Tuesday 31 October 2023

'Statement for our People and Country' delivered to the Prime Minister and every Member of the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Commonwealth Parliament, 22 October 2023

The Lowitja Institute has published online the full text of the Statement for our People and Country, referred to in the Australian media as an 'open letter' and selectively quoted by news outlets since 21 October 2023.

Statement for our People and Country

22 October 2023

To the Prime Minister and every Member of the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Commonwealth Parliament

This is an open letter which will be circulated to the Australian public and media.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have observed a week of silence across Australia since the outcome of the Referendum last Saturday 14 October 2023. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags have flown half-mast and we have refrained from media commentary, even as politicians, governments, media commentators and analysts have spent a week exonerating – and indeed, lauding – the nobility of the 60.8 per cent of Australians who voted to reject Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of Australia.

These are the collective insights and views of a group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, community members and organisations who supported Yes:

1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are in shock and are grieving the result. We feel acutely the repudiation of our peoples and the rejection of our efforts to pursue reconciliation in good faith. That people who came to our country in only the last 235 years would reject the recognition of this continent’s First Peoples – on our sacred land which we have cared for and nurtured for more than 65,000 years – is so appalling and mean-spirited as to be utterly unbelievable a week following. It will remain unbelievable and appalling for decades to come.

2. We thank the 5.51 million Australians who voted Yes to recognition. This represents approximately 39.2 per cent of Australian voters on 14 October 2023. At the 2022 Federal Election the Australian Labor Party received support from 32.58 per cent of voters, the Liberal Party 23.89 per cent, the National Party 3.6 per cent and One Nation 4.96 per cent. We thank those Australians who gave Yes more support at this Referendum than they did to any political party.

3. We acknowledge the resounding Yes vote in discrete and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The high levels of support for Yes in our communities exposes the No Campaign’s lies, taken up by the media even in the last week of the campaign. The situation of these communities needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

4. Australia is our country. We accept that the majority of non-Indigenous voting Australians have rejected recognition in the Australian Constitution. We do not for one moment accept that this country is not ours. Always was. Always will be. It is the legitimacy of the non-Indigenous occupation in this country that requires recognition, not the other way around. Our sovereignty has never been ceded.

5. The Constitution still belongs to those who the founding fathers originally intended it for and remains unchanged in our exclusion. We were asked to be recognised over a decade ago; we sought to be included in a meaningful way and that has been rejected. In refusing our peoples’ right to be heard on matters that affect us, Australia chose to make itself less liberal and less democratic. Our right to be heard continues to exist both as a democratic imperative for this nation, and as our inherent right to selfdetermination. The country can deny the former but not the latter. A 'founding document' without recognition of First Peoples of this country continues the process of colonisation. It is clear no reform of the Constitution that includes our peoples will ever succeed. This is the bitter lesson from 14 October.

6. The support for the referendum collapsed from the moment Liberal and National Party leaders, Mr Dutton and Mr Littleproud, chose to oppose the Voice to Parliament proposal after more than a decade of bipartisan support. The proposal was tracking 60 per cent support compared to 40 per cent opposition for several years until the National and Liberal parties preferred wanton political damage over support for some of this country’s most disadvantaged people. There was little the Yes campaign could do to countervail this.

7. Lies in political advertising and communication were a primary feature of this campaign. We know that the No campaign was funded and resourced by conservative and international interests who have no stake or genuine interest in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We know this funding supported multiple No campaigns that intentionally argued in varying directions to create doubt and fear in both non-Indigenous and Indigenous communities. This included resurrecting scare campaigns seen during the 1990s against land rights, but the scale of deliberate disinformation and misinformation was unprecedented, and it proliferated, unchecked, on social media, repeated in mainstream media and unleashed a tsunami of racism against our people. We know that the mainstream media failed our people, favouring ‘a false sense of balance’ over facts.

