Mitch Torres discusses the background to this critical day of action (CAAMA radio)
18 March 2015
Ghillar, Michael Anderson, Convenor of the Sovereign Union, Head of State of the Euahlayi Republic and co-founder of the 1972 Aboriginal Embassy said from Sydney today:
The momentum is building for the global day of action on Thursday 19 March 2015 against the forced closure of Aboriginal homeland communities. Protests and marches are being held across Australia at: Roebourne, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Derby, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, One Arm Point, Beagle Bay, Port Hedland, Perth, Bellingen, Lismore, Canberra, Nigel Scullion's office in Alice Springs,Yarrabah, Adelaide, Sydney, Redfern Tent Embassy, Bendigo, Melbourne, Launceston and a virtual protest.
Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part is one of the five definitions of genocide.
Forced removal of Aboriginal communities from their homelands fits this definition.
The people of Australia must understand that genocide is an international crime. The worst crime in the world. [1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide]
In the Nulyarimma v Thompson Genocide Case in the ACT Supreme Court [ACT SC 18 December 1998] it was Justice Crispin who ruled that Australia did not have a domestic law against genocide, while admitting from the bench that genocide has occurred in Australia. [see 'Background' below for details] The absence of a domestic law against genocide enables governments, corporations and individuals to act with impunity.
In previous confrontations by the Sovereign Union reporting to UN treaty bodies in early 2000, the Commonwealth government delegates argued that they cannot do anything about racist laws in the Australian States and Territories because of the Federal arrangements, that is, the Federal government cannot tell State and Territory governments what to do. The Australian government uses this to protect themselves against international scrutiny. But this is merely a smoke screen. The Commonwealth government is obligated under international law to engage with State and Territory governments to ensure that international law on Human Rights and the rights of Peoples are protected, but does not have right to invade Peoples' fundamental Human Rights.
The situation in the Northern Territory, South Australia and in particular Western Australia in respect to the Barnett's government's forced closure of Aboriginal homeland communities is a vile and racist act in the extreme.
The racist language of PM Tony Abbott is unbecoming to a leader of a country. It is disappointing to see the mainstream media merely condemn and attack Tony Abbott's choice of words while failing to focus on the real substantive issues of homeland closures.
Despite his words the Barnett government continues with its policies of closing communities with impunity. The only outcome for Aboriginal Peoples is for them to become homeless and on the streets, which will results in incarceration, and the removal of their children. All of this pressure can lead to an enormous mental harm to the group and we will see increase in suicide rates and deteriorating mental health, which ultimately destroys the well-being of the Peoples.
Demoralising Peoples to this extent is an international crime against humanity and is an increasingly major humanitarian crisis, but then we already have that across the Australia as a whole and no-one wants to talk about it. This is why all Australians must assist with forging the solutions. We cannot have genocide happening right under our noses while the public sits idly by, believing that its is a 'life style choice' to live on Country. Our culture is being destroyed. People are under sufferance. Insecurity and uncertainty are our Peoples' way of life
The fundamental priorities of an aggressive assault against the people which leads to the destruction and demoralisation of Peoples can be illustrated by identifying the fundamental rules and disciplines of war. The order of priority is dependent on the campaign and they are:
Currently PM Tony Abbott and the Barnett government are appealing to the Australian public's purse, by saying that it costs too much to provide these services to the isolated and remote communities but they do not talk about the little white communities like Birdsville, Windora, Hungerford Wanaaring, Elliot, and the remote homesteads.
The reality is Aboriginal people are being removed off lands that they own and have owned for millenia. The Commonwealth, State and Territory governments should explain to their constituents the real reason why they say that supplying services to homeland communities is too expensive. It is because they are trading insolvent. Gina Rinehart and Andrew Twiggy Forrest are the main beneficiaries of the forced community closures – not governments or the Australian population, because their mining companies are not taxed enough. The governments have to rely on personal income tax, not the mining companies' taxes. Governments are taxing the workers, who are paying the bill, not the mining companies. We appeal to the Australian credo of a Fair Go.
