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Recognise? What precisely?

KangarooNappingAnimatedByHeatherGillWith all of the talk of changing to constitution to “recognise” Indigenous Australians in the constitution I have been doing my darnedest to find out anything about what the proposed changes to the constitution will actually be saying, some sample of the proposed words would be good but instead all we get are vagueries and platitudes:

OPPOSITION LEADER Bill Shorten has warned against waiting “too long” to change the constitution to acknowledge indigenous Australians — and said any reform should be “substantive” and not tokenistic.

“I believe that the sooner our constitution gives just recognition to our First Australians, the better,” he told The Australian.

OK Bill but what does that mean? will such changes have any practical effects in the lives of any Australian?

“It is a historical wrong that must be made right. But it must be more than a token gesture — it must be substantive change”.

“Bipartisanship is critical for any referendum proposal to succeed. I’m prepared to work with the Prime Minister on this to make sure there is a political consensus on the timing and the content”.

If I’m not mistaken the “historical wrong” Shorten is referring to is the Establishment of the British colonies , firstly in NSW and later elsewhere, well personally I just can’t see such events in the sort of negative light that Shorten shines here.

Coalition indigenous MP, Ken Wyatt, who is leading the process, has been more cautious, saying any vote should only be held when “Australia is ready.”

Mr Wyatt, the chair of the cross party constitution committee, said: “We shouldn’t go too early but we shouldn’t go too late either and run the risk of missing the opportunity.

Err OK Ken but until we see the words no one will have the slightest notion of the virtue of what is proposed now will they?

Mr Wyatt’s committee is currently consulting on the wording to be taken to a referendum.

“The Committee is considering presenting a progress report in December and is not required to present its final report until 30 June 2015,” he said.

So does that mean that we are going to get nearly another year of these endless empty gestures trying to soften up the public for an as yet unenunciated change to the constitution?

Aboriginal Commissioner Mick Gooda has called for the referendum to acknowledge indigenous Australians to be held next year.

Delivering the annual Nulungu Reconciliation Lecture in Broome, Mr Gooda challenged the Prime Minister to hold a referendum before the next federal election and avoid endless rounds of consultation on the issue.

How typically undemocratic a notion from a minion of the left.

Joint Campaign Director of the Recognise campaign Tim Gartrell praised Mr Gooda’s “excellent contribution to the debate”.

“We’ve always said we shouldn’t wait a day longer than is necessary to make these important changes to the constitution,” he said. “This also means all the preconditions need to be in place. The momentum needed for success is growing every day. There are now more than 215,000 supporters who have joined Recognise.

215,000 supporters is notthat significant when you consider that we are a nation of more than 20Million people, in fact I would suggest that  215,000 supporters is barely even all of the “usual suspects”

Labor’s first indigenous senator -Nova Peris does not back Aboriginal Commissioner Mick Gooda’s call for the referendum to acknowledge indigenous Australians to be held next year, arguing it is better to take longer than get it wrong.

Senator Peris, who is the deputy chairwoman of the committee looking at options for recognition, said rushing the issue would be devastating.

“It’s imperative we do the work required to ensure this succeeds,” he said. “To risk failure in an attempt to simply rush the procedure would be devastating.”

Source

Well for once I agree with a Labor person about something! That said unless we have a very clear enunciation of just what words are to be added to the constitution and what the possible effect of that change could be then I for one will be campaigning against there being ANY change simply because those advancing the yes case are already being deceptive. You see I am old fashioned enough to think that there should be no laws on our statute books that privileges any individual on the basis of their race or ethnicity, or what they claim is their race or ethnicity. We live in the here and now, in a contemporary Australia whose laws apply equally to all with a blindness to race gender or ethnicity. Its not a perfect blindness to those distinctions but its close enough to sing its praises and we should resist any move that makes the law notice the colour of a man’s skin, the faith in his heart or even if he is a man. So many on all sides of politics espouse notions of equality and I think that if   we the public are being asked to agree with the proposition that some Australians are going to be considered “more equal” than the rest of us that we should just vote NO!

