Showing posts with label indigenous culture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label indigenous culture. Show all posts

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Science never was the exclusive property of Western civilisations


News Corps goes to battle in the seemingly neverending culture wars, 2  November 2018

The Guardian, 2 November 2018:

I have recently been involved in working on a project that aims to provide teachers with some insights and elaborations on how to teach the mandated science outcomes in the Australian National Curriculum by using historic and contemporary examples from Indigenous people and communities.

The work combined various Indigenous and non-Indigenous scientists, science educators, curriculum experts, teachers, academics and editors. It looked at examples of traditional land management practices, understandings of chemical reactions and processes, astronomy, medicines and any number of fascinating topics of how Indigenous peoples have worked scientifically for millennia in Australia, and still do. It was a great project to be a part of.

I was quietly hoping this important project would fly under the radar of the ongoing culture wars that exist within Australia, but it seems that was wishful thinking.
It began with a piece on the Daily Telegraph website titled “Fire starting and spear throwing make national science curriculum”. Not quite unfortunately, it would be great if they were though.

I can see how it makes for a better headline though. “Fire starting and spear thrower are two examples of 95 different optional elaborations that teachers can use to help them meet the mandatory outcomes of the National Science Curriculum if they want to” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

"I can’t fathom the hubris required to think that after 60,000 years or so of being in Australia, Indigenous people wouldn’t have picked up a thing or two that the rest of the world could learn from."

If you want to understand the science of how a lever works, about stored energy and kinetic energy, or about mass, acceleration, inertia, and lots of other cool stuff that is mandatory in the curriculum, then a spear thrower is a great way to teach it.

And did you know that before the match was invented in 1826, most people around the world had to light fires the old fashion way? And by “old fashioned way”, I either mean by a fire saw, fire drill, fire plough, or by using flint. All of these examples can be found traditionally in Australia and you can use these methods to teach about combustion, friction, heat energy, kinetic energy, density, and any other number of cool sciencey things.

The article goes on with the standard emotive phrases we see in the culture wars: “racial politics”, “dumbing down”, “slammed by critics” – literally all just in the first sentence.

The front page of the Daily Telegraph carried the story on its front page on Friday with the headline “School Kooriculum: outrage over Indigenous school scheme”. Sure, “Kooriculum” is awesome and I am definitely stealing that in future, but there is no “scheme” and very little outrage.

There is Kevin Donnelly decrying this work as “political correctness” and claiming it is “dumbing down the school curriculum” even though, again, these resources are entirely optional, and have been created in response to requests from teachers.

Donnelly argues that “western scientific thought, based as it is on rationality, reason and empiricism, is not culturally determined”. He quotes Professor Igor Bray as saying that “science knows nothing about the nationality or ethnicity of its participants, and this is its great unifying strength”.

He talks about how Western science is “preeminent” in its value to the world, and can be traced back “through the Industrial Revolution, the Enlightenment to the early Roman and Greek scientists, mathematicians and philosophers”. So it seems that while science knows nothing of nationality or ethnicity, Kevin Donnelly does know that it traces back to the Greeks and Romans, and clearly thinks that what he calls “western science” is superior to all others.

Thousands of years before western science was even dreamed of, Indigenous Australians were developing a detailed and intricate understanding of, and relationship with, the world around them.

It allowed people to intimately understand the relationships of the moon and the tides, measure the equinoxes and solstices, develop a deep wealth of knowledge of plants, animals, seasons, the stars and countless other amazing feats of intellect and ingenuity that have long been denied in the ongoing narrative western civilisation has created about Indigenous peoples.

The ways in which this knowledge was interwoven with a holistic view of the world and the place of humans within it, the ways in which it was encoded and handed down through the ages is fascinating as well. Instead, Indigenous people have long been framed as primitive, backwards, deviant, having nothing of value to offer apart from free land and free labour, in constant need of saving, and deserving of countless punitive measures.

Western science can indeed trace much of its origins back to Greek and Roman societies and in exploring its rich history over the centuries, it’s not a bad idea to look at all the unscientific beliefs that were once science fact.

