Guest Post: Peter O’Brien on Aboriginal Recognition

We are led to believe that there is overwhelming public support for indigenous recognition in the Constitution.  All that remains is for a formula to be developed that is acceptable to both indigenous Australians and the Australian population at large.  This we are told will “reconcile” the two groups.  All sides of politics have subscribed to this view, the general idea being bipartisan but, Labor in particular is unable to resist politicking around the edges such is the febrile nature of our body politic at the moment.

But reading Stephen FitzPatrick’s piece in the Weekend Australian is instructive.

He starts off by telling us that:

Indigenous leaders have issued a united challenge to Malcolm Turnbull to back a constitutionally recognised Aboriginal “voice’’ to parliament that would influence legislation, and a separate process leading to treaties.”

Which leads one to ask, why is it a “challenge”?  Why such confrontational language?  Why not “invited”, “recommended” or “requested”?  Have not both the Coalition and Labor pledged bipartisan support for some form of recognition?  Why did they not issue the “challenge” also to Bill Shorten, given the hideous prospect that he may be the Prime Minister by the time anything comes of this?

He then goes on to say:

Indigenous leaders called for a referendum to be put to the Australian people to provide “constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country”.

Which leads one to ask, in what way are they not empowered now?  They can vote, they can stand for Parliament, they can attend school and university, they can freely travel to wherever opportunity beckons, they can say whatever they like without fear of persecution, they can marry whom they like, they have access to grants and programs not available to others and so on.

One could argue that many are not economically empowered but that applies equally to the general population.  And failure to redress this problem is not for want of money and good intentions over many decades.

And what is “their rightful place” in their own country if it is not defined as full citizenship?

In what way is Stan Grant, for example, disempowered?   What is Professor Marcia Langton’s “rightful place” in our country?

Are we, in fact, talking about the same country?  According to the official Statement issued by the Referendum Council “sovereignty has never been ceded or extinguished” (pdf).  In this context, sovereignty is defined as the authority of a state to govern itself or another state.  Even if we accept that diverse aboriginal groups had a primitive sovereignty over their own tribal lands (a doubtful proposition), that sovereignty could be extinguished by an overarching sovereignty established initially in each colony and eventually by the Commonwealth.  And the need for an overarching sovereignty may have been arguable in 1788 but it is beyond doubt that today it is imperative and, one way or another, it would have been imposed, by now,  by some external power.  There is nothing to suggest that aboriginal groups would have come together of their own volition to establish a nation as we know it today.  And, in any case, Keith Windschuttle, in his excellent book “The Break Up of Australia”, argues convincingly and in great detail that such “sovereignty” as existed was, in fact, ceded.

The Statement also “calls for establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution”. What does this mean?

And what are we to make about the proposal for an indigenous body set up “to scrutinise proposed legislation and make recommendations”?  The example given in the Statement is native title legislation, which sounds rather benign but what about legislation such as the “intervention” legislation?  What chance would there be of getting any agreement from the advisory body on something such as this?  Or legislation, for example, that imposes penalties on parents for not sending their children to school?  And what would be the upshot of government ignoring the recommendations of such a body in the interests of good policy?

Interestingly, Turnbull and, surprisingly, Shorten have both been circumspect in their response to the Uluru Statement.

One of the stated aims of this process was “to unite us”. Tellingly, this is not a phrase we have ever heard from the indigenous protagonists.

Whatever this process is about, it is not about reconciliation.

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86 Responses to Guest Post: Peter O’Brien on Aboriginal Recognition

  1. mundi

    A while back on catallaxy someone linked to a great document that talked in detail about refuting their position of sovereignty. Does anyone remember that? It was probably around the time the report on the Gillard/Rudd thing which knocked back soverignty. It had details in it about the total amount of land ‘given’ back, which as something like 30% of Australia with another 30% in progress.

  2. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    I’m tired of the exercise in “white guilt.” Until who is, and who isn’t Aboriginal is defined, I’ll be voting “No” in any referendum, and I won’t be bound by any “treaty.”

  3. Michel Lasouris

    Why not this….why not that…. Why not tell th0se that identify as aboriginal that they have progressed so little in the intervening fifty years, there is NO reason to change anything. Yet another minority attempting to exercise undue and unreasonable influence over the (admittedly disinterested) majority. 1967 was democratic and good, Mabo was undemocratic ( 7 judges?) and thoroughly bad, and this next effort will be a disaster

  4. H B Bear

    Just the latest move of the goalposts by the Aboriginal Industry.

  5. H B Bear

    Interestingly, Turnbull and, surprisingly, Shorten have both been circumspect in their response to the Uluru Statement.

