An Open Message to Arthur Bell

AN OPEN MESSAGE TO ARTHUR BELL

From: Les Malezer les.malezer@gmail.com
Date: 8 July 2010 10:16:55 AM
Subject: Please contact me

Hi Arthur

I notice that you have written information about me which implies a negative criticism of me, my work and organisation. The following statements by you are apparently being publicly made:

**Quote from Arthur Bell***

This bloke James Anaya was obviously influenced and misled by the articulate and tricky Les Malezer long before he arrived here in Australia. Les has been travelling overseas for a few years now. Presenting and Misrepresenting himself ( unchallenged ) as some sort of Spokes Person or Representative of the Aboriginal and Islander People of Australia.

Les has stated that he has a mandate.

This is not true and he knows it. Les has gotten a lot of mileage from his association with the de-funded and non-existent FAIRA. Where a few of his relations and friends were members and kept voting the same board back in !! What was Anayas view on poverty in Australia? ( $1,20 a day ) As everyone here gets A$35 a day minimum on the dole. With fifty seven (57) venues for free food including BBQs and hot meals in inner city Brisbane alone !! I doubt anyone mentioned this to him !!

FAIRA – Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research and Action. President: Les Malezer. This is the title that Les uses in his Communications and Misrepresentations with the United Nations. And in general.

This organisation has been De-funded and Does Not Exist any-more as such !! However, they still have some members ( uncontactable ) that vote(?) at AGMs ( no-one else can! ) and directors ( also uncontactable ! )

FAIRA was once a large organisation with quite a few employees with a large office and extensive assets, that published a magazine, Queensland Land-rights (?) It was once getting at least a couple of hundred thousand a year. ( Government Grants ) But it has since been De-funded and it has No Employees except former office manager Charmain Tatten as secretary and contact person, and Les Malezer as President.

The only funding they have received is about fifty thousand dollars($50,000) last year ( 2009 ) for Human Rights ( whatever that means !! ) arranged by the brother of Charmain Tatten who is the state manager of FAHCSIA qld. Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

I tried to find out the situation with FAIRA and why they were funding it. But John Tatten is also uncontactable !! There are three (3) Tattens on the membership roll of FAIRA !! That is besides the six (6) Malezers !!

**End of Quote**

I do not take any offence at your comments about my work at the United Nations or the work that FAIRA has undertaken and continues to undertake. I am pleased that you acknowledge this and give it exposure and attention.

However you seem to believe that FAIRA is de-funded and therefore has no right to exist. I would appreciate if you can correct your statements to point out that the Howard Government ceased FAIRA’s role as a Native Title Representative Body because we strongly criticised the Howard government and made an official complaint to the United Nations about the racist changes to native title law in 1998.

Our action was then joined by ATSIC and both of our organisations suffered at the evil hands of Howard.

Are you aware that FAIRA formed in 1977 to fight the Bjelke Petersen government and its ‘Black Acts’?

For the first 13 years FAIRA operated with little or no income, but we won the battle and the war. It was only after ATSIC was formed in 1990 that FAIRA received any substantial assistance in funding, and that was because the elected people in ATSIC recognised our good work and wanted us to continue.

Like in our earlier days, we once again fight on without little financial backing. Our fight is for Land Rights and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Rights.

FAIRA supports your right to have an opinion on me, the organisation and our work. Let others judge us any way they will. I do not mind being called ‘tricky’, and I think that can be taken different ways. I take it honourably. Nor do I mind that members of my extended family are members of the organisation. Most people know that our organisation has never refused membership and encourages openness and honesty.

FAIRA calls public meetings, attends and speaks at public rallies, talks on national indigenous radio and writes for newspapers and general public. Our excellent newspaper, ‘Land Rights Queensland’, ended when funding was cut by Howard – that was one of his reasons to end our status as a rep body – but our board is committed to recommence the newspaper whenever the opportunity presents itself. Meantime I write regularly on important and relevant topics through my email network and a newspaper column.

The AVI – Aboriginal Victims Industry, as you call it – is just one way, your way, of describing the defense of human rights. Not everybody is out to exploit our own people as you imply, and to take advantage of the weak and vulnerable.

We are human rights defenders. As the UN describes it:

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings.

We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.

If you have a different set of values about equality and non-racism, please tell us what they are.

However I do ask that you keep the facts and not invent or suggest corruption where it does not exist. It would be appreciated if you can include some of our history and achievements in your document and give us some credit for fighting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander struggle without financial rewards.

Please contact me if you want any further information. I am always open to face criticism and to supply answers to reasonable questions. I hope you have similar ethics and standards by which you operate.

regards

les

37 responses to “An Open Message to Arthur Bell

  1. Here are a couple of things I wrote in 2008 about ANTAR. I will write something else specifically about the radical left but, in terms of these articles, the slogan “close the gap” can be interchanged with “stop the intervention” to be directly relevant to the radical left.

    “Reflections on indigenous issues by a non-indigenous person for the consideration of non-indigenous people.”
    http://paradigmoz.wordpress.com/2008/02/08/reflections-on-indigenous-issues-by-a-non-indigenous-person-for-the-consideration-of-non-indigenous-people/

    “Reconciliation, Close the Gap, Sovereignty and Land Rights”
    http://unlearningtheproblem.wordpress.com/2008/09/23/reconciliation-close-the-gap-sovereignty-and-land-rights/

    Like

  2. Thanks John,
    Please see the letter I received today from Dave Price.
    It is posted @ https://workersbushtelegraph.com.au/2011/05/19/a-message-from-the-warlpiri-people/
    in solidarity
    Ian

    Like

  3. Ian,

    You ask…..”For example do you place this call from AntaR— “Invitation to Community Meeting to discuss Draft Qld Aboriginal and Torres StraitIslander Justice Strategy 2011 -2013” within the framework of the misguided Left paradigm on aboriginality?”