Cheers Comrades

hy

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39 Comments

  1. Apartheid is a very useful tool for the Totalitarian.
    The modus operandi is “divide and conquer”.
    That is why, since 2007, every effort is being made to differentiate the populace on the basis of race, class, and religion. Society is weak in the face of competition or attack when it is divided. Strength comes from a society with a single identity, such as Australian, or Canadian, or American. Weakness is invoked through differentiation which destroys trust. When a society can be segregated into groups who have different cultures, religion, ethnicity, wealth, etc., it is far easier to exercise control since none of the segments trust one another.
    We are being schooled for entrance into the New World Order; a societal commune in which freedom is known only to to the bureaucracy. Electricity Bill hungers for an egalitarian utopia in which everyone is equal, except that teh Electricity Bills and the Juliars and the Albersleazers are a lot more equal than everyone else.

  2. Ray Dixon says:

    Iain, you seem to think this proposed preamble recognising the original inhabitants will somehow make them “more equal” and confer some “privileges” on them not available to others. Like what?

    Why don’t you just wait and see what the proposed wording is instead of prejudging it?

  3. Iain Hall says:

    Ray
    My point with the post is that this malarkey has been going on for a while now with absolutely no measure of what is really proposed here. What you are saying is that I should “trust” the proponents here and strangely enough I find that just a bit difficult to do. Thus my default position is one of saying no until I’m convinced that this will be a good thing and thus far I’m NOT convinced it will be

  4. Ray Dixon says:

    It sounds more like you’ve made up your mind to vote “NO” regardless of the eventual proposed wording, Iain. My guess is you also opposed the Republican proposal before we knew the questions too.

  5. Iain Hall says:

    Ray my position on any constitutional change is simple and quite sensible really, those who want to bring about such change have to provide a convincing argument for the change. So far we have seen a fair bit stimulation of the Guilt chips in the heads of most of those from the left, a few platitudes about how positive this may be for indigenous Australians (without explaining how the positivism would be manifested) and then there is the implied suggestion that any who oppose this idea must be in some sense a “racist”. You see my concern is not with making platitudes but just how any changes might be used by future activist lawyers.

    On one level I was more than happy to support the concept of a republic until it became very clear that the whole exercise would have crated more problems than it could possibly have solved, upon reaching that conclusion I decided that the status quo was not broken enough to need fixing.

  6. Ray Dixon says:

    The positives for the Aborigines would be similar to the positives gained from the 1967 referendum and from the ‘apology’ re stolen people. They were both gestures of goodwill designed to make indigenous people feel more included in mainstream society.

    How this change (and the others) will manifest is more intangible but it’s all part of the road to reconciliation, which ultimately will (hopefully) one day see them not so disadvantaged and (even more hopefully) not so welfare-dependent and more self reliant. Long way to go on those matters, Iain.

    I can’t see how this will have any negative impact (on anyone, you included), and that seems to me to outweigh your concerns of how it would be a positive change. I’m not sure why you’re so concerned, Iain, because ultimately you’ll get to have your say.

    As for the Republic referendum, well, if you voted “NO” it would have been for one of two reasons:

    (1) You were unhappy with the (deliberately confusing) part of the question on whether the President should be elected or appointed, or
    (2) You’re a staunch Monarchist and want us to stay tied to the Queen and Great Britain.

    I reckon it was (2).

  7. Constitution:
    “a body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is acknowledged to be governed.”

    Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary

    This is not the place to introduce racial distinction. (Actually, is there any place that is appropriate to differentiate one individual from another based on race?)

    “rac•ism n (1936) 1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race 2 : racial prejudice or discrimination”

    Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary

    What other societies identify or identified the individual usingn the criterion of genetices? South Africa, Nazi Germany, Zimbabwe, Palestine to name a few. Are there any examples where racism is used as a tool of governance that has resulted in a happy ending?

