“We are from the Streets!”

clip-image004-thumb.jpg“We are from the Streets!”—  Sam Watson.

On Anna Bligh’s website it says that  516 Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islanders live in South Brisbane (see http://www.ecq.qld.gov.au/elections/state/state2006/South%20Brisbane/Profile.pdf from 2001 Census).

I doubt that these figures are accurate but they are the best data I could come up with. I have written to the electoral office to find out why more accurate information is not available.

If Anna Bligh does not even know how many Murris and Torres Stait islanders live in South Brisbane how can she know how to target their needs?

The 2006 census states that 297 aboriginal/torres strait islanders lived in the 4101 postcode (roughly the South Brisbane electorate). If these figures are correct what happened to the other 200 people? Were they driven out of the area? If so why? My guess is that they were forced out by rising rents, high rise flats, smaller houses being built that were not suitable for big families. One thing though, I see just as many Murries on the streets of West End that I used to see in the 1970s, actually I probably see more Murris than in the 1970s.

Workers BushTelegraph encourages all those people and their supporters to vote for Sam Watson for South Brisbane in the coming state election.

Anna Bligh has not said a single word about Human Rights of indigenous people and has refused to pay stolen wages, not a single word has come from her lips about Mulrunji’s death in the Palm Island watchouse and the jailing of community leader, Lex Wotton.

The following speech tells us what Sam stands for (be patient it takes a little time to load).



The polling booths are shown at http://www.ecq.qld.gov.au/elections/state/state2006/South%20Brisbane/districtProfile.html

The Aboriginal Rights Coalition has put out a leaflet and will run a stall at the West End State School from 9am on election day.

The stall will run from 9am til about 2-3pm just outside the entrance to the polling booth at West End State School, Horan St off Vulture St, West End.

Don’t forget the Lex Wotton fundraiser gig tomorrow night from 6.30pm at Blackstar Coffee too – 44 Thomas Street West End (Entry by donation, food available, alcohol free event).


Vote early and Vote often!

38 thoughts on ““We are from the Streets!”

  1. The idea of West End as a thriving Aboriginal community is just a white trendy illusion. White people like to think that there is a strong Aboriginal community but the truth is it has been smashed and driven out of West End. All the Aboriginal organisations in the area have either been de-funded or mainstreamed. Even the Aboriginal hostels now have a significant percentage of white residents.

    I suggest that the difference between Bligh’s numbers and the census is the number of itinerant Murris living on the streets, most of whom are refugees from communities where grog restrictions have been imposed. However, since the smashing of the Kurilpa point homeless camp last year even the number of itinerant Murries has reduced and I would question Bligh’s numbers as being too high.

    You (Ian) did not publish the following that I posted on the St. Mary’s thread but I hope you will find it relevant to this topic……….

    [Editor’s Note: John, this claim of censorship is incorrect see http://bushtelegraph.wordpress.com/2009/02/18/rome-must-go-%E2%80%93-st-mary%E2%80%99s-stays/#comment-6339. Quite the opposite. I wonder if you listened to the recording of Sam’s speech above and what comment you have regarding it.]

    In 2005 the Howard federal government abolished ATSIC following a gradual de-funding and winding down process over previous years. . Two clear new policy frameworks appeared in the post-ATSIC period – 1/ The mainstreaming of Aboriginal services and 2/ An obsessive and exaggerated focus of Aboriginal family violence. These two policies became the basis of the much condemned Northern Territory intervention in 2006, however since 2005 they have been the basis of state and federal programs delivering services to Aboriginal marginalised and at-risk people in South Brisbane.

    Prior to 2005 the Musgrave Park Aboriginal Corporation provided support to marginalised and at-risk Aboriginal people in South Brisbane including hostels, medical services, meals, clothes, advocacy and a range of other services and programs. The Corporation was made up of, and managed by, Aboriginal people who identify with Musgrave Park which, at the time, was the centre of local Aboriginal life. The Musgrave Park people perceived themselves as custodians of the Park. The customary law process of eldership, womens business and mens business governed life at the park and was the front line of defense against anti social and dangerous activities in the park. The people who congregated daily in the park acted as an advice and referral centre to Aboriginal people from all over Australia who visited Musgrave Park to track down relatives, get the gossip of what was happening in the Aboriginal community and, if they needed it, to be refered to the support services of the Musgrave Park Aboriginal Corporation.

    In 2005 the Musgrave Park Aboriginal Corporation had all its funding withdrawn. The Hope St. Drop in centre was closed down and the hostels formerly managed by the corporation were handed over to Murri Watch to manage. The hostels now managed by Murri Watch, the Murri Watch diversionary centre in Woolloongabba and hostels managed by the national organisation Aboriginal Hostels Ltd. were forced to open their doors to all people, not just Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as had been the case previously, in order to receive further funding from state and federal departments.

    The money that had previously gone to the Musgrave Park corporation to run programs and employ staff was divided up in an ad hoc fasion amongst a range of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal services including Micah, West End Community house, St. Lukes nursing service, Kummara Indigenous Family Care and Murri Watch.

    Funding that had previously been spent on services and programs specifically for homeless people were transferred to programs tackling Aboriginal family violence.

    Money that had previously been spent providing meals at the Hope St. drop in centre was diverted to supplying sandwiches and poor quality food to parks.

    The St. Luke’s nursing service that used to run a clinic at Hope St. was moved to the public toilet in Boundary St.

    In 2006 all services dealing with homelessness in Brisbane came under the coordination of Micah by way of the Brisbane Homeless Service Centre (BHSC), the formalisation of the Southside Homelessness Action Network that had been formed in 2004.

    The transition from the self determination and community development model of the Musgrave Park Corporation to a mainstreamed, centralised welfare model was completed and entrenched in the Micah BHSC. The political control and management of services was transferred from Aboriginal elders to the administrators of welfare bureaucracies. The sole determinant of program policy had become government funding guidelines rather than local Aboriginal peoples own perceptions of their own needs.

    1. Paul Keating: The Redfern Statement says:

      No one got a greater shock than the author of this speech, Don Watson, when he turned on the radio to hear Keating read this speech. Or so Don Watson said one night at the Irish Club in Brisbane at the launch of his ‘American Journeys’. Keating spoke what he had written word for word, and Don Watson said that he put everything he could into it.

      The speech, initially booed but then applauded by the crowd at Redfern, contains nice sentiments but Native Title, which Keating legislated after the speech, became yet another means of extinguishment of aboriginal land rights. If you don’t believe me, just ask Patrick Dodson.

      Here is the speech —


      It is time that Anna Bligh made a Musgrave Park Statement along the lines of Keating’s Redfern speech, but it will not happen.

      Who have the Labor Party got in Queensland who could write it and address what needs to be said and what has to be done?

      What is the point anyway, Bligh will be out on her ear soon. Like many beofre her, she is a lame duck. There will be no land rights through Australian parliaments.

      It is best to stay outside the tent.

      ATSIC, what did that achieve.

      Once again why join these false gods, these merry pranksters of our rights!

      Ian Curr
      March 2009

  2. Ian,

    I posted another comment on the St. Mary’s thread which did not appear, it was a “nested” response to one of your comments and included the above excerpt from a paper I am writing.

    [Editors Note: Sorry, John, I don’t know what happened to the missing comment, I checked, there are no comments awaiting approval in the thread referred to above. The Aboriginal Rights Coalition has played only a minor but important role in the issues that you raise below and elsewhere on this site. By far the overwhelming organisation has come from Murris and Torres Strait islanders that you fail to mention. On invasion day it was the representatives from Mona Mona who took up the issue of state government intervention, it was murris from Cherbourg, together with long time activists like Coco Wharton and Lionel Fogarty who organised and brought forward young murris into the struggle, proud young murris at that.