Read the full article by Luke Pearson here.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Clarence Valley Council fined and facing potential million dollar court judgment for destroying red bean scar tree in Grafton between 2013 & 2016


A Red Bean mahogany tree* that is estimated to have stood on the floodplain before the first British-European set foot in the Clarence Valley is no more and no amount of local government mea culpas will ever bring it back.

200 year old Red Bean Scar Tree after 2013 lopping: Image The Daily Examiner

The Daily Examiner
, 20 September 2018, p1:

A former Clarence Valley mayor has publicly apologised for the removal of a culturally significant tree from a Grafton street, which has the potential to cost the Clarence Valley Council $1.1million.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, Cr Richie Williamson unreservedly apologised to the Aboriginal community for the removal of a scar tree over a period from 2013 to 2016, when he was mayor.

The council was discussing a response to a Land and Environment Court case in which the council had pleaded guilty to removing the remains of a scar tree on the corner of Breimba and Dovedale streets in 2016.

The history of the tree’s removal over that time is a record of council bungling, which had already cost the council $1500 for breaching the National Parks and Wildlife Act.

In 2013 council staff lopped the crown of the tree after an aboriculture inspection found the tree to be in poor condition.

In response the council provided staff with training in dealing with items of cultural significance to Aboriginal people, introduced staff to the Office of Environment and Heritage’s handbook on scar trees, tightened up procedure to ensure approval and assessments were completed and preparation of a Clarence Valley Aboriginal Heritage Study.

Despite this, three years later council staff completely removed the tree without approval from higher management, provoking an OEH investigation that has led to the Land and Environment Court case, which is ongoing.

During the debate, Cr Williamson addressed the meeting to tell of his deep embarrassment on behalf of the council and personal and deep sadness at the actions that led to the removal of the tree.

“I met with a number of Elders who were deeply, deeply hurt by the action of the council,” he said.

“I also recall it was around the time of NAIDOC Week and it was very sad for them and the hurt was clearly displayed on their faces.”

Cr Williamson said the destruction of the tree should never have happened and he remained remorseful for the actions of others.

“I’m sure we all in this chamber would expect and are striving for better within our organisation,” he said.

“We have come some way, but clearly we have a long way to go.”

The council voted unanimously to support an apology to the Aboriginal community and other measures.

NOTE

The red bean or Miva mahogany is a rainforest tree in the mahogany family, Meliaceae. Dysoxylum mollissimum subsp. molle occurs in tropical, sub-tropical and littoral rainforests in eastern Australia, as far southwards as north-eastern New South Wales.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

About water and belonging


Clarence River, New South Wales Far North Coast. Image at visitnsw.com

















Virginia Marshall, February 2017, Overturning Aqua Nullius: securing Aboriginal water rights, excerpt:

Water landscapes hold meaning and purpose under Aboriginal laws. After thousands of years, the spiritual relationship of being part of Country remains integral, and despite the significant political and social change heaved upon the lives of Aboriginal communities the sacredness of water shapes the identity and values of Aboriginal peoples.

The creation story that opens this chapter recognises the relationship of Nyikina peoples to the river system, the land and the liyan (spirit) in its peoples and all things on Nyikina Country. Nyikina peoples have a name for the river, mardoowarra (the Fitzroy River), and yimardoowarra means Nyikina peoples ‘belong’ to the lower part of the mardoowarra. Underground water, which travels through neighbouring Aboriginal land, creates a joint responsibility.

Aboriginal water management, as discussed in a Northern Territory study of water values and interests in the Katherine Region, represents a complex web of relationships:

Every aspect of water as a phenomena and physical resource as well as the hydro morphological features it creates is represented and expressed in the languages of local Aboriginal cultures: mist, clouds, rain, hail, seasonal patterns of precipitation, floods and floodwater, river flows, rivers, creeks, waterholes, billabongs, springs, soaks, groundwater and aquifers, and the oceans (saltwater).

The inherent relationships of Aboriginal peoples with land and water are regulated by traditional knowledge. For generations Aboriginal peoples have developed significant water knowledge for resource use. Aboriginal water knowledge, traditional sharing practices, climate and seasonal weather knowledge underpin water use knowledge. Aboriginal customary water use cannot be decoupled from the relationship with the environment and water resources because Aboriginal water concepts are central to community and kinship relationships. Unlike Western legal concepts, water cannot be separated from the land because Aboriginal creation stories have laid the foundations for Aboriginal water values.