8. There has always been racism against First Nations people in Australia. It increased with multiple daily instances during the campaign and was a powerful driver for the No campaign. But this campaign went beyond just racism. ‘If you don't know - Vote No’ gave expression to ignorance and licensed the abandonment of civic responsibility on the part of many voters who voted No. This shameful victory belongs to the Institute of Public Affairs, the Centre for Independent Studies and mainstream media.

9. Post-referendum commentaries that exculpate those who voted No were expected as the usual kind of post-election approbation of the electorate. The truth is that the majority of Australians have committed a shameful act whether knowingly or not, and there is nothing positive to be interpreted from it. We needed truth to be told to the Australian people.

10. We will maintain the vision of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. We will continue to uphold the outcomes of the Uluru Dialogues to which more than 1,200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from across the country contributed – culminating in the Uluru Statement signed by 250 people on 26 May 2017. It is evident that many Australians are unaware of our cultures, our histories, or the racism imbued in the Australian Constitution. That so many Australian people believe there is no race or division on race in the current Australian Constitution speaks to the need for better education on Australian history and better civics education. We have faith that the upswelling of support through this Referendum has ignited a fire for many to walk with us on our journey towards justice. Our truths have been silenced for too long.

11. We want to talk with our people and our supporters about establishing – independent of the Constitution or legislation – an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to take up the cause of justice for our people. Rejection of constitutional recognition will not deter us from speaking up to governments, parliaments and to the Australian people. We have an agenda for justice in pursuit of our First Nations rights that sorely need a Voice – we will continue to follow our law and our ways, as our Elders and Ancestors have done.

12. We will regather in due course and develop a plan for our future direction. While this moment will be etched into Australia’s history forever, today we think of our children, and our children’s children. Our work continues as it has always done. We will continue to fight to seek justice for our peoples. We are three per cent of the population, and you are 97 per cent.

Note: The public version of this letter doesn't have signatories and elsewhere it has been stated that it is intended to be shared by those people and organizations that support it.

Monday 30 October 2023

How does a developer/s amend an otherwise unamendable DA? Perhaps pretend that land use change isn't happening

Retrieved 29.10.23
Click on image to enlarge

On 18 September 2023 in Goldcoral Pty Ltd v Richmond Valley Council [2023] NSWLEC 1540, the Court ordered: 

(1) The application for leave to amend the development application is refused; and 

 (2) The Notice of Motion is dismissed.

Apparently refusal was on the basis that the scale of proposed amendments tipped the development application into being a proposed new application for changed use of the land rather than an amended version of an existing DA.

However, when reading a media report mentioning the Land & Environment Court conference of 25 October, there is a suspicion that the Gold Coast developer may be attempting to slide some or all parts of the rejected amendment back into the existing development application.


The Echo, 27 October 2023:

The sensitive site of the controversial planned Iron Gates development. Photo Supplied

The development application (DA) for the Iron Gates housing development outside Evans Head has been refused by the Northern Rivers Planning Panel (NRPP) and in a review by the Land and Environment Court (L&EC) the Registrar said it looked like a new DA compared to the one submitted nine years ago.

Yet the developers are continuing to pursue the multiply-amended version of the 2014 DA even though many of the latest amendments have not seen public scrutiny. At the Case Management Conference of the L&EC on Wednesday, 25 October the second respondent in the case (Simone Barker) pushed for the case to be dismissed altogether, but this request was rejected by the Court. Instead the case was rescheduled for hearing to the dates 3rd to the 14th of June 2024. The Hearing scheduled for this Friday was vacated with the Applicant to pay the costs of Richmond Valley Council and Simone Barker.

Developer Graeme Ingles. 

Photo inglesgroup.com.au

From Goldcoral to who?

It was Graeme Ingles of Goldcoral Pty Ltd who took the DA to the L&EC for review following its rejection by the NRPP in September 2022. Goldcoral Pty Ltd was then put into ‘administration’ and a new firm of lawyers, Corrs Chambers Westgarth took over legal proceedings in the L&EC on behalf of new clients. Those clients are thought to be ‘the money’ behind the Ingles development.

Simone Barker (nee Wilson), daughter of the late Lawrence Wilson who opposed the development back in the 1990s accompanied by supporter Jaydn.

