Donations

Entrapment by the Statement from the Heart

Noel Pearson with the Uluru Statement signed at the convention but the wording arrived later
Sovereign Union Media Release

9 November 2020

By Ghillar, Michael Anderson, Convenor of the Sovereign Union, last surviving member of the founding four of the Aboriginal Embassy and Head of State of the Euahlayi Peoples Republic provides an insight for NAIDOC Week into the interplay around the 'Statement from the Heart'.

Identifying the Elephant in the room

First Nations' affairs, as they now stand in Australia, are in a deep abyss because there is a lack of common purpose, fuelled by misinformation and spin, which leads to the risk of entrapment into an assimilation push that negates our First Nations sovereignty.

In the 1970s we won Land Rights in a very big way, not by being cautious, nor being concerned about what might said about us. We did it at our peril with no guideposts, except a commitment to fight for what was and still is ours, no matter the cost to us personally. This was about our Peoples and our right to inherit and transmit the most ancient culture on planet earth. Now, it is about getting back what is ours and maintaining that which is ours.

Howard destroyed any good will in Native Title
As we were out in the streets crying out for Land Rights and Mabo2 found that Aboriginal Sovereignty wasn't ceded, the so-called Aboriginal leaders we call the 'two-bob mob' signed off on Howard's watered down Native Title.

Let us face it - the chosen and government-trained 'black trackers' and 'two-bob mob' negotiated the Land Rights win away from us and allowed for the continued illegal practice of stealing our lands, through Native Title legislation, right from under our noses. Those who participated in assisting the government with their response to the High Court Mabo judgement must be held accountable for their complicit actions in allowing Federal, State and Territory governments to establish and maintain their illegal land tenure regimes, without due consideration of the reality of our ancient ownership of Australia's lands and waters prior to colonisation. Have they even bothered to look over their shoulders at the continuing losses we suffer daily because they thought they knew best? Sh--, stand still and take a look around, see what Native Title has done, lift your heads up and see the damage being done all over this country.

When we look at the 1847 Attorney-General v Brown case in the New South Wales Supreme Court, we learn that no Australian State or Territory can grant legal possessory title to any lands or waters.1 This is why the High Court in Mabo held that the Crown did not have beneficial (allodial) title to our lands. Instead, the Crown had a radical title and a land tenure 'of some kind'. By definition this land title is a mere 'colour of title' by registration of land surveys only.2 The colonial authorities of the past and to this day, know that they are illegal occupiers and we as First Nations people do not have sufficient numbers out there enunciating this loud and clear for all to see and hear. It is all wrong, because the Crown has NEVER had possessory title to our lands and waters at any material time during the colonial history of this country to the present day. We are being duped Peoples again.

Sovereignty Never Ceded

This same invisible 'elephant in the room' now casts an enormous shadow over the assertion of our sovereign status as distinct sovereign First Nations Peoples in this country. In reality, asking the States, Territories and the Commonwealth governments to recognise our sovereignty will never work. We must make our own decision as to whether we are sovereign, independent Nations or not.

State government treaties are not real treatiesThe State and Territory governments are further masking the colonisers' lack of sovereignty by promoting 'treaties' between State and Territory governments and First Nations, e.g. in Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory. State and Territory governments can't make international treaties.

If we are to go down the road of 'sovereignty never ceded', then we must define our boundaries and just simply announce and assert our sovereign rights to govern within our defined boundaries. This is the right of self-determination and how it plays out in the modern era. Too often we are asked whether our people have the capacity to do this and it is this question that causes governments to establish organisations, under their system, to govern and make decisions for our respective groups. But this system of governance is foreign to our Law, culture and customary practices. I speak of registered native title prescribed body corporates (PBCs); unconstituted community working parties; and the list goes on. Our people only engage in these organisations if they feel that they can provide a service to assist in alleviating the impoverished state of the people. Now there is a concerted effort from State and Territory governments to further mask the colonisers' lack of sovereignty by promoting 'treaties' between State and Territory governments and First Nations, e.g. in Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory, State and Territory governments can't make international treaties, so what usefulness do these agreements have? 3

Reconciliation

Burying our dead - before any grassroots steps towards peaceful co-existence

So, the obvious question that now circles us is this whole question of 'reconciliation.'

'Guilty Your Honour' by Gordon Siron 2007Painting: 'Guilty Your Honour' by Gordon Siron 2007

What is 'reconciliation'? How is it defined? And what are the strategies that are being employed to reconcile differences between First Nations and colonial governments and non-First Nations Peoples, or reconcile a genocidal history?