Monday, 2 July 2018

NAIDOC Week 2018 - Sunday 8 July to Sunday 15 July




Under the theme - Because of Her, We Can! - NAIDOC Week 2018 will be held nationally from Sunday 8 July and continue through to Sunday 15 July.

As pillars of our society, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have played – and continue to play - active and significant roles at the community, local, state and national levels.

As leaders, trailblazers, politicians, activists and social change advocates, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women fought and continue to fight, for justice, equal rights, our rights to country, for law and justice, access to education, employment and to maintain and celebrate our culture, language, music and art.

They continue to influence as doctors, lawyers, teachers, electricians, chefs, nurses, architects, rangers, emergency and defence personnel, writers, volunteers, chief executive officers, actors, singer songwriters, journalists, entrepreneurs, media personalities, board members, accountants, academics, sporting icons and Olympians, the list goes on.

They are our mothers, our elders, our grandmothers, our aunties, our sisters and our daughters.

Sadly, Indigenous women’s role in our cultural, social and political survival has often been invisible, unsung or diminished.

For at least 65,000 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have carried our dreaming stories, songlines, languages and knowledge that have kept our culture strong and enriched us as the oldest continuing culture on the planet.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women were there at first contact.

They were there at the Torres Strait Pearlers strike in 1936, the Day of Mourning in 1938, the 1939 Cummeragunja Walk-Off, at the 1946 Pilbara pastoral workers' strike, the 1965 Freedom Rides, the Wave Hill walk off in 1966, on the front line of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in 1972 and at the drafting of the Uluru Statement.

They have marched, protested and spoken at demonstrations and national gatherings for the proper recognition of our rights and calling for national reform and justice.

Our women were heavily involved in the campaign for the 1967 Referendum and also put up their hands to represent their people at the establishment of national advocacy and representative bodies from the National Aboriginal Congress (NAC) to ATSIC to Land Councils and onto the National Congress for Australia’s First Peoples.
They often did so while caring for our families, maintaining our homes and breaking down cultural and institutionalised barriers and gender stereotypes.

Our women did so because they demanded a better life, greater opportunities and - in many cases equal rights - for our children, our families and our people.

They were pioneering women like Barangaroo, Truganini, Gladys Elphick, Fannie Cochrane-Smith, Evelyn Scott, Pearl Gibbs, Oodgeroo Noonuccal, Celuia Mapo Salee, Thancoupie, Justine Saunders, Gladys Nicholls, Flo Kennedy, Essie Coffey, Isabel Coe, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Eleanor Harding, Mum Shirl, Ellie Gaffney and Gladys Tybingoompa.

Today, they are trailblazers like Joyce Clague, Yalmay Yunupingu, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Nova Peris, Carol Martin, Elizabeth Morgan, Barbara Shaw, Rose Richards, Vonda Malone, Margaret Valadian, Lowitja O’Donoghue, June Oscar, Pat O’Shane, Pat Anderson Jill Milroy, Banduk Marika, Linda Burney and Rosalie Kunoth-Monks – to name but a few.

Their achievements, their voice, their unwavering passion give us strength and have empowered past generations and paved the way for generations to come.

Because of her, we can!

Monday, 14 May 2018

Aboriginal elders calling for NSW Berejiklian Government to commit to expanding the youth Koori court program



The Guardian, 7 May 2018:

Aboriginal elders have called for the NSW government to commit to expanding the youth Koori court program after an evaluation found it halved the amount of time young people spent in detention. The court began as a pilot project at Parramatta children’s court in February 2015 but has not received ongoing funding. A University of Western Sydney evaluation has found it cut the average number of days spent in youth detention, as well as helping address underlying issues such as unstable accommodation, lack of engagement in education and employment, and disconnection from Aboriginal culture. Elders said it reached children who had little family support and were isolated from the community. 

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

NSW Bar Association: “As members of the legal profession, we know indigenous Australians, proportionately, are the most incarcerated on earth. This diminishes us as a nation.”