    ANTaR and the Aboriginal Rights Coalition are there in a supporting role only. Individuals from those groups have done a lot and that should be acknowledged but the leadership has always been in hands of aboriginal people. No one who has attended public rallies and meetings could deny that. I have just finished a compilation of 6 CD’s of rallies and marches in the past couple of years and the overwhelming majority of speakers, leaders of chants, security for the marches, dancers, musicians, chairpersons and community event organisers are murris. To deny that shows a real lack of understanding and balance.

    I hope the paper that you are writing focuses on what the central organisational issues are and does not carp at the margins about groups that come and go.

    You may be able to listen to Sam Watson’s full speech at Human Rights Rally 13 December 2009 . Also I draw your attention to Mark Gillespie’s response in the discussion there. You have overestimated the input of the Socialist Alliance in these matters. For example they play only a minor (but important) role in the Aboriginal Rights Coalition& Sam’s election campaign. As you know, they play no role at all in AnTar ]

    For some reason I am only able to listen to half of Sam’s speech so I cannot comment on it, except to say that he is wrong in refering to the Cape York trial as an extention of the N.T. intervention into Qld. As I have mentioned previously, the trial was the initiative of Cape York Murries and has a mandate from the 4 communities by way of council elections held before it was implemented.

    I am astounded that Socialist Alliance can campaign against what the Cape communities want.

    Bligh is indeed imposing the Cape York model onto other communities against their will, which got no mention in Sam’s speech on the bit I could listen to.

    Socialist Alliance election propaganda has to date focused on 2 Aboriginal issues, stolen wages and Lex Wotten, the two issues that have been driven by non-Aboriginal organisations (A.R.C. and ANTAR). These are honourable issues but the Aboriginal organisations have not been active on these issues. What they have been active on is resisting the grog laws, resisting the removal of housing from Aboriginal council authority,resisting the removal of control of alcohol supply from Aboriginal council authority and resisting the mainstreaming of Aboriginal services.

    While Socialist Alliance are protesting against the N.T. intervention and the will of the 4 Cape York communities they have nothing to say about the real issues of state policy in Queensland. While they protest against the N.T. intervention they have nothing to say about the South Brisbane intervention mentioned in my previous comment.

    So, while S.A. are campaigning on issues quite seperate from the agenda of Aboriginal Queensland, they have marginalised Aboriginal issues in the public perception, reducing the Aboriginal struggle to the level of S.A.’s unpopularity and sloganism.

    S.A. is not a registered party in Qld. so Sam’s name will be on the ballot paper as an independent, so he might get a personal vote greater than what S.A. has achieved in elections to date, however his running on a S.A. platform has effectively covered up the real Aboriginal agendas of South Brisbane and Queensland.

    S.A.’s local propaganda has emphasised Sam’s role in defending St. Mary’s, which has nothing at all to do with the state government. St. Mary’s and Micah however are the primary agency for the assimilationist and interventionist policies in the electorate. The S.A. campaign has not only misrepresented Aboriginal agendas it has provided a legitimacy to the enemy itself.

    The land rights movement has been colonised.

  3. Stand up for Aboriginal Rights in QLD says:

    Pre-Election Action– Stand up for Aboriginal Rights in QLD-

    Saturday March 14th
    LNP Headquarters
    37 Merivale St, West End

    Then March to Anna Bligh’s office on Vulture St West End

    End the Interventions- No Eviction of Mona Mona,
    Stop the Welfare trials
    Stop Black Deaths in Custody– Free Lex Wotton
    Repeal Racist Move On Laws

    We will be delivering statements to both Anna Bligh and the LNP on the day regarding these current Aboriginal issues in QLD which neither party has addressed.

    For more info call Rob 0424 265 730.

  4. Why is the Cape York trial a focus of this campaign? Don’t S.A. believe in self determination? Do they think the Cape elders are ignorant and incompetent, and S.A. knows better than they what is best for Cape York Murries?

    Is the protest this Saturday really calling on Bligh to intervene and overturn what the communities themselves have asked for?

    Why has the eviction of Murries from Musgrave Park not been mentioned in a South Brisbane campaign?

    Helen Abrahams says she has taken the opinion of one Aboriginal family who thinks drinkers in the park give Murries a bad name so they should be discouraged from congregating there. This is why the toilets have been closed for the last 3-4 years. Do S.A. support the eviction of Murries from the park? If not, why are they silent on the matter?

    Meanwhile, every community in Queensland is opposing the grog laws but there is no mention of the grog laws in any of this, Why? Do the Brisbane radicals support the grog laws?

    Today’s news –
    “Cherbourg withdraws community police as alcohol bans begin”

    The grog laws are the greatest single cause of Aboriginal homelessness and the increased burden on previously inadequate support services in South Brisbane at present – but no mention of it.

    Kowanyama, Yarrabah, Aurukun, Palm Island, Cherbourg, Hopevale and Woorabinda councils have all issued media statement over the past year opposing the grog laws and the disempowerment of community councils. Why has this not been supported or even mentioned by the Brisbane campaigns?

    The state government has taken responsibility for housing off the councils and all are resisting this. Why is this not mentioned?

    Why is land rights and sovereignty not mentioned?

    The real Aboriginal struggle in Queensland has been by-passed and replaced with an ad hoc bunch of slogans constructed within the white leftist or liberal template. This is not Aboriginal leadership, it is tokenism.

    The move on laws are not racist (but they are totalitarian), they are being used against a broad range of people including famous white footballers. What is racist is that Murries have been kicked out of Musgrave Park and Kurilpa point and have nowhere else to congregate but in the hotspot of boundary St. where they are repeatedly arrested for just being there.

    1. Workers BushTelegraph says:


      I invite you to the Lizard this Saturday, 14 March 2009, at 12:30pm to come and put your point of view. There will be a public speak out there, organised by the Aboriginal Rights Coalition.

      For those that don’t know, the lizard is on the corner of Russell St and Boundary Rd in West End opposite the public toilets and the Murri radio stand.

      Ian Curr

      1. Hello Ian,

        I may speak on Saturday, see what happens. I liked the idea a couple of hours ago but on consideration I do not think soapboxing on a street corner is the best way to discuss these issues. It is just more shallow sloganeering.

        One week before the election is too late for S.A. to try and be relevant to local politics, even if anyone did see merit in what I have to say.

      2. Chloe Emerson says:

        Aboriginal Rights Coalition media release Friday March 13, 4pm **
        Aboriginal Rights Coalition demands election attention on Indigenous issues

        Concerned citizens will be gathering at the lizard statue meeting place in West End at 12:30pm on Saturday March 14th to bring attention to the Indigenous issues that the two major parties have decided to ignore in the lead up to the state election.

        Indigenous people in Queensland live with racist government policies every day. This is both a reason for their fundamental disadvantage, and should be an issue for every Australian who believes that the democratic system should provide fairness and justice.

        During election, the major parties should be facing these issues because they are a fundamental challenge to the social contract that keeps them in power. How can people believe in a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work when there are still Indigenous people waiting to be paid for work that they did decades ago? How can they trust the police when countless numbers of Indigenous brothers and sisters have died in police custody? How can they believe that the court system will deliver justice, when these deaths have so often gone unpunished, such as remains the case with Mulrunji of Palm Island? Why should anyone move on at a police officer’s whim when the police officer is enforcing white law on land that was never ceded?

        Recent reports of the Labor’s party’s promise not to evict the residents of Mona Mona if they are re-elected bring hope. However, the promises that the parties make today need to turn into action tomorrow, as has so often not been the case in Mona Mona and around the state.

        This Saturday concerned citizens will be asking the major parties to acknowledge Indigenous issues in the lead-up to the state election and to take action on these issues or risk losing relevance to their constituencies. A statement of these issues will be given to the Brisbane headquarters of both the Labor party and the LNP.

        For further information please contact Lauren Mellor on 0413 534 125.

  5. Labor Politics, North & South says:

    In Qld, a state with the first elected woman premier, the government does not have a women’s honour roll but does acknowledge women in hard hats.

    Victoria won’t elect a woman as premier — Joan Kirner (sic); but the Victorian Labor government does acknowledge women with an honour roll.