Public scrutiny

At Wednesday’s L&EC conference the lack of public scrutiny of the latest range of changes was raised by the solicitor acting for Richmond Valley Council (RVC) who pointed out that residents should have the opportunity to be heard. It appears that that opportunity is now available at next year’s June hearing…..

Read the full article at:



ECHO, 30 March 2023: Is polluting a lake in a national park to support new housing ok?

ECHO, 8 March 2023: Iron Gates developers roll out the big guns at conciliation meeting at Evans Head. Community says ‘NO’

ECHO, 17 February 2023: Evans Head Iron Gates land withdrawn from sale

ECHO, 10 February 2023: Iron Gates development in administration but still taking Council to court

ECHO, 10 February 2023: Iron Gates development in Evans Head land owners go into administration – again

IndyHR 29 September 2022: More to iron out as developer takes council to court

Sunday 29 October 2023

AUSTRALIAN SOCIETY: Counting Dead Women in 2023

26 October 2023

Based on media reports collected from 1 January to 26 October 2023 the Counting Dead Women project has recorded 41 violent deaths of females across Australia this year, at the hands of persons known to them. 

In the year to June 2023, according to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR), 15 of these violent deaths were recorded as murders occurring in New South Wales - one in the Northern Rivers region. 

In 2022 the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recorded 56 women and 11 girls under the age of 18 years murdered - a total of 67 violent deaths - and the attempted murder of another 43 women & girls.

The majority of these deaths appear to have occurred in residential properties.

In 2022 ABS recorded 19 women and girls in NSW as victims of homicide or related offences (murder, attempted murder, manslaughter).  Again, the majority appeared to have occurred in residential properties.  At least 10 of these deaths appear to have been classified as murder.  


  • Destroy the Joint, Counting Dead Women project; 


  • ABS, Victims of crime, Australia 2022, Tables 1-8 & 9-16National statistics about victims of a range of personal, household and family and domestic violence offences as recorded by police.


  •  NSW BOSCAR, Female Victims of Homicide (Murder) from July 2021 to June 2023


Saturday 28 October 2023

Analysing large scale heat maps appearing on social media seeking small scale information - an example


This interesting temperature anomaly map appeared on social media on the evening of 25 October 2023:

It was accompanied by an observation that "Today 41.0C at Grafton NSW beats its October monthly temperature record"

Unfortunately this remark leads to some confusion as there are two official "real time" weather stations covering the wider Grafton district and none within the boundaries of Grafton City.  

On 25 October 2023 the Australian Bureau of Meteorology recorded maximum air temperature at Grafton NSW as:

{Trenayr NSW weather station 058077 commenced 1917} 

Grafton Airport AWS – 39.7°C

{Glenugie NSW weather station 058161 commenced 1973}


The recorded maximum temperature at BOM’s research centre weather station on 25 October 2023 did exceed its previous highest recorded maximum temperature for the month of October which was 40.6°C in 2019
The recorded temperature at BOM’s airport weather station on the same day also exceeded the highest recorded maximum temperature in October for that site of 38.9°C in 2017 and, it is this weather station's real time recording which is the basis of daily temperature reporting for Grafton generally. 

The highest temperature recorded for what might be considered Grafton City itself was 39.3°C in October 1988, but as Station 058130 on corner of Oliver & Turf streets only operated between 1966 and 10 Jan 2015 this is of limited value for comparison with maximum temperature records over time.

As both BOM recording units are some distance from the city's main urban population, perhaps as a public service Clarence Valley Council might consider installing a real time recording unit in the park adjoining its Grafton council chambers or a digital temperature display below the Market Square clock.