    The purpose of the constitution is to identify the rules and principles to be applied in the governenace of the State. This applies to each and every individual who is a member of the State, on an equal basis. Western Civilisation is built upon such principles. Why does the Left insist on the destruction of such concepts.

  8. Ray Dixon says:

    I hardly think the intent of simply acknowledging our indigenous people thus:

    With hope in God, the Commonwealth of Australia is constituted as a democracy with a federal system of government to serve the common good.
    We the Australian people commit ourselves to this Constitution:
    proud that our national unity has been forged by Australians from many ancestries;
    never forgetting the sacrifices of all who defended our country and our liberty in time of war;
    upholding freedom, tolerance, individual dignity and the rule of law;
    honouring Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, the nation’s first people, for their deep kinship with their lands and for their ancient and continuing cultures which enrich the life of our country;
    recognising the nation-building contribution of generations of immigrants;
    mindful of our responsibility to protect our unique natural environment;
    supportive of achievement as well as equality of opportunity for all;
    and valuing independence as dearly as the national spirit which binds us together in both adversity and success.

    … has any race connotations whatsoever. Nor does it confer any special rights or privileges.

    (That excerpt is from the 1999 referendum)

  9. Then what is it that you find different, distinct, and unusual about Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders if it isn’t their race? We ARE talking about people who are alive at this moment, and who are born in this country, are we not? How are those living today the “first people”, as opposed to the “second people” or the “third people” if you are not discussing genetics i.e. race?. If you insist that certain individuals are unique because they are genetically linked to to individuals who were alive prior to European settlement, then this must of necessity be in reference to their race. That being the case, why would you desire the constitution; the document that defines the rules by which we are to live, to have racial overtones? Why is it not possible for people to be recognised as individuals, and for their individual merits? How do you or anyone expect racist dogma to improve the situation?

  10. Ray Dixon says:

    So on that basis you would also object to this part?:

    recognising the nation-building contribution of generations of immigrants

    You are reading FAR TOO MUCH into that proposed preamble, in my opinion. It is simply about acknowledging that Australia is a society derived from indigenous people, immigrants and those born here. Ther is no “racist dogma” in any of that and to suggest there is one is, quite frankly, plain weird.

  11. karabar says:

    The difference is enormous. “recognising the nation-building contribution of generations of immigrants” has no racial connotation whatsoever. Recognising the attributes of a particular race of people, is, quite frankly and by definition, racist. You might think it mundane at the moment, but discriminating on the basis of race will untimately be interpreted in some future court as privileges for a few embodied in the constitution. There is no particular advantage in bringing race into the constitution, apart from a distinct future advantage to some individuals who just happen to be genetically linked to people who are long dead. If it is so important to bring race into the equation, why not some preamble such as “recognising the nation-building contributions of immigrants from the UK and Greece, but not wops, spics, or polywogs.” Does that sound fair? How would that fly? Does that sound like a good foundation on which to build and maintain a culture of individual freedom?

  12. Ray Dixon says:

    I kind of think that 40,000 years of heritage occupying the one land deserves special recognition above & beyond all subsequent arrivals, don’t you?. To call it “racist” is absurd; it’s simply an acknowledgement of a rather pertinent fact – one that our constitution ignored and, in fact, until 1967 actually discriminated AGAINST Aborigines.

    How would these words (or the like) “be interpreted in some future court as privileges for a few embodied in the constitution”? :

    honouring Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, the nation’s first people, for their deep kinship with their lands and for their ancient and continuing cultures which enrich the life of our country

    The only suggestion of entitlement there is in “honouring … their deep kinship with their lands”. Yes, I can see how that might be interpreted as some kind of claim to ownership, however, the claim to native lands has already been acknowledged by the High Court under the Mabo ruling and subsequently enshrined in legislation more than 20 years ago. You can thank Paul Keating for setting clear ground rules determining how Native Title can and cannot be established. A constitutional lawyer would have an uphill battle to suggest that the inclusion of that preamble somehow over-rides the existing legislation.