    Hardly. One of the rules of politics is that there are never any votes in blackfella issues. Which is precisely why this can is still being kicked down the road after a decade or more. Even tin eared Lord Waffleworth knows this.

  6. A Lurker

    The Statement also “calls for establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution”. What does this mean?

    ‘First Nations’ sounds like something that they’ve copied from American activists and have attempted to paste onto Australia.

    I’d put ‘First Nations’ into the same box as the word ‘Civilization’ – because some people (notably activists and the media) from time to time attempt to describe Aboriginal culture as the world’s oldest civilization.

    The facts are: Prior to white settlement Aboriginals in Australia were predominately hunter-gatherer nomadic tribes. There was no assumption or claim of nationhood. There were no towns or cities and few permanent settlements. There was no standing army. No government. No currency and no form of trade except barter. No written text, only Mesolithic-level cave art and carvings. There were no libraries. No megalithic structures were built. Their technology level was majority Mesolithic with some Neolithic tech. There was certainly no agriculture or farming. They certainly possessed an ancient culture, an animist spirituality, and storytelling tradition, but nothing more.

    So this idea of Aboriginal nations is absurd, and just as absurd as the concept of an Aboriginal civilization.

  7. Dr Fred Lenin..

    Liberate aboriginals from communist opression,treat them exactly the same as other Australian citizens . They are being used by the green communist u,n.unelected government fascists Divide et Impera,divide and rule the motto of the left .

  8. BrettW

    In the words of the legendary Rod Tidwell :

    “Show me the money !”.

  9. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    ‘First Nations’ sounds like something that they’ve copied from American activists and have attempted to paste onto Australia.

    My understanding is that “First Nations” were a Canadian concept.

  10. A Lurker

    My understanding is that “First Nations” were a Canadian concept.

    Thanks for the correction – still my point remains that it is a copy/paste from elsewhere.

  11. ned

    “what happened 200 years ago does not have anything with people living today

    There was no ‘invasion’ in 1788. A peaceful settlement of a virtually empty land was always the intention of the ‘new Australians’. Unfortunately conflict occurred, but no soldiers were ever sent to Australia to conquer the natives.

    If any “indigenous recognition” is needed it should only be a recognition that before “white settlement” – call it colonisation, or whatever you will – the land was occupied by disparate groups of nomadic tribes.

    Put fancy words to it but don’t try to pretend that they were the custodians of the land – survival was their sole need and they did what they had to do to achieve it.

    The Meaning of the word Aborigine and Aboriginal
    The word “Aborigine” is usually used to refer to the original native people of an area before the arrival of invading or colonising people from elsewhere. It is derived from the Latin word aborīginēs which was used by the Romans to refer to the people who lived in Italy before they took over the area. It is derived from the Latin stem words ab+origine meaning ‘from the beginning’. This word was borrowed into the English language and by the 1800s the words Aborigines and Aboriginals were firmly established as descriptions for the original native people of Australia.

    Historically they called themselves by the name of their tribe or language group.

    Some groups, however, called themselves by place names.”

  12. John constantine

    Their left want tax funded show trials out of this, a bottomless bucket to use to denounce the racist imperialist running dog settlement of Australia, to deligitimise old Australia as part of dewesternising our future.

    Margaret Court got off light when she was denounced.

    Their purges will get nastier as their show trials gain critical mass.

  13. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    There was no ‘invasion’ in 1788. A peaceful settlement of a virtually empty land was always the intention of the ‘new Australians’. Unfortunately conflict occurred, but no soldiers were ever sent to Australia to conquer the natives.

    I’ve posted this before, but bear with me.

    The High Court has twice declared Australia was “settled” and NOT “invaded.” “Invasion” would have nullified “Native title” and “land rights.” I’m seeing a situation where certain parties want the legal benefits of being “settled” , but the high moral ground of being “invaded.”

  14. Senile Old Guy

    I’m tired of the exercise in “white guilt.” Until who is, and who isn’t Aboriginal is defined, I’ll be voting “No” in any referendum, and I won’t be bound by any “treaty.”

    Aside from something purely symbolic, I think the issue of significant constitutional change is now well and truly dead. Recent referendums have shown fairly clearly that Australians mostly follow the ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’ path on these things.

  15. Dave in Marybrook

    Just the latest move of the goalposts by the Aboriginal industry

    You got it right there, H.B.

    The lordly spectacle of the overwhelmingly Western delegates, successful by their own efforts and through no real positive discrimination, flying out over the heads of the hundreds of thousands of successfully Western suburban Aboriginals, sitting in the air-con just a stone’s throw from wretched Mutitjulu, and spitting out a broadside to the Australian community… will stick in the craw of any thoughtful viewer.

