Kevin Rudd’s Sorry statement has to say why the government is sorry – press release from Michael Anderson

Press release:  Michael Anderson, Goodooga, NSW, 29 January 2008

In a statement from Goodooga in NW NSW, Michael Anderson said today:

“In our family’s experience, my grandmother taken from Angledool, NW NSW in 1914 and had to find her own way home. She always wanted recognition of the government’s cruel judgement to breed out the colour and culture of Aboriginal people.”

“For an apology to be meaningful, there is a lot of history that PM Kevin Rudd has to admit to. He has to say why the Prime Minister and government is sorry and the public has to accept that the sorry statement is necessary for Australia to move forward.”

“In 1937, State and Federal governments convened aconference in Canberra to decide on a policy of what to do with ‘the Aborigines’ – the resulting policy objective was for the complete annihilation of a race of Peoples. The principle method to achieve this was to remove Aboriginal children from their parents and from the influence of customs, traditions and Law/Lore. The primary objectives were to de-Aboriginalise these children and to expunge their colour, because Australia was working towards an Aryan race.”

“It is important to remember that, in 1901, the first Federal Prime Minister, Edmund Barton, argued for a continent that could be free of ‘contamination’ by foreign and unwanted racial impurities. When he led the debate in the House of Representatives on the Immigration Restriction Bill 7 August 1901, he quoted Professor Pearson a noted social commentator of the time by saying: ‘The fear of Chinese immigration which the Australian democracy cherishes … is in fact, the instinct of self-preservation, quickened by experience … We are guarding the last part of the world in which the higher races can live and increase freely for the higher civilisation .… The day will come …when the European observers will look around the globe girdled with a continuous zone of the yellow and black races. It is idle to say that if all this should come to pass our pride and place will not be humiliated. We are struggling among ourselves for supremacy in a world which we thought of as destined to belong to the Aryan race; and to the Christian faith; to the letters and arts and charms which we have inherited from the best of times.”

“Many in mainstream cannot plead ignorance as it was a common agreement between State and Federal governments with the policy finalised in 1937 in Canberra. There are many Australians still alive today, who voted and trusted the governments to do right thing, but never questioned what was going on. The policy was genocidal in intent and practice – to create a white Australia without colour.”

“In almost every other country in the world, where colonisation has taken place, reparations in various forms have enabled survivors of gross violations of human rights to locate their niche in society. Reparation funds have made it possible for those indigenous groups to maintain identity, restore dignity, develop strategies and an economic base.”

“Reparation programs have to ensure there is not a white bureaucracy having control over us. We have to get away from mission managers. We do not want to be treated as children. We have never been given opportunity to manage our own affairs without a white bureaucratic ceiling of control and an expectation of assimilation.”

“Aboriginal Peoples can do without the welfare handouts. Our nations have to restore their territorial integrity and Australians have no reason to fear this.”“We must set our own objectives. We have a right to do this. The recent UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples affirms our rights and responsibilities. In Australia, Greeks, Italians, Macedonians have own clubs, churches, languages,schools while integrating into Australian society. Why is it different for us as Aboriginal Nations and Peoples in our own land?”

“If Rudd and his labour government are serious, the detail of a sorry statement must include the true horror of the genocide that was planned against Aboriginal Peoples and what was carried out.”

“To alleviate the Australian governments’ fears of separate development through reparation, they only have to look at US and Canadian models, where the sovereign identity of individual nations is maintained. In the Mabo case, the High Court alluded to the fact that sovereignty can continue to exist among Aboriginal Peoples and we assert that it does. We only ask that this be respected and that we can have co- existing sovereignties.”

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N.T. Aboriginal Intervention extended to Qld’s Cape York

“The Federal Government has thrown its support behind a plan to quarantine the
welfare payments of families in some Queensland Indigenous communities.”  
From ABC news Govt backs Indigenous welfare quarantine

PRESS RELEASE
from Queensland Aboriginal leaders Les Malezer, Terry O’Shane, Bob Weatherall, Jacqui Katona, Victor Hart

ABORIGINALS TO FIGHT QUEENSLAND INVASION
21 December 2007

We will join with other Aboriginal leaders in Queensland to fight the
introduction of forced income control over Aboriginal families in
Queenland. This is no less than an extension of the Northern Territory
invasion into Queensland, as designed by Noel Pearson in conjunction
with Mal Brough of the former national government. We will fight for
the human rights of our people in Queensland, especially in Aurukun,
Hopevale, Coen and Mossman Gorge.

The Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, and
federal Minister, Jenny Macklin, have imposed their first big deception
on the Aboriginal people of Australia by disguising their support for
the Noel Pearson welfare plan and secretly planning its implementation
without due regard for human rights.

This racist action will be subject to legal challenge in the Queensland
and Australian courts and, if the government defies our rights by
suspending the Racial Discrimination Act, we will take it to the United
Nations. Our opposition will not be armchair opposition because we
will protest on the streets to oppose the spread of racism by the Labor
Party of Australia.

This is clearly a case of where one law should apply in Australia. If
welfare payments are going to be withheld by a Families
Responsibilities Commission from the most needy families then let it
apply under federal law to everyone in Australia without discrimination
on the basis of race. There should not be a race divide in Queensland
on the promotion and exercise of universal and fundamental human
rights. We know that will never happen because unions and political
parties will not let innocent people be punished for the guilt of
others. Somehow Aboriginal people, according to governments, are
judged to be guilty by race alone.

Any and all problems with substance abuse and anti-social behaviour in
Aboriginal communities is not our fault but the problem associated with
continued alien domination in our lands, sustained poverty and failure
to remedy injustices. Increased control by alien government and
bureaucrats will only exacerbate the situation.

We are very disappointed with Premier Bligh because of the deceptive
way in which this announcement has been masked and kept from community
discussion, especially after clear indication the Alcohol Management
Plans (AMPs) in communities have failed.

The Aboriginal people in this State virtually guaranteed the Labor
Party a victory in the federal elections in a clear vote against the
Brough racism. In the voting for the federal elections they rallied
against the Pearson plan for control of incomes. Now Bligh and Rudd
betray the trust of these people. It seems that governments change but
Australia’s racism against Aboriginal people does not.

The federal government can overnight commit the nation to climate
change reforms, can overnight commit to gay reforms but cannot bring
itself to face to face honesty with Aboriginals.

We demand the Queensland Government publicly disclose its secret
negotiations with Noel Pearson and the government’s AMP outcomes and
achievements in Aboriginal communities. We also call upon Noel Pearson
to present himself face to face with the Aboriginal communities to
explain why he should be cutting payments to needy families while he is
on a government payroll of $200,000 per year.

(Contact:Les Malezer: 0419 710720; )

SIGNED: Les Malezer, Terry O’Shane, Bob Weatherall, Jacqui Katona,
Victor Hart,

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Aurukun rape, gaol and customary law

It saddens me greatly to see the chorus of Aboriginal people calling for the Aurukun rape perpetrators to be sent to gaol.  Some of those same spokespeople were calling for Aboriginal people to stay out of gaol in the 90s.  The dominant colonial paradigm has only offered gaol or total neglect as the options to deal with such things as child rape or anything else in Aboriginal communities, despite the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody such as the strengthening of customary law,  non custodial corrections options and Aboriginal corrections facilities.

Sending perpetrators to gaol will not heal them but make them worse through their gaol experience, which is a key source of the consciousness of rape and predatory sexuality.  The prison sex ethic is reinforced and then sent back to the community upon release, eventually.  This is not a new phenomenon, prison sexuality has been a big factor in Aboriginal communities for a long time, it is taking its toll today.  Sending perpetrators to gaol is just perpetuating the cycle of violence.  Increased sentences such as Rudd, Bligh and the Aboriginal leadership are calling for is no solution at all.

  The youths involved in the Aurukun rape should be subjected to customary law men’s business and resolution, not gaol.  Current law makes elders liable to charges of kidnap   and child abuse if this were to occur.

All the focus is on the perpetrators and the poor little victim is offered little except counselling and detachment from family, community and culture.  She needs to go through customary law womens business for her healing too, as a much greater priority than punishing or healing the perpetrators.