    Yes – it is ANTAR, the Uniting Church and others justifying themselves for the sake of themselves, with only token engagement with Aboriginal agendas. It is a white initiative designed to keep white people busy.

    It’s only campaign focus is a statistical target with nothing strategic to contribute as to how this target might be achieved. It is blindly wishing a dysfunctional system would function better, It is just whinging (but not in public like the socialist sects) pleading with the master to be nicer.

    ANTAR and the Uniting Church do not serve the Aboriginal agencies they have roped into their network but use them to legitimise their (ANTAR and the UC’s) own engagement in ineffectual and shallow commentary on the suffering of Aboriginal people. The Aboriginal agencies that are dealing with criminal justice issues and those community elders who have a vision of alternative sentencing programs remain as isolated and powerless as they were without ANTAR’s charitable intervention, but the people of ANTAR feel better about themselves and that’s the important thing.

    As far as “the left” goes, left and right are different sides of the same coin, it is the coin that is the problem. It is a matter of culture and spirituality. Any good Marxist knows that consciousness is derived from the material conditions of history. White consciousness – of any class – is a product of imperialism, capitalism and the nuclear family.

    John 3:3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

    I have previously referred you to Gary Foley’s “Whiteness and blackness in the Koori struggle for self determination” that says things better than I can
    http://www.kooriweb.org/foley/essays/essay_9.html

    But I will write a “critique (a proper one) of the Left’s approach to Aboriginal Struggle” for you. Stay tuned.

    Like

  4. Hello John,

    I forgot one thing. You seem to have a separate critique of the Left’s view of aboriginal struggle (separate to your critique of the ALP, that is).

    If you do have a cogent critique you should explain it rather than fall into the trap of personal caricature and slander.

    MacLennan and O’Reilly can defend their own actions, they do not need me [See The Paradigm Shift: Alter-narratives with Ciaron O’Reilly].

    As well as your critique of the ALP, I asked for your critique (a proper one) of the Left’s approach to Aboriginal Struggle. Still no reply.

    For example do you place this call from AntaR— “Invitation to Community Meeting to discuss Draft Qld Aboriginal and Torres StraitIslander Justice Strategy 2011 -2013” within the framework of the misguided Left paradigm on aboriginality?

    If so why? Are they on the wrong track, I don’t know?

    Recently a number of aboriginal academics were shown the door from a major tertiary institution.

    These people lost their jobs when, by any measure of performance, they were an asset to that tertiary insitution. Academia is supposed to be a bastion of liberal values. No more, it seems.

    I think that you could spend productive time in making a critical analysis of why tertiary institutions have taken such a hard industrial line against these three Aboriginal people.

    I can’t be too specific here, privacy of individuals requires it.

    But you have imagination. You know many tertiary instiutions run Indigenous Studies courses. You know that Marcia Langton is a professor in that area at Melbourne University.

    I do not know if her job is safe – but others have been treated badly. Is there to be a show of solidarity from indigenous or non-indigenous workers? It seems not.

    These are industrial questions that could apply in any public or private institution.

    For example, there used to be heaps of aboriginal people where i worked e.g. in the ATO.

    It would be interesting to know if that high aboriginal employment rate continues to this day.

    Somehow i doubt it. I suspect i know the reason – the ATO has got rid of a lot of process workers.

    We hear a lot about the aboriginal gatekeepers at rallies – but what power does anyone have? Yuo mention how at the end of the year Les Malezer efforts will have been wasted inside the First Peoples Congress. Isn’t this a similar process? Is any public servant safe? Do they possess any power? If not, why not? What happened to good old union solidarity back in the days when we were labourers or shearers like the Gurinji? Has the white collar robbed us of our militancy?

    Why has no one stood up against this recent loss of aboriginal jobs?

    Is the reason something more mundane, like you, people just can’t be bothered?

    Ian

    Like

  5. Ian,

    My comment about Les –

    “While I do not share Arthur’s hostility towards Les Malezer I do share his cynicism about the nature of the Aboriginal industry. I am glad that Les is co-chair because of his connections to Mansell, Clarke and the APG and his unflinching embrace of sovereignty, but the national congress is just a mickey mouse operation and does not confirm or deny anybody’s leadership status.”

    Again i say, do not accuse me of slandering Les when in fact I have praised him.

    I urge you to discover a distinction between the integrity of Les and the integrity of the ALP’s corporation, that is, the difference between the Aboriginal person and the white structure.

    Later in the year, when the corporation’s congress meets and the 5/6ths of the corporation that did not vote for Les manifest their policies and priorities and repress Les’ priorities or even remove him from office, I hope you will not be so defensive of the legitimacy of the corporation to represent all ABoriginal people.

    Forgive me for not taking up your offer to write a critique of ALP policy but 1/ I couldn’t be bothered and 2/ After decades of your support work for Aboriginal Australia and many other campaigns, I would hope that you would already have a sophisticated analysis of ALP policy and, if after all that, you still blindly support this micky mouse initiative then I don’t think there is anything that I could say that could develop on what history has already shown you.

    I refer you to Warren Mundine’s recent analysis of ALP policy – that I couldn’t be bothered finding a reference for but was in the mainstream media – its all about symbols and tokenism.

    And finally, regarding Ciaron and Gary. Ciaron falsy and publicly (here) accused an Aboriginal leader of rape as well as defended his defiance of customary law in the execution of his religious duty. Gary falsely accused a progressive film maker and two disabled co-workers of oppressing disabled people, and when that lie was exposed, concocted a racial accusation and entangled a Boulia Aboriginal women into the web of lies, thus representing a beautiful piece of film documenting acceptance and affection across cultural and disability barriers into a piece of racist violent smut – just to save the white academic’s face.

    These men have mis-represented history and attacked real people who they should have been defending, all based on their own warped ideological motivations. And you say I should be uncritical? Is this what your solidarity means?