    I think, despite Linda Burny’s one year call to rush it through to the keeper, this one will go down in a screaming heap. The nasty side of me almost wants to see it.

    A good yardstick is the lack of any social media cheering from my usually proactive lefty mates.

  16. stackja

    Since 1967, billions have been wasted. No more!

  17. BobC

    Hope this helps a little –
    INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS NATIONS
    Authorized Version
    Initialed July 28, 1994.
    Geneva, Switzerland

    http://www.cwis.org/icrin-94.html

  18. Where does the Australian Islamic Califate fit into this? Or better put; how the “First People Nation” fits into Australian Islamic Califate?
    Why would Calif Turnbull allow another nation to form in the Australian Islamic Califate?

  19. Jumpnmcar

    Aboriginals ARE recognised in the Preamble of the Constitution, as am I.

    WHEREAS the people of…..

    Unless they’re are wrongly under the assumption they’re not people.
    I don’t know what the problem is.

  20. min

    Firstly how can it be an invasion when the number of first people would have outnumbered the first fleet by how many?
    Secondly nomadic tribes were never very large. Like tribes in the past the younger males are not going to hang around they will be off looking for other females to start their own group . Hardly a nation ,groups of warring tribes who knocked each other off.
    Man does not become civilised til he can move past the basic needs hierarchy, that is food, home, survival when he can have time to discuss other things and has time to invent hints for a better life.
    Aborigines had no permanent dwellings, no wheels ,no writing ,basic rules to live by as all tribes had and how many different languages?

  21. stackja

    Jumpnmcar
    #2393449, posted on May 28, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA CONSTITUTION ACT – PREAMBLE

    WHEREAS the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God, have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and under the Constitution hereby established:

    And whereas it is expedient to provide for the admission into the Commonwealth of other Australasian Colonies and possessions of the Queen:

    Be it therefore enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

  22. History

    Not a difficult issue. The answer is an emphatic ‘no’. Equality before the law for all. No race based laws.

  23. Jumpnmcar

    stackja, Are you saying Aboriginal people are not humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God ?
    What is your point ?

  24. cohenite

    Australia was not invaded, it was settled; the implementation of British CL is distinct between these 2 options. Mabo could not have happened if Australia had been invaded because Mabo allows an extension of British land law principles based on settlement which recognises and incorporates original inhabitant customs to create native title. Invasion would have extinguished native customs. Both settlement and invasion extinguish indigenous sovereignty.

    If you want to see what a mess any fiddling to adjust the Constitution to accommodate these bludgers will do just look at what native title has done: native title claims now cover 60 per cent of Australia and almost all successful native title claims are flogged off in part or entirely to developers. Native title was and is simply a transfer of taxpayers’ money to the upper echelons of the aboriginal industry.

  25. Roger

    I do hope the government puts everything the Referendum Council requests to the electorate. It will be roundly defeated and the country can move on as one nation.

  26. alexnoaholdmate

    Not too concerned, frankly.

    Some kind of consultative body with absolutely no power might be formed through an act of Parliament – like ATSIC. A waste of taxpayer money, sure, but hardly dangerous.

    An advisory body recognised by the Constitution? The impediments are massive.

    Firstly, the High Court has twice recognised that Australia was settled, not invaded (the distinction, legally, is crucial). There are therefore no sovereign nations or peoples for Australia to treat with in Australia – unlike the Maori in New Zealand, who were organised and had a recognisable system of authority that could sign treaties and agreements.

    So, a constitutional amendment would not only be required to set up this third legislative body, it would also need to completely re-write the relationship Australia has had with its indigenous peoples. The legal minefield is enormous.

    Australians are a conservative folk when it comes to amending the constitution. Most might be in favour of some kind of token recognition of Aboriginal peoples in the preamble. Some flattering words with no actual power.

    But I find it impossible to believe that a majority of Australians and a majority of voters in a majority of states are going to approve an enormous constitutional overhaul like this one would need to be. It will be confusing, it will seem extreme, there’ll be too many “moving parts” for voters to be able to comprehend it all, and they’ll play it safe.

    Witness the Republic referendum – a much simpler proposition, but still complex, confusing, and, in the minds of most voters, completely unwarranted (when even the pro-republicans can’t agree on the best model for the nation, why the hell should we vote for it…?)

    This would be that x10.

  27. alexnoaholdmate

    WHEREAS the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God, have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth

    You’ll notice the lack of reference to Western Australia. Yet nobody doubts that WA is subject to the constitution.

