Daily Archives: June 8, 2015


Reminder: Cloudland Collective presents discussion about Greece today

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The Cloudland Collective presents: A discussion about Greece today with economist John Quiggin 7pm Tuesday June 9th upstairs @ the Boundary Hotel, West End In January this year SYRIZA formed government in Greece. Around the world people celebrated the electoral … Continue reading


The Vanguard: aged care workers fight the race to the bottom

Residential Aged Care in Australia is being handed to big corporations by the Abbott Government. Private for profit companies like Japara, BUPA, Allity, Regis and Estia are moving in at a rapid rate, backed by Macquarie and other banks to … Continue reading

Australian Indigenous tribes fighting resource project at home visits Alberta First Nations

Adrian Burragubba and Murrawah Johnson visit the Beaver Lake Cree Nation in Alberta. Photo:Brandi Morin/APTN

Delegates from two Australian Indigenous tribes travelling the world to seek support and build awareness about a massive coal mine set to be built within their sacred territories stopped in Alberta this week.

The Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council are “gravely” concerned about the impacts the project will have on their traditional lands.

The Indian owned company Adani is awaiting land lease agreements to construct the 40km by 13km Carmichael mine north of the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland, Australia- approximately 10km away from Wangan and Jagalingou territories.

Adrian Burragubba youth representative of the Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council meets Beaver Lake Cree Nation Chief Germaine Anderson.

The group visited Alberta First Nations this week to learn about the plight faced by communities there involved in litigation battles with governments and industry.

“I think it’s now time that we join together as Indigenous brothers and sisters all around the world,” said Murrawah Johnson, who represented the youth of the Wangan and Jagalingou tribes.

“We’re fighting the same issues, fighting the same people, fighting the same companies, fighting the fossil fuel industry, fighting our governments to say this is not ok. We will not consent- we have not consented. And our right to either give or withhold consent is being oppressed.”

The tribes believe that if the Carmicheal mine is allowed to proceed it will “tear the heart out of the land.” Due to the massive size of the mine it would have devastating impacts on their native title, ancestral lands and waters, totemic plants and animals and tribal environmental culture and heritage.

Community members, leadership and Elders from Beaver Lake Cree Nation in Northern Alberta welcomed the delegation yesterday.

Over freshly cooked bowls of duck soup, bannock and baked pickerel friendships were made and stories were swapped of the battle against industrial development.

“We’re here to let you know about our struggle,” said Adrian Burragubba from the Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council.

“We share in the struggle against colonization and our fight is against the colonies destroying our sacred sites.”

Beaver Lake Cree Nation filed a lawsuit against the Alberta and Canadian governments in 2008 for the over development of a tar sands expansion project happening in their homelands.

Beaver Lake Cree Nation member Eric Lameman talks with APTN’s Brandi Morin

Although it is a small community with approximately 900 members, Beaver Lake’s traditional territories are vast, stretching across 38, 927km through boreal forest which also sits among large oil sands deposits.

Currently there are about 35,000 oil and natural gas wells here.

The band is raising funds to take the case to trial and is relying on Treaty rights to win.

Beaver Lake is a signatory to Treaty 6, signed in 1876, which included promises protecting their inherent right to hunt, fish and trap and to ensure a future of balance development.

Eric Lameman, 57, grew up on the land, his father was a trapper and passed down the knowledge to his son. However, Lameman has noticed changes in recent years. A change in the land that shouldn’t be so recognizable in such a short period of time.

“As soon as you see land starting to change you spot it right away,” he said.

“You can see what industrial developments, how it’s hurt our land.”

He was happy to host the Wangan and Jagalingou tribes and said the time has come for Indigenous people to come together to take a stand against billion dollar industries.

There is strength in numbers, and if people join together they just might win.

Adrian Burragubba plays a didgereedoo at a ceremony on the Beaver Lake Cree Nation. Video: Brandi Morin/APTN

“They are going to have the same battle that we have. And the more they learn from what we are doing, I think they will stand a better chance. The water we drink- the water of life. And our air is being hurt. Our lands, everything.”

He pointed out that the dangers of the destruction caused by industrial development is not just for Indigenous people but for all of humanity.

“Every race will get involved because it involves everybody. Every race is finally starting to realize what industry is doing to us. It’s going to kill us- everyone. It’s not just the native people.”

The Australian tribal delegation planned to visit Fort McMurray and conduct a fly-over tour of the tar sands before making their way to the community of Fort Chipewyan on Thursday. The Athabasca Fort Chipewyan First Nation is also involved in litigation against tar sands operations that are encroaching their territories.


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Greek Crisis: more on ‘Cracks in the Fortress?’

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On 3 June 2015 Peter Thomas gave a talk at the Group of 17 hosted by Dan O’Neill’ called “Cracks in the Fortress? Project Europe and Prospects for the Left”. Here are some afterthoughts by John Ransley that may be of interest to the people who attended or like me missed the talk.

1. Forget about the debt number and focus on the primary surplus.

2. What do the troika want? They want to increase the Greek primary surplus to 4.5 percent by imposing even more severe austerity, and take this surplus to pay off debt or at least interest on debt. For this they are offering €7.2bn in fresh financial help, which would mostly be used to maintain the round robin of scheduled debt repayments to creditors. Their big stick is forcing Greece out of the eurozone, which they know would be deeply unpopular with Greek voters, besides causing massive economic damage. According to Paul Krugman, the effect of their demands if accepted would cut Greek GDP by 8 percent.