    I have not targeted Ciaron and Gary. I have spoken up for the good men and women doing good things that Ciaron and Gary have so viciously and publically attacked. My solidarity is with the disabled people, Aboriginal people and prophetic film makers that your mates have demonised.

    Like

  6. Hello Arthur and John,

    There is nothing wrong with Arthur’s literacy and computer skills.

    My concern was that Arthur kept writing in to WBT and repeating the same allegation against Les without responding to Les’s reply.

    Arthur Bell wrote to WBT saying:
    “Presenting and Misrepresenting himself (LM) ( unchallenged ) as some sort of Spokes Person or Representative of the Aboriginal and Islander People of Australia. He has stated that he has a Mandate. This is Not True and he knows it. Les has gotten a lot of mileage from his association with the now, De-funded and Defunct FAIRA.” — Arthur Bell @ http://www.whitc.info/

    To which Les Malezer replied:
    “However you seem to believe that FAIRA is de-funded and therefore has no right to exist. I would appreciate if you can correct your statements to point out that the Howard Government ceased FAIRA’s role as a Native Title Representative Body because we strongly criticised the Howard government and made an official complaint to the United Nations about the racist changes to native title law in 1998.” — Les Malezer’s reply @ https://workersbushtelegraph.com.au/2010/07/08/an-open-message-to-arthur-bell/

    This was the 5th time Arthur had made similar allegations against FAIRA. John, you defended Arthur. I simply pointed out that Les Malezer can claim credibility for his fight by virtue of his election to the co-chair of the First Peoples Congress (regardless of its flaws). So you challenged Les’ credibility based on your critique of the ALP.

    In reply I asked you to write a substantive critique and I would publish it.

    You constantly ignored my offer choosing instead to caricature me as an ‘abusive’, ‘arrogant’, ‘affluent’, ‘white leftist’.

    Your game is to make cheap shots at leftists in the same way you have against Ciaron O’Reilly and Gary MacLennan.

    If you have a critique put it up.

    Do not denigrate Les Malezer’s long committment to the objectives of FAIRA by saying his election to the First People’s Congress is a sham and lacks any credence. Les Malezer was given no chance of winning. The fact that he did so against the odds and against the wishes of the Minister must count for something even through your eyes.

    To criticise Les’s achievement publicly as you have done on WBT, especially in the climate of sustained attacks on Les by the Murdoch and Fairfax press, is an abuse and I for one will not accept it.

    This is precisely my criticism of Langton and Pearson, they did not need to go to Murdoch or Howard to win credence for their ideas. Their ideas could stand by themselves and win respect where they were sound, the same as anyone else.

    But sadly they have chosen to go to the wealthy, the powerful, the racists to publish their ideas.

    And simply because I am a whitefella does not prohibit me from saying this.

    Ian

    Like

  7. Ian,

    You began the quotation marks in the wrong place. The sentence begins thusly……

    “The historical circumstance and value system of white suburban leftists and environmentalist is a different planet………. ”

    I stand by all that, you can decide for yourself where you might fit into it.

    You ask.. “You seem more concerned about it that Arthur, why?”

    Because your abuse, belittling, dismissal and censorship of an Aboriginal person made me angry. This just smells of white arrogance, dividing Aboriginal people into the good ones and the bad ones just like the church did. Your relative affluence and education has wrongly caused you to believe that Arthur’s limited literacy and computer skills constitutes trolling and spamming. Your privilege is loud in this conversation.

    Your provocation of Arthur, by directing a post at him personally, followed by your punishment (censorship) of him because he responds to your post in language that you disapprove of is the same mentality of the police that provoke people to swear and then arrest them for abusive language. White power.

    You should learn from the respect given to him by Les in the original post, he plays the ball and not the man.

    Arthur chooses to brush the dust from his sandals but I choose to challenge you on it. As a long term grass roots media practitioner, I have some definite ideas about the representation of black voices without white filters. This is not just a matter for Aboriginal media but also for white media’s representations of Aboriginal reality, especially those media that purport to support the Aboriginal struggle.

    I’ve nothing more to say on this issue.

    Like

  8. Workers BushTelegraph

    John,

    Sorry, I meant your caricature of me (below) as being just another ”white suburban leftist (sic) and environmentalist (on) a different planet to the reality of Aboriginal communities. Until white supporters can fully understand this then they are just regurgitating white myths in their public engagement in Aboriginal issues.” It is this I do not understand. I can’t be an aborigine so I can’t understand their position?

    Also I left something out in my comment above. Engagement with Australia’s first peoples is a human question not just a political one.

    I have set up Publishing Policy guidelines for WBT and try to stick to them. [Readers can find them at the bottom right of this webpage].

    As far as Arthur Bell is concerned, when he started throwing abuse at Les Malezer I stepped in.
    I think this is called ”trolling” in internet speak.

    I did publish everything that Arthur sent in that was not abuse or trolling.

    Arthur himself says that he does not care about WBT or its readers – fair enough that is his prerogative – but this website is serious, it is not just a place for people to let off steam. It is too much hard work for that.

    You seem more concerned about my refusal to publish him than Arthur, I wonder why that is?

    Ian

    Like

  9. Ian,

    You ask …..”I am not sure what your criticism of me is all about.”

    As per the discussion so far, it has been 1/that you censored a local Aboriginal person in a discussion about himself that including severe criticism of him by you and 2/ that your declaration “Les Malezer has been elected by Australia’s First Peoples to speak on their behalf.” was naive and inappropriate to use as a reason to delegitimise any Aboriginal opinion.

    Like

  10. Hello John,

    Re: “I am hoping that there might be some relevant comment on that issue from yourself or WBT readers, despite Arthur’s lack of faith in the WBT community. Or should it just be ignored because it does not fit the ideological template (correct line)?”

    You may have missed my comment below yours in this thread.