    A difference between Labor politics as practiced North and South?

  6. Sam Watson at Writers Festival protest says:

    From this morning’s Courier Mail 10 September 2009 in the entertainment section (page 45):

    Protest at writers fest
    Two prominent but philosophically opposed indigenous leaders made their mark on last night’s Brisbane Writers Festival opening.
    Noel Pearson was due to address festival-goers inside the State Library at South Bank.
    Meanwhile, more radical West End activist Sam Watson led a throng of protesters who gathered outside to voice their disapproval of what they allege is Pearson’s tacit approval of the Federal Government’s intervention in the Northern Territory.

    1. Divide and conquer!

      The sectarian neo-trots did it to the left and now they are doing it to the Murries.

      Pearson did not contribute to the NT intervention. He spoke out against it from day one because it was done the wrong way. The Cape York plan looks nothing like the NT intervention.

      Howard and Brough certainly quoted one-liners from Pearson often enough and tried to use him to justify the intervention, but to use this as a reason to demonise Peason is just cheap dishonest shit stirring.

      In Queensland, on a range of issues the Cape York communities are the only power base that has been capable of taking on the state government. Everywhere else including Brisbane – the stronghold of these radical protests, Aboriginal will and organisation has been crushed into the ground. Now the marginalised ideological sects from Brisbane are trying to undermine the strongest Aboriginal power base in the state.

      Who is paying these people to do this?

      1. It seems the Wilderness society have also begun a misinformation and demonisation campaign.

        Pearson has challenged the Wild Rivers legislation because it allows multinational mining operations but does not allow Aboriginal development. He has also challenged the legislation because it cuts traditional owners out of the decision making process about their land. However the Wilderness society have caracatured Pearson’s critiqye as being that the legislation stops hunting and fishing rights. Then they produce a Queensland government document showing that hunting and fishing is allowed and for some reason this is supposed to discredit Pearson.

        The native title legislation is an instrument for extinguishing land rights and reduces Aboriginal rights and interests to a matter of hunting and gathering, The wilderness society seems to have fully embraced this 18th century myth of the savage in its understanding of Aboriginal people’s relation to land, but it has nothing to do with the principles of land rights and self determination that Aboriginal people have been demanding for 200 years.

        The wilderness society and Qld government’s notion of Aboriginal economic development is park rangers which Pearson accurately describes as green welfare. Aboriginal people should be in park management at the decision making level and not just the shit kickers at the bottom of the hierarchy.

        But beyond that, anyone with the slightest understanding of political economy will realise the importance of an independent economic base for Aboriginal development which is simply not provided for in government ranger jobs any more than the present CDEP has done.

        At a time when Queensland is opening the doors at an unprecedented level to multinational extraction compainies it is very curious that the neo-trots and the greenies have at the same time sided with the Queensland government against the only voice and power base capable of frustrating the interests of the multinational extraction agenda.

        It has been clear for decades that the wilderness society is nothing more than a propaganda wing for the ALP. It is sad that the so-called radical left has become the same.

      2. And calling for censorship, especially of Aboriginal writers, is a pretty shitty thing to do too.

        Sam Watson speaking of Pearson’s book –

        “This is a work that is slanted against the genuine struggle of Aboriginal people, which panders to the extremist, racist elements within white Australia. It is a work that should not be presented to the Brisbane Writers’ Festival.”

        1. 'They come not to bury Ceasar but to praise him'...(sic) says:


          How many people will stand up for the weakened, hapless people who march in the streets?

          How many aboriginal people have turned away from their supporters, black and white, who adhere to that political line you can trace all the way back to the Gurindji strikers at Wave Hill?

          Sure, the Pearson’s and the Langton’s have turned away and joined the Murdoch’s and the Howard’s. Do we understand why? Is it to gain some advantage for their people?

          Noel Pearson’s brother, Gerhardt Pearson, CEO of Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation, wants to build up a small business and feels that the Cape York Peninsula Heritage Bill stands in his way. And who can blame him for that? The State government doesn’t care about the wild rivers, or aboriginal people, or ‘economic development of the Aboriginal people of Cape York’ — if they did why do they let companies dumping heavy metals pollute the Gulf?

          But who are the people who have stood beside us all these years as state and federal government’s dispossess both black and white?

          Few of the writers at the Brisbane Writers Festival will march with us on the street. Where are the Hooper’s, McGahn’s, Earle’s, Birmingham’s and Stafford’s when the going gets tough. Sure they will write about blackfellas and the dispossessed, a select few may be successful and may write well (Hooper). In the end some, despite their sympathy, may even make money from the defeats (Lex Wotton, sic).

          Well, Sam Watson is one who has stood beside us in the street down through all these years. Lionel Fogarty is another.

          So what is your point in attacking those who have no power and preferring those who do?

          Your moralism is nearly as strident as the people that ‘cultivated’ Noel Pearson in the first place — people like Saint Frank (Brennan) and Paul Keating. Brennan wrote about us as we were being arrested from the comfort of his garret. He named his book “Too Much order and too little Law”.

          Eventually Noel Pearson ended up dumping on Brennan and Keating and all the other hypocrites who gave him a taste of ‘big bunga’ politics, white fella style. Noel even told Brennan ‘that meddlesome priest’ to bugger off out of aboriginal affairs. And who can disagree with Noel Pearson on that?

          But why does Marcia Langton and Noel Pearson have to dump on the poor hapeless mob who march in the streets, with their ‘tough love’ condescension. Langton even marched with us with back in the day before she became a bureaucrat in the Qld Public Service and dumped on people who, unlike her, have no power. Why didn’t Marcia Langton take a leaf out of the book of people like Sam Watson and George Georges who never dumped on us, no matter how hopeless we are.

          Who can defend those who court power and prominence as if they are better than ordinary people? For like the colonisers, they came not to bury Ceasar but to praise him.

          Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral …
          He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
          But Brutus says he was ambitious;
          And Brutus is an honourable man….
          He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
          Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
          Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
          When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
          Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
          Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
          And Brutus is an honourable man.
          — Mark Antony

        2. Who are you Mark Antony? I am assuming it is Ian but he usually puts his name to his posts.

          Your idealising of some and demonising of others is ridiculous.

          George Georges stabbbed the peace movement in the back when he voted for nuclear armed ship visits in the middle of a campaign against them.

          Sam and Lionel went against the Bris Murri community’s wishes in referring the death of Danny Yock to the CMC. The community said it would be a whitewash and should be boycotted. Sam drove it into the CMC where it was indeed a white wash.

          But Sam and Lionel’s country is S.E.Qld. Pearson’s is Cape York and his plans have been driven by tribal elders and are firmly based on grass roots community. In Brisbane, instead of this tribal power structure, we have “the weakened, hapless people who march in the streets” who have simply not connected in any real way with the weakened hapless people who live in remote communities, not even the issues of the Cherbourg community which are suffering their own state intervention right now. Despite the Socialist Alliances grand marches in Brisbane protesting the death of Mulrunji, only one person on Palm Island voted for them in the last federal election.

          Sam and Murri watch were the front line of the Queensland government’s intervention into South Brisbane in 2004/5 when Aboriginal services were mainstreamed and autonomous Aboriginal organisations such as the Musgrave Park Aboriginal corporation were smashed. Millions of dollars of community owned real estate was given to the state government and the services were opened up to non-Aboriginal people effectively removing any safe Aboriginal spaces in Brisbane. The parallels with federal takeovers in the NT are obvious, but for some reason the “the weakened, hapless people who march in the streets” said nothing about the racist intervention happening under their own noses. Why?

          The line from Gurindji has nothing to do with marching in the streets, it is about land rights. When the Gurindji went on strike the rebels looking for a cause marched in the cities and invented an equal wages campaign based on their white ideologies and undermined the Gurindgi’s land rights aspirations. The “success” of the equal wages campaign was the very cause of the present crisis in Alice Springs Town camps. I am of course not supporting racist wage regimes but the movement did not embrace land rights which was the demand of the Gurindgi and enourmous human suffering resulted because of that.