But in our continued denial of the history of the country we have outlawed customary law.  We continue to insist that more police, prisons and the army- the colonial mode –  intervening into Aboriginal lives will somehow deliver justice.  But it makes things worse, it will just perpetuate the cycles of violence.

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It is still O.K. for Australian police to kill Aborigines

The 2004 Palm Island death in custody, where an Aboriginal man was unlawfully arrested and died of massive internal injuries inflicted while in police custody, remains unresolved. The arresting officer and the person who delivered the fatal blow was aquitted on charges of manslaughter but the deceased’s family is still pursuing civil charges and compensation for the death.

The charges against the police officer were not laid by the Queensland Director of Public prosecutions as a result of the coroners inquest into the death, which put responsibility for the death with the police officer. The charges were only laid after a huge public outcry for justice.

However, it is not just Queensland’s criminal (in)justice system that tolerates the killing of Aborigines by police.

In the Northern Territory  

“Policeman who shot Wadeye teen won’t face charges”
N.I.T. Tuesday, 4 December 2007

“Constable Robert Whittington was “in a blind panic” when he “made a fatal error of judgment” and killed Robert Jongmin on October 23, 2002, Northern Territory coroner Greg Cavanagh said yesterday.”

“Senior Const Whittington was originally charged with committing a dangerous act, but the charge was dismissed last year because the prosecution had not been brought within the required two-month period for police.”

In Western Australia

“Coroner clears police of death in custody”  West Australia 28th November 2007  (cultural caution! This article contains a photo of the deceased)

In this case a man died of a heart attack while being arrested. The police claim they did not assault him

Dead prisoner ‘bruised all over’ West Australian 18th October 2007

“An autopsy on the body of Carl Woods, who died minutes after being arrested, showed that he had bruises and abrasions all over his body, from head to toe.

And some linear bruises detected on the small of Mr Woods’ back and on the back of his legs were consistent with blows from a police baton or torch, forensic pathologist Gerard Cadden told a Coroner’s Court inquest yesterday.”

“But evidence has been given by all four of the officers who took several minutes to overpower and handcuff 35-year-old Mr Woods inside a house in Parmelia in April last year that no one used a baton or torch during the struggle. Two police torches were found in the house after the arrest.”

“Dr Cadden then went through a detailed report on the injuries he found on Mr Woods’ body.

He had lacerations to his lips, two lower front teeth — with jaw bone still attached — had been knocked out and a third tooth was also missing. An upper tooth had been jammed into his upper jaw and three other teeth were fractured. Dr Cadden said he understood Mr Woods had been kneed in the face, adding: “It would take considerable force to bring about that degree of dental damage.”

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Aborigines and Conservationism. Land Rights and Green Activism Not Necessarily Aligned

The following article is written by Tyson Yunkaporta.  (his profile here)

 In it he covers issues that I have raised in previous articles such as “Terra Nullius and Ecology”  and “The Environment movement and Aboriginal Australia”.
 
I have included this article partly because it backs up controversial things that I have said in my own articles, but also because it is an Aboriginal perspective which I hope will be taken more seriously than my own non-indigenous reflections on the relationship between Aboriginal and non Aboriginal notions of the natural environment.

More articles by Tyson Yunkaporta – here 

Aborigines and Conservationism
Land Rights and Green Activism Not Necessarily Aligned
By Tyson Yunkaporta

Aborigines and Greens both have a strong environmental focus in activism. But are conservationists in reality serving a colonial agenda when it comes to land rights?
Often conservationists will integrate Indigenous groups and issues into their causes. However, while well intended, this often carries racist agendas that actually support the colonial paradigm. This undercurrent becomes viciously clear in situations like the Makah whale hunting controversy in Washington, which saw greens chanting anti-Indian slogans alongside neo-Nazis, and sporting bumper stickers like, “Save a whale – kill a Makah!”