Friday 27 October 2023

Lower Clarence Valley as seen from space orbit


NASA, Gateway toAstronaut Photography of Earth, retrieved 27 October 2023:


Australia, New South Wales

Click on image to enlarge and for additional clarity

International Space Station ISS

Crew Earth Observations

Spacecraft nadir point (location): 29.3° S, 151.6° E

Photo center point: 29.5° S, 153.3° E

Spacecraft Altitude: 224 nautical miles (415km)

Camera: Nikon D5 Electronic Still Camera

2019:04:06 at 22:50:27 GMT


Thursday 26 October 2023

Points to ponder as you scroll through digital news and social media in 2023


The Albanese Labor Government is currently seeking to amend the Broadcasting Services Act 1992,  through the Communications Legislation Amendment (Combatting Misinformation and Disinformation) Bill 2023.

This bill proposes to give the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) more powers over digital platforms when dealing with content that is false, misleading or deceptive, and where the provision of that content on the service is reasonably likely to cause or contribute to serious harm. 

Here is one U.K. perspective on the global situation......


Wednesday 25 October 2023

CLIMATE CHANGE STATE OF PLAY 2023: something of more than passing interest you may have missed in a legal judgment this October


In the matter of Kathleen O’Donnell versus the Commonwealth Of Australia22 July 2020 to 11 October 2023.

Ms. O’Donnell commenced a class action against the Australian Government during a period when Josh Frydenberg was Treasurer, Simon Birmingham was Minister for Finance, Christian Porter was Attorney-General and Prime Minister Scott Morrison had acquired the first two (Health & Finance) of five secret ministries. It was also a period where the nation was still coming to terms with the largescale impacts of climate change-induced megafires in the August 2019- March 2020 fire season.

This class action which ran for over three years eventually caused the Australian Government to declare a potential for financial risks with regard to certain classes of investors in the face of the systemic risk climate change poses to Australia’s financial and economic position.



ORDERS VID 482 of 2020

Excerpts from the order - all yellow highlighting is my own




1 This is an application for Court approval of the proposed settlement of a representative proceeding brought under Div 9.2 of the Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth) (the Rules). The applicant, Kathleen O’Donnell, brings the proceeding against the respondent, the Commonwealth of Australia, doing so on her own behalf and on behalf of all persons who at any time on or since 7 July 2020 have acquired one or more Exchange-traded Australian Government Bonds units (exchange traded government bonds) in the form of an eTIB with code GSIC50; and/or one or more government bonds in the form of an eTB with code GSBE47, and who continue to hold one or more government bond as at the date of the fourth amended pleading, 20 December 2022 (group members).

2 The proceeding relates to the real, but until more recently, underacknowledged risks that climate change poses to Australia’s financial position. It alleges that the Commonwealth published information to investors and potential investors in exchange traded government bonds via “Information Statements”, “Term Sheets”, “Information Memoranda”, and a relevant website, and that the Commonwealth failed to disclose information about:

(a) the alleged physical risks of climate change, meaning impacts caused directly by a changing climate, and associated costs; and/or

(b) the alleged transition risks of climate change, meaning the impact of global and domestic efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions, and associated costs.

3 The proceeding alleges that the existence of those risks mean that there was and is a real, rather than remote, risk that before the maturity dates of the exchange traded government bonds held by the applicant, there will be significantly increased Commonwealth budget deficits (by reason of reduced revenue and increased expenditure) relative to Australia’s annual GDP; and a significant increase in Commonwealth government borrowing, and accordingly a significant increase in government debt (relative to Australia’s annual GDP). In turn, and as a result of those risks, prior to the maturity date of the exchange traded government bonds held by the applicant and group members, it is alleged that there will be or is likely to be:

(a) a material and negative impact on the Commonwealth’s status and reputation as a reliable, safe and relatively risk-free insurer of sovereign debt securities;

(b) a higher risk of the Commonwealth not having the capacity to discharge its interest and principal obligations under the exchange traded government bonds held by the applicant and by the other persons holding exchange traded government bonds at the material times;

(c) a material and negative impact on the Commonwealth’s capacity to maintain its AAA status as an issuer of sovereign debt securities; and

(d) a likelihood of the Commonwealth heaving to pay higher interest rates than would otherwise be the case in respect of any new issue of exchange traded government bonds.