          Pearson’s uncompromising insistance on land rights and self determination in real terms for Cape York communities is much more connected to the Gurindgi campaign than any of the pathetic, white dominated protest movements in Brisbane.

          Denis Walker identified a plan for land rights and self determination for S.E Queensland which was much more radical than Pearson’s plan, yet he was demonised by Sam in his recent play about Walker’s mother.

          These street marchers need to learn about building power amongst oppressed groups rather than destroying any oppressed leadership that emerges.

          But if Pearson is going to be criticised, at least criticise him for what he as said or done rather than invent a strawman and smash the straw man as Sam and the Wilderness society have done.

          Pearson’s plans for economic development are exactly the same as Lenin’s plan for rural peasants – capitalist investment to develop the production of value and create a working class.

          When Marxists attack him for this, and propose the CDEP as the path to economic development, they clearly indicate the shallow, cheap, ideological mythology that underlies the socialism of the weakened, hapless people who march in the streets.

          What is needed is a path to strength and happiness, not the glorification of weakness and haplessness.

          You are suffering under a racist misunderstanding that Pearson was a construction of white moralists such as Brennan. He was constructed by Cape York elders, in particular by his mentor Uncle Peter Costello.

          Although white people can only see Aboriginal leadership in terms of the commentary of white people, this is not at all an understanding of why and how Pearson became a leader.

        3. Mischief, thou art afoot

        4. Margaret Pestorius says:

          You guys have too long memories, me thinks!! … [no no memories are goo,very good – please don’t defend yourself John]

          I agree with JT [OMG] on the basic process issues for whites. JT, I reckon you are on the mark regarding the criticism of Aboriginal leadership. Racism has always invited whites
          1] to join in the criticism and splitting of Aboriginal leadership. And
          2] to join in the general attacking of Aboriginal people. And
          3] to pretend that Indigenous people are not there. [remember TerraNullius]

          That is how we got most of the land 🙁 [sorry] – oh and wrecked it.

          Anyway – here we go again with the socialists and the green movement at the centre. its shame – for me.

          The misinformation and dishonouring of Mr Pearson and Ms Major by the ‘radical left’ and the ‘G/greens’ I think is particularly unhelpful and plays right into the captalists’ hands. [see 1 above] Racism laughs again.

          There was no consent from the majority of the TO groups for a new layer of constraining legislation regarding how Indigenous people use their land. And many people from Cape York are upset/angry/wild about it.

          Racism invites white people to dismiss these ordinary Cape York people because they don’t know them. [see no. 3 above]

          I have met them and they are all sorts – young, old, men, women, people who are informed and people who have authority: lots of real people, wild that they did NOT give CONSENT over their own Land for another layer of legislation. They are people with “no Wild Rivers” signs pinned to their front gates. They are smart people who have a range of aspirations for their Land – and NOT just as ‘rangers’ or in prescibed by Greenies ‘land care’ jobs. They want to define and make their own futures not to have roles carved out like in some caste system.

          The article about the protest in GLW was shocking in its disrespect of the people of Cape York and its extraordinary ignorance [see 2 above]. The narrowing of the discourse about the Wild Rivers legislation as an attack on Noel Pearson is a slight on the women and men of the Indigenous Environment Foundation and the diverse leadership that exists and is arising in Cape Communities.

          The idea that Mr Pearson is in the centre ‘spreading misinformation’ dismisses the other leadership and holds the assumptions that other men and women can’t think for themselves, and don’t understand or can’t process their experience of these issues. These include young [female] Indigenous leaders for God’s sake. [see 1 above] WTF are white socialists and environmentalists doing slamming or sidelining emerging Indigenous leadership – how dumb can we get.

          You Brisbane types think you are are centre of the world [sometimes described as a colonising perspective] The fact is Cape York is not your country. It’s NOT the Wilderness Society’s Country. Its not my country.

          Cape York is in pristine condition because the Cape people have looked after it and challenged the incursions and held on to knowledges that belong to them.

          I agree Mischief, thou art afoot.

          I agree with JT again 🙂 Environmentalists are going to have to figure out over and over how to support and work with Indigenous people. Without that basis, any foundation of justice will be rooned and there will NOT be outcomes.

          Racism, classism, colonialism – oh foul stench.
          [i don’t think shakespeare actually said that]

          Margaret P

        5. Kargun Fogarty says:

          you are a white man talking about white wash- you saying my father sold out? You making more of your peoples techniques”Divide and Conquer” trying to seperate the BLACK Community- U think my father sold out going to the cmc or whatever them unts are- that’s family buisness we tryin to get justice ick ed while you sittin on your ass complaining and draining our community- what you aseo- or whatever them dogs called – still tryin to get involved where you not wanted- i remember you tryin to hang around at our tribal meetings- get a mob brah cause you dont belong to us-John wait till i see you-dugai wa balagalun wa whallo wangii wangii yo minje minje

        6. Hello Kargun,

          I am not saying your dad has sold out. I am saying that Noel Pearson has not sold out. As you say, it is family business and Noel Pearson, with the authority of his elders, speaks for his own country and family, just as your father did when Danny was killed.

          Your father was living with me before and after the killing so I am aware of what was happening at the time.

          All murris have to make compromises and do deals to try and get a better deal of some sort. Your father decided to go to the CMC for help, Pearson went to John Howard for help.

          I speak for nobody except my own family, I would not condemn Noel Pearson or anyone else for making their own decisions about their own country and family. However, that does not seem to be the way it is with the brisbane Murries and socialists in this video, who publically condemn Pearson and the Cape Yoprk Elders. Do these Brisbane people speak for Cape York?

          I am glad that you remember me being at some tribal meetings. I have never been to a tribal meeting without an elder insisting I attend for some particular reason. There are two such meetings in the South East that I remember you being there, on the first I was asked by Graham Brady and on the second I was asked by Denis Walker. If you have concerns about my attendance at those meetings I suggest yo take the issue up with those people.


        7. p.s. Kargun.

          You are correct to demand that non-Aboriginal people respect the private family business of Aboriginality. When I was first exposed to the land rights movement the leadership, including your parents, were very strong on Aboriginal self determination and this included excluding white radicals from the leadership of that movement. In the Commonwealth games and expo protests white people were asked to leave their own slogans and placards at home and join the Aboriginal nation on its own terms and under its own leadership.

          Today the radical Aboriginal movement has been colonised by socialist groups who run campaigns in exactly the same way they run all of their other campaigns. Aboriginal rights has become just one of the issues of the white left now, along with all the other white issues. Then there are the wishy washy liberals – ANTAR, again run by predominantly white people with only minimal Aboriginal connection.

          ATSIC took a generation of Aboriginal leaders, those who came after your parents, and turned them into bureacrats. They learnt all about how to operate in the white scheme of things and forgot how to operate in the community. Then ATSIC was disbanded and even they dissappeare as a leadership class.

          What has risen since the demise of ATSIC has been Aboriginal people struggling away in their own communities and generally failing in their struggles. Meanwhile white radical have moved in to fill the void of a radical leadership capable of a vision bigger than, for example Tom Calmas representative body.

          Murries such as Uncle Don Brady or Denis Walker in times gone by articulated a vision for Aboriginal culture. law and land as the vehicle for Aboriginal liberation. But todays radical leadership is a choice between European socialism in the tradition of Lenin or wishy washy Tom Calma-style bureacracy as promoted by ANTAR.

          Today, where is the radical black vision that can match the defiant independence and spiritual power of men like Don Brady and Denis Walker? It cannot be found in a Socialist Alliance or Aboriginal rights coalition meetings. There is no time and room for any serious business in these white dominated organisations who obsess with the next meeting, picket or public meeting but have no real direction at all and certainly no direction capable of going with the flow of serious cultural business.

