whilst i can agree with the messages relative to the proposed changes to the australian (british) constitution and the call for sovereignty i still find this multi-layered call from michael to be confusing at best or at worst, totally garbled and biased in its formulation.
looking first at the proposed changes to the constitution, the changes mooted by the federal government and opposition are to be absolutely minimalist in nature and effect relative to where the aborigines, the traditional owners of the lands now called australia, are to be placed in this society. we are to be recognised as the guardians of the lands and not the rightful owners of those lands. we are to be recognised as having been on these lands prior to the 1788 invasion into cadigal land.
this puerile attempt to justify their war crimes means only that we are now to be given mealy-mouthed platitudes and patronising complaisance in an effort to close the book on our legitimate claims for land rights and sovereignty. this must not be accepted by aborigines and non-aborigines as a panacea for the crimes of the past and present.
i have argued previously that the australian constitution is not; the title is an oxymoron. the constitution is strictly based on the english mores of the time with a most unhealthy addition of racism. a racism that was not only aimed at our people, who were allegedly dying out and therefore of no great consequence, but against asian and coloured workers. we as an independent country, (nearly), hopefully soon to be a republic, must have a modern constitution that reflects a more humane, respectful to all, non-racist multicultural australia. an australia that is not frightened to have a bill of rights, the better to protect the citizens of this new australia from reactive governments such as we now suffer.
a constitution that recognises and accepts the rightful place in the history of this country of the aborigines and their nations. not however, i believe, as a separate people but as a people, along with all other citizens, as enjoying a universal state of equality.
our people and our supporters that number some one-third of the population will continue to struggle for that goal of equality to be finally gained. this of course will take time as we fight our racist and xenophobic governments of today. we must also strongly argue for our independence from british and american hegemony.
sovereignty is a different issue and the best way to explain my view is to state that prior to the invasion we were sovereign peoples in our individual sovereign nations. whilst we fought over incursions to our nation and its resources, or for women, or some cultural slight we never committed ourselves to all out war between our clans or nations. our fighting was reduced to the least harm possible, whereby mostly only individuals faced combat, whether armed or not. we also did not “settle” on the lands of another nation as its culture, dreaming places, indeed its whole existence was foreign to us.
michael is right of course when he states that the terminology of ‘constitution’ and ‘sovereignty’ need to be clearly understood and debated by and between our peoples. whilst the terms are foreign to our way of life perhaps, in a very loose fashion, they can be equated with our understanding of our dreaming and ritual culture as our ‘constitution’ of what was legal and therefore to be followed whilst informing of what we could not do. our collective ownership of our lands, languages, culture, etc. points to the fact that we as nations had ownership by right and law, we had a rightful ownership, a ‘sovereignty’ over these ways of living as one in peace.
undoubtedly some of my brothers and sisters would disagree with me and, quite correctly, have their own views but it is a discussion that must be had and be ongoing. i have written before that we must not allow these governments to accept what goes into the (new?) constitution that would attempt to silence us nor to mutate the true invasion history. nor should the view of what is acceptable to us be put forward by our non-aboriginal fellow citizens. our inclusion in the constitution must be our whole and sole responsibility. and our alone.
as we and michael already know, the canberra tent embassy is approaching its 41st. anniversary. whilst we can all recognise michael’s magnificent history of the embassy that does not mean, in my most respectful summation, that he has ownership of the site or who can or cannot visit. the tent embassy has been a site that is owned by all aborigines in this country. i am not forgetting our torres strait islands people but their circumstances i see as being different to our land claims history. we will never forget the struggle of eddie koiki mabo and others in proving once and for all that the foul and hurtful lie of terra nullius was naught but a venal criminal act backed up by governments and their judges.
the history of the tent embassy is littered with ownership arguments. the traditional owners of the land the embassy is on at one time argued for its removal. police and politicians have attempted to remove it. arson attacks have been perpetrated against it and those brave and hardy souls who stayed there, despite fears to their lives. in my time working at the act i would visit often to generally find but one person there. different elders from time to time would position themselves at the embassy for various lengths of time. the embassy has had a very chequered attendance record but the fact has remained and that fact is that the embassy is owned by all of us mobs. i see no problem with the congress being there to seek views on what it should be doing about the australian constitution for those few bodies it states it represents. whilst i agree with michael re the structure of the congress and who pays for the divide and rule effect it is meant to have, i have heard les malezer speak at a constitution forum and of the 5 or 6 speakers there, one being mick gooda, les was the only one i agreed with. i know little of ms jodie broun except that she hails from wa and was the director-general at the nsw department of aboriginal affairs for a time. i have certainly heard little bad about her. i would trust their view more than the calma view but say that they do not speak for me.
i see no value in michael’s emotive inclusion of paedophiles in his tract and i see no value to be had by debating it. it would add nothing to the above dialectic.
our people are in battles all over this land for our innate rights that historically are unarguable and i see no relief in 2013. whilst pm julia gillard has a lot to answer for, she has done some good for the climate. her opposition, tony abbott is a fundamentalist sociopath and would be much, much worse to attempt to deal with.
our only hope that i see is that continue to fight for our aboriginal and human rights with support from good people of sound and moral minds.
indigenous social justice association
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we live and work on the stolen lands of the gadigal people.
sovereignty treaty social justice
“Aboriginal embassy event on 26th is not ours”
Coonamble, NSW, January 2013 – – Aboriginal sovereignty activist, Michael Ghillar Anderson, makes clear that an event being organised by the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (NCAFP ) for 26 January at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, is NOT an Aboriginal Embassy initiative.