    My involvement is a political question. I am not on the ground in the NT – i do not know the conditions so my comments are limited. Of course I have a point of view – as you know i have an opinion on most things.

    In this case i prefer to listen.

    Ian

    Like

  11. Hello Ian,

    Yes I saw the email you posted, I suspect it is more relevant to this thread than the Walpiri letter thread. I am hoping that there might be some relevant comment on that issue from yourself or WBT readers, despite Arthur’s lack of faith in the WBT community. Or should it just be ignored because it does not fit the ideological template (correct line)?

    I posted the Walpiri letter on ULP yesterday

    “I have been asked to publish this letter, which I do so gladly. I have no intention of engaging in Central Australian tribal politics but I believe this letter indicates a dimension of Aboriginal politics that is often overlooked in the white left/right commentary. So called “supporters” and opponents of Aboriginal power alike have tended to line up Aboriginal leaders in opposition camps according to standard white ideological narratives. The result of this has been, once again, dismissing Aboriginal perspective on its own terms.”
    http://unlearningtheproblem.wordpress.com/2011/05/15/in-support-of-bess-nungarrayi-price-letter-to-editor-of-the-alice-springs-news/

    Like

  12. Hello John,

    Did you see Arthur’s reply to you on the other thread – see https://workersbushtelegraph.com.au/2011/05/13/intervention/#comment-14935? You may have to press page down – it is the only comment on that thread so far.

    Arthur is asking you to publish his open letter in support of Bess Price on your site.

    Arthur says that he does not care about WBT because ”as ‘wbt’ readers … would ‘not’ be my target audience”.

    ****************

    While on this topic, I am not sure what your criticism of me is all about.

    You seem to be asking me to become an aborigine and to adopt a murri mindset.

    You have adopted an aboriginal family – or perhaps they have adopted you, I don’t know – but you can’t expect me to step into your world.

    I can’t and, even if I could, it would not be honest or true.

    My support of continuing aboriginal resistance against colonial sovereignty is political.

    So when I do the PA for murri rallies – this political support becomes an organisational question between the murri leadership and LeftPress (that owns the PA). I have done this since Mulrunji was murdered by Snr Sgt Hurley in Nov 2004.

    I also broadcast on WBT and YouTube how murris and their leaders respond to particular questions like ‘Deaths in Custody’ and the ‘NT Intervention’.

    I have not had any problems with that arrangement and as far as I know neither have aboriginal leaders I have dealt with.

    Arthur Bell may not be aware of this and not realise the political nature of our co-operation.

    As you know WBT and BushTelegraph channel on YouTube videos do have a small audience some of whom are probably murris, I don’t know.

    Ian

    Like

  13. Ian,

    I am glad you posted the Walpiri letter.

    Perhaps you did not notice Arthur’s comment in the moderation file?

    JT

    Arthur Bell –

    “My first visit in months, and WOW !
    Ian Curr, you may not like this, but I have “No Hostility” to My Cousin Les Malezer.
    This is merely “Your Interpretation”.
    Les is but “One of Many” whom misrepresent as
    “Self Appointed” Spokespeople and Representatives.
    The difference with Les is that he does it over seas and
    Unknowingly to the “VAST MAJORITY” of Aboriginal People.
    And to people that can be quite reasonably construed to be Enemies of us Australia.
    People that would damage our way of life because of Les’s misrepresentations.
    As for the Congress, Les received one hundred and six (106) votes only.
    More on this soon at indymedia Australia. ( can’t give away to much ! )
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    John, I posted this 9/5/11 I don’t think Ian wants to know about this sort of stuff. “

    Like

  14. Hello John,

    I have published Arthur’s letter @ https://workersbushtelegraph.com.au/2011/05/13/intervention/

    Ian

    Like

  15. Hello Ian,

    This is a plea for you to publish the comments that Arthur has sent you.

    I think it is unfair of you to publish a post directed at Arthur, with his name in it, and not allow him to participate in the conversation.

    I understand Arthur has sent to you the following letter to the editor of Alice Springs News signed by 120 Walpiri. I hope you will accept it under my name, if not Arthur’s.

    In support of Bess Nungarrayi Price

    Sir – This is an open letter to those who think they know us better than we do
    ourselves.

    We are Warlpiri people from the communities of Yuendumu, Wirliyajarrayi, Lajamanu and Nyirrpi as well as the town camps of Alice Springs. Bess Nungarrayi Price is with us today to say goodbye to one of our lost children. We are sorry and in mourning. Bess Nungarrayi is one of us. She was born here at Yuendumu and grew up here. We are all family to her. It makes us sad and angry when we hear that white people and town Aboriginal people in Sydney and in Alice Springs are insulting Bess and telling lies about her. When you insult her you insult all of us, we are her family. Nungarrayi lives in Alice Springs but she talks to us all the time. She listens to what we tell her. Many of our people also live on the town camps in Alice Springs. Barbara Shaw does not lead them, she doesn’t speak our language. Nungarrayi always does her best to help any of us when we are in trouble. We support her in her struggle to make life better for us.

    We are hurt and angry now by the things that these people have been saying.

    Aboriginal people should know better than to hurt people who are in sorry business. No white person knows us better than Bess does. We don’t know who this Snowy River woman who calls herself Nampijinpa. We don’t know Marlene Hodder. They don’t speak our language like Nungarrayi does. They don’t know what is in our minds and hearts like Nungarrayi does. These people should apologise to her and to us, her family, for the things they have been saying.

    More than 120 signatures are in the possession of the Alice Springs News. They are available from piiji@bigpond.net.au

    see http://unlearningtheproblem.wordpress.com/

    Like

  16. Ian,

    I can remember 8 people including myself, so it makes me feel a bit better knowing there were only 9. I was not fined, I was “admonished and discharged”. I was in the House of Freedom at the time. The children’s court social worker, who advised the magistrate on sentencing, was also a member of the House of Freedom – Marg Allison (Janet’s sister). She got me drunk for the first time and took me to my first R rated movie a short time after that. That was my admonishment I figured.