          I urge you to abandon paranoid theories of me being in ASIO, but I don’t care what you think of me. Those who invited me into your community were Harold Hopkins, Qawanji and later on Denis Walker. When I first worked in your community serious research was undertaken into my background, connections etc. by Qawanji – Talk to him about your paranoia.

          Those who you should really be worried about are the white socialists and liberals who have colonised the radical Aboriginal movement. They are not from ASIO, they are just ordinary white Australians with ordinary white attitudes.

          It is the socialists who picketed against the Cape York trial and against the will of the elders and councils of the four trial communities, who are spreading division amongst Murries by way of their white socialist ideology.

          White folk such as myself who have supported elders and lawmen such as DBW, Q, Babi Wawu (and I assume you are aware of my history with IPCHAC and Nunukul Kunjeil) – and come under their authority, are not the white folk you need to look out for. It is the self appointed socialist leadership who try to put you into their box that you should watch out for. They are much worse than christians. As the Murri leadership has declined these new white campaigners have moved in to fill the void and consequently made land rights and self determination look like all the other white socialist campaigns.

          I believe Ian has sent you my email if you would like to discuss this privately.


        8. Kargun Fogarty says:

          where you live in yuggera country – well we da bosses here – and yes uncle Dennis and em might a let you come to the meetings or in troduced you- still im tellin you stop talking about my uncle- we talk about him- wawu Brady is in all our hearts for his Spiritual guidance- when i say you aseo cause just like them you putting some on pedistels by dragging others down- you still wanna talk- im sick of playin computer games- ill c u in person- u can bring your lawmen ill bring mine- who is your main law man/woman queen elizabeth any- get a culture and stop being a vulture on ours-

        9. Kargun,

          It is not a matter of I might have been introduced, you know full well the situation because it was raised at the tribal meetings you speak of. You may not have liked the answers Graham B or DBW gave at those meetings, but you were aware of them.

          Can you remember who introduced us first? You were just a boy at the time and perhaps you can’t remember but I do. – DBW at IPCHAC.

          Do you remember who brought me to visit Coominya to meet your family? – your Aunty Jeannie.


          Perhaps you have only read Ian’s comments about what I have said rather than reading what I actually did say.

          You seem to be agreeing with me when you say ” you putting some on pedistels by dragging others down”. This is exactly the point I have made about picketing against Noel Pearson and calling for his book to be withdrawn from the writers’ festival.

          I raised the issue of your uncle and the CMC because Yabu Bilyana and the Socialist Labour League made similar criticisms of your father and Sam Watson to what is being said of Noel Pearson today – that they acted as agents of the white government against their own community.

          Socialists have a tendency to divide the world between good guys and bad guys, this is their whole political framework. When this division is applied to Aboriginal politics, they divide “good” blackfellas from “bad” blackfellas.

          As you properly say, I have no authority about what Murries say and do. But this blog is a white socialist blog and I believe the issues about how white activists engage in black politics is very relevant to the readership of this blog and I claim an authority and a right, by Aboriginal law and the responsibilities of the things that I have been taught by lawmen and law women – including your Jagera Aunty Jeannie, to raise these issues amongst white activists.

          I am sorry if you are offended by the things that I have to say to white activists but I consider myself an elder within the white activist community and will continue to agitate against the colonisation of Aboriginal politics by white people and ideologies. They are as much a part of the cultural assimillation process as the church has been.


        10. Kargun Fogarty says:

          My Aunty and uncles wont be to happy- as i – about you and all these white socilites talking about my family who dead and gone tulloo Bonner my great grandad – tulloo Boonie my uncle – They gone now- not just you john t but all youse readin- if you not family dont try judge or confuse the history that remains in our hearts-
          My cuz was in the back of that paddy wagin- our families have been through the cultural genocide – you may see this pain but to feel this pain at its deepest is inherited through bloodline not bunji law or humain law- when i told my father about my internet findings – he simply said” tell them to focus their energy on the enemy”- which is who not my mob thats for sure – if we were sell outs we would own houses and drive around in flash cars- but we remain grassroots- why dont the socialites focus on the present day local issues such as cleaning up our streets from the incresing ammount of people on the hard drugs or the education sysetms take to assimilating non indigenous australian to our local culture(ps i got strong connection wanna test come with me for a day boy) at a compulsary level right through schooling and rather then negative character building schemes on our dead or alive. We have many rivers still to cross- some of these need to be with canoes not big endevour ships meaning some buisness is best expressed only by us the black community- not to be verbally opinuinated by social misfits or socilist ect- They tried 2 sell me a murri flag badge and a magazine made from wood of the bunjalung- Still empasising to all and any – we dont want youse talk on our loved ones that have passed- last warning then youse on your own – plenty of us alive if they wanna run us down to our face- invitation granted

  7. Et tu, Bruté? says:

    For those that don’t know the activists being discussed by John Tracey in his critique in the comments below:

    Firstly, Lionel Fogarty. Lionel was born at Barambah, now known as Cherbourg Aboriginal Reserve, in the semi-tropical northern Australian state of Queensland. Lionel is a community leader who has focused on Aboriginal deaths in custody since his brother, Daniel Yock, was killed by police in the back of a police van, on November 7, 1993. Lionel is a poet and his books and stories can be found in any public library.

    John Tracey has made a factual error in his statement below about Lionel Fogarty when he says that he and Sam Watson ‘went against the Bris Murri community’s wishes in referring the death of Danny Yock to the CMC‘.

    Firstly the Crime and Misconduct Commission [CMC] did not come into existence until many years after the murder of Daniel Yock.

    More importantly, in all the years I have heard Lionel Fogarty speak at marches and rallies, including those that came out of the murders of Daniel Yock and Mulrunji, I have never heard him once express any faith in the Qld Criminal Justice system. I have listened to his speeches from recordings and have never heard him say one word in favour of what John T. erroneously refers to as the CMC or its predecessor, the Criminal Justice Commission [CJC], or any other part of the Qld Criminal justice system. He has always criticised them as being part of a society gone wrong. It is far fetched to say that he would have any part of the cover up that occurred. Quite the contrary, at the rallies Lionel was intransigent. So much so that activists took on the police in and around the Roma Street railway station opposite police headquarters.

    It was the Goss Labor government that referred Daniel Yock’s killing to be investigated by a former Labor lawyer, Lou Wyville, who had been a regional commissioner of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Black Deaths in Custody. Incidentally that royal commission made recommendations that, not surprisingly, were never implemented.

    Lionel’s poem ‘‘Farewell Reverberated Vault of Detentions’‘ makes his views on colonisation and the deaths that followed, including that of his brother, Danny Yock, in his own way:

    Today up home my people are indeedly beautifully smiling for the devil’s sweeten words are gone
    Today my people are quenching the waters of rivers without grog
    Today my people are eating delicious rare food of long ago.
    Today a fire is made round for a dance of leisuring enjoyment where no violence fights stirs.
    Certainly my people are god given a birthright of wise men and women
    Our country is still our Motherland
    Our desires ain’t dying in pitifully in lusting over contempt and condition
    Tonight my people sleep without a tang of fear
    No paralysed minds
    No numbed bodies
    No pierced hearts hurt
    The screams of madness ends
    The madly stretched endurance are resisted with Murri faith

    The other person criticised by John Tracey is Sam Watson. Sam is supposed to have been involved in the white wash of Daniel Yock’s murder by police

    Yet Sam said at the time in an interviewNone of the Deaths in Custody Report Recommendations have been acted upon and it seems the will to do anything about it is not there.”

    John Tracey claims that “Sam and Murri watch were the front line of the Queensland government’s intervention into South Brisbane in 2004/5 when Aboriginal services were mainstreamed and autonomous Aboriginal organisations such as the Musgrave Park Aboriginal corporation were smashed.”

    Yet it was Sam Watson who set up one of the organisations that John is talking about – the Aboriginal Legal Service in Brisbane.