4 It is alleged that by failing to disclose material climate change information (being information that might reasonably be expected to have a material influence on the holders of exchange traded government bonds as to whether to hold or dispose of them and decisions by potential investors as to whether to purchase such bonds) the Commonwealth engaged in and continues to engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive and/or likely to mislead or deceive in breach of s 12DA(1) of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (Cth) (ASIC Act).

5 The proceeding seeks a declaration that the Commonwealth has engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct, but not damages.

6 Under the proposed settlement the Commonwealth has agreed to make a public statement in agreed terms regarding the systemic risk climate change poses to Australia’s financial and economic position, to be published on the website of the Department of Treasury within seven days. In return the applicants have agreed to seek Court approval of the proposed settlement and to seek leave to discontinue the proceeding on the basis that there be no order as to costs. The Commonwealth has agreed to support that application.

7 The agreed public statement includes the following:

4. Climate change is a systemic risk that presents significant risks and opportunities for Australia’s economy, regions, industries and communities. Achieving Australia’s emissions reduction commitments and realising the opportunities that accompany the transition will require significant investment by governments and the private sector. Uncertainty around the magnitude and timing of the physical impacts of climate change and the global transition to net zero emissions translates to uncertainty about the fiscal impacts of climate change. And, as a consequence, there is uncertainty about whether the fiscal impacts of climate change may affect (if at all) the value of Commonwealth Government Securities (also known as Australian Government Bonds or AGBs) and, in turn, eAGBs.

5. The economic and climatic changes brought about by climate change will have fiscal impacts. For example, the new industries and jobs emerging from the net zero transformation will impact the structure of the economy and, in turn, the tax base. Extreme weather events are also expected to occur with increased severity and frequency, which will increase demand for disaster relief payments and infrastructure repairs.

7. The Government is developing a package of sustainable finance reforms, including the establishment of a sovereign green bonds program and regulatory reforms, to increase the transparency and credibility of Australia’s growing sustainable finance market. The Government’s intention is that these reforms will assist investors to align their investment decisions with net zero emissions targets and increase the flow of capital towards new opportunities that support Australia’s net zero pathway.

8. In accordance with the requirements of the Climate Change Act 2022 (Cth), the Commonwealth will continue to publish an Annual Climate Change Statement. Among other things, the Annual Climate Change Statement addresses the risks to Australia from climate change impacts, such as those relating to Australia’s economy. The first Annual Climate Change Statement was tabled in Parliament on 1 December 2022 and may be found at https://www.dcceew.gov.au/climate-change/strategies/annual-climate-change-statement.

39 Turning then to the Commonwealth’s second point, it submits that another core difficulty with the applicant’s case is that it takes, in isolation, one possible cause of risks for the Australian economy and seeks to extrapolate from those risks an unpleaded and unprovable effect on exchange traded government bonds. It argues that after at least four attempts to plead her case over three years the applicant has still not been able to articulate:

(a) what risks she alleges the Commonwealth should have disclosed;

(b) what obligations she alleges the Commonwealth would not be able to honour (for example, the annual interest or the redemption of the exchange traded government bonds at maturity) and why, and when;

(c) how it is alleged that the Commonwealth would not be able to perform its obligations with respect to the applicant’s exchange traded government bonds considering that the Commonwealth has never defaulted on sovereign debt even in circumstances of global economic downturn;

(d) why the alleged climate change related risks would give rise to a reasonable expectation that those matters would be disclosed considering that the Commonwealth may have increases in expenditure and decreases in revenue caused by number of domestic and global circumstances and events including natural disasters, wars and pandemics unrelated to climate change; and

(e) how the information the applicant alleges the Commonwealth has not disclosed would have a material effect on the price of the exchange traded government bonds being traded on the market when the information she alleges has not been disclosed by the Commonwealth must be publicly known (if it is true) because it is referred to in the statement of claim in the proceedings.