    This is how I remember it

    It started with a prayer vigil in King George Square (I suspect that was the bit organised by the Uniting Church). Once that had finished we decided to March to Queens Park, next to where DAA was. Special Branch advised us that we could not march so we split into 2s and 3s and sung hymns as we walked. Special branch said we couldn’t sing, so we whistled.

    Once in Queens Park we re-commenced singing. Special Branch told us we couldn’t sing in Queens Park but we kept singing. (there is a clause in the rules and regulations for Queens Park that prohibits religious services) Traffic Branch went to each individual person telling us to move on. Those that refused to move on were picked up and put on the footpath, where we could be arrested under the traffic act for disobeying a lawful direction.

    Like

  17. Hello John,

    There were nine Concerned Christians arrested in Queens Park on 9th April 1978.

    The demonstration was called by members of the Uniting Church.

    As you say, you were one of them and, being a minor, you were taken before the children’s court.

    You were all charged with Disobey Lawful Direction and fined between $10-$25.

    It seems that at least 6 people contested the charges (you did not) and were tried before a Magistrate in May & June of that year.

    Two people were acquitted and two has their verdicts reserved. I do not know the outcome.

    Ian Curr
    May 2011

    Like

  18. My guess is those photos were at the magistrates court for first appearance the next day. Many of the arrestees are in the photo and it looks like morning. The arrest was in late afternoon and it was dark by the time everyone got out. I was in the childrens court so wasn’t there. Ciaron was arrested too and would of been there when it was taken. The Aurukun placard is his handwriting.

    Like

  19. I have photos of the Concerned Christians standing outside the south brisbane watchouse. Is the photo below taken after the arrest you refer to? I note that at least one of the placards mentions Arukun.

    Concerned Christians Vigil

    Aren’t you running the risk of excluding people from the debate by saying they are ignorant of Aboriginal lore and that you know better because you can trot out a list of elders that you know well?

    I know that my comments were personal and that you reacted to them, so I am partly to blame — but i do not think you are practicing what you preach, why not outline systematically why you think the ‘Family Responsibility Commission’ is a step in the right direction.

    As for me, I do not have the time to take up every point you raise – I am trying to suggest a path for you to educate me and the sceptics. But this is only my opinion.

    As you would have noted, others aren’t exactly breaking down doors trying to participate in this discussion. No doubt some of the people that you refer to would have read this thread.

    Got to go,

    ian

    Like

  20. Ian,

    The famous Concerned Christians prayer vigil in 1978 was about Mornington Island and Aurukun. Special branch and the traffic branch arrested 13 people (including me) for praying.

    I do not think you should characterise the will and opinion of the Aurukun elders as “David Marr and his liberal nonsense” just as you should not interpret Pearson, Langton et al by way of Howard or Brough. You should respect the historical context of Aboriginal communities and their political and cultural leaders on their own terms, not in terms of your own perceived ideological binaries or mainstream media narratives. In the 78 and the recent 4 corners program, the people of Aurukun clearly and effectively expressed their opinions.

    You might not agree with the Family Responsibility Commission but you should not deny the support it has from the 4 communities, in particular the traditional elders and the democratically elected councils. Who are you to suggest that you know better than them about what is best for them? If self determination is good enough for Essie Coffie in NSW, why do you have so much problem with it in Cape York?

    You challenge me to listen to the elders. In the 90s I was a personal assistant to a senior Cape York elder, in fact he was the eldest of the elders. This is where I get my perspective on Cape York from. I never met Pearson at the time but I did meet the elders that directed him and I was exposed to their vision and modus operandi.

    I was Oodgeroo’s personal assistant for a few months in her later years and have worked with Bejam as he became an elder over the last 20 years.

    I was a close friend of Harold Hopkins, the boss elder of Musgrave Park in the 80 and 90s, who started Murri Watch.

    I have sat with elders councils of three different extended families.

    Through the Oodgeroo Treaty process I am directly connected to a circle of elders and am responsible/accountable to the law of those elders.

    I do indeed listen to the elders and what I hear from them is very different from the right/left political framework that you and so many “supporters” and a minority of Aboriginal activists cling to.

    Who do you listen to in developing your opinion about Cape York? Can you name one person – elder or otherwise – from the four trial communities that is opposed to the FRC? What is you alternative to it – take the children off dysfunctional families as per communities not in the trial? The token authority of a white magistrate is a small price to pay for keeping children with their families.

    The historical circumstance and value system of white suburban leftists and environmentalist is a different planet to the reality of Aboriginal communities. Until white supporters can fully understand this then they are just regurgitating white myths in their public engagement in Aboriginal issues.

    Like

  21. John,

    From memory, on 1 April 1978, the Civil Liberties Co-ordinating Committee & the Movement Against Uranium mining (i was a member of both committee’s) organised a demonstration in King George Square.

    The guest speakers were two Wik people who spoke eloquently for land rights in the rain that day. The MC was George Georges. I remember George and I had a disagreement about whether to march in the rain or not. I thought we should defy the street march ban every chance we got. George prevailed – we did not march – we had been arrested enough.

    As it turned out we both ended up in jail at a later date anyway.

    John, don’t you be lecturing me about ‘good guys/bad guys’ putting me in some bullshit mindtrap with your zombie stereotypes.

    If you want to criticise the Labor Party approach to indigenous affairs write a proper analysis and I will publish it – if you want to criticise the Left do that I will publish that as well. I told you that already, many times.