    About the most telling thing I can say about John Tracey’s caricature of Sam Watson is that Sam refused to have anything to do with the Beattie Labor government’s white-wash of the police murder of Cameron Doomadgee. This was reported in Workers BushTelegraph at the time in the following way:

    Beattie said that a delegation from the rally was welcome to come into parliament to speak with the ‘responsible minister’ Warren Pitt and himself. A voice from the crowd (Brian Laver) yelled out: “We are the delegation!” Both Sam Watson and Eric Doomadgeee declined the offer. Sam Watson said that “we have our own community business to take care of…we are going to march back to Musgrave Park …how to plan the next stage of this campaign …”

    John accuses Sam Watson, Lionel Fogarty and others of censorship of Noel Pearson at the Writers Festival. Quite the contrary, their actions have brought Noel Pearson’s views into the public spotlight (yet again). And who better to do it than two of Queenalnd’s leading writers (White or Black).
    It is time that other writers took a leaf out of Sam and Lionel’s book and began to criticise the views cultivated and promoted for market reasons by publishers only interested in capitalist success.
    People are free to express their views on WBT but there is no room here for people who are reckless and careless about the most basic facts.

    Ian Curr
    September 2009

  8. You miss my point Ian. My point is not to discredit Sam or Lionel or George , it is to suggest on the one hand that pots should not call kettles black and on the other hand when the pots and kettles are calling each other black then the white folk should not romantically idealise either pots or kettles.

    if Sam can oversee the South Brisbane intervention,, why is it so outrageous of Noel Pearson to oversee welfare reform in Cape York, especially when he had the support of tribal elders and the elected councils in the communities that are part of the reforms? The Brisbane changes occured soley as a result of government policy without involving the community – it has much more in common with the NT intervention than Cape York has.

    And yes it was the CJC, not CMC.

    Here is a socialist perspective (the second half refers to the CJC)

    I think Yabu Bilyana’s speech is as bad as Sam’s attack on Pearson. It is another example of white ideological politics colonising and disrupting the emergence of Aboriginal leadership. Like Sam’s attack, Yabu Bilyana rallied his white factions around his critique.

    This kind of good-guy/bad guy politics is of itself a manifestation of divide and conquer. Aboriginal power, and this is something us white radicals need to learn too, is based on grass roots organisation not barracking for ideological teams.

    1. YOCK "WHITE" WASH says:


      I think Ciaron O’Reilly’s account of YOCK “WHITE” WASH shows your caricature of ‘barracking for ideological teams‘ to be false

      Incidentally I never saw myself as part of the ‘civil liberties movement’ inhabited by Goss, Warner, Foley, Wyville, or Plunkett. The term ‘civil liberties’ was a misnonmer adopted by some in the movement. I reject you caricatures and ask you why is it so hard to organise with people who were part of this movement?

      It is much easier in unions, in local government, in the community than on the ‘Left’? Is it becasue of an obsession with being right? What don’t people just get on with it?

      For mine it was a struggle for democratic rights which included Land Rights.

      Ian Curr

    2. Kargun Fogarty says:

      Who youse mob to sit there and discuss my family- you want to say something about my Uncle you wanna watch out- Knock off John Tracey you no family belong to me brah- Even talking about my great granddad judging him on his credits to our black community- Who you any way i thought you was a White man- talkin about our communty- Me and our family Jagera Yugambeh Mobs we been there from the get go- Looking out not just for our own mob but all living in our homelands-Spiritually and Pollitically- Tell youse now only ones to talk for our family is our family-be careful on your words-cause we know how to spit- ya dig [-0-]

  9. Writers Festival Protest Video says:

    There was a protest at his first talking session at the Writers Festival on Thursday night including representative from the Wilderness Society accusing him of spreading misinformation about the Wild Rivers campaign.

    On Sunday, there was another protest and Pearson cancelled the launch of his seminar. Thanks to Juice Media.

    Part 1.


    Part 2.


    1. Noel Pearson has become Emmanuel Godstein.

      These videos compile a list of the sins of John Howard, Kevin Rudd and the whole of white Australia and blames them on Noel Pearson, it seems he is even being blamed for F11 dump and burns.

      The political caracature is as gross as the cartoon that introduces the video – a clear attempt to de-humanise and demonise an Aboriginal person based on emotional manipulation rather than the truth of the matter. This is just riding on the wave of racism that makes such demonisation an easy option. Same with the attacks on Obama over health care.

      During the modern land rights movement from the sixties to the eighties the sins of white Australia were blamed on white Australia. Once ATSIC was formed, the white sins were blamed on ATSIC and towards the end on one person – Geoff Clark.

      There was a time when the Aboriginal rights movement embraced the likes of Neville Bonner. There was certainly disagreement but this was contained within a framework of Aboriginal solidarity. Even though Bonner opposed the illegal marches in 1982 and was severely criticised for his conservative politics, Bonner alone secured Musgrave Park as a base for the protest activities. He took out an injunction based on a land claim to prevent the police from moving people out of the park. Despite the ideological differences, Aboriginal solidarity provided a real power base for the movement.

      Editor’s Note: Here is the Rally and March in 1982. I differ with John T. on one point, Neville Bonner spoke at and marched on this day. He was circumspect about marching but supported both the rally and march in the end. John, I have the film footage of Neville Bonner’s support for the march]


      There are many N.T. Aboriginal voices who supported the intervention, in particular Scrygmor and Anderson and the significant Aboriginal faction in the NT ALP. These people are informed by many other grass roots people in the communities. All these people did a deal with Rudd and Macklin in good faith, but were knifed in the back – which cannot be blamed on them. They are not responsible for Macklin and Rudd’s sins and Pearson certainly isn’t.

      The Queensland government has had a jackboot intervention into Aboriginal communities for the last five years. Some of the strongest resistance to this has come from the communities that have voluntarily joined Pearson’s trial. The Cape york leaderships are in constant conflict with the state government yet they are being blamed by the marxist sects for their own problems. The Cape York leadership is in conflict with the state over land rights – and the Marxist sects have sided with the ALP government and their Wilderness society puppets against Cape York’s land rights claims.

      Do the marxist sects support the multinational mining operations that are facilitated by the Wild Rivers legislation? Do they really believe mining companies should have the right to extract wealth and ship it overseas but Murries should be able to do no more than traditional hunting and fishing with their land?

      The Aboriginal economic development agenda on native title land is the biggest direct threat to the exclusivity of profit for multinationals – and the Brisbane marxists side with the bauxite miners.

      The main problem with the NT intervention is that it was a symbolic, ideological stunt. The campaign against Pearson is the same thing, it is more concerned about scoring ideological points than building real grass roots power.

      The intervention itself has split the NT Aboriginal people – those for it, those for particular parts of it and those totally against it. The anti-Pearson campaign is just entrenching the divisions caused by Howard and Brough.

      Now the intervention is getting closer to Brisbane. Bligh and Macklin have anounced a centrelink truency program for Logan city. This has not been developed by the grass roots community like the Cape York trial has been.

      Will the socialist sects respond ideologically and blame Pearson? Or will they provide support to grass roots organisations to challenge the urban intervention?

      I hope the marxist sects do not try and join the grass roots opposition to the Logan intervention as they will just spit it like they do to every other campaign they intervene into.

      1. I did of course mean Goldstein, not Godstein.

        Ian, regarding the editors note.

        My point about Neville Bonner is more about him being a Liberal senator who was used and abused by Howard just as much as Pearson was but he was still given respect for being an Aboriginal person with a right to speak about his own country. The divisions, and there are many divisions in the Murri community, were managed within an umbrella of Aboriginal solidarity.

        But in the interests of historical accuracy…… It would be interesting to see the footage you have. I remember Bonner supporting the whole protest as a statement by Aboriginal Australia but he spoke very strongly against illegal marches. I remember one march, I think it was the one in the video, where Bonner pleaded with the crowd not to march and when it came time to march he sat on the road in front of the march singing a traditional song and everyone had to march past him. I remember this being a big issue of discussion at Musgrave Park at that time and the visiting leaders like Foley sat down with local elders to discuss Bonner’s position and how they should respond.