For me personally, how can anybody ask me to engage in a 'reconciliation' program with our occupiers, while thousands of our Peoples' bones lie scattered and trampled by stock on open farmlands across Australia?

It is not possible to heal the suffering, pain and trauma of this horrid history that we have been subjected to without someone being held to account.

To ignore the need to bury our people in a respectful manner4 does not sow the seed to grow 'reconciliation.' The Australian military and some archaeologists5 have the machinery that can identify human remains, as opposed to animal remains. Within some defined massacre areas we can locate human remains and thus establish a method to have them buried and monuments established to identify who these people were and their Nation's name. For example, we know of three massacre areas in the vicinity of Brewarrina in New South Wales and we do know of the identity of the Nations who came together at that time for ceremony. This enables us to pay Respect to the people of the Nations who were killed at these sites. We may not be able to identify the people by name, but we can identify the Nations. This goes for the rest of Australia. It is never too late in the day to bury our dead. If we can achieve this as a starting point, we will at least we honouring our Elders and our dead. Some remains of people killed on the colonial frontier were buried by survivors or even perpetrators, while others were thrown into creeks, rivers, wells, over cliffs, or into the sea, or burnt, some remains ground into powder (e.g. near Lake Cowal, NSW, according to oral history) so may never be found. But there may be colonial records and oral histories that record the atrocities that would allow for more monuments to those who gave their lives in defence of Country. We cannot heal without this action.

Truth-telling
Aboriginal LanguagesOur commonalities are simply that we are the First Nations Peoples of this land and we fight to be self-determining and we want our lands back and if we cannot get them we must have reparation, which includes a program of restitution.

On the question of truth-telling, I simply say we must address the massive division that haunts our own ambitions to move forward and reconstruct ourselves as Peoples. The reality is that we are many Nations who speak many languages and it is not possible to design a shoe that will fit all of us. Our commonalities are simply that we are the First Nations Peoples of this land and we fight to be self-determining and we want our lands back and if we cannot get them we must have reparation, which includes a program of restitution.

Truth-telling must start at our own doorsteps, and on Country. If we cannot be honest with ourselves and the damage we have done to each other and the cause that we say we are fighting for, we cannot expect the occupying state and its citizens to be honest about what they did to us and why they did it.

'Yulara/Uluru Statement from the Heart'6

Now we must ask ourselves who is truly pushing the Constitutional agenda and the 2017 'Yulara/Uluru Statement from the Heart'? If we can locate the conductors of this orchestrated movement then we may understand the ultimate objective.7

We can say that upon examination that history has shown that some significant multi-national corporations have been the primary source of funding for this campaign by comparison to the Federal government's contribution, which is quite minimal. Given these facts, the question is: What is in it for the multinational corporations, which have contributed millions of dollars to circumvent the First Nations' sovereignty and land rights push, speaks volumes for their true hidden agenda.

Now I turn my attention to the 'Statement from the Heart.'

The objectives of the 'Statement from the Heart' confound many people, but let's be honest about that document. Those who were present as participants and observers of this shame that happened at the Yulara resort near Uluru, now know that this so-called national conference was a façade that hid the true agenda.8 The most disappointing aspect of this gathering was that the grassroots-nominated delegates from the regional consultations were not afforded equal time to speak. Their voices were shut down.

Mark Leibler and the Referendum Council(Top left) Mark Leibler, a friend of John Howard's, who has been actively involved in the process going back to the failed 'R' Recognition campaign. He was in the back room of the convention at Yulara where the statement of the heart was cooked up. (Bottom left) is the signatures from the meeting where the wording and artwork was added later (seen right).

This sham of the 'Statement from the Heart' cannot be promoted as being significant in any way, shape, or form as is currently being done. The Referendum Council claims the 'Statement from the Heart' is 'modest and substantive', yet it is not even substantive. It is sad and very disappointing to watch this sham, that only leads to assimilation, and now have it promoted Australia-wide as being one of the most effective consultation programs ever conducted. This is an absolute lie and cannot be permitted to grow any legs and/or take root, because it is not a reflection of the will of the grassroots people. It is a manipulated construction by known and unknown players. I do question why Australian tax lawyer, corporate strategist, power broker and Zionist, Mr Mark Leibler, a former Co-Chair of the Referendum Council, was hiding out on the Yulara resort watching the proceedings take place from the safety of his hidden room where he and other players were consulting back and forth and those people would come back into the room to push their view or their revised strategy.

