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PShift: the story of coal and land rights

Whose land is this land
is it for you and me
who knows, who knows this land
better than you and me.
The spirit of this land is strong
for you and me;
to understand this land
is up to you and me.
To find the owner of this land
is up to you and me.”                         

— from 'Living in the Colonies' by Chris Anderson(Monni Zow)

The Sacred Fire at the Sovereign Tent Embassy in Musgrave Park
Photo: Max Reithmuller


Trevor Berrill on Coal – the beauty and the beast.


Today’s show is part II of ‘Beauty and the Beast – the story of coal’ – As soon as we speak of coal we have to address the question of land and land tenure – so today after the interview with Trevor Berrill an engineer with much experience of sustainable energy…we are going to do a live cross to the tent embassy in Musgrave park.


Well after that interview about the beast of coal we are going to a live cross to a rally about sovereign rights that is commencing now in Musgrave Park. The gathering is about sovereign rights – the claim by first nations people to the land that is being exploited by the mining companies and the land from which wealth comes.

The Sacred Fire on Aboriginal Land in Musgrave Park

The Sacred Fire on Aboriginal Land in Musgrave Park.
Photo: Max Reithmuller

The municipal authorities have decided to take away the right of this movement to organise a tent embassy in Musgrave Park in South Brisbane.

Much of that organisation has been around the sacred fire – that is where on Wednesday’s decisions are made. At an extraordinary meeting of indigenous and on-indigenous on this Wednesday (11 Dec 2012) it was decided to challenge alderman Quirk about his decision to use police, fire-brigade and BCC rapid response unit against the tent embassy in Musgrave Park.

Coco released from watchouse after arrest for protecting the sacred fire

At the gathering at the temporary offices of the Brisbane City Council the sovereign tent embassy people delivered the charges they have against Quirk – his deceit about reasons for using his officers to put out the sacred fire.

Minerals and Native Title

Commonwealth authorities have taken away the economic base of aboriginal people through the Native Title legislation. I quote the Western Yalanji – native title determination:

“The native Title Act (1993) (Cwlth) requires the native title holders to set up an incorporated body called a prescribed body corporate to manage their native title rights and interests. The prescribed body corporate for this determination in the Western Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation. This coroporation is the first point of contact for anyone wanting to discuss any issues.

Native Title Shame

The native title holders are to exercise their rights and interests in accordance with their traditional laws and customs, and under State and Commonwealth laws.

Police arrest Hamish trying to protect the sacred fire

The native title holders do not have the right to control how the determination area will be used or control access to the area. The native title holders also do not have native title rights or interests in relation to minerals or petroleum.”

Police and Fire-brigade come to put out the Sacred Fire (10 Dec 2012)
Photo: Max Reithmuller

Ian Curr
14 Dec 2012

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