    Where is the movement for recognition of the people of Western Australia? Talk about discrimination!

    See, the preamble means absolutely nothing. I’m happy to put in some guff about recognising that there were people here first, if it shuts the grievance industry up. And not long ago – as recently as the Abbott days – that’s all they were asking for, remember?

    My, things evolve quickly.

  28. .

    Sovereignty was extinguished finally without a shadow of a doubt between 1986 and 1988. Mabo merely recognised customary law alongside but paramount to the common law.

  29. Roger

    alongside but paramount to the common law.

    I think you mean ‘alongside but subject to the common law’.

  30. candy

    From a simple inclusion of the existence of the First People in the Constitution, a simple matter, straightforward.

    To indigenous nations and treaties. All I can think is your average homeowner will be worried their back yard will be claimed as a sacred site and told they have no right to it.

  31. hzhousewife

    Aborigines had no permanent dwellings, no wheels ,no writing ,basic rules to live by as all tribes had and how many different languages?

    But apparently they have a history, equivalent to that of the Greeks and the Romans, which will be taught as of next year to our Year 11 and 12 History students. With no primary sources.

  32. stackja

    alexnoaholdmate
    #2393487, posted on May 28, 2017 at 1:31 pm
    WHEREAS the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God, have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth

    You’ll notice the lack of reference to Western Australia. Yet nobody doubts that WA is subject to the constitution.

    Where is the movement for recognition of the people of Western Australia? Talk about discrimination!

    See, the preamble means absolutely nothing. I’m happy to put in some guff about recognising that there were people here first, if it shuts the grievance industry up. And not long ago – as recently as the Abbott days – that’s all they were asking for, remember?

    My, things evolve quickly.

    WA were late to the ball.

    Western Australia joins the federation
    http://www.peo.gov.au
    Three weeks after the Australian Constitution became law in Britain, a referendum was finally held in Western Australia at which an overwhelming majority of ..

  33. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    But apparently they have a history, equivalent to that of the Greeks and the Romans, which will be taught as of next year to our Year 11 and 12 History students. With no primary sources.

    I’m quite happy for Aboriginal history to be taught in schools – provided that the truth is told, that it was a Stone age culture, and life was nasty, brutish and short, as in any other Stone age culture.

  34. A Lurker

    From a simple inclusion of the existence of the First People in the Constitution, a simple matter, straightforward.

    Q. Were they the first people? Enquiring minds would like to know, and why the capital letters?

  35. .

    I think you mean ‘alongside but subject to the common law’.

    Long night! Up the gunners!

  36. Deplorable

    I was born in Australia 69 years ago which means I was here before most of the rabble making demands at this time. I am from mixed races as are the majority of these agitators so we are all just Australians. There were natives in this land before the Africans came and either interbred or killed them I imagine. There was never an aboriginal nation and the warring between small tribes is well documented even to the point of genocide it seems when the Wilson prom or Eden tribes killed all of the East Brighton mob, the Morning ton Peninsula mob were shit frightened of the invaders to the point where they sought the protection of the settlers.
    Bess Price told the group of “aboriginal activists” on TV that as “mixed race” people it was nonsense to say they were aboriginal and that they just had some aboriginal heritage in their mixed race genes. There most likely is not one full blood aborigine still living from the time of federation let alone 1788 and after over 100 years of being beneficiary’s of Australian taxpayers funds,this year $30.3 billion at least it is time for them all especially mixed race types to admit they are Australians and they have done well from settlement and move on.

  37. Bill Thompson

    I popped down to their ABC in Southbank this morning in hopes of having a brief chat with Greg Hunt and/or Barrie and/or the panelists & I ended up ticking several boxes – see other clips – however, I was a bit mystified by the two Zed-cars on hand. One was Greg’s & the other turned out to be for Ken Wyatt, whose portfolio responsibilities weren’t my strong point…so I had to wing it a bit.

    https://youtu.be/I5m9sBKNnvc

  38. John Michelmore

    While we have “special” groups treated differently by Governments in Australia then there will be division and eventually conflict resulting. Just one example I stumbled across recently in the NT is the Federal Government payment of the equivalent 10 percent oil/gas royalties to Native Title holders, while the next door neighbour where native title has never been established get zero royalty; but the land and water on both properties are to be equally adversely affected by the gas operation. I’m also sure the reverse also applies where aboriginals can be subject to both our laws as well as customary aboriginal law, I doubt being punished twice for a single crime makes sense. In fact both cases can realistically be viewed as racial descrimination.
    It is time to move on, we are one country, one nation and Australia’s future depends on us practicing this principle so that we can all hopefully prosper under a single set of laws. If we want to bring on societal breakdown just keep introducing separate laws for all the different nationalities, religions and races etc.