40 These contentions are not without force, but they overstate the position. I doubt that it will be as difficult as the Commonwealth submits to establish that global warming and climate change gives rise to real, systemic risks to the Commonwealth’s coffers and therefore to the value of the change traded government bonds. For the purposes of the application I take judicial notice of the fact that the consensus position of leading climate scientists around the world is that global warming and climate change brings risks of more frequent and more intense bushfires, storm surges, coastal flooding, inland flooding, cyclones, droughts and other extreme weather events. To my mind, it seems likely that such events will give rise to a huge drain on Commonwealth resources and on the tax base over a very lengthy period, perhaps forever, and therefore also weigh on forecasts in relation to the Commonwealth’s financial and economic position.

41 I note that in Sharma v Minister for the Environment [2021] FCA 560; 391 ALR 1, Professor William Steffen, Emeritus Professor at the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University gave unchallenged evidence that “[a]s an overview, the planet’s atmosphere and ocean are heating at an increasing rate, polar ice is melting, extreme weather events are becoming more extreme, sea levels are rising, and ecosystems and species are being lost or degraded” (at [54]). He gave evidence that, if over multiple decades the global average surface temperature could be stabilised at or very close to 2°C above the pre-industrial level (which was the best available outcome, and there are real risks it may not be achieved) the effects for Australia would include a significant increase in the likelihood in any given year of extreme weather events: a 77% likelihood of severe heatwaves, power blackouts and bushfires; and a 74% likelihood of severe droughts, water restrictions and reduced crop yields (at [67]).

42 Based on climate modelling by the CSIRO and the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology he projected the following changes to Australia’s climate over the next few decades (at [67]):

Continued warming, with more extremely hot days and fewer extremely cool days.

A decrease in cool season rainfall across many regions of the south and east, likely leading to more time spent in drought.

A longer fire season for the south and east and an increase in the number of dangerous fire weather days.

More intense short-duration heavy rainfall events throughout the country.

Fewer tropical cyclones, but a greater proportion projected to be of high intensity, with ongoing large variations from year to year.

Fewer east coast lows particularly during the cooler months of the year. For events that do occur, sea level rise will increase the severity of some coastal impacts.

More frequent, extensive, intense and longer-lasting marine heatwaves leading to increased risk of more frequent and severe bleaching events for coral reefs, including the Great Barrier and Ningaloo reefs.

Continued warming and acidification of its surrounding oceans.

Ongoing sea level rise. Recent research on potential ice loss from the Antarctic ice sheet suggests that the upper end of projected global mean sea level rise could be higher than previously assessed (as high as 0.61 to 1.10 m global average by the end of the century for a high emissions pathway, although these changes vary by location).

More frequent extreme sea levels. For most of the Australian coast, extreme sea levels that had a probability of occurring once in a hundred years are projected to become an annual event by the end of this century with lower emissions, and by mid-century for higher emissions.

Professor Steffen projected much worse effects if the global average surface temperature could not be stabilised at a 2°C increase, and instead increased by about 3°C or 4°C: at [68] and [69].

43 The respondent in that proceeding was the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment. The Minister made no challenge to the scientific evidence advanced by the applicants, and by and large did not dispute “the nature of the risks and the dangers from global warning, including the possible catastrophe that may engulf the world and humanity”: see Minister for the Environment v Sharma [2022] FCAFC 35; 291 FCR 311 at [2]. There are good reasons to doubt that the Commonwealth would take any different stance in the present case in relation to the risks posed by climate change.

44 To my mind, it does not stretch imagination to think that the applicant may be able to establish that climate change bringing rising sea levels and coastal erosion, storm surges causing sea flooding of low-lying areas, more intense and more regular fires and floods, and droughts caused by increased temperatures and reduced rainfall, carries a real risk that it will have a substantial impact on communities, business, government infrastructure and the environment. In some areas insurance against bushfires and extreme weather events may become unavailable, or prohibitively expensive such that it is effectively unavailable. There may be an exodus of residents and businesses from some areas because of repeated and intense fires, floods, and other extreme weather events or the risk thereof. There must be a risk that the government will be forced to meet the substantial costs that result where individuals and businesses cannot do so, including through home buyback schemes, public housing projects, farm relocation assistance and the like. And it seems likely that there will be substantial costs for the Commonwealth government in protecting government infrastructure from such events, repairing or remediating government infrastructure after such events, and relocating core government services such as schools and hospitals. And if businesses and employment opportunities are degraded the tax base available to fund government expenditure reduces.