The Australian, 29 March 2018, p.6:

As members of the legal profession, we know indigenous Australians, proportionately, are the most incarcerated on earth. This diminishes us as a nation.
Sovereignty and dispossession, recognition and representation of interests: they are different facets of the same problem. It is something that we, as lawyers, have a duty to help solve. It is because of this duty that the legal profession welcomed the government’s reference to the Australian Law Reform Commission to examine, among other issues, rates of incarceration for the indigenous.

The Pathways to Justice report of the ALRC represents a comprehensive blueprint to address the shameful over-representation of indigenous people in our prisons. Swift and decisive action is required from commonwealth, state and territory governments to ensure its recommendations are implemented.

ALRC recommendations relating to sentencing and bail regimes, the repeal of mandatory sentencing laws, an effective justice reinvestment framework, culturally appropriate community-based sentencing options, and so on, are all aimed at how substantive, not just formal, equality before the law can be achieved for indigenous people. All recommendations are supported by the NSW Bar Association as important initiatives which will contribute to addressing Aboriginal incarceration rates.

The NSW Bar is pleased the ALRC supports establishment of indigenous sentencing courts including the NSW Walama Court. The Walama Court is critical in reducing indigenous incarceration. The model involves community participation and greater supervision, resulting in reduced recidivism and increased compliance with court orders to better protect the community. It is not a “soft on crime” initiative but rather a more effective manner to supervise offenders post-sentence which would enhance rehabilitation and prevent re-offending.
At this stage the NSW government has not allocated funds to establish the Walama Court in the 2018-19 financial year, despite the fact it would have long-term economic cost savings for NSW as fewer indigenous people will be imprisoned and rates of recidivism would be reduced…..

Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) Pathways to Justice–Inquiry into the Incarceration Rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (ALRC Report 133) Final Report, published on 28 March 2018.



Friday, 26 January 2018

It's Australia Day and......


the truth is that few Australians - who will either quietly or with loud jingoism celebrate today - know the day’s real history or meaning.

It also seems that only a minority of the population are likely to object if the federal and state governments decide to change the date.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 January 2018:

A majority of voters would not mind if Australia Day was shifted to a different date and most don't know why it's currently held on January 26.

New polling also reveals that only about a third of Australians – 37 per cent – realise the date is offensive to many Indigenous people because it represents the beginning of the dispossession and violence of British colonisation.

As the political and community debate about the "change the date" movement continues to intensify, the Research Now survey of 1417 people suggests nearly all Australians – 84 per cent – think it is important the country has a national day of celebration.

But 56 per cent say they don't mind when the day occurs, challenging the notion that Australians see January 26 as sacred or untouchable.

The polling also reveals 77 per cent of people believe – incorrectly – that the celebration has always occurred on January 26, the date the First Fleet planted the flag in NSW in 1788.

The date was in fact not adopted by all states until 1935, and has only been celebrated in its current form since 1994.

The polling commissioned by the progressive Australia Institute think tank was conducted among a nationally representative sample in December.

"This polling shows that while Australia Day is important to most Australians, most people are laid back about the date we celebrate on," said deputy director Ebony Bennett.

Given 11 multiple choice options, 38 per cent correctly identified the event January 26 marks. And just under half knew it had anything to do with the First Fleet at all.

Others believed it marked the day Captain Cook first sighted Australia, the day the constitution was signed or the day Australia became independent.

Four per cent of people linked the date to events that have not actually happened, including becoming a republic or signing a treaty with Aboriginal Australia.

Asked to nominate what date would be the best to celebrate Australia Day, 70 per cent preferred a date not associated with the First Fleet. And fewer than a quarter (23 per cent) selected the landing in Sydney Cove as the best of a range of options.

Only 37 per cent of people agreed the current date was offensive to Indigenous people, even though many Indigenous leaders have long been calling for change. Nearly half of people – 46 per cent – disagreed the date was problematic.

Asked if Australia Day should not be on a day that is hurtful to Aboriginal people, 49 per cent agreed and 36 per cent disagreed…..

"Australia Day is a day on which the overwhelming majority of Australians – all but a handful – are proud of Australia and its achievements," he told 2GB radio. [my yellow highlighting]

Australian Minister for Indigenous Affairs and National Party Senator for Northern Territory, Nigel Scullion, has told journalists that since he became minister in September 2013 not one indigenous person has ever expressed to him that they want the date changed.

