Michael Anderson - Goodooga, northwest NSW, 18 January 2011
I am appalled at the announcement of the people who are to sit on this farcical constitutional committee to consider a proposal for the recognition of Aboriginal people in the Australian constitution.
Patrick Dodson led a movement against the former National Aboriginal Conference, who were negotiating a treaty with the Fraser Government between the Parliament representing white Australia and the democratically elected National Aboriginal Conference representing the Aboriginal people.
Dodson joined forces with the former super bureaucrat, the late ‘Nugget’ Coombs, together with Marcia Langton, Peter Yu and others to shut down the treaty process in favour of their Federation of Land Councils negotiating a land rights regime. They gave us the Native Title Act and the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC). The rest is now history.
Professor Patrick Dodson
Timmy 'Djawa' Burarrwanga
Associate Professor Megan Davis
Professor Marcia Langton
Senator Rachel Siewert
Now we have an addition to these collaborators, Noel Pearson, who argues that the problems of his people are of their own making and works in concert to further demoralize them while at the same time increasing his personal wealth through deals with mining companies and rightwing politicians. Then there is Sam Jefferies, with no other ambition than raising his personal profile. This is a person who denied his Aboriginality in his home town of Brewarrina and had to go to live in Lightning Ridge to get himself a signed paper for his Aboriginal identity paper as an Aboriginal, as no one in Brewarrina would have done it.
I might also add that my fears of being sold out come from the fact that Pat Dodson, when making an oral submission to the federal government’s Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs at their hearing in Alice Springs, submitted the notion that ‘sovereignty is not an issue that we want to deal with. Land rights is our fight’. This statement can be found in the oral submissions to that Committee’s transcripts (1983).
It would also be a very good idea for Marcia Langton and Pat Dodson to inform the Aboriginal people of the purpose and outcomes of their private meeting with Queen Elizabeth II in London 1999. This was a meeting, I understand, organized by the hierarchy of Rio Tinto. How can we place or have any trust in these sorts of people?
I once heard the former prime minister of Australia, Edward ‘Gough’ Whitlam, say at the Aboriginal Embassy, “What you young people have done is great but we know that you do not represent all the Aboriginal people around this country”. Similarly, the late High Court judge, Lionel Murphy, addressed a statement to Paul Coe in his Sovereignty case 1976, “you do not represent all the Aboriginal people” and advised him that should he choose to re-submit his case, he should only lodge the claim for those with whom he belongs.
So why then do we have to accept these chosen golden children of the British Empire and our oppressors?
A reminder that Aboriginal people pushing for sovereignty will gather in Canberra in late February for the fourth New Way Summit on a date to be announced soon.
I can be contacted at 02 68296355 landline, 04272 92 492 mobile, 02 68296375 fax, firstname.lastname@example.org.