The Wilderness Myth
The most damaging aspect of conservationist ideology is the wilderness myth, which is basically a green version of Terra Nullius. The concept of “untouched” or “unspoiled” Edens that need to be protected from people always seems to leave Native Title out of the picture. The romantic natural paradise ideal effectively removes Aboriginal people from the landscape. Our land management techniques are silenced at best, or at worst criticised as being primitive and unscientific. In green circles, you will often hear Aboriginal land management cited as a reason for species extinction. Traditional practices are only valid when they are limited to cultural exotica, and when they serve to categorise us as part of the fauna. Hunting is problematic in green politics.

Conservation As Colonisation
When “wilderness” conservation became law, this resulted in countless Aboriginal people being jailed for hunting in “protected” areas on their traditional lands. Many of these people died (and are still dying) in prison. “No camping” rules have resulted in further dispossession, as traditional owners have found themselves driven off the land by a new form of pastoralism called wilderness preservation. And when Indigenous groups or individuals have scraped together enough money to buy back their own land, the government has been able to block the purchase by declaring the areas National Parks. Thus conservationism has become yet another weapon against Aboriginal people.

Aboriginal Portrayal In Green Texts and Research
Reductionism is also a problem in green circles. Because of the monocultural use of western scientific or psuedo-scientific inquiry in conservation, many well-meaning activists fail to develop the holistic knowledge base necessary for understanding traditional land management. This prevents them from seeing the importance of an Indigenous hand in the maintenance of ecosystems. As a result traditional owners are framed as relics of the past. This can be seen in conservationist texts, which generally use the past tense when describing Indigenous knowledge or practices.

Often Indigenous “wisdom” will be used to give a bit of weight and poignancy to green texts. Other times land knowledge is stripped from Indigenous communities by green messiahs and charming researchers who come to save the land and the people (often with a patent in the back pocket for local plant knowledge). If we’re lucky, we get to be their assistants, or consultants.

Apologies to the many conservationists out there who are the exception to this rule.

This article is copyright. Thanx to Tyson  for permission to publish it.

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The Greens and indigenous issues in the 2007 election

The following is a couple of comments I posted (amongst others) on Greensblog in response to what has been the Greens only indigenous policy platform for this election, their indigenous health policy. See – “Australia’s Duty of Care”.  

The policy was released on the same day as the A.L.P.’s official campaign launch and failed to get coverage in the media.

I have criticised the Greens before for neglecting indigenous issues in their campaigns, this was my open letter to the Greens following the 2006 Qld. state election – here and now I have criticised them again.

Here are the comments –  

1/ 

I just got a Greens leaflet in my letterbox at home in Brisbane. It is titled “Greens commitments to peace, justice and human rights”.

Absolutely nothing about Aboriginal Australia.

Today is the 3rd anniversary of the Palm Island death in custody.

The leaflet says the Greens “will oppose the death penalty, torture and mistreatment” What about opposing these things in Australia?

It says “The illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq is a disaster built on a lie” What about the illegal invasion and occupation of Australia?

This Terra Nullius consciousness allows the Greens to whinge about human rights abuses overseas while ignoring the reality before their white noses here in Australia.

2/

For those people who do not know me, I am not an Aboriginal person, my grandfathers country is Tipperary, Ireland.

I am not taking cheap shots at the Greens in support of some other party. I have indeed endorsed Andrew Bartlett in Queensland on my blog because he has done the hard yards in Aboriginal affairs, especially stolen wages and he has made indigenous affairs his prime policy for his election platform.

However much of my above critique of the health policy can be (and has been) equally aimed at the Democrats policy. Bartlett has a much more comprehensive policy platform than the Greens but it is all still just tinkering around the edges of something that needs a radical change of direction.

The Greens have played a brilliant role on climate change. They have provided real leadership in the nation. The Greens started on this issue over 10 years ago when it was a marginalised fruitloop idea and not taken seriously. But the Greens did not back off, they pushed and pushed and pushed. They had education campaigns – active outreach to the community. They consistently included carbon reduction as a key policy platform. Today the Greens can not only say “we told you so!” but have credibility to demand the next obvious step, enforcible reduction targets and the rejection of coal and nuclear, even though it is still unpopular and requires radical social change.

Only the Greens can play such a role on indigenous issues.