    But please, don’t be bringing out David Marr and his liberal nonsense and holding it up to me in some perverse caricature of what is real or not real— as if I would say David Marr is part of a right wing conspiracy. David Marr wrote (with Marion Wilkinson – ex 4Zzz) ”Dark Passage” about Siev X — that was a pretty good book. It put a lie to Howard. I just can’t see why Noel Pearson or Marcia Langton needed to side with Howard & the racists. They didn’t need to do that. Pearson & Langton benefitted by being sent away to get an education but not everyone does – why put people in their boxes just because they realise their potential that way?

    John, you know I never had any truck with Labor. Least of all on indigenous policy.

    Yes I respected George Georges – but that was because he was a socialist – not because he was Labor Senator for Qld. Old George never dobbed us in – even when he could have.

    Having said all that, one good program I remember was CDEP (community development employment project) because it was about self-determination and self-management. The Howard government took that away. See Essie Coffey — MY LIFE AS I LIVE IT (see video below).

    Back to the Wik people. Six days after the demonstration the Fraser government signed a 50 year lease with the Wik people – effectively giving them lease title to their own land.

    This was a slap in the face for the Bjelke-Petersen government because he was like a raving missionary on the loose with a gun – he wanted to control aboriginal affairs – he wanted wik land and Hinze wanted to sell them grog, that part of the 4 Corners program rings true.

    That is why Bjelke-Petersen put mad Charlie Porter in charge of Aboriginal affairs in 1977 administering the apartheid Qld Acts.

    The ABC Four Corners report implied that the Wik people won Land Rights. That is a lie. What would they know, they were from down south – they thought Qld was the Deep North – that is how shallow their analysis was. Qld was an outpost of transnational mining and Joh Bjelke Petersen was their gun dog.

    After the demonstration in KGSq, I wrote a pamphlet titled ‘Justice is a Game’. My pamphlet was not very coherent. But let me say, in part, I was inspired by the defiance & resistance of the Wik people who spoke that day.

    In the years that followed crumbs were thrown at the Wik and Mapoon people up in the gulf. Mining companies came and stayed – Comalco are still there in weipa a company town now home to a refugee detention centre in the old Sherga airforce base. My forefathers hunted wild pig up there in the mid to late 1800s.

    The Keating government (following on Fraser) gave the Wik people native title – yeah – but sitting on a committee with a magistrate managing people’s lives with a basic card is not self determination. Nor is native title – what is the point when the people have no economic base? Alcohol management is not self determination either. It is a band aid. Ask the people what they think of Pearson & Langton’s ideas, why don’t you?

    Native title is bullshit – the Queen owns the land and the mining company owns what is under the land!

    I could say a whole lot more, John, but are you listening?

    Never mind, don’t be listening to me – I am no one, Mr Nobody — 🙂

    Try listening to aboriginal elders —

    Ian Curr
    4 may 2011

    Like

  22. Ian,
    – and others who embrace a good guys / bad guys approach to Aboriginal politics – especially those who publicly opposed the Cape York welfare trial,

    I would be curious to hear your comments about the recent 4 corners program on Aurukun
    http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/special_eds/20110502/aurukun/

    Just the ABC’s contribution to the right wing journalistic conspiracy?
    Or is there a valid perspective and program at play, that should be supported by white supporters of the Aboriginal struggle rather than demonised?

    A key point in relation to the previous discussion is the nature of leadership throughout the Aurukun struggles – traditional elders, not democratically elected committee members, the latter being an imposition of Bjelke-Petersen and Hinze to smash and/or by-pass the real Aboriginal leadership. Watch the 1978 4 Corners program on the same link.

    Like

  23. Warren Mundine & Macklin oppose choice of co-chair by first peoples congress.

    The ALP say they support democracy.

    But when an election throws up someone that does not agree with them — sound familiar?

    “FORMER ALP national president Warren Mundine yesterday lambasted the Gillard government’s approach to indigenous affairs, saying symbolism had replaced action at the coalface. “

    Ms Macklin said the government expected the congress to be part of this process and to provide policy advice “which reflects the views of its members”.

    See “Congress is a waste of money, says Warren Mundine

    But we know what Les Malezer stands for —

    — An end to the NT intervention
    — No more deaths in custody
    — Aboriginal sovereignty

    Ian Curr
    27 April 2011

    Like

  24. Hello John,

    As readers would have noticed Workers BushTelegraph publishes articles by Ray Jackson & Les Malezer regularly.

    WBT broke the news of Les’s win online 24 hours before the SMH.

    Then the attacks on Les from Fairfax & Murdoch began.

    As far as I can see Les is going to ignore the Fairfax’s & the Murdoch’s and use his election to achieve what he can. Needless to say he will not cowtow to the Minister (jenny mackllin) or anyone else in government. I support this approach.

    Why don’t you ask him yourself?

    I will not publish Arthur Bell because he has his own website and he does not need WBT to put out his opinion.

    As for you, my offer is still open – if you wish to write a critique of the ALP indigenous policy I am happy to publish it.

    Policy guidance is given in the footer of this webpage.

    Ian Curr
    26 April 2011

    Like

  25. Perhaps you think these men are puppets of right wing media empires also?

    Ray Jackson – ‘a powerless assimilationist government-controlled window dressing exercise’, whose advice the Federal Government could listen politely to and then ignore”

    Michael Andersen – “Do the Prime Minister and his Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Jenny Macklin, truly think that we Aborigines are childlike and cannot see the insult being waged against us with the establishment of such an irrelevant organization, and then to say that they represent Aborigines when NO public elections are being held for its membership?”

    Geoff Clarke – “Aboriginal people in this country have less democratic representation in this country than the citizens in Afghanistan have in theirs,” “This new congress lacks anything in the way of indigenous representation.” ”It’s just there for show, to make people feel like the government is doing something.”

    Like

  26. Ian,

    Your inability to distinguish between myself, Arthur, Noel Pearson, Marcia Langton, Fairfax, Murdoch, Howard, Rudd and Gillard indicates an over-simplified ideological analysis rather than any understanding of the complexities of the issues that any of us have spoken of. The world is more complicated than you seem to realise.