In 1998 Wadjularbinna Nulyarimma, Gungalidda Elder from Doomadgee, Gulf of Carpentaria took a genocide case against PM John Howard and the entire Federal Parliament over the Native Title Act Amendments, which promised 'bucket loads of extinguishment' of Native Title rights and interests to pave the way for unimpeded mining and other development.
In the Nulyarimma v Thompson Genocide Case in the ACT Supreme Court [ACT SC 18 December 1998] it was Justice Crispin who ruled that Australia did not have a domestic law against genocide, while admitting from the bench that genocide has occurred in Australia. Crispin's ruling was upheld on appeal in the Federal Court of Australia [Nulyarimma v Thompson  FCA 1192].
Justice Crispin made a landmark declaration on the subject of genocide against Aboriginal Peoples of Australia:
There is ample evidence to satisfy me that acts of genocide were committed during the colonisation of Australia. [para 78]
It is clear from the bloody pages of Australian history that the wholesale destruction of Aboriginal peoples was related to an equally wholesale usurpation of their lands. Yet, in the light of what we now know it now appears that this course was contrary even to English law. [para 32]1
Justice Crispin went on to conclude that Australia does not qualify as a civilised country because:
It is clear that whilst the Act effectively ratifies the Convention it does not purport to incorporate the provisions of the Convention into Australian municipal law. [para 66]
I have concluded that no offence of genocide is known to the domestic law of Australia. [para 73]
During the appeal to the full bench of the Federal Court the complicity of the current Australian federal government with the perpetuation of Aboriginal genocide was articulated by the Howard government’s Chief Legal Counsel, Henry Burmester, QC, who divulged that the Australian Government ‘deliberately did not enact the Genocide Convention’:
…there are good reasons why this court should be very slow to create a new civil cause of action based on an international right which parliament has deliberately chosen not to directly incorporate into Australian criminal law. 2
It has been clearly stated by the International Court of Justice, in its deliberations on the Genocide Convention that a country cannot be considered civilised if it does not have a law to prevent genocide.
The origins of the Convention show that it was the intention of the United Nations to condemn and punish genocide as "a crime under international law"… The principles underlying the Convention are principles which are recognised by civilised nations as binding on States, even without any conventional obligation…. In such a convention the contracting States do not have any interests of their own; they merely have, one and all, a common interest, namely, the accomplishment of those high purposes which are the raison d'etre of the convention.3
Even today Australia has NO effective law against Genocide
The Commonwealth of Australia has still not fully imported the Genocide Convention into domestic law. Parts of the Genocide Convention were imported into domestic law by way of the International Criminal Court (Consequential Amendments) Act 2002, but only the Attorney-General can begin a genocide case and if he/she refuses there is no right of appeal and no reasons need to be given. [268.121 – 268.122]. This is contrary to the intent of the long-standing Genocide Convention, which Australia was the third country to sign.
International Criminal Court (Consequential Amendments) Act 2002,
268.121 Bringing proceedings under this Division
268.122 Attorney-General’s decisions in relation to consents to be final
(1) Subject to any jurisdiction of the High Court under the Constitution, a decision by the Attorney-General to give, or to refuse to give, a consent under section 268.121:
As soon as Australia fully imports the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide into domestic law, the impunity with which Aboriginal communities are forcibly closed will have to cease, because each person carrying out these crimes will be personally accountable to the Genocide Convention, and there is no defence by claiming you were taking orders from above, or had to pay off the mortgage.
Extract from: 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide:
Article II: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
Article III: The following acts shall be punishable:
1 In the matter of an application for a writ of mandamus directed to Phillip R Thompson Ex parte Wadjularbinna Nulyarimma, Isobel Coe, Billy Craigie and Robbie Thorpe (Applicants), Tom Trevorrow, Irene Watson, Kevin Buzzacott and Michael J Anderson (Intervenors)  ACTSC 136 (18 December 1998)
2 Federal Court transcript Nulyarimma v Thompson No A 5 of 1999 and No S 23 of 1999, 31 May 1999 at .nulbu 31.5.99P-4
3 International Court of Justice, 28 May 1951, reservations to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
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