  39. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    There was never an aboriginal nation and the warring between small tribes is well documented even to the point of genocide it seems when the Wilson prom or Eden tribes killed all of the East Brighton mob, the Morning ton Peninsula mob were shit frightened of the invaders to the point where they sought the protection of the settlers.

    An informative post, indeed. I’ll bet any “Aboriginal history” taught in schools omits the inconvenient truth that the tribes spent most of their time at war with each other.

  40. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    NATIONAL BREAKING NEWS
    Calls to disband Recognise campaign

    Lucy Hughes Jones
    Australian Associated Press
    2:52PM May 28, 2017

    There are calls for the Recognise campaign to be shut down after Aboriginal Australia abandoned constitutional recognition in favour of a voice in parliament and a treaty.

    A symbolic acknowledgement in the nation’s founding document was rejected at a national indigenous summit at Uluru on Friday.

    The Referendum Council will instead push for bold structural reform when it presents a report to both Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten on June 30.

    That’s raised serious questions over the future of Recognise, the government-sponsored marketing campaign that has received millions of dollars in funding since 2012 to build community support for the cause.

    Recognise has enlisted high profile Aboriginal ambassadors including Adam Goodes, while footy clubs and companies from BHP to Qantas have gotten on board, with the national carrier painting the huge ‘R’ logo on one of its planes.

    National Tertiary Education Union National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Coordinator Adam Frogley says that’s mostly been a waste and is demanding Recognise be disbanded.

    “What is Recognise going to sell now? A lot of the (indigenous) community already distrusts that ‘R’ symbol,” he told AAP.

    “The campaign is over and done with as far as I’m concerned.”

    Recognise, which is a part of Reconciliation Australia, says the Uluru proposals are designed to secure both recognition and provide a counter to the discriminatory elements in the constitution – principles its campaign has always focused on.

    From the Oz.

  41. Beliaik

    There’s some evidence, largely suppressed by academia for purposes of political correctness, that the modern aboriginal displaced a nation of pygmy-statured people. The modern arrivals, of typical modern human height, came here around 10,000 years ago and to survive they had to incorporate the pygmy-sized people’s entire culture, which included their oral history.

    The oral history was passed down as songs and stayed accurate with a system of testing and challenging based on cousins “fact-checking” each other. It was vital the oral history stayed true as it largely related to finding seasonal food sources in a harsh landscape. Some of these songs describe the sea level rises after the last glacial maximum ended.

    The taller aboriginals had no chance of developing a modern technology as they lacked suitable animals for domestication that could provide the extra energy needed. All the Australian mega-fauna had already been wiped out by hungry pygmies.

    The pygmies were still living around Yarrabah near Cairns and on the western slopes of Mt Bellenden Ker near Babinda as late as the 1960s. They were airbrushed out of history by academics keen to create the “stable pre-colonisation aboriginal nation-utopia” myth. Academics in this field are very similar to climate-scam academics.

  42. Senile Old Guy

    From the last part of the piece:

    But Cape York indigenous leader Noel Pearson slammed “low value pragmatism”, saying the right political leadership can capitalise on a groundswell of public willingness for change. “I’ve found more substantial bright lights of support on the conservative end. I actually think it’s the sagging, timid middle that is our greatest challenge,” he said. Mr Pearson is confident a referendum can be won within the next year, and says politicians can’t waste any more time in closing the gap of Aboriginal disadvantage.

    Deluded, I think.

  43. Tim Neilson

    Mabo was undemocratic ( 7 judges?)

    Actually only 6. Sir Daryl Dawson had the gaucherie to tell the truth.

  44. Beliaik

    If you ever speak to an academic from this field (and I have) and you mention this article
    http://quadrant.org.au/opinion/history-wars/2002/06/the-extinction-of-the-australian-pygmies/ by Keith Windschuttle and Tim Gillin you’ll be met with all the same hysteria you get from the climate-faithful when you challenge them.

    To my mind, “settled science” and any sort of “consensus” is reason enough for suspicion.

  45. John constantine

    We can rest assured that the history taught will be their lefts cultural relativism version.

    There are no historical facts, there is no historical truth, there is only current day political advantage for the left.

  46. Oh come on

    It is good that the Aboriginal Industry is seeking a maximalist change to the constitution. This will see it spinning its wheels for years, probably decades, before finally admitting defeat.

  47. Oh come on

    Mr Pearson is confident a referendum can be won within the next year

    Champagne comedy! What are the proposed amendments to the wording going to look like, I wonder? Or is Noel going to cross that bridge when he comes to it? He’ll find it’s a mighty long bridge. That’s collapsed in several places. And most likely uncrossable.