3. What does Syriza want? They want substantive but not outrageous relief from the burden of running primary surpluses, reducing the amount of resources transferred to creditors from 4.5 to 1-1.5 percent of GDP; they also want flexibility to achieve these surpluses with a mix that includes more revenue and less spending austerity. Continue reading

Renouncing Australia: a dozen people to follow Murrumu by taking Yidindji citizenship

Queensland police may have regarded it as a rather bizarre, one-off incident when they recently arrested Murrumu Walubara Yidindji while he was driving with a licence and a car registration issued in the name of his north Queensland Indigenous nation.

Murrumu Walubara Yidindji, the former Canberra press gallery journalist previously known as Jeremy Geia, who has renounced Australia to live under tribal law in far north Queensland. Photograph: Paul Daley for the Guardian

But when a dozen or so other people take the Yidindji citizenship pledge in Cairns on Monday, the headache for Queensland police might really begin – especially if they decide to follow closely in the footsteps of Murrumu.

Since early 2014 Murrumu – formerly the National Indigenous Television journalist known as Jeremy Geia – has been living by the tribal law of his Indigenous Yidindji people. He has renounced his Australian citizenship and all associated documents and permits. He decided to forgo his bank and superannuation accounts, and has shunned money and other possessions beyond a few clothes.

While the details of how, precisely, he keeps body and soul together are vague, outside supporters of the Yidindji nation help with day-to-day basics. Murrumu is also a visual artist who sometimes uses his work for barter.

Sceptics (see their comments, among many hundreds of others, below the recent articles in Guardian Australia about him) have suggested Murrumu is a cynical publicity seeker – and worse. But there can be little doubt the guy has done more than merely talk the talk when it comes, as he puts it, to “abandoning the citizen-ship”.

In January Murrumu was arrested in Canberra on a trespass charge related to his use of public housing property as the Yidindji embassy. The car he was driving, fitted with black and gold number plates reading YID 001, had also come to police attention and the plates were taken. They have not been returned.

Last month police arrested Geia at a roadside stop at Gordonvale, north Queensland. He had again been driving a car with Yidindji plates and using a Yidindji licence. Police charged Geia with driving an unregistered and uninsured car with false plates, and driving without a licence while possessing “an article resembling a licence”.

Geia is due to reappear in court this month. But Murrumu – the Yidindji foreign affairs and trade minister – is unlikely to show: the Yidindji nation does not recognise the jurisdiction of the court. Murrumu and his attorney general, Gaan-Yarra Yalambara, insist the crown has no authority to impose its law on Yidindji citizens because the Australian constitution does not recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Besides helping to establish the fledgling Yidindji nation – which covers an area in North Queensland about one and a half times the size of Hong Kong – Murrumu is home schooling his infant son, Jeremy. No pre-school in the Cairns district would accept the child without an Australian birth certificate; Murrumu could only offer a tribal birth document.

Gaan-Yarra is one of about 12 people who will pledge their Yidindji citizenship tomorrow.

He says because Indigenous Australians are not recognised in the constitution, those who pledge themselves to the Yidindji can not be dual Australian citizens.

“It is recognised even by the federal court of Australia that ‘adoption’ is a method of recruitment in accordance with the traditional law and custom of the Yidindji Tribal People. The United Nations defines ‘Aboriginal’ people as: ‘Self-identification at the individual level and accepted by the community as their member’,” Gaan-Yarra said.

“The Australian people have not yet voted to ‘recognise’ the Aboriginal people into their Australian constitution. Due to this lack of recognition dual citizenship will not be possible until the Australians vote ‘yes’ to let the Aboriginal people take part in the social, cultural, economic and political life of the Commonwealth of Australia.”

Asked if the decision to quit Australia to join the Yidindji nation was a “lifestyle choice” (an echo, perhaps, of prime minister Tony Abbott’s controversial assertion that Indigenous Australians who live on some remote communities were exercising such discretion), he said: “This is not a lifestyle choice; this is about correcting the past injustices and securing the future for all people who call this great land home.”

Murrumu says Gaan-Yarra is one of several white skinned, soon to be former Australians, who were becoming Jidindji citizens on Monday.

“He has been adopted through the Yidindji tribal law,” Murrumu says.

He says those who become Yidindji citizens on Monday “can use whatever resources are in our territory” including “such resources that have been put there without Yidindji consent”.

“In general the citizen can go about their business as long as they cause no harm, injury or loss to anyone else. The sovereign Yidindji government is continuing to build its capacity to ensure it maintains peace, order and good governance of our territory and its citizens through an interim transition process which is being developed.”

Asked what standards of legal and political governance Yidindji would impose on its citizens, he said: “At this stage we are aiming for a western style democracy and our interim government will strive to have the best available democratic processes … we don’t expect to have a perfect system up and running immediately – however we are looking at great examples of people-powered government’s including the likes of Sweden, Switzerland, Cuba and other nation states.”

Murrumu insists he is not a proponent for either the “yes” or “no” cases on the question of constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians likely to be put to referendum in 2017 – 50 years after Australians voted to give the Commonwealth power to legislate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and to count them in the census. Regardless, his talk about constitutional recognition is unlikely to be welcomed by the “yes” campaigners.

“That question of changing the constitution – it’s got nothing to do with me. I’m not Australian, so I won’t be voting. But if Australians want to vote to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and then enter into trade negotiations and treaties with the Yidindji, then that’s fine,” he says.

The Yidindji government has an appointed chief minister – Gudju Gudju Gimuybara. The chief minister position “will become in time an elected position”.

A delight, perhaps, for political voyeurs.

Paul Daley
The Guardian
Sunday 7 June 2015 12.02 AEST