45 Of course, in a wealthy country like Australia, which has never defaulted on its sovereign debt obligations, it is likely to be complex and difficult for the applicant to establish that catastrophes of the nature described are likely to be such a drain on the public purse that there is a material risk that the Commonwealth may, in the future, be unable to perform its obligations with respect to exchange traded government bonds. Doing so will require the applicant to call expert witnesses about the relationship between such catastrophes, or the likelihood of them, on Australia’s financial and economic position and the likely effect on the value of exchange traded government bonds, in circumstances where there is no internationally agreed framework for assessing such risks. And it will be necessary for the applicant to prove any underlying assumptions about Australia’s economic and financial position and assessments about that position in the future so that the experts engaged in her case can express their opinions in terms applicable to Australia’s particular circumstances. This will be far from straightforward, and it will involve real complexities and difficulties for the applicant. There must be a real risk that the applicant will be unable to establish this.

46 Ninth, the applicant’s case has always been that the Commonwealth provided no information whatsoever to investors and potential investors about any risks of material adverse impacts on the Commonwealth’s financial position and to the value of the relevant exchange traded government bonds as a result of climate change. The information to be provided by way of the agreed public statement is some information about such risks. Whether, in the event the applicant is successful in the proceeding, the Commonwealth would be required to provide more extensive information than this will depend upon the evidence advanced about the extent of any risk found to exist. Put another way, the agreed public statement arguably falls within the range of reasonable outcomes in the proceeding in terms of the disclosure of the risks posed by climate change to the value of exchange traded government bonds.

47 I have accordingly made orders to approve the proposed settlement and to grant leave to the applicant to discontinue the proceeding with no order as to costs.

I certify that the preceding forty-seven (47) numbered paragraphs are a true copy of the Reasons for Judgment of the Honourable Justice Murphy.


Dated: 13 October 2023

Tuesday 24 October 2023

The NSW Northern Rivers regional community profile contains many social & economic facts and figures telling the world who we are and where we came from. This October 2023 we added a very shameful set of numbers.


For the record......

As at 1:15:12 PM AEDT on Monday, 23 Oct 2023, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) official ballot count for the 14 October 2023 national referendum polling places  within the two federal electorates encompassing the NSW Northern Rivers region  revealed that a combined total of 62.32% of all formal ordinary, pre-poll & postal votes were marked “NO” and only 37.67% marked “YES”.

An est. 15% of all persons on the federal registry eligible to vote in either the Page or Richmond federal electoral divisions on Monday 18 September 2023 either did not cast a vote or are yet to be included in the AEC ballot count results.

As of yesterday afternoon the percentage of voters in the Northern Rivers region who denied Australia’s First Nations formal and enduring recognition in the Australian Constitution by way of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Voice to Parliament was markedly higher than both the national (60.6) and NSW state (59.49) majority percentages for “NO”.

Not a set of numbers to make a region proud.








.iDcommunity: demographic resources, NORTHERN RIVERS REGION COMMUNITY PROFILE



Statement by Central Australian Aboriginal Congress on the result of the Referendum to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice

23 October 2023

Central Australian Aboriginal Congress is saddened and disappointed that last week’s Referendum to alter the Australian Constitution to recognise First Nations people and establish a First Nations Voice to Parliament has been defeated.

A majority of people voted ’No’ to the Voice in every State and Territory except the ACT. In the Northern Territory only about 40% of voters said ‘Yes’.

However, Aboriginal people overwhelmingly supported the Voice: about 75% of voters in remote areas of the Northern Territory voted ‘Yes’. Some Aboriginal communities recorded ‘Yes’ votes of over 90%.

Congress supported a ‘Yes’ vote because we know from our own experience that when we have a say in the issues and programs that affect us, the outcomes are better.

The Voice would have helped to improve the health of our communities, building upon successes we have already achieved.