  13. Iain Hall says:

    Ray

    I kind of think that 40,000 years of heritage occupying the one land deserves special recognition above & beyond all subsequent arrivals, don’t you?.

    If we were trying to live the hunter gatherer lifestyle that may have merit but all cultures have long-standing traditions and many of those traditions have more value when it comes to contributions to contemporary Australia, the Greeks with their Mathematics and the concept of democracy, The British give us our law and dominant social traditions

    To call it “racist” is absurd; it’s simply an acknowledgement of a rather pertinent fact – one that our constitution ignored and, in fact, until 1967 actually discriminated AGAINST Aborigines.

    Yes and that has been fixed, Heck your man Rudd even apologised

    How would these words (or the like) “be interpreted in some future court as privileges for a few embodied in the constitution”? :

    honouring Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, the nation’s first people, for their deep kinship with their lands and for their ancient and continuing cultures which enrich the life of our country

    You never know what some crafty Lawyer might do with such a thing Ray, that’s the point.

    The only suggestion of entitlement there is in “honouring … their deep kinship with their lands”. Yes, I can see how that might be interpreted as some kind of claim to ownership, however, the claim to native lands has already been acknowledged by the High Court under the Mabo ruling and subsequently enshrined in legislation more than 20 years ago.

    Mabo only pertains to land over which title has not been extinguished by government fiat Ray who knows what other claims might be possible with a constitutional precedent

    You can thank Paul Keating for setting clear ground rules determining how Native Title can and cannot be established. A constitutional lawyer would have an uphill battle to suggest that the inclusion of that preamble somehow over-rides the existing legislation.

    We live in an age when there are whole tribes of ambulance chasers who would love such a challenge.

  14. Ray Dixon says:

    Iain, I’ll stick to the culture that started 40,000 years ago as being more worthy of mention in the preamble than those that arrived in the last 200 years or so. It’s just plain mean-spirited not to acknowledge that.

    Also, the constitution was not “fixed” by the 1967 referendum, which merely removed the anti-aboriginal discrimination. The point of the preamble is simply to put some (more appropriate) mention of them back in.

    And when I hear a constitutional lawyer mount a case against the preamble on the grounds it could give rise to more ‘land grabs’ I’ll listen to that argument, not those of the armchair experts and bush lawyers. So far none of them have.

  15. Iain Hall says:

    Ray
    do you really think that any opportunistic Lawyers are going to telegraph their plans ideas or schemes?
    I don’t.

    Iain, I’ll stick to the culture that started 40,000 years ago as being more worthy of mention in the preamble than those that arrived in the last 200 years or so. It’s just plain mean-spirited not to acknowledge that.

    Well I think that there should be NO preamble at all to be frank

  16. Ray Dixon says:

    Iain, when the proposed words are announced you can bet your life there’ll be public analysis of the implications (if any) put out by constitutional lawyers a plenty. They’re not all “schemers” and will actually be sought out for comment by the media (as well as by the Government). You seem to think they’ll all keep their cards close to their chests to make a killing or something – sorry, that’s extremely unlikely and contrary to the Law Institute’s ethics.

    And yes, I realise you want no preamble whatsoever, although I think your reasoning is out of kilter with about 90% (*) of the population.

    (* That was the “YES” vote from the 1967 referendum that removed the adverse parts from the constitution – I see no reason why it’ll change when we try to put more complimentary and meaningful ones back in)

  17. karabar says:

