. People are going to be taken out of their homes and we know what they are doing. The government only wants the dollars from our land. And our kids, our people who will be taken back to the main communities … history is going to repeat itself.”

The Barkly Shire Council, which is directly responsible for maintaining 26 of the 89 small communities within its area, said it could not provide basic services to outstations with capped funding. The council’s chief executive officer Jeff Sowiak told the media: “The council’s belief is that the categorisation of some communities as outstations is just a means of denying people who live there access to basic levels of services, or a lesser standard of service.”

In the face of this anger, sections of the Aboriginal leadership have begun criticising Working Future, including ex-NT deputy chief minister Marion Scrymgour and former federal government commissioner Patrick Dodson, who both earlier participated in its drafting. Scrymgour was in charge of drawing up the plans and commissioned Dodson to hold consultations with homeland residents.

On June 4, Scrymgour resigned from the Labor Party in protest, ending the NT government’s one-seat majority. She told ABC television that the policy was “insulting” and that Labor had “lied to Aboriginal people”. Dodson told the media that Working Future was “not just brutal but a ‘die on the vine’ policy” aimed at “forcing people into the major towns against their wishes”.

The record shows, however, that Dodson and Scrymgour [so-called Aboriginal leaders! hmmm…] have no fundamental differences with Labor’s measures. Dodson has proposed that homelands with more than 100 residents should be designated as communities and serviced to the same level as other similar NT communities. This would still force the closure of many smaller settlements and merely perpetuate the existing under-funding for the remainder. While medical surveys suggest that homeland residents have better health results and lower mortality rates than those living in town camps and urban centres, social conditions remain desperately inadequate for all Aboriginal people.

… If the homeland settlements [and similar cultural enclaves] are finally shut down, this will constitute yet another chapter in the shameful history of dispossession and dispersal [and disease] of Australia ’s indigenous population [Aboriginals]—carried out to clear the land for capitalist [monetary] exploitation.

Source: World Socialist Web Site

Acknowledging Traditional Owners Sign of Respect

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda has rejected the idea that acknowledging traditional owners is tokenistic, saying it is an accepted mark of respect.

Responding to references by the Federal Opposition leader Tony Abbott, on the weekend that the practice was tokenistic and paternalistic, Commissioner Gooda said such acknowledgements were a statement of fact and critical to the nation’s ongoing reconciliation process.

“The High Court of Australia in the Mabo decision recognised the fact that Australia was occupied when the British came here and that the land (and the seas) continued to be cared for, occupied, utilised and identified as the land of different tribal groups, operating in accordance with their customary laws and traditions,” Commissioner Gooda said.

“It was more than 200 years before the courts finally recognised this fact in 1992 and it, along with the National Apology to the Stolen Generations, has steered us along the reconciliation path that we are still travelling on.

“Acknowledging Traditional Owners is a contemporary and practical way of enshrining the High Court decision in Mabo,” Commissioner Gooda said. “As a nation, we have now moved beyond debating what is a self-evident truth about our history. Acknowledging Traditional Owners is a matter of respect,” Commissioner Gooda said.

Media contact: Louise McDermott on 0419 258 597 02 9284 9851

Australian Human Rights Commission, Media Release, 15 March 2010

Source: Australian Human Rights Commission, Media Release