    The white narrative to which I referred is The Australian’s Aboriginal campaign around which you define Noel Pearson, Marcial Langton, Arther Bell and myself. You have accepted the terms of reference of the right wing slander and taken an opposing position from within the same parameters of debate. The black reality however is not reflected in this debate.

    I urge you to consider the opinions of Aboriginal people, including contributors to the Australian and to BT, to have integrity within an Aboriginal frame of reference and not as simply a manifestation of the white narrative. You might not agree with them but do not slander them (or me) as being puppets of some white master because some of your sacred cows come under fire.

    Like

  27. Arthur Bell’s criticism of FAIRA about being unrepresentative becasue it was “de-funded by the Howard government” is untrue.

    Like Langton & Pearson, you are pandering to untrue political assassination of FAIRA & Malezer by suggesting the truth that Malezer was elected by aborignal people to a first peoples congress is somehow a ‘white narrative’.

    Your claim to make a ‘radical critique of the ALP indigenous program’. This is a smokescreen. Especially in the background of lies put out by the Murdoch & Fairfax Press. Murdoch publishes Pearson & Langton because they are anti-Labor and were pro-Howard’s NT intervention.

    Arthur Bell wrote to WBT saying:
    “Presenting and Misrepresenting himself (LM) ( unchallenged ) as some sort of Spokes Person or Representative of the Aboriginal and Islander People of Australia. He has stated that he has a Mandate. This is Not True and he knows it. Les has gotten a lot of mileage from his association with the now, De-funded and Defunct FAIRA.” — Arthur Bell @ http://www.whitc.info/

    To which Les Malezer replied:

    “However you seem to believe that FAIRA is de-funded and therefore has no right to exist. I would appreciate if you can correct your statements to point out that the Howard Government ceased FAIRA’s role as a Native Title Representative Body because we strongly criticised the Howard government and made an official complaint to the United Nations about the racist changes to native title law in 1998.” — Les Malezer’s reply @ https://workersbushtelegraph.com.au/2010/07/08/an-open-message-to-arthur-bell/

    WBT does not publish Arthur Bell anymore – he just repeats the same slander without replying to substantive points made by Malezer.

    Are you falling into the same trap?

    If you want to make a ‘radical critique of the ALP indigenous program’ why not do so.

    Workers BushTelegraph would only be too happy to publish such a critique on the condition you research and reference the article properly. If you wish to see what I mean ‘researched and referenced’ see “Counter Terrorist Cops, Special Branch and Paradigm Shifts on the Road to St. Brigid’s Well!” by Ciaron O’Reilly.

    Ian Curr

    Like

  28. Ian,

    Your comment to which I responded “bullshit” was…….“Les Malezer has been elected by Australia’s First Peoples to speak on their behalf.”

    The corporation’s board of directors is elected by the members of the corporation and represent nobody else.

    The broader representative status of this corporation is an ALP propaganda myth (bullshit) that I hope you will get past soon.

    Aligning radical critique of the ALP indigenous program with right wing slander is also bullshit. Aboriginal politics should not be approached by way of the reference points of white journalistic narrative, even as a counter point within that narrative, for to do so simply reinforces the white narrative and perpetuates ignorance of the realities of Aboriginal law, leadership and political objectives.

    Like

  29. Hello John,

    The Arthur Bell spam says that Les Malezer has no authority to speak on behalf of aboriginal people.

    I say that Les Malezer has been elected by aboriginal people.

    To that you said “Bullshit!” because the First People’s congress is undemocratic.

    However, under its rules, Les Malezer was elected co-chair.

    Ian Curr
    25 April

    Like

  30. Ian,

    You ask….”Why do Arthur (& you) accept the relentless slander & defamation of people like Les”

    What slander do you claim that I have accepted? Who are these “people like Les” of which you speak?

    I remember speaking out against the slandering of Gary Foley, Denis Walker, Michael Noonan and Noel Pearson on BT.

    My previous post says I was glad Les was elected and that he has an honourable track record – hardly slander.

    All I have done is echo aspects of the almost universal criticism of the Calma/Macklin/Mundine plan by Aboriginal people around the country during the “consultation” process – the time when they were allowed to submit comments about the government’s fait accompli.

    Your faith in the integrity of this corporation is naive.

    Your association of my critique of the ALP’s indigenous program with “the Howard’s, the Rudd’s, the Gillard’s, the Fairfax’s & the Murdoch’s….conservative mission” is absurd.

    Like

  31. [Aboriginal News]

    Dear Friends,

    Friends of the Earth Indigenous Communities “No mining No forestry Campaign” & The Latin American Solidarity Network (LASNET) Mapuche Campaign would like to extend you a fraternal invitation to our Solidarity Dinner and Campaign Launch on Friday April 29th at 7pm, Friends of the Earth, 312 Smith St. Fitzroy.

    Barbara Shaw a prominent Indigenous activist from Mt Nancy Town, Alice Spring who lives in the prescribed areas under the intervention, and leads the campaign against it, will be in Melbourne launching “Mt Nancy Town Campaign” in person.

    Maria Paz Toro a Chilean Indigenous Activist will be visiting Australia and attending LASNET Community Solidarity Seminar on Latin America also will be our special guess during the Solidarity dinner.

    During the night we are going to have an excellent time, live speeches, music, good discussion and ideas. Drinks available from our canteen please do not BYO.

    Solidarity Dinner price $30/$20; without dinner $15 we also have a solidarity price of $35 in case you would like to donate some money to these two campaigns.

    Please confirm your participation by contacting Marisol Salinas on 9419 8700 ext. 27 (please leave a message) or call 0413 597 315, RSVP required by Thursday 28 for canteen purpose.