Senator Scullion can be contacted by 'phone from 1 February 2018 during office hours at:

(08) 8948 3555
(08) 8948 3555
(02) 6277 7780


Political Meme on Australia Day 2018


Alternate Bayeux Tapestry via @no_filter_Yamba

Friday, 8 December 2017

It should come as no surprise that the Adani Group is offering traditional owners compensation which is well below industry standard


We, the Wangan and Jagalingou people, are the Traditional Owners of the land in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. Corporate conglomerate, Adani, wants to use our ancestral lands for their Carmichael coal mine.
We do hereby firmly REJECT a Land Use Agreement with Adani for the Carmichael mine on our traditional lands.
We DO NOT consent to the Carmichael mine on our ancestral lands.
We DO NOT accept Adani’s “offers” to sign away our land and our rights and interests in it. We will not take their “shut up” money.
We will PROTECT and DEFEND our Country and our connection to it." [http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/our-fight/]

ABC News, 1 December 2017:

A hotly contested deal between Adani and traditional owners of its proposed Carmichael mine site in Queensland's Galilee Basin would deliver compensation "well below" what most big miners pay, according to a new analysis.

The Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) people would only get 0.2 per cent of Adani's earnings from the mine, less than half the industry average, respected mining industry outfit Economics Consulting Services has found.

Its report, obtained by the ABC, was commissioned by six W&J representatives whose looming court challenge to the deal stands as the final legal hurdle to Adani's contentious mega-mine.

It found the W&J people would earn up to $145 million over 30 years, out of the project's estimated $77.4 billion in gross revenue, a share which was "well below industry benchmark standards".

The benchmarks for such deals usually ranged from 0.75 per cent to 0.35 per cent.

Only 11 per cent of the deal would come to the W&J people in cash, up to $17.4 million over 30 years, or about $2,300 a year per adult member of the clan.

Report author Murray Meaton, who was awarded an Order of Australia in 2014 for services to the mining industry, found the benefits to the W&J people would be "dramatically lower" if job promises for locals fell short as they did "in most jurisdictions and agreements".

To gain finance for the $21 billion project, Adani needs an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with the W&J people, or it must call on the Queensland Government to forcibly extinguish any native title claim over the mine site in the Galilee Basin…….

The Adani supporters in the W&J have argued the mine is inevitable and they need to seize the miner's offer to economically benefit their people, including some who live in Queensland's more disadvantaged communities.

However, the anti-Adani group object to the destruction of their ancestral lands and culture, and contest the legitimacy of the meeting that approved the Adani deal.

The dispute will go to trial in the federal court in Brisbane in March.

The case has pushed back Adani's deadline on clinching finance for the project, which remains in doubt.

Wangan and Jagalingou have been defending their country in court since at least 2008.

The Guardian, 3 December 2017:

Traditional owners opposed to the Adani Carmichael coalmine have filed an application for an injunction with the federal court to prevent the native title tribunal from signing off on an Indigenous land use agreement before the outcome of a court challenge.

The application was filed following a meeting of the W&J traditional owners council in Brisbane on Saturday, where the 120 attendees voted against the Ilua for the fourth time since it was proposed in 2012.

Echo NetDaily, 6 December 2017:

North Coast Greens MLC Dawn Walker and NSW Greens mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham were arrested yesterday by Queensland police after taking part in a blockade of the Adani Carmichael coal mine rail construction site at Belyando, 270km west of Bowen.

The MPs were arrested at 6:35am along with a dozen other climate activists and charged with trespass unlawfully on a place of business.

Ms Walker said, ‘It was a very important day for me, stopping work on the Adani mine and being arrested with climate activists who understand the importance of preventing this destructive project from going ahead,’ said Greens MP Dawn Walker.

‘I was proud to stand with traditional owners who have said ‘no means no’ to Adani, and made it clear they will not be surrendering their land and water to this coal corporation.

‘Although this mine is miles from anywhere, the eyes of all Australia are on it. We have travelled days to get here but believe many more will follow.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Yaegl Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation expressing their opposition to a proposed cruise ship terminal at Yamba


The following media release was sent to NSW Minister for Maritime, Roads and Freight Melinda Pavey by way of her Twitter account at 7:15pm on 30 November 2017.