    Pearson ought to stick to what he knows best – funereal oratory and shaking down gullible conservatives.

  48. Oh come on

    Mr Pearson is confident a referendum can be won within the next year

    Champagne comedy! What are the proposed amendments to the wording going to look like, I wonder? Or is Noel going to cross that bridge when he comes to it? He’ll find it’s a mighty long bridge. That’s collapsed in several places. And most likely uncrossable.

    Pearson ought to stick to what he knows best – funereal oratory and shaking down gullible conservatives.

  49. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Mr Pearson is confident a referendum can be won within the next year

    I’ll bet good money that, if a referendum regarding Constitutional recognition is successful, and treaties are signed with each of the five hundred “Original Nations”, then the goalposts will shift again, and no – one will ever be any better off.

  50. I’ll bet good money that, if a referendum regarding Constitutional recognition is successful,

    I’ll bet good money that a referendum on Constitutional recognition never happens, and meanwhile a Treaty will be drafted under the auspices of the UN Rights of Indigenous Peoples Agreement. Like all the other UN Agreements our governments have signed treaties under, it won’t even get mentioned – let alone put to any form of vote – until it is all fait accompli.

  51. Squirrel

    “The Statement also “calls for establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution”. ” – because the only reason ATSIC failed to live up to expectations is that it was not enshrined in the Constitution.

  52. one old bruce

    Occasionally watch National Indigenous TV on free to air. A lot of Native American programming of dubious relevance. Now our Aboriginal people have started calling themselves ‘First Nations’ just like the Americans.

    Nations? Since when, watching too much American TV?

  53. alexnoaholdmate

    I’ll bet good money that a referendum on Constitutional recognition never happens…

    I agree, for the reasons I outlined above.

    …and meanwhile a Treaty will be drafted under the auspices of the UN Rights of Indigenous Peoples Agreement.

    Not possible.

    You cannot sign a treaty with an entity that does not exist.

    Constitutionally speaking, the High Court has ruled twice that Australia was settled and not invaded. There are no “nations” to sign a treaty with. And anyone claiming today to be a member of such a “nation” is actually a citizen of Australia. A nation cannot sign international treaties with its own citizens.

    Only a constitutional amendment could change that. And it won’t happen.

  54. Sydney Boy

    Not a difficult issue. The answer is an emphatic ‘no’. Equality before the law for all. No race based laws.

    We already ready have race-based laws. Try applying for ABSTUDY and a wealth of other aboriginal-only welfare, benefits, grants, etc.

  55. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    A nation cannot sign international treaties with its own citizens.

    What of the claim that Australia is the only country that doesn’t have a treaty with it’s indigenous people?

  56. You cannot sign a treaty with an entity that does not exist.

    Oh, sorry. My bad.

    Your comment fully explains why we have no laws and/or regulations with regard to the International Convention on Refugees, the UN Convention on Human Rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the UN Accord on Climate Change, to name but a few.

    Quite apart from the fact that none of these entities actually exist, we haven’t altered our Constitution to accommodate such laws. So it can’t happen. Good to know. Comforting even.

  57. alexnoaholdmate

    What of the claim that Australia is the only country that doesn’t have a treaty with it’s indigenous people?

    Well, I haven’t heard that myself. But let’s consider a couple of obvious examples.

    The United States: from the get-go, Indians – yes, that’s what they’re called in the Constitution, so the SJW crowd can take their political correctness and shove it up James Madison’s arse – are recognised as separate “nations”, and the Federal Government has the sole responsibility when it comes to treating with them. So treaties with the Indians are perfectly reasonable. They’ve reached a compromise where the Indians are American citizens but are entitled to their own reservations (should they wish to live there) and have their own “Indian Affairs” bureau to liaise with (I’m sure it probably has a different name now).

    Fun fact: it’s precisely because the Indians are technically subject to different Federal laws and regulations that casinos are able to be built and operated on their lands, even if local or state laws forbid gambling.

    New Zealand – the native Maori were organised in different clans or chiefdoms with recognisable authority figures who held jurisdictions over definable territories. It was therefore right and proper for the British government to sign a treaty with them, and so they did.

    There was nothing like that in Australia, and our own High Court has ruled so on two occasions.

  58. alexnoaholdmate

    Your comment fully explains why we have no laws and/or regulations with regard to the International Convention on Refugees, the UN Convention on Human Rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the UN Accord on Climate Change, to name but a few.

    What on earth are you talking about?

