Micahel Anderson challenges Prof. George Williams and the Commonwealth Attorney-general to publicly debate First Nations continuing Sovereignty at the Sydney Opera House
Sovereign Union Media Release
27 May 2013
Michael Anderson, Convenor of the Sovereign Union of First Nations and Peoples in Australia said today: "A recent comment  made by one of Australia's leading constitutional lawyers, Prof George Williams, demonstrates the incapacities on non-Aboriginal legal experts to see beyond the legal system that they are sworn to serve and uphold. Prof Williams was responding to statements by Fred Hooper on the recent Declaration of Independence by the Murrawarri Nation.
"Clearly Prof Williams lacks objectivity in his radio interview with The Wire, because his teachings and his practice focus primarily on the system that affords him his status in his society, which is the same society that seeks to steal our patrimony, citizenship and usurp our sovereignty without any legal foundation.
"Many established lawyers fail to come to terms with other aspects of the Mabo decision. As a constitutional expert, surely Prof Williams understands, when the High Court held in Mabo that competing sovereignties between Aboriginal Nations and the colonial Australian state come face to face, no domestic municipal courts within Australia have the capacity to rule over issues of competing sovereignties.
"The High Court also held that these questions can only be resolved by a higher jurisdiction, in which case these questions should be referred to the United Nations for independent mediation. Should this process fail to reach amicable arrangements, then the United Nations are legally bound to refer the matter to the International Court of Justice for an opinion.
"The Murrawarri decided, within the Nation, to free themselves from the tyrannical oppression that they are currently confronted with. The Murrawarri have adopted an internationally accepted legal norm and practice and have take the logical next step by declaring their independence as a pre-existing and continuing sovereign state.
"It is concerning when we have a lawyer of Prof George Williams' stature publicly espousing the notion that Aboriginal people are assimilated.
"On the contrary, Aboriginal Nations are re-organising themselves by defining the boundaries of their territories over which they have dominion under our Law and custom, while at the same time organising their population through families according to their Law and custom, defining their language and re-establishing their ancient customs of governance in a modern sense, which in many cases will have evolved to meet the current circumstances. Then through sheer necessity for survival, they are establishing a distinct and identifiable political unit.
"Prof Williams' comments are also at odds with the Samuel Griffiths Society of Lawyers who advise on the constitutional matters. In 1998 Dr Stephen Davis provided PM Howard with advice on the ramifications of the Ten Point Plan to provide ‘bucket loads' of extinguishment of Native Title and that, when making amendments to the Native Title Act 1993, to be cognisant of the contested sovereignty.
The recent Mitchell Decision [Mohawk Council of Akwesasne v Canada (Minister of National Revenue-MHR,  F.C.J. No. 882 (QL)] of the Canadian Federal Court has recognized the international nature of Aboriginal rights and ensured that Aboriginal customary rights will be preserved across international borders. Aboriginal rights are clearly being distinguished and recognized as distinct from Aboriginal title. The distinction warrants ongoing attention.
The issue of domestic sovereignty is set to dominate future international discussion of indigenous rights, and discussions made by the United Nations, together with precedents in other countries, could potentially change the map of this country. Land rights and native title in Australia are examples of a very dynamic debate which is open ended, and which can be simply linked to international conventions and trends to develop a credible basis for a range of outcomes with far reaching irreversible consequences.
Australians tend to take their sovereignty for granted. That sovereignty is now being contested. We must become more aware of the issues, the players and be prepared to defend our sovereignty if we are to maintain it.
[ Davis, Stephen 1998, Native Title; A Path to Sovereignty, http://samuelgriffith.org.au/docs/vol9/v9chap11.pdf ]
"Prof George Williams fails to consider recent Canadian Supreme Court cases in relation to Aboriginal Rights, which are part of the English common law and establish new common law rights. It is an established legal norm that what is held in the superior courts of Canada does not necessarily establish new law in relation to Aboriginal Rights just for Canada, but for the common law of other counties, such as Australia. In addition, the legal opinion of the International Court of Justice in the 1975 Western Sahara Case, clearly acknowledges in law that sovereignty remains with the People and is not usurped by the invader state, unless the Aboriginal population is conquered or they ceded their rights and sovereignty to the new colonizing state through a treaty. The superior courts of Canada have remained connected to this advice when their courts hold that Aboriginal Rights have, and do, survive an imposed British sovereignty.
"In conclusion, it is time for people like Prof George Williams to use their influence and invite the Commonwealth and States' Attorney-generals to a public debate between Fred Hooper of the Murrawarri Republic, and a couple of international lawyer such as Maivan Clech Lam, Professor Emeritus of the City University of New York Graduate Center, and myself. I believe this debate should take place at the Sydney Opera House as it is a vital public interest issue.