I have just sent the following message to GetUp through the online contact email at http://www.getup.org.au:
“I have a deep objection to one of the Forestry principles in your current campaign. Your proposal to ‘establishing ‘protected areas’ for all of our high conservation value native forests’ is another coloniser proposal to deny Aboriginal land rights. The High Court found that Aboriginal people held and continue to hold title to the land. When is white Australian going to work out what that means? No new title over lands without the approval of the Aboriginal people! Stop giving the land over to white Australia! – Les Malezer”
Like many people I am a conservationist at heart. As an Aboriginal person I belong to the greatest conservation civilisation the world has ever seen. I will stand up next to any naturalist, environmentalist, conservationist in the world.
However I am strongly opposed to self-centred attitude of a colonising society which decides what is conserved and what is consumed in another peoples’ land, ultimately in alien interests. Aboriginal people not only have a say in what happens to this land, we are the people of the land and we must be respected by the people who are the colonisers and consumers of this land and its resources.
I have strongly supported GetUp political campaigns, but this time they have gotten ahead of themselves. I suggest that they change the second principle to remove ‘ALL’, and add a new third principle acknowledging and respecting the rights of the Aboriginal people, the people of the land, and the inherent custodians of ‘mother earth’.
Universal human rights principles state that the Aboriginal peoples lands and resources, including ‘Forests’ should be hander back to the Aboriginal people and that Aboriginal people have the right to development in their own territory. To protect natural forests, Australia must come to terms with the property and development rights of Aboriginal people, including bearing the burden of financing Aboriginal development away from those same forests.