It would have made Australia a fairer and more inclusive nation.

However, despite the millions of Australians who agreed with us and voted ‘Yes’, the rejection of the place of First Peoples in the nation’s rulebook is a setback for Aboriginal people and for the nation as a whole.

Our peoples have faced many setbacks before.

But we are still here.

Resilience in the face of adversity is part of who we are.

In the face of this result, Aboriginal people – with the support of our non-Indigenous brothers and sisters – will stand strong and support each other as we have always done.

On behalf of our Board of Directors, Congress would like to thank everyone in Central Australia and across the country who voted ‘Yes’. It means a lot to us that so many non-Indigenous people chose to stand with us on this issue.

We would also like to express our appreciation and respect for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegates who met at Uluru in 2017 and drafted the Uluru Statement from the Heart which first called for the Voice.

Their invitation to the Australian people to recognise our First Nations in the Constitution and give us a Voice was both wise and generous.

Initially that invitation was well-received: a year ago, two-thirds of Australians were in favour of the Voice.

However, the deliberate strategy of deception and misinformation adopted by prominent ‘No’ campaigners turned many previously good-willed people against us.

In doing so, they gave permission for racism to run wild.

Given the result of the Referendum and the conduct of the ‘No’ campaign, there are now serious questions about whether reconciliation is still a viable strategy in Australia.

Nevertheless, one thing remains certain: sooner or later the nation state must deal with the enduring fact of Aboriginal sovereignty.

In the meantime, our struggle for equality, justice and self-determination will continue.


Land Councils joint statement about the Referendum outcome

21 October 2023

Through the Uluru Statement, Aboriginal people asked to be recognised in the Nation’s founding document and for a formal process to be established to inform government decision making on policy that affects our people and our communities

Thank you to the supporters who stood with us during the campaign. The Prime Minister showed courage to take the proposal to the Australian people, through a referendum. Campaigners were steadfast in their support.

On referendum day the majority of Australians denied this simple request.

The mistakes of the past will be continued with the latest mandate. In effect it is an attempt to silence Aboriginal people which is likely to further disadvantage our communities. The request for a voice was simple. Listen to us before you make decisions about us.

We are disappointed, but not surprised”, said Northern Land Council Chair Dr. Samuel Bush-Blanasi.

We recognise the result of the referendum cannot be separated from a deep-seated racism. It is fair to say that not everyone who voted “No” is racist but also fair to say that all racists voted “No”. The vitriol and hatred that were part of the campaign existed prior to, but were given licence through the process. The overarching theory we are incapable of managing our own affairs is dehumanising and degrading and most of all, deeply flawed.

It is clear remote residents across Northern Australia overwhelmingly supported the referendum proposal. Eager to break the shackles of poor government decision-making, a proposal for a new system to engage with government was the opportunity to break from the past.

Chair of the Tiwi Land Council Gibson Farmer Illortaminni said that “this outcome underscores the pressing need for us to find a way forward, one that ensures our voices are not only heard but respected when crucial decisions are being made by the government, decisions that directly impact our lives, lands, seas and culture.”

With an eye on the future, we remember in the Northern Territory, we make up 30% of the population. We control 48% of the land and 85% of the coastline. We remind the public and we remind politicians, prosperity in this jurisdiction relies on us. “We ask for and will continue to expect engagement and partnership”, said Tony Wurramarrba, Chair of the Anindilyakwa Land Council.

In response to the referendum outcome the Northern Land Council, Tiwi Land Council and the Anindilyakwa Land Council say:

We are the oldest continuous living culture on the planet, and we will continue to assert our traditional and legal rights and land title to strive for improvements in social and economic outcomes.

We will continue our journey toward self-determination.

We are strong and resolute.

The Northern Land Council, Tiwi Land Council and the Anindilyakwa Land Council will continue to champion the rights of our constituents, particularly those in remote areas – through political, legislative, policy processes & advocacy.

Every successful step toward recognition and equality has been hard won and we will continue to fight for the rights of our people and the right to be heard.