    “although I think your reasoning is out of kilter with about 90% (*) of the population.”
    That is logically fallacious. Argumentum ad populum.
    I might be descended from the ninth Duke of Cornwall (or not). The Cornish miners made significant contributions to Tasmanian society, and indeed to the workings at Ballarat and the Eureka Stockade.
    Do I deserve anything in particular if some of my anscestors made this contribution? Do they deserve any special mention in the consitution or its preamble? Obviously not.
    What contribution did a stone age people 40,000 years ago make to contemporary society? Do people alive today deserve any special recognition due to their anscestors even two thousand years ago? Individuals such as Dallas Scot, Warren Mundine, Cathy Freeman, or even Nova Perris or Adam Foote (in his own way) have in fact made a contribution to the society in which we live, AS INDIVIDUALS. They are not alone. The same can be said of many thousand individuals of their particular race who are not so well known. That contribution is theirs and theirs alone, is to their credit, and has absolutely no relationship with anything their forebears did, or anything that may have been done to them.
    Why then do you think it logical that some mention be made of these people on racial grounds? What special privilege is forthcoming to someone because of some real or imagined connection genetically?
    By all means celebrate the fact that a homo sapiens made this island continent home. By all means wonder in the fact that they were able to survive in an inhospitable climate. By all means learn teh wisdom that these people developed and determine how that wisdom may be applied in contemporaryt society. But why is it necessary to single out one particular race of people among many in the constitution, or its preamble? What can possibly be gained from such mention if it is not apartheid?*
    *Full Definition of APARTHEID
    1
    : racial segregation; specifically : a former policy of segregation and political and economic discrimination against non-European groups in the Republic of South Africa

  18. rjryan says:

    Memo To Tony Abbott: On been part of your Team Australia,—— Loud and clear——- F*CK OFF!

  19. karabar says:

    It is in sheer amazement that we ponder your overwhelming wisdom and wit. Just curious. How small is your IQ in comparison to your shoe size?

  20. Ray Dixon says:

    What contribution did a stone age people 40,000 years ago make to contemporary society? Do people alive today deserve any special recognition due to their anscestors even two thousand years ago?

    The preamble from the 1999 referendum (the one we’re talking about) simply acknowledges that Aborigines were the first occupiers and the sole occupiers for 40,000 years. It does not give “special recognition” to their current day ancestors descendants. I think you’re reading far too much into it.

  21. karabar says:

    Then what is the point? What is the purpose other than to stir racial disharmony? As we started out with the question posed by Iain in this thread, RECOGNISE WHAT, PRECISELY?

  22. Iain Hall says:

    I would be much happier seeing a preamble they just acknowledges an egalitarian ideal, you know along the lines of “we believe that all men and women are equal in their humanity no matter what their ethnicity,origin , history or faith tradition may be” rather than having any thing that could possibly be as divisive as “recognition” of indigenous people above or beyond any other Australians.

    You see I do appreciate the efforts to counter the historical prejudices of the past Ray but I think we have also got to a point at which indigenous people have to do a bit more of the heavy lifting and earn respect by becoming part of the mainstream culture rather than just playing the “poor Bugga Me” card all the time. Its happening as we get more taking up the opportunity of education and economic engagement but its held back by the whinging haters of whitefellas who nurse what they perceive as past injustices like a beautiful yet terrible lover.

  23. Ray Dixon says:

    The point is to acknowledge that the Commonwealth of Australia originated on lands already occupied for a long, long time by indigenous people. It’s sort of inclusive and sort of not because simply saying “honouring” them is more about lip service than anything else. But it’s better than saying nothing.

  24. karabar says:

    Commit yourself to quality from day one… it’s better to do nothing at all than to do something badly.

    Mark McCormack quotes

  25. Ray Dixon says:

    “we believe that all men and women are equal in their humanity no matter what their ethnicity,origin , history or faith tradition may be”

    That sounds too much like the American constitution to me, Iain. Why not include “the right to bear arms” too?

    I don’t think the 99 preamble is “recognition of indigenous people above or beyond any other Australians” – it seems to refer more to the past than the present. In other words, it’s simply acknowledging there was another nation (per se) that was displaced. It’s not conferring any special rights to those descendants and, if anything, puts the previous “nation” (such as it was) well and truly into perspective as a thing of the past.

    Yeah, it is up to Aborigines to lift themselves and things like ‘The Apology’ and the acknowledgement in the preamble are a step in that long process. It’s just saying “sorry” and “okay, we acknowledge we displaced you”. It won’t solve their problems but it gives them less grounds to say “poor bugger me”, as you put it.