        1. Obituary – First Aboriginal Senator Neville Bonner

          “Bonner came under fire from the left as well as the right, especially during Aboriginal protests against the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane in 1982, when he refused to join illegal street marches and urged protesters to stay within the law.”

        2. John,

          In the 1982 Commonwealth Games film referred to above Neville Bonner told the crowd in Roma Street Forum if you have got to march don’t let them (the police, media, white society) have any comeback at you. After uncle Neville and aunty Oodgeroo, Gary Foley told us to reject those that worship money and make our own way forward. We marched that day in opposition to state and federal governments and marched again later in the week out at QEII where the games were held. Some got arrested in the second march. The second march was one of the most difficult and frightening. In my mind there was the possibility that police would throw Murris from a bridge over S-E Freeway. Mass arrests were averted by tactical withdrawal which paid off and gave no basis for complaint from those, like Bonner, who showed ambivalence to marching.

          Neville Bonner was from Palm Island. His people there needed him. I went to NAIDOC celebrations on Palm in 1981 or 1982. Neville Bonner spoke after a football match (I was the only whitefella on the field in that match [and got smashed]). I was also in Stuart Creek Prison for 2 weeks with many of the blokes from Palm — over half the prison population were Murris in this colonial hell hole built in 1901.

          After the sentencing of Lex Wotton last year in Townville, Lance Poynter told me he was one of the people in Stuart Prison during the hunger strike of 1980 that I took part in. In 2004, Lance was charged over the Palm Island riot along with Lex Wotton but fortuneately Lance was acquitted. However both he, Lex and all the others face constant harrassment from police and are likely to spend long years in jail unless there is structural political change rather than the Labor/conservative round robin that plays out endlessly in state politics.

          Anyway, Palm Islanders needed as much help then as they do now from people like Bonner, Pearson, and Langton — who, strangely, all ended up on the same side of the this two-sided joke, the same side of the card table as the white conservatives.

          One additional story about Neville Bonner — in 1977 Malcolm Fraser decreed “Australia’s” Uranium Decision in support of mining and export. Neville Bonner supported that decision. Later that year, 2 members of the Civil Liberties Co-ordinating Committee (CLCC) interviewed Neville Bonner about his support of the uranium mining on aboriginal land. This was intended to be part of a series on Democratic Rights. We (I was one involved in the interview) criticised Bonner’s support of a decision that in the long run would help no-one. Bonner said that it would be good for Australia’s economy. Later still we tried to broadcast a program which contained that interview on 4ZZZ. Dennis Reinhardt and his followers at 4ZZZ refused to broadcast the program, initially citing poor sound quality. Yet , on this criterion, the program was as good as or better than other programs on 4 ZZZ. The real reason was that they were afraid a complaint from Senator Bonner would reduce the prospect of them getting the higher power licence they were after from the federal government. By censorship of the CLCC, the women’s hour and similar programs 4ZZZ achieved their objective.

          So Neville Bonner took the unprincipled decision to support the Fraser edict on Uranium. 4ZZZ took the equally unprincipled decision to pull a radio program in order to win favour from the Fraser government on the higher power licence.

          I say unprincipled in both cases because both decisions were calculated to curry favour with those in power rather than to challenge power in the interests of their own communities; and mostly against the will of those communities. Have Pearson and Langton taken the high road as Uncle Neville did? Well not really or not entirely. I think Pearson’s sympathies lay with the Left liberals but when they could not deliver he took another road. He really wants control in the Gulf and is telling the politicans not to stand in his way — his opposition to Bligh’s Wild Rivers legislation is one example of this. He wants to do the deals unencumbered by the politics of Brisbane or Canberra.

          There is no other road in Australia’s political set-up and there are too few who have the capacity and will to build a new one.

          Worse still, the Left remains bogged in the marshes, without organisation, having frittered what resources it had. The Left is unable ‘to get on with it’ in the way Pearson wants, many preferring to remain on the sidelines with carping comments that are disconnected from indigenous workers who get on their daily struggle not too unlike all workers.

          Ian Curr
          September 09

          Please Note: LeftPress has historic film of both 1982 marches referred to above. Some of the footage was shown as part of the BCC’s Museum of Brisbane’s “Taking to the Streets” exhibit in 2006.

        3. Ian,

          The senator was not from Palm Island, he is Jagera. He moved to Palm Island where his first wife’s family were. While he was there he became assistant mission manager. Despite his willingness to be the white state’s agent on Palm Island, he is still held in respect by the Palm Islanders. People do not hide the real story and the Senator’s role on the Island, but his Aboriginality and personhood was never stripped of him as the present anti-Pearson campaign is trying to do to Pearson.

          You say….” We marched that day in opposition to state and federal governments “.

          I am sure there are many white activists who agree with you but most of us were marching for Aboriginal land rights and self determination.

          Back then and today, white radicals have tried to incorporate the Aboriginal struggle into the frame of reference of the white left. This is colonisation.

        4. John,

          If i understand you correctly, you are saying that you identify with a different tribe not bound by the politics of socialism.

          You are saying that aboriginal people are not to be seen as part of the socialist tribe.

          I believe you are correct in this and I do not think of indigenous people in this way.

          There are some aboriginal people who have navigated their way among different tribes and this sometimes makes them appear inconsistent. However I do not think this is ncessarily true. Anyway it is not about individuals, it is about the collective.

          If people look at the banners in the march and listen to what we were all chanting for in 1982 they will see that we were for Land Rights.

          At the Commonwealth Games Land Rights rally, the shadow minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Senator Susan Ryan, promised Land Rights but was never able to deliver on her promise. You might say that she defined Land Rights in her terms and that became Native Title legislation. This is probably a correct analysis.

          Till now in Qld there have been few native title claims awarded and these fall short of Land Rights, in fact they extinguish land rights. But John, you know all this.

          We, as a collective from the 1982 struggle that was led by aboriginal people, have not brought about fundamental change.

          State and federal governments (Nationals, Liberal and Labor) opposed land rights, that is why we marched in opposition to both state & federal governments.

          As you know, the Left have been opposed to the colonial project for longer that you or I have been around. The notions of anti-colonialism were articulated by people like Frantz Fanon in “The Wretched Of Earth” which was endorsed by a leading socialist of that era, John Paul Sartre.

          Ian Curr
          [After some reflection, I have changed this from a previous draft answer to you statement above.]

  10. Intervention Walk Off says:

    Hi everyone,

    Two short videos of the Ampilatwatja community have now been uploaded onto the Intervention walk off website.

    Direct link is http://www.interventionwalkoff.wordpress.com/video


    The events page on the site has the details for the east coast speaking tour starting October 7, being undertaken by Richard Downs from Ampilatwatja and Harry Nelson from Yuendumu.

    Hopefully people can make it along to the meetings to learn more about the community walk off camp and support the strong stance that has been taken against the Intervention by both Ampilatwatja and Yuendumu.


  11. To stab for freedom... says:

    Hello Kargun,

    To be talking about your father, mother, uncles and aunties on the web is serious business in your both your culture and in mine. There is risk of offence which is of concern to me.

    If you wish me to take down the articles and videos of your mother (Cheryl Buchanan) and your father (Lionel Fogarty) on Workers BushTelegrpah I will do so even though it is difficult to do. One reason is that your mother and your father are all over the web and so too on Workers BushTelegraph. This is because they are public figures in both your culture and in mine.

    The reason I have written about them is that I am proud to have been a street marcher in the struggles for justice led by your mother and father. During for Land Rights during the Commonwealth Games of 1982, to Stop Black Deaths in Custody after Daniel Yock, after Mulrinji and more recently to defend Lex Wotton and the people of Palm Island from a repressive state government.

    I am proud to have been the street marches against Joh Bjelke-Petsersen’s racist government and as a result to find myself in the back of paddy wagons and in the cells with your aunties and uncles on several occasions.

