Formal Complaint against Referendum Council Dialogue processes & National Convention at Uluru

Media Release

Copy of Letter

To:
Mr Michael Manthorpe
Commonwealth Ombudsman
GPO Box 442
Canberra ACT 2601
and
Level 5, Childers Square, 14 Childers Street
Canberra City ACT 2601

19 May 2017

Re: Formal Complaint against Referendum Council Dialogue processes
& National Convention at Uluru

 
Dear Mr Manthorpe,

We are making this formal complaint to you as the Commonwealth Ombudsman about the serious breaches of process that have occurred and are currently occurring by the Referendum Council, which has been formed under the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

We include several articles that explain the inconsistencies and deviations from the Referendum Council's stated processes.

We call for an immediate investigation of the matters raised and call for formal suspension and termination of the activities of the Referendum Council, as the Referendum Council cannot pursue anything because too many matters need to be investigated.

We call for an immediate halt to their actions as money is being spent illegally.

There has already been a complaint lodged with ICAC against the actions of the Referendum Council by Alice Haines on 22 March 2017. The ICAC reference number for this complaint E17/0397.

We call for a moratorium of the Referendum Council's National Convention being held at Uluru from 23 - 26 May 2017 despite a strong and widespread rebuttal of the Referendum Council Convention's premise, in that it is seeking a final consent mandate and a decision from the assembled delegates as to whether all First Nations Peoples agree to the unknown, unwritten proposed constitutional changes to the Australian Constitution.

We believe that for the Referendum Council to hold the Convention at Uluru is an unfair strategy by government that is designed to reduce protest and visible community opposition. Uluru is difficult to travel to, as well as financially costly to access for many First Nations people, a large number of whom live in cities and regional areas.

Uluru is also a highly sacred and symbolic place and it is culturally wrong to attempt to put Commonwealth laws on top of ancient and enduring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and Law, which is the pre-existing continental common law. We cannot allow this to happen to us as First Peoples as this is both forcible assimilation and cultural genocide.

There is a growing understanding that the constitutional recognition process seeks to usurp First Nations rights, despite a highly funded, one sided Yes campaign which is both a government and corporation funded agenda (Recognise).

There has not been any formal NO campaign. However, First Nations people have initiated and developed their own NO campaigns and mechanisms to share information and their reasons for dissent, despite not having received any monies to support this. Now millions more dollars have been given to the Referendum Council to host a series of twelve dialogues and a national Convention.

The importance of a NO campaign is the First Nations are asserting their pre-existing and continuing sovereignty and are demanding other options are on the table, including Treaties.

The Referendum Council is operated by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and has a short life span, concluding on June 30, 2017.

The Referendum Council have a certain number of 'delegates' attending who were voted on at a series of 12 dialogues (approximately 120 people) but it was announced at the secret Canberra dialogue on May 10, 2017, that all Referendum Council employees who were paid as staff members and facilitators will be given full participation status and voting rights at the Uluru Convention on 23 - 26 May 2017.

This means there are an extra 170 plus people (Referendum Council employees and others) who were not selected during the 'dialogue' process, but whom are attending in a decision-making capacity anyway. Many of these 'facilitators' were on the pay roll for the Regional Dialogue meetings. There is a clear conflict of interest if these extra attendee 'facilitators' have voting rights, at the National Convention from 23 - 26 May 2017, since they are in reality employees, even though we are told they will not be paid to attend the National Convention at Uluru. Nevertheless, their travel expenses and accommodation at the Ayers Rock Resort will be paid for by Referendum Council, and organised by AIATSIS, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

This extraordinary and farcical state of affairs is only one among multiple examples of where the Referendum Council have seriously breached their own processes as described on their website (which has subsequently changed since the 'Dialogues' commenced).

This unlawful and unethical process cannot, is not, and must not go unopposed. In fact, there has been widespread dissent and opposition to the Referendum Council and the Recognise Campaign for years. This dissent is coming from many First Nations people right across the country.

