Read More
Agenda
Flyer Download

NEW Sovereign Union Facebook Page

Scholar's paper points to Aboriginal mineral rights

Goodooga, northwest NSW, Sunday, 13 February 2011

When Aboriginal activists meet in Canberra at Easter they will have in front of them a paper that suggested to the Howard government that Aboriginal people are likely to test the crown ownership of minerals.

Michael Anderson, convener of the New Way Sovereignty Summits, quotes from an essay by Dr Stephen Davis to a conference of the Samuel Griffith Society (samuelgriffith.org.au) stating that, "If Crown ownership of minerals is affirmed ... there may well be a case for compensation mounted by indigenous groups."

Michael (Euahlayi name Ghillar) writes in a media release that the brief about mineral and land rights claims was circulated amongst racist protagonists when the then Prime Minister, John Howard, was proposing his government 10-point-plan to parliament in 1998.

Ghillar quotes from the Davis paper (www.samuelgriffith.org.au/papers/html/volume9/v9chap11) : "A case is likely to be constructed by Aboriginal people, on the basis of sovereignty, to test the crown ownership of minerals. If a case for sovereignty is successful, then there may be latitude for a claim for compensation in respect of at least the royal minerals, or a royalty payable to indigenous groups for the royal minerals extracted, both past, present and future. If Crown ownership of minerals is affirmed in the amendments then there may well be a case for compensation mounted by indigenous groups. The States are wary of this possibility and have subsequently encouraged the Federal Government to avoid any affirmation of Crown Ownership."

"That frightens them to this day," Ghillar writes.

Leader of the Euahlayi Nation and sole survivor of the four young Black Power activists who set up the Aboriginal embassy in 1972, Ghillar writes that Aborigines across this country "must get back the fire that was in our bellies in our 1960's-70's generation".

"Maybe it was because we were teenagers who had the courage of our convictions. A conviction that was instilled into us because we lived through open and racist oppression when we were prisoners of the state, locked away on government and church mission stations because we were wards of the state, not free people."

Ghillar says he receives calls from all over Australia saying that the police are out of control "and are hammering our people just for walking in groups down a street".

"It appears from the various reports that state police are out to deliberately provoke our people. The daily local court appearances and the records demonstrate this very clearly.

"We must ask, is this a deliberate ploy by the state to engage the minds of the white populace by making it appear as if Aborigines are not to be trusted and are criminals by nature?"

Get the fire back in the bellies

Ghillar's (Michael Anderson) statement in full:

Our people across this country must get back the fire that was in our bellies which prevailed in our 1960's-70's generation.

Maybe it was because we were teenagers who had the courage of our convictions. A conviction that was instilled into us because we lived through open and racist oppression when we were prisoners of the state, locked away on government and church mission stations because we were wards of the state. Not free people.

This was a time when our people were criminalized because they drank alcohol. Now we are criminalized just because we are Aborigines. Just look at the prison statistics.

I receive calls from all over Australia saying that the police are out of control and are hammering our people just for walking in groups down a street. It appears from the various reports that state police are out to deliberately provoke our people. The daily local court appearances and the records demonstrate this very clearly.

The question that we must ask, "is this a deliberate ploy by the state to engage the minds of the white populace by making it appear as if Aborigines are not to be trusted and are criminals by nature, and that law and order is the order of the day?" This practice works to deny basic human rights and the freedoms that come with a free and just society. When put to the test on this, the states' spin doctors argue that if you are obeying the law, then you will not be targeted by the police. Tell this to our kids and youth who are the targets of this police harassment for just being there.

Or does this state act represent a hidden factor designed to have the minds of the white population focused on personal security issues, thereby hiding the real motivation that drives the state and their police force?

We know that the greater majority of Aboriginal people is totally welfare dependent, prisoners to their own survival needs and as a consequence cannot see how being politically active will put food on their tables and pay the rent. But there is a real need to now take a stand.

The New Way Sovereignty Summit participants have been provided with a copy of a brief that was circulated amongst our racist protagonists when the then Prime Minister John Howard was proposing his government 10-point-plan to parliament in 1998.

The brief expressed anger because the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs at the time could only guarantee that the amendments could only go as far as restricting Aboriginal claims to 70% of the land mass as opposed to the racist campaigners of going back to the pre-WIK period of only 38% of the land mass available for claim.

But there was another factor that frightens them and still does to this day. In the same brief Dr. Stephen Davis of the Samuel Griffith Society said, "A case is likely to be constructed by Aboriginal people, on the basis of sovereignty, to test the crown ownership of minerals. If a case for sovereignty is successful, then there may be latitude for a claim for compensation in respect of at least the royal minerals, or a royalty payable to indigenous groups for the royal minerals extracted, both past present and future. If Crown ownership of minerals is affirmed in the amendments then there may well be a case for compensation mounted by indigenous groups. The States are wary of this possibility and have subsequently encouraged the Federal Government to avoid any affirmation of Crown Ownership."

This advice also pointed out how fragile the states' claims to minerals are when in the same brief it was pointed out that "NSW relies on the Royal prerogative to underpin its ownership of the Royal Minerals (Gold and Silver)". I wonder was this and the question of Aboriginal sovereignty the main discussion points between the Queen, Lowitja O'Donahue, Pat Dodson, Peter Yu and others in 1999 at Buckingham Palace. Did they agree to stifle debate, run interference in Aboriginal politics and work with the Australian Government to deny us our rights?

Our Aboriginal collaborators do not say a thing about the Wild Rivers Act in Queensland that provides a greater bucket load of extinguishment than John Howard's 10-point-plan. Then there are the NSW Cultural Heritage changes that create greater divides between us and our cultural heritage.

The greatest fear of the government is our claims to sovereignty and our right to self-determination. It is no wonder former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser chose to change Aboriginal affairs policy from Whitlam's right of self determination to self-management, with the support of the same Aboriginal collaborator.

Michael Anderson (Nyoongar Ghurradjong Murri Ghillar) is an Aboriginal rights activist, clan leader of the 3,000 Euahlayi peoples of north-western New South Wales and Native Title claimant to their traditional lands on their behalf.

From 1969 Mr. Anderson has been one of the leaders in the Australian Black Power movement and was appointed by his peers as the First Aboriginal Ambassador to white Australia after he and two other comrades established the Aboriginal Tent Embassy on the front lawns of Australia's parliament house in 1972.

He was taught his customs and traditions through his people's sacred ceremonies. In 1979 he was appointed to the Office of the Public Prosecutions in criminal law as an instructing officer (the equivalent of a solicitor) in the state of New South Wales.

Mr. Anderson has been a lecturer at several Australian universities, writing and teaching units in Aboriginal studies that were inclusive of traditional Aboriginal society. He is the National Convenor of a new political movement in Australia that is promoting worldwide the continuing sovereignty of indigenous peoples.