Ntscorp Ltd 

Please see the following Press release from the Yaegl Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation expressing their opposition to a proposed cruise ship terminal at Yamba.

Press release

The Yaegl Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC wish to respond to recent media reports about a proposed cruise ship terminal at Yamba, which is part of the draft Future Transport 2056 Strategy. Yaegl People are concerned about the lack of consultation that has occurred with the Corporation and the potential damage that the proposal will cause to significant sites.

The Yaegl Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC does not support the construction of a cruise ship terminal at Yamba. The Yaegl People’s native title rights to the land and waters within the lower Clarence River, as well as over much of the land within their traditional country, was recognised by the Federal Court of Australia on 25 June 2015. The Yaegl People’s native title rights over their sea country was recognised by the Federal Court in 31 August 2017.

Any activities which may impact on the exercise of native title rights must be properly notified in accordance with the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), and native title holders must be afforded certain procedural rights, including rights to comment, rights to be consulted and rights to negotiate.

The Yaegl Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC is concerned that to date, no-one has approached the Corporation to discuss the proposal.

The Chairperson of the Corporation, Billy Walker, said ‘It appears as though decisions such as the construction of a cruise ship terminal, are being considered without any attempt to engage with or consult The Yaegl Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC. The Corporation is responsible for ensuring that the Dirrungan, one of Yaegl People’s most significant sites, at the mouth of the Clarence River, is protected. There are also other sites of significance to the Yaegl People within the Clarence River, which would be damaged by the proposal.’

The recent Yaegl People’s native title determination over sea country included increased protections for the Dirrungan, including a 350 metre buffer zone to protect the Dirrungan from developments such as the cruise ship proposal.

The Corporation’s Office Manager and Yaegl man, Michael Randall, said ‘We haven’t been consulted yet. We have native title rights over the land and waters at the mouth of the Clarence River, including extending out to sea. It’s a requirement that we be consulted. We are opposed to any actions which might damage the Dirrungan. The State Government has agreed through our sea determination to protect the Dirrungan from destruction.’

Media contact: Michael Bennett (DM via NTSCORP Facebook)

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Singing the heavens, singing the land, singing the lore, singing the people and their history - weaving memory


And those of us whose forebears stumbled off a handful of British boats in 1788 are still trying and often failing to understand this rich, enduring culture.......

The Monthly, September 2017:

Epic of Gilgamesh” is Google’s answer to “what is the oldest known literature”. Unknown scribes in the city of Ur picked the poem out in cuneiform letters some 4500 years ago. These clay tablets preserved an older oral tradition, but that part of the story is usually left out. Instead, the Mesopotamian epic fits easily into that cartoonish diagram of the Ascent of Man, where civilisation means writing, a sequence of metals and a procession of capitals: Memphis, Babylon, Athens, Rome.

Compare this lineage to the ceremonial songs of Aboriginal Australia. Their absolute vintage is unknowable, but the best estimates run to at least 12,000 years old. At this distance in time, the study of literature needs not just linguists but geologists. There are songlines that accurately describe landscape features (like now-disappeared islands) from the end of the Pleistocene epoch. Their provenance may stretch even further back, all the way into the last ice age. They are also alive. The last person to hear Epic of Gilgamesh declaimed in her native culture died millennia ago. Songlines that may have been born 30,000 years ago are being sung right now.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

TURNBULL MUST PROTECT TARKINE HERITAGE


“The Australian Heritage Council found the Tarkine in north-west Tasmania of outstanding national heritage significance.”
[Australian Government, Dept. of Environment and Energy, Australian Heritage Council, National Heritage Assessment, The Tarkine]


Bob Brown Foundation, Media Release, 8 September 2017:

TURNBULL MUST PROTECT TARKINE HERITAGE - BROWN

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull must reject the Hodgman government's request to open off-road vehicle (ORV) access to the Tarkine's heritage-rich west coast, Bob Brown said tonight. The Hodgman request to Turnbull comes after the Federal Court ruled the state must get federal permission to open tracks in the area.

"Premier Hodgman's Braddon spokesperson on the Tarkine, Joan Rylah, says it all when she told the media today that state government intentions would "reduce vandalism" in the sensitive area. "Ms Rylah is effectively agreeing that re-opening the Sandy Cape to Pieman Heads coast to ORVs will not stop vandalism and she is right," Brown said.