  26. Ray Dixon says:

    it’s better to do nothing at all than to do something badly

    That’s not really relevant in this case. We are talking about mere words inserted in a document, not actions.

  27. karabar says:

    If that were the case (that it is not relevant) why is it even a toic of discussion?

  28. karabar says:

    “Why not include “the right to bear arms” too?”
    Indeed! Why not???
    In light of the recently exposed manipulation of data by the BOM, do you trust the bureaucracy?

  29. Ray Dixon says:

    why is it even a toic of discussion?

    Asked & answered.

    “The point (of the preamble) is to acknowledge that the Commonwealth of Australia originated on lands already occupied for a long, long time by indigenous people”

    The irrelevant part is your contention that it’s done “badly”.

  30. Ray Dixon says:

    “Why not include “the right to bear arms” too?”
    Indeed! Why not???

    Oh yeah, the USA’s 2nd amendment has done them a lot of good, hasn’t it?

  31. GD says:

    Iain, the title of your post is most apt:

    Recognise? What precisely?

    However, Ray reckoned:

    The point is to acknowledge that the Commonwealth of Australia originated on lands already occupied for a long, long time by indigenous people.

    Ray, the continent that was termed Terra Australis was home to wandering, stone age people. They didn’t occupy the continent, they wandered wherever, whenever circumstances prevailed.

    Tens of thousands of years is a vast period in history, but three hundred years is minuscule. The stone age wanderers of the past ten thousand years were still wandering three hundred years ago and would still be today if it weren’t for western civilisation.

    The ‘indigenous’ weren’t occupying the land, they were wandering across it in the same manner that they had done for tens of thousands of years.

    And you want us to thank them? They should thank us!

    Where would Australian of the Year Adam Goodes be if Captain Cook hadn’t landed at Botany Bay? Adam wouldn’t have been anywhere considering his heritage is half European. Where would the ‘aboriginal’ academics who took Andrew Bolt to court be if Captain Cook hadn’t landed at Botany Bay? Nowhere, because they all share European heritage.

    This whole apology/preamble is yet another ‘feel-good’, symbolic, knee-jerk attempt to appease the guilt that leftists feel while castigating everyone else who doesn’t follow suit.

    The ‘indigenous’ weren’t occupying the land, they were wandering across it in the same manner that they had done for tens of thousands of years.

    They should thank us!

  32. rjryan says:

    Nothing like a good beheading to put the fear into the white-man—- I wonder! do you make gurgling sounds when you have your head been butchered off your body?

  33. rjryan says:

    Speaking of clog-head Bolt—-he says the “stolen generation” is a myth. Off with his head—-wishful thinking on my part. What does it say of a person who says the ‘stolen generation” is a myth’ Answer—-A Dutch Racist.

  34. Ray Dixon says:

    GD,

    They didn’t occupy the continent, they wandered wherever, whenever circumstances prevailed.

    Occupied or wandered, that’s mere semantics. So if you moved to another State are you no longer an “occupier” of Australia?

    The rest of your rant is irrelevant hysteria and hyperbole. Where in the preamble does it say we “thank” them? It merely says we acknowledge they existed pre-European settlement. As for it being only “leftists” who favour such recognition, I think you’ll find (if it ever gets to a vote) that the majority of people are in favour of some kind of acknowledgement of the indigenous inhabitants in our constitution.

  35. Joe says:

    Back in 1972, my wife and I started making Aboriginal Flags after work; we were factory workers at the time. We probably made more than a hundred, maybe two hundred, over the next few years, and sent them all over the country. The Flag is now officially an Australian Flag. It is sort of ‘recognised’ around the world now, I think I saw one on TV at a recent Tour de France. If you see one (like the one out the front of my local high school), you’d know it. Perhaps many Indigenous leaders don’t know of it, so they assume there’s nothing already around which ‘recognises’ Indigenous people. The Native Title Act was passed in 1993, and other legislation before and since. Perhaps many leaders don’t know of that, either. There are around five thousand Indigenous organisations across the country. perhaps the leaders don’t know much about them either.