    I said we can’t sign treaties with Aboriginal nations because they don’t exist. I didn’t say anything about signing accords or conventions with the UN or other international bodies.

    The UN doesn’t exist?

  59. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Well, I haven’t heard that myself. But let’s consider a couple of obvious examples.

    Thanks for the explanation.

  60. Tintarella di Luna

    alexnoaholdmate – excellent comments – thank you

  61. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    They’ve reached a compromise where the Indians are American citizens but are entitled to their own reservations (should they wish to live there) and have their own “Indian Affairs” bureau to liaise with (I’m sure it probably has a different name now).

    My understanding, from a relative who was working in the States at the time, was that the Reagan Government had a policy of “If you want the benefits and the affirmative action programmes., you live on the reservations. If you don’t live on the reservations, you forfeit the handouts.” I don’t know if that policy is still in force.

  62. Tintarella di Luna

    The UN doesn’t exist?

    I wish

  63. alexnoaholdmate

    My understanding, from a relative who was working in the States at the time, was that the Reagan Government had a policy of “If you want the benefits and the affirmative action programmes., you live on the reservations. If you don’t live on the reservations, you forfeit the handouts.” I don’t know if that policy is still in force.

    No idea. But as it seems to contravene the modern idea of a loving, caring government able to provide all citizens with all of their needs all the time (especially when they belong to a minority group) – I doubt it.

  64. Habib

    Over-reaching dickheads have ensured that referendum’s deader than the Liberal partys re-election chances, and a bloody good thing.

  65. alexnoaholdmate

    Over-reaching dickheads have ensured that referendum’s deader than the Liberal partys re-election chances, and a bloody good thing.

    Yes. In both cases.

  66. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Over-reaching dickheads have ensured that referendum’s deader than the Liberal partys re-election chances, and a bloody good thing.

    I’ll bet the treaties keep the High Court booked solid for forty years.

  67. I said we can’t sign treaties with Aboriginal nations because they don’t exist.

    Actually, no, alexnoaholdmate.
    What you said was: You cannot sign a treaty with an entity that does not exist.
    What I pointed out in reply is that our governments sign all sorts of UN inspired agreements (pacts, accords, treaties), that involve non-existent entities. (When was the last time you encountered the entity known as “climate change”? Or “child”? Or “refugee”?) They then pass laws or regulations based our “need” to meet our obligations under that UN International Treaty.

    Australia is signatory to a UN Agreement on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Somebody posted a link to it earlier today. Somewhere in that Agreement will be a requirement that Australia come to some kind of Treaty recognising the Indigenous people as the “First People”, which subsequently entitles them to certain loosely defined rights and privileges.

    What is happening now is thrashing out the wording of a document by which Australia will “meet and fulfill its obligations under the UN Agreement on the Rights of Indigenous People”.

    I didn’t say anything about signing accords or conventions with the UN or other international bodies.

    No, because you don’t yet understand how the game is played.

  68. Oh come on

    I see where Alex is coming from but MV has a point – the feds have used the external affairs power to sign treaties that override state law, as is well known. Any treaty signed with the Aboriginals will probably end up in the High Court. Now, the High Court is not bound by precedents set by earlier rulings. Therefore it’s possible that Alex’s arguments could prevail there. On the other hand, MV’s scenario is far from out of the question.

  69. Oh come on

    Sorry, I didn’t word that well. The feds have used the external affairs power to override state law based on the international treaties they entered into, and this was upheld by the HC.

  70. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-02/billon-dollar-noongar-native-title-deal-rejected-by-court/8235138

    The Barnett Government wanted to pay the Noongar “nation” 1.3 Billion dollars to settle all Native Title claims. Four of the “nation” claimed that the deal wasn’t valid because they hadn’t signed off on it. I’m expecting a similar rock fight over any treaty.

  71. Therefore it’s possible that Alex’s arguments could prevail there.
    On the other hand, MV’s scenario is far from out of the question.

    You are right on both counts, in either direction, whichever way it goes, OCO.
    The purpose isn’t to solve anything, or to better the lot of Australian Aborigines, but to further stitch up just about any kind development in the High Court, indefinitely. Just like most of our “environmental laws”, passed to meet various UN Agreements on sustainability, diversity, endangered species, and so on. The only intended winners are meant to be the lawyers.

  72. alexnoaholdmate

    Look, the point is – the Federal government can sign whatever UN conventions it pleases, and no doubt it will screw us over to do so. Wouldn’t be the first time.

    What it can’t do is sign a treaty with Aboriginal “nations”, giving them some form of limited sovereignty over themselves or recognising them as somehow different entities to ordinary Australian citizens (as has occurred in the US and New Zealand) because there are no Aboriginal nations.