Even if the Democrats were to survive this election they couldn’t do it. They can only tinker with the status-quo as they did on the original native title legislation which, even in its original form, was a mechanism for extinguishing, not enforcing Aboriginal rights and interests.

The ALP must entrench the interests of both international capital and a racist and conservative population, they cannot head in the right direction.

ANTAR play an important education role – Their Close the Gap campaign has informed Green, Democrat and Labour health policy this election.

However the real task is self determination – for Aboriginal Australia to be calling the shots. Not just being consulted or giving input into policy frameworks but to be actively managing land, economy, public services and all aspects of Aboriginal life. This will require a change in land law, public service design and delivery and a whole range of social structural re-engineering.

The Greens need a policy for this re-engineering.

A Treaty, self determination, land rights, alternatives to prison, compensation, etc. These are all things that will not flow naturally out of the present indigenous debate. They will require leadership, a leadership that must be willing to, at first, adopt a radical, marginalised, controversial policy framework that is holistic, intellegent and in essence true.
Then push and push and push.

Just like what the Greens did on climate change.

If the Greens do not take this leadership on indigenous issues in parliament and in community education, like they did on climate change, where will this leadership come from?

The Aboriginal leadership – the family and tribal elders, the community councils, the intelectuals and statespeople are all in place ready to go right now but they have no resources to do anything. Where is the point of engagement with white Australia that can bring about the necessary changes?

If not the Greens, who? If not now, when?

It is simply a matter of priorities.

Too late now, but maybe a indigenous issues could be included amongst the core platform at the next federal election? I am bitterly dissapointed that it was not this time, again.

JT

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The Carers Alliance – election message

The following message is from Robert Gow, Qld Campaign Manager of the Carers Alliance. The Carers Alliance are running candidates for the senate around Australia
more info – http://www.qld.carers.org.au/

Hello all,
Many thanks for the support you have all given, the election draws near
 and we are getting many contacts from carers who are desperately
 seeking a better deal.

Carers are asking questions, like:
Why will Indonesian Orang-utans receive several thousand dollars each
 over 4 years when Australian Carers will only receive an average of
 $15.38 each per annum for the next 5 years according to the government’s
 promises.

Carers days are numbered at the rate of interest that governments are
 showing. Will they join the ranks of endangered species though sheer
 neglect by government?

Have you seen our You Tube Video?
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZHkrgNlk9w

When you visit it please click on the favorite’s link. This will
 promote the clip and therefore the issue onto the political agenda and may
 gain us some more much needed press before Saturday.

Over the last two weeks we have published stories of difficulties that
 Carers are having with Centrelink. Many other carers have contacted us
 regarding their problems with the same body. There have been three
 overriding themes emerge:
• The officiousness and inflexibility of Centrelink staff
• The rudeness and flippancy of Ministerial staffers, and
• The non-responsiveness to issues raised by carers with Ministers,
 Shadow Ministers and local Federal members (not even the courtesy of a
 reply)

It has become clear that carers are a home grown endangered species.
  We are a finite resource – we will not live forever. We cannot continue
 to be exploited as a perceived cost effective alternative to a
 properly funded community support system. Governments are consigning carers
 and our sons, daughters, family members who require support and
 assistance, to the scrap heap.

Many of the 2.6 million Australian Carers and the other people that
 they influence (estimated to exceed 6.5 million) will ask “How do I make
 my vote ensure a future for our carers if neither party is serious about
 the issue?”

There is only one option; send a carer to Canberra and force government
 to take notice. A vote for the Carers Alliance Party is the only
 course of action for voters that want to influence the next government to
 make critical changes before carers are extinct in our population.

Without support Carers will become an extinct sub-species of the
 Australian community. Most are at breaking point and many are desperately
 beyond. At current rates of neglect many of the 2.6 million carers will
 join the ranks of those who need care. It will become a vicious circle
 and where does that leave the country?

Once again, please forward this to your mailing list and request that
 they do the same.
Don’t forget to visit the web site, http://www.qld.carers.org.au. We
 have had over 80,000 hits this month alone.

so many thanks,
Robert Gow,
Qld Campaign Manager
Carers Alliance

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