"Recent opinion polling shows that most Tasmanians think the Tarkine's fragile coastal environment and extraordinary Aboriginal heritage sites should be off-limits to the small fraction of ORV owners who want to invade the area. We will release that polling tomorrow."

"It is now up to the Turnbull government to protect this National Heritage Area from destruction," Brown said.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Why are we still refusing to fully honour the spiritual and cultural relationship that traditional owners have to the land in Australia?


It doesn’t matter to the Turnbull Government that science declares that Aboriginal Australia has existed since time immemorial or that indigenous culture has existed on this continent longer than any other culture which is now part of multicultural Australia -  it stubbornly refuses to genuinely honour the spiritual and cultural relationship that traditional owners have with the land.

June 15, 2017

MEDIA RELEASE
14 June 2017
Traditional Owners slam passage of Native Title amendments
Traditional Owners fighting Adani’s proposed coal mine have expressed profound disappointment at the passage of Attorney General Brandis’ amendments to the Native Title Act, stressing that while Mabo’s legacy has been diminished they will continue to fight for their rights.
Senior spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Adrian Burragubba, says, “Adani’s problems with the Wangan and Jagalingou people are not solved this week. The trial to decide the fate of Adani’s supposed deal with the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners is scheduled for the Federal Court in March 2018.
“Our people are the last line of legal defence against this mine and its corrosive impact on our rights, and the destruction of country that would occur.
“Senator Brandis has been disingenuous in prosecuting his argument for these changes to native title laws, while the hands of native title bureaucrats and the mining lobby are all over the outcome.
“This swift overturning of a Federal Court decision, without adequate consultation with Indigenous people, was a significant move, not a mere technical consideration as the Turnbull Government has tried to make out.
“It is appalling and false for George Brandis to pretend that by holding a ‘workshop’ with the CEOs of the native title service bodies, he has the unanimous agreement of Traditional Owners across Australia. No amount of claimed ‘beseeching’ by the head of the Native Title Council, Glen Kelly, can disguise this.
“The public were not properly informed about the bill, and nor were Indigenous people around the country, who were not consulted and did not consent to these changes.
“We draw the line today. We declare our right to our land. There is no surrender. There is no land use agreement. We are the people from that land. We’re the rightful Traditional Owners of Wangan and Jagalingou country, and we are in court to prove that others are usurping our rights”, he said.
Spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Ms Murrawah Johnson, says, “Whatever else this change does, we know that the Turnbull Government went into overdrive for Adani’s interests.
“Brandis’ intervention in our court case challenging the sham ILUA was about Adani. Most of what Senator Matt Canavan had to say in argueing his ill-informed case for native title changes was about Adani. The Chairman of Senate Committee inquiring into the bill, Senator Ian McFarlane, referring to the native title amendments as “the Adani bill” was about Adani. And the PM telling Chairman Gautam Adani that he’d fix native title was about Adani”.
“We are continuing to fight Adani in court and our grounds are strong. If anyone tells you this is settled because the bill was passed, they are lying”, she said.
Adrian Burragubba says, “The Labor Opposition seems to understand this, even though they supported passage of the bill. Senator Pat Dodson went so far as to say this bill does not provide some kind of green light for the Adani mine, as some suggest.
“Pat Dodson acknowledged that W&J have several legal actions afoot against Adani and we are glad that in the midst of this dismal response to the rights of Indigenous people some MPs, including the Greens who voted against the bill, recognise the serious claim we have to justice.
Mr Dodson said in the Senate that: “most of this litigation will be entirely unaffected by the passage of this bill. In particular, there are very serious allegations of fraud that have been made against Adani regarding the processes under which agreements with the Wangan and Jagalingou people were purportedly reached. And those proceedings, which may impact on the validity of any ILUA, will only commence hearings in March next year. Other legal action is also underway, including a case challenging the validity of the licences issued by the Queensland government.”
This week researchers from the University of Queensland released a report titled ‘Unfinished Business: Adani, the state, and the Indigenous rights struggle of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council‘.
For more information and to arrange interviews:  Anthony Esposito, W&J Council advisor – 0418 152 743.