    In solidarity,

    Marisol Salinas
    On behalf of Friends of the Earth

    Rebecca Harrison
    On behalf of LASNET

    Marisol Salinas, Latin American Liaison Officer
    Friends of the Earth
    marisol.salinas@foe.org.au

    Friends of the Earth
    Melbourne – Australia
    312 Smith St / PO Box 222 Fitzroy 3065
    melbourne.foe.org.au

    Ph: +61 3 9419 8700 Ext.27
    Fax: +61 3 9416 2081
    Office Hours: Wed-Fri 10am-3pm
    0413 597 315

    ——————————————————————————–

    Like

  32. Hello John & Arthur,

    Who is Arthur Bell to judge Les Malezer or anyone else in the aboriginal leadership? What qualifies anyone to make such an onslaught? All I am saying is that aboriginal & torres strait island people voted for Les Malezer. I am not saying that I believe in the institution that is the first peoples congress.

    Arthur Bell has spammed this website for ages with his torrent of abuse against Les Malezer. Why, I ask?

    Why do Arthur (& you) accept the relentless slander & defamation of people like Les who take the long march through the existing institutions?

    John, I do not know how many people voted in the first peoples congress but even if I accepted your figures it is more people proportionally than voted for Howard, Gillard, Rudd into mainstream political leadership. Take Rudd in Griffith – he got 35,445 votes with a party machine behind him in 2010. How many voters are there in Australia? 12 million, more? What tiny percentage of the total vote is that? Rudd was never elected by the Australian people. The Labor caucus elected him to lead and, when he proved that he could not (lead) they dumped him. There was a 9 % swing against Rudd in Griffith in 2010 – he might even lose his seat in 2013 – and he was supposed to be an elected leader and now struts the world stage pronouncing support for the US military expeditions in Afghanistan, Libya, and god-knows-where next. All Les does is go to the UN to seek sovereignty for his people.

    Why side with the Howard’s, the Rudd’s, the Gillard’s, the Fairfax’s & the Murdoch’s on this conservative mission?

    Ian

    Like

  33. Reply to reply to Arthur Bell,

    “Les Malezer has been elected by Australia’s First Peoples to speak on their behalf.” – Bullshit!

    While I do not share Arthur’s hostility towards Les Malezer I do share his cynicism about the nature of the Aboriginal industry.

    I am glad that Les is co-chair because of his connections to Mansell, Clarke and the APG and his unflinching embrace of sovereignty, but the national congress is just a mickey mouse operation and does not confirm or deny anybody’s leadership status.

    The “The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples Ltd” is a private corporation with no statutory responsibility or power. It has a membership of 2200 individuals and 120 organisations. 26% of the membership voted. A national vote pool of 600 does not an Aboriginal leadership make.

    Candidates for election are vetted by an ethics committee and those with criminal records cannot run. Given that 9 out of 10 Aboriginal men end up in prison at some point of their life, this corporation directly proscribes a large section of the Aboriginal leadership.

    Les has risen to the top of the elite of Aboriginal bureaucrats – nationally and globally. Arthur is, was and always will be a grass roots activist. What unites these two men is their Aboriginality – which has an inherent and pre-existing leadership structure based on bloodlines and eldership. This is the real aboriginal government.

    Do not accept the white propaganda lie spread by Macklin and others, that the Congress speaks for all Aboriginal people – for if you believe that it does then you must accept the illegitimacy of other leaderships and perspectives that may conflict with the corporation (as you have just done with Arthur).

    The Congress exists because the invader government needs an indigenous filing cabinet to put indigenous issues into. In the old days “kings” were appointed by the police and given breastplates to signify their authority to speak on behalf of all Aboriginal people, nothing has changed.

    Like

  34. Reply to Arthur Bell

    For a longtime Arthur Bell has claimed that Les Malezer has no authority to speak on behalf of aboriginal people.

    Well, Arthur, I think you now have your answer.

    Les Malezer has been elected by Australia’s First Peoples to speak on their behalf.

    Malezer has been elected to co-chair of the National Congress which is the first national representative body for Indigenous people since the abolition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commissioner or ATSIC in 2005.

    Here are some of the young people he leads.

    Ian Curr
    23 April 2011

    To quote JENNY MACKLIN MP
    Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs:

    “The Australian Government today welcomed the election of Ms Jody Broun and Mr Les Malezer as the first elected co-chairs of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.

    Ms Broun and Mr Malezer were elected in a national ballot of Congress membership…

    The establishment of the national representative body followed consideration by the Government of the report ‘Our Future in Our Hands’ developed by the former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Dr Tom Calma, and an Indigenous Steering Committee.

    The Government is committed to resetting the relationship with Indigenous Australians and working with them in new partnerships based on trust, goodwill and mutual respect.

    The new executive of the National Congress will be fully operational by July, and will provide a central mechanism with which governments, the corporate and community sectors can engage and partner on reform initiatives.”

    Like

  35. Tokenism or Symbolism ?
    Kevin Rudd’s “Apology to the Stolen Generations”
    Les Malezer’s “Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”
    Julia Gillard’s “Constitutional Acknowledgement”

    These Issues do Nothing to Improve the Live’s of Aboriginal People.

    Like

  36. “Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”
    This “Declaration” I am Not Aware of Any Aboriginal People that asked Les Malezer to Involve Himself in or to Contribute to it on our behalf. Did he just Think All this Up Himself and then decide to take us Aboriginals along for the Ride ? When exactly did Les Malezer decide to Appoint himself Ambassador and Chief Negotiator of the Aboriginal People of Australia ? Why exactly did Les Malezer decide to Appoint himself Ambassador and Chief Negotiator of the Aboriginal People of Australia ?
    for more info http://www.whitc.info
    Arthur Bell

    Like

  37. For all info on this and other issues, visit http://www.whitc.info
    Arthur Bell.

    Like

Please keep comments brief (moderated for spam only)

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.