  73. True Aussie

    Just another example of how multiculturalism is doomed to failure.

  74. Oh come on

    Alex, the HC has determined implied rights exist in the constitution. Ok, so we like the fact that there is an implied right to freedom of political speech. This is, however, judicial activism that sets an unfortunate precedent. What else could suitably-minded HC justices decide is ‘implied’ in the constitution? Sorry but I don’t see MV’s scenario as being outlandish.

    And yes, you and I certainly agree that no decision will better the lot of the average Australian Aboriginal. The only thing that will do that is when each individual makes the conscious choice not to live their lives as victims of external forces that are beyond their control.

  75. alexnoaholdmate

    Thus, any such special recognition would require a specific and detailed constitutional amendment – and we’re not talking about a token mention of Aborigines in the preamble.

    Given our conservatism when it comes to amending our constitution, I just can’t see a majority of voters and a majority of voters in a majority of states voting for such a thing.

    It won’t happen. It’s all just about politicians looking caring and paternal – and I use that word deliberately – for the cameras.

  76. Oh come on

    (Second para directed at MV)

  77. alexnoaholdmate

    Alex, the HC has determined implied rights exist in the constitution.

    Yes, but their determination that these rights were “implied” was heavily influenced by the fact that our common law rights protected such free speech unless specifically abrogated by a positive act of law – as well as being understood as existing at the time of the writing of the Constitution, and the fact that the country had carried on for nearly a hundred years as if those rights did exist in the first place.

    This is different. The High Court itself ruled that Australia was settled, not invaded. This was important – if Australia was settled, then common law rights applied to interactions between white and Aboriginal Australians. If they didn’t, then Mabo’s land claims were legally baseless. You can’t claim the protection of whitefella law while arguing that whitefella law doesn’t apply to you.

    To find an “implied” recognition of Aboriginal “nations” in the Constitution would not only be ludicrous – it would overturn the basis of all Aboriginal claims to native title.

    I doubt that any “judicial activists” looking to screw the whitefella would be willing to advocate such a step.

  78. What it can’t do is sign a treaty with Aboriginal “nations”, giving them some form of limited sovereignty over themselves or recognising them as somehow different entities to ordinary Australian citizens (as has occurred in the US and New Zealand) because there are no Aboriginal nations.

    Probably true, Alex, but irrelevant. The treaty, accord, pact, agreement, whatever, will not be with various “nations”, but with Australia’s Indigenous Peoples, a distinct entity legally created by the previously quoted UN Indigenous Peoples Accord.

    If you take the time to read all the bumpf released from the Uluru fab fest, you’ll see all mention of separate nations has been dropped. The specific reference now is to a singular “First Nations Voice” that “represents all the Aboriginal language groups”.

  79. hzhousewife

    The only intended winners are meant to be the lawyers.

    Amen to that, lawyers and Pubic Servants.

  80. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    The only intended winners are meant to be the lawyers.

    The joke after the Mabo case was that Mabo stood for Money Abounding, Barristers Only.

  81. Oh come on

    Maintaining that united front will be an interesting spectacle. Shouldn’t be too hard to shatter – a wedge here, a wedge there, convince this group that they’ll be worse off within the collective, and that group…and the truth is you won’t even have to lie. The assimilation process will always yield losers who would be better off outside of the collective.

  82. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Maintaining that united front will be an interesting spectacle.

    Good luck getting clans that have been feuding since the mid – 1960’s to present a united front…

  83. OneWorldGovernment

    I’m going for English Irish to be written into the Australian Constitution.

    I will meet any other bastard on the Moama Football Ground to sort it out.

  84. cui bono

    Hope the lame Libs who encouraged this rubbish find their beds are burning.

  85. john constantine

    Hasn’t their julie bishop-mugabe already indicated to the united nations the basic framework of the paperwork she will sign?.

    The last weeks of their turnfailure regime will make the last weeks of their barack hussein regime look patriotic.

    [another reason to arsehole turnfailure eight weeks out from an election, even if it means the skeleton that leaks gets the shot she has schemed for. Keep her too busy to scuttle off and sign all the u.n. crap.]

  86. Jessie

    No, because you don’t yet understand how the game is played.

    MV @ 7.55 is correct.

    Additionally there has been no mention of the crony capitalists that are wound into the industry, the trades in illicits and youth across borders, the disastrous selection of and application of [UN] development theories etc etc

    The development of ploys and games prior to elections.
    Including revelations and sudden news of ex-politicians and their atrocious p*phile backgrounds .
    Exquisite.

    And no mention of the Sami.

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