There is a strong and consistent message of no consent to this process, and the whole constitutional recognition agenda has not been heard by the non-Indigenous population of Australia.

The co-chair of the Referendum Council, Pat Anderson, has also publicly confirmed at the Sydney and Canberra 'Dialogues' that there will be no actual constitutional amendments available for scrutiny or analysis at the Uluru Convention. There were none available at the 'Dialogues' either.

Yet Pat has stated on multiple occasions that the decision taken on the proposed five constitutional changes (without the specific wording being available) are final. She also stated there will be NO MORE going back to respective communities to ensure adequate consultation or discussion with respective First Nations communities prior to the government proceeding to a referendum on the (as yet unknown) constitutional amendments.

These actions are truly against the UNDRIP (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) to which Australia is a signatory, and go against the internationally understood concepts of free, prior and informed consent.

We believe that what is happening at Uluru is a farce, and is a highly unsatisfactory and unfair pretence at a consultative process. It is one that seeks to bypass a Treaty/ies Mechanism in Australia and is an attempt to usurp the inherent sovereign rights of First Nations people by seeking to create or manufacture an 'appearance of consent'.

We strongly resist the flawed process of selecting 'delegates' for the Uluru Convention as they were hand-picked by invitation only. First Nations peoples and communities had no opportunity to select their own representatives whatsoever, which does not even meet the requirements of a western democratic process to elect chosen representatives. We continue to experience undue hardship and oppression in these our lands, by the laws and polices created by successive colonial governments.

We assert that constitutional reform is 'non est factum' and is an act of fraud being perpetuated by the Australian government on First Nations Peoples.

Formal Complaint - Attachment 1:

Formal Complaint by Isobelle Anderson

Complaint - Attachment 2:

Nowra Meeting for 20th May 2017 - Short Notice for late meeting

 
Elder Maureen Davis only yesterday received notice of meeting to be held at Nowra Showgrounds on 20 May 2017. The Notice has been sent by Tyrone Taylor of Prime Minister and Cabinet, from which the Referendum Council operates and is funded. This is extremely short notice considering the National Convention at Uluru is due to begin on 24 May 2017.

Referendum Council Dialogue Flaws - Attachment 3:

Referendum Council Dialogue Flaws - Attachment 3:

Detailing Referendum Council Dialogue Flaws - Attachment 4:

Detailing Referendum Council Dialogue Flaws - Attachment 4:

Wrong legal advice - Attachment 5:

Image from the Aboriginal Embassy Canberra 8 May 2017
Enlarge Image  See the background photo in it's original form
Two of the signatories to this letter are Maureen E. Davis (second from left) and Marbk (Centre), both Elders-in-residence at the Aboriginal Embassy - the other signatory is Ghillar, Michael Anderson, Convener of Sovereign Union and Head of state from the Euahlayi Peoples Republic (inset).
Others in this image are Greens Senator Scott Ludlam holding a 'Vote NO to Constitution Change' flyer (left), Greens Senator Rachel Seiwert (Second from right) and Chris Tomlins, Elder-in-residence at the Aboriginal Embassy (right).
Image (Not included in letter): Aboriginal Embassy Canberra, 8 May 2017

Signatories of the Letter

Marbk
Elder-in-residence, Aboriginal Embassy

Maureen Davis
Elder-in-residence, Aboriginal Embassy

Ghillar, Michael Anderson
Convenor of Sovereign Union of First Nations and Peoples in Australia
and Head of State of the Euahlayi Peoples Republic

- - - - End of Letter - - - -
Footnote: non est factum noun LAW
non est factum is a plea that a written agreement is invalid because the defendant(s) was/were mistaken about its character when signing it. (Recognised Internationally)
Ghillar, Michael AndersonContact: Ghillar Michael Anderson
Convenor of the Sovereign Union,
Head of State of the Euahlayi Peoples Republic
Contact Details here