The last survivor of the four men who set up the embassy in 1972 and spokesperson for the Sovereign Union of First Nations, emphasises that the NCAFP is a government funded organisation that has not gained the majority support of grassroots Aboriginal people.
“But Congress has chosen the Embassy for its discussion on ‘Sovereignty, the Constitution and Congress’,” Mr Anderson writes in a media release.
“This debate on continuing Aboriginal sovereignty and its relationship to the Constitution from Britain needs to be had and I recognise Congress’s efforts to have a national conversation.
“But there is still an odious stench of contradiction surrounding this, because Les Malezer and Congress are publically supportive of the token Constitutional reform.
“Their failings are paramount when we realise that Congress has no model; they promote themselves for any Constitutional inclusion that does not affect our sovereignty, our inalienable inherent right as First Nations Peoples.
“If Congress understands that sovereignty is an issue on the lips and minds of every Aboriginal person, Congress must put out their thoughts for scrutiny so that we are not dealing with slogans.”
Mr Anderson’s release in full:
It must be known that the event being organised by the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples for 26 January 2013 at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Canberra, is NOT an Aboriginal Embassy initiative, but Congress has chosen the Embassy for its discussion on ‘Sovereignty, the Constitution and Congress’.
We must remember that the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples is a government funded organisation that has not gained the majority support of grassroots Aboriginal people.
Nevertheless this debate on continuing Aboriginal sovereignty and its relationship to the Constitution from Britain needs to be had and I recognise Congress’s efforts to have a national conversation. But there is still an odious stench of contradiction surrounding this, because Les Malezer and Congress are publically supportive of the token Constitutional reform. Their failings are paramount when we realise that Congress has no model; they promote themselves for any Constitutional inclusion that does not affect our sovereignty, our inalienable inherent right as First Nations Peoples.
If Congress understands that sovereignty is an issue on the lips and minds of every Aboriginal person, Congress must put out their thoughts for scrutiny so that we are not dealing with slogans. With modern technologies even people in remote areas can join in these significant discussions and increase their understanding of what is at stake. As peoples we cannot go blindly supporting ideas and the solution has to be a progressing reality that grows in communities.
Just like the decision by the federal government to put this constitutional reform on hold for the moment, so that the public can become educated about it, we also need to continue to educate our people at the grass roots about sovereignty and its implications.
In recent discussions with community Elders across three states sovereign right and the right to self-determination takes on some real meaning when we realise that amongst the Elders are those able to differentiate between the fear of freedom and importance of being self-determining.
The burning question on grassroots people’s lips and minds is how can sovereignty stop the police harassment and bullying by government officials.
As importantly, our people continually ask how can sovereignty counter the organised professional paedophilia predators that were brought back to our shores by PM John Howard’s law that saw Australian paedophiles prosecuted for their paedophilia operations in South East Asia. Now our communities are bearing the brunt of their depraved activities. The horrific reality expressed by Elders is not just police harassment of our youth, but also the overall extent of the external paedophilia operations within our communities throughout Australia. Elders now argue that we as peoples must become self-determining as soon as possible, so that we can wrest control our way, under our Law and custom, to rid our communities of these depraved external predators. In this way we can reduce youth suicide and delinquency within our ranks.
Our people yearn for change in their current life circumstances to a point where the social and economic disadvantage can be measured by real change and our kids are no longer being removed at the current alarming rate.
We know the governments’ agenda is to control us and create developments towards total assimilation. Congress should realise that Marcia Langton, Noel Pearson and Warren Mundine are a far greater influence on government policy and directions than Congress. So if Congress truly wants to make a mark it must sit down in the gutters to help our people fight their way out to freedom.
The process of decolonisation is true liberation from colonialism.
If we are talking about Aboriginal rights and the negotiation of treaties amongst the First Nations, then non-Aboriginal Australia needs to free itself from its colonial ties with England first as the majority of Australians are no longer descendants of British convicts and Australia could become a republic.
Our call as the Sovereign Union is to create a meaningful Constitution that not only establishes a Bill of Rights, but also includes all our inherent rights and protections that we, as First Nations Peoples, have been calling for as a significant way to achieve our liberation.
Contact: Michael Anderson 0427 292 492 ghillar29