    Your mother, Cheryl Buchanan was one of the leaders of the protests against the commonwealth games along with elders who have now passed away.

    I remember Cheryl Buchanan as the chairperson of a large demonstration in Roma Street Forum in 1982 during the Commonwealth Games held in Brisbane at QEII.

    She called on elders Oodgerroo Nunuccal, Neville Bonner and Mick Miller to speak. Cheryl pointed out that whitefellas, over the years, in their own way, had supported the struggle for aboriginal land rights. Cheryl then asked the Labor shadow minister for aboriginal affairs, Susan Ryan, to speak.

    This moment was important, an aboriginal leader reaching out to a whitefella for help — an especially powerful message because it came from Cheryl Buchanan.

    People may not understand the significance of this — but I do, and so too, I think, does John Tracey.

    That hot afternoon in 1982 in the Roma Street Forum, the future aboriginal affairs minister in the Hawke government, Susan Ryan, stood up on the podium and promised Land Rights for aboriginal people — a promise that she was unable to keep.

    Many years later, the federal government finally passed Native Title legislation which has been used often in the years since as a means of extinguishing aboriginal land rights. This is not as a controversial as many would make out, Aboriginal leaders involved closely in land rights negotiations have verified this.

    But then, it was never the federal government’s land to give, so who can be surprised that a promise not kept.

    Gary Foley spoke after Susan Ryan and he explained why society deprived aboriginal people of their land. Gary said that it was the worship of money, that the banks and the corporations that resided in the buildings all around us that day were out after money and profit from our sweat.

    To make the profit, the rich and powerful took the land.

    They are still doing this.

    On this day one of the biggest land grabs in Queensland is being done by Hancock Mining in the land around Alpha in the Galilee coalfieds.

    This land belongs to the Wiri people, of the Birri-Gubba language group, of Central Queensland.

    The descendents of the Wiri people can trace their connection to this land being stolen by Hancock Mining.

    One of these descendents is refusing to sign the contract that hands over aboriginal title to the land. But he has the state against him. The Bligh government is offering the the railway line and the port terminal at Abbot Point as an incentive for developing the coal field. No prizes for guessing who will get these public assets.

    Both railway and port was built by workers with public money.

    The sale of these public assets is crime, the state government is stealing workers labour to permit Hancock and other companies make profit in exactly the way that Gary Foley, with sweat on his brow, predicted so many years before at the Roma Street forum in 1982.

    We made our stab for freedom and we lost.

    Don’t let anyone tell you that to make a stab for freedom is easy. History has taught us that.

    I direct this poem at no one person in particular, but to anyone who has tried and failed.

    “Did we not do well
    to stab for freedom and miss wide the mark !
    so that our inmost honour now is gold,
    and bankers rule us, all at odds with thieves,
    and humped attorneys have us in their hold
    who press us dry between dead parchment leaves.”

    — Robert Fitzgerald, from Moonlight Acre, published in Melbourne in 1938.

    Ian Curr
    November 2009

  12. Issues-of-Concern-for-Palm-Island-community says:

    If you are concerned about Palm Island please read the document Issues-of-Concern-for-Palm-Island-community and the attached correspondence

    Hi everyone,
    For those who don’t know me I lived on Palm Island for 8 years and have family up there. This letter is from my Aunty Lynore who is trying to gain support, financial really, for a campaign against a government initiative which is taking over many local community groups. Please read attached info for more details.
    She is funding this herself at present and we were talking last night and I mentioned how supportive the Melbourne activist groups have been of Palm Island, Lex Wotton and the NT intervention campaigns – this Government ‘Community Company’ is like a mini intervention with the government taking control of many aspects of the community as I write.
    If you can donate $10 or $20 dollars it can be put through the group I have been involved with up there, Bwgcolman Future, Aunty Lynore is a PhD candidate and single mother of 3, she is a nurse and gives constantly to the community, she is an inspiration and totally trustworthy! Donations can be made to

    Bwgcolman Future Inc
    Bendigo Bank
    Account number 127330710
    BSB 633 000

    This is as grass roots as it gets so if you can spare a few dollars it will go to printing the letters and petitions and copies of documents for community people on Palm Island.
    If you can send this to others in the networks that would be great!

    Svea Pitman

    Hi Svea,

    How are you and the children?

    I am writing to you with a request for support and assistance in our Palm Isalnd campaign to confront the Qld Governement Dept of Communities on the way they are treating Palm Islanders and their lack of community consultaton and service delivery. Palm Island is once again being disempowered and being treated in a parternalistic manner by the Govt through the implementation of an organisation called the Palm Island Community Company. This organisation is a Trojan horse which is incapacitating the Palm Island people in their vision to self determination and empowerment. I have written a document rebutting the rhetoric that is printed in their first annual report which has been given to the Director General and her staff of the Dept of Communities Qld. I have attached the document and other information for you.

    Please pass this on to others in your circle of society that could support us. In particular I am leading this campaign with the support of the community and am funding this from my own pocket. As a full time PhD student and single parent of 3 it is becoming difficult to sustain as you can appreciate. If you know of anyone or any group that could support by petitioning the Minister Karen Struthers (Qld) on our behalf or by contributing financially to assist with the costs of printing, posting, newsletter publicaton or purchasing a fax machine for the campaign I would welcome such support. Perhaps a donation of $10.00 or $20.00 towards costs. Palm Island is struggling and we know there are individuals and groups in Australia who do care about what happens to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people. We need support so that Palm Island people can progress forward in realising their vision of community empowerment and capacity building by Palm Island people.

    This week we will be starting a letter writing campaign to the Minister Karen Struthers and the local member for Parliment to bring our voice to a level in governement where we can be heard.

    Thanks for passing this email on.

    Love. A. Lynore

  13. The Aboriginal Struggle & the Left says:

    * Media release, Mon Nov 30 *

    Two new Aboriginal Rights books to challenge “white armband” history:

    1. The Aboriginal Struggle & the Left
    The Aboriginal Struggle & the Left
    2. Charter of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Rights;

    Charter of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Rights

    will be launched on Tues Dec 1, 6:30pm (Dinner available from 6pm), at the Brisbane Activist Centre, 74B Wickham St, Fortitude Valley.

    Two new anti-racism books that challenge ‘conventional history’ will be launched in Brisbane tomorrow night. Local Aboriginal activist Sam Watson, who is also the Socialist Alliance’s National Indigenous Rights Spokesperson, will launch the Alliance’s Charter of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Rights. Sydney-based author and journalist for Green Left Weekly, Terry Townsend, will travel to Brisbane to launch his new book The Aboriginal Struggle and the Left.

    “These publications are important additions to the battle for real history, as opposed to a history that neglects or justifies the ongoing oppression of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” said launch organiser Paul Benedek, the Queensland convenor of Socialist Alliance.

    “At a time when a 12-year Aboriginal boy gets detained in jail and faces court over allegedly ‘receiving stolen property’ because he was given a Fredo Frog, while police who covered up the death-in-custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee still face no justice, it’s crucial to maintain the struggle against racism. With apartheid laws in place again in the Northern Territory, and the days of ratio cards returning, its important for us to draw from the struggles that have gone before, in order to battle most effectively today.”

    “In these books, Aboriginal people are not passive victims, but strong leaders of movements for social change, & for ending injustice, discrimination, poverty & underdevelopment,” Benedek continued.

    “We are proud to launch these books, which give the “black and red” armband view of history, revealing the role of Aboriginal fighters and socialist militants, both in yesterday’s struggles for justice and equality, and as inspiration for todays ongoing battles.”

    For information or interviews, phone Paul Benedek 0410 629 088

    “If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, you are a comrade of mine”

    Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara

    Brisbane Activist Centre, 74b Wickham St, Fortitude Valley
    Ph: (07) 3831 2644; 0410 629 088. Email: paulb@greenleft.org.au

    Socialist Alliance http://www.socialist-alliance.org/queensland
    Green Left Weekly http://greenleft.org.au

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