    So what’s next, after whatever is supposed to be put up at the next Referendum? It would be nice to know.

    Joe Lane
    http://www.firstsources.info

  36. Iain Hall says:

    Welcome to the Sandpit Joe!

  37. Joe says:

    Thanks Iain. I’m okay with re-wording those discriminatory sections in the Constitution, but I’m puzzled why many people can’t see a contradiction inherent in doing that AND then proposing all manner of discriminatory changes – separate seats in Parliament, a council of ‘elders’, a treaty (with whom ? Every family group or clan ? or at least their self-appointed ‘elders’ ?), etc., etc.

    I think that if it were proposed, Australians would vote to remove those discriminatory clauses. But not much else. Australians are a very diverse mix these days, and it’s been nearly seventy years since there was a simple dichotomy: white, Anglo, Australians and Indigenous Australians. Get on a bus any time and you’ll see what I mean, and I most warmly welcome that mix. Most Indigenous people are also now well-embedded in Australian society, in spite of the focus on the 10 % living in remote areas: in that sense., there are now (at least) two distinct Indigenous populations, one work-oriented, one welfare-oriented.

    Around thirty six thousand Indigenous people have now graduated from universities, with another couple of thousand each year. To give credit where it is due – something which seems to be incredibly difficult for many Indigenous people to do, it has to be said – living conditions and prospects for Indigenous people are immeasurably better now than they were fifty or sixty years ago.

    Yes, there are major problems to be remedied, especially in remote ‘communities’, but ever more symbolic gestures won’t add one iota to solving those issues, and an open-ended grab-bag of demands simply won’t get through any referendum.

    Joe
    http://www.firstsources.info

  38. joelane94 says:

    What does it mean, to ‘occupy’ a country ? In fact, what does it mean, to ‘own’ land ? Further to what Ray and GD wrote: in South Australia, in 1837, King Whoever IV (George, I think) issued what was called Letters Patent which undertook to recognise Aboriginal people’s right to ‘occupy or enjoy’ their lands, i.e. a recognition of the rights of Aboriginal people to use lands and resources as they always had done, alongside pastoral uses, an assumption that both uses could co-exist, as indeed they can. This instruction was implicit in the issuing of annual pasturing licences until, in the mid- to late 1840s, it became obvious that some pastoralists were ignoring those Aboriginal rights. When he was told, back in Britain, Earl Grey, responsible for the Colonies, instructed all colonial authorities to write it into their Pastoral Acts, and this was done so here in SA from 1851 – in fact, all pastoral leases seem to have been re-drawn from that date onwards to include a clause recognising traditional Aboriginal land-uses.

    In 1876, the Protector of Aborigines received a letter complaining about one new pastoralist (John Lewis, at Cowarie, in the north-east) threatening to expel all the Aboriginal people on his run; the Protector immediately reminded Lewis that he would be in breach of his lease if he did so. Lewis complied. By the way, that provision is still the law in SA, and maybe elsewhere. Nowadays in SA, Aboriginal people who can show some traditional link to land can apply to a committee and get permission to use it as traditionally, to hunt, fish, gather food, collect water, camp and carry our ceremonies. In the old lease there was an interesting phrase, after the listing of all the things people could do: ‘as if this lease had not been made.’ i.e. a recognition of traditional land-use on Crown Land, including national parks. Aboriginal people were also exempt from the seasonal prohibitions in the Game and Fisheries Acts in SA. The Protector (in his letters, all eight thousand of them on the web-site below) issued guns and around a hundred 15-ft boats (and fishing gear), with repairs free to Aboriginal people who couldn’t work, so people could hunt and fish wherever they wished.

    Henry Reynolds and Jamie Dalziel (1996) have a fascinating article on the history of that 1851 legislation.

    Joe http://www.firstsources.info

  39. joelane94 says:

    Oops, as did Robert Foster (1998) – check his article out on Google. Brilliant article.

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