It should be emphasised that the 'Statement from the Heart' is NOT supported by First Nations grassroots Peoples and their Nations9. It is a one-sided story.

Constitutional Inclusion and the Voice
Stolen Aboriginal Flag

On the question of the Voice to the Federal Parliament ,I must say that we have had elected voices to parliament since 1973, when the National Aboriginal Consultative Council (NACC) was elected. I was on the NACC national committee which was chaired by Charles Perkins to establish this organisation. In a six-month period, we established a national electoral roll by putting people on the ground throughout Australia so that we could compile a national roll, in a concerted effort that lasted five weeks. We managed to build an electoral roll that amassed a staggering number for us of 67,000 people. When the elections took place for the NACC, we achieved a greater voter turnout than that of the first vote for the first national Parliament in 1901. Thereafter we had numerous elected bodies that ended with the dismissal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) commissioners and the ultimate shut down of an independent department or body. The National Congress of Australia's First Peoples met its demise and we now have no independent body elected by our people.

Each First Nation must be consulted and their independence and right to be self-determining must be recognised. Each First Nation must speak for itself and make its own plans. Currently the proposed 'Voice' is of no substance, just like the signatures surrounding the blank canvas now known as the Statement from the Heart. The Referendum Council reports on page 38 that:

'The proposed Voice would not interfere with parliamentary supremacy, it would not be justiciable, and the details of its structure and functions would be established by Parliament through legislation that could be altered by Parliament.'

A 'Voice to Parliament' creates NO constitutional rights
- it is not substantive

Final Report of Referendum Council: The First Nations Voice to Parliament clause will be "non justiciable" so if the i government refuses to listen to the 'Voice' or constitutes the Voice in a way that's not democratic or whatever there will be no recourse to the courts.

It quite literally creates no constitutional rights: "Modest and substantive ".

• We put forward a single recommendation for constitutional amendment - that a referendum be held fo provide in the Australian Constitution for a body that gives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples a Voice to the Commonwealth Parliament - in order to fit into this window of constitutional opportunity. Our recommended option for constitutional amendment is both modest and substantive.

• The proposed Voice would not interfere with parliamentary supremacy, it would not be justiciable, and the details of its structure and functions would be established b Parliament through legislation that could be altered by Parliament. This is modest. It would place into the supreme law of our Commonwealth, a Voice that will enable the First Peoples of Australia to speak to the Parliament and to the nation about the laws and policies that concern them. This is substantive."

• And there is no right of veto ...

Reference: PDF: Referendum Council Final Report p.38

Conclusion:

I argue that the 'elephant in the room' has now become visible. The foundational membership of those in planning all that I have spoken about above are almost the same people who were engaged and involved in authorising the crooked Native Title Act 1993. I have no need to name them as they stand out like a dressed sore thumb. These people and others are responsible for compromising our Land Rights to the extent that it almost has become impossible to unwind.

We cannot ignore what the late HC Nugget Coombs did in 1983. He called together a group of First Nations people who were on the other side of the grassroots elected peoples view on First Nations affairs. The rationale used at the time by these people was that, setting up regional land co ncils meant that they were closer to the views and needs of the people at community level. These groups were not at all honest because these land councils were manipulated to the point that they constituted a like-minded group of people who were on the fringes of their communities and have always represented an opposition to the communities' choice, thus, the division at the local level. What the public are not aware of is the fact that this division has been there from the time our Peoples were forced into government control mission areas. The differences will not be addressed until we, the People, articulate our differences based on our diversity. Our people have not had an opportunity to set the record straight. Governments do know of these divisions and use them to their advantage through constant intervention in local community affairs.

The false appearance of 'lack of capacity' within the grassroots of First Nations is promoted as the reason for our People to be micromanaged. This is what is destroying our Peoples' capacity, not building it. The source of dysfunction comes from the lack of self-determination and micromanagement by government-funded and nominated so-called 'leaders.'

The 'Statement from the Heart' is based on a false pretence because chosen leaders from the grassroots at the 2017 conference were blocked from expressing their views.

The words of the Statement may sound right but, it is absolutely necessary to look between the lines and lift up the words to see what is under them. The 'Statement from the Heart' is being promoted as a united voice involving all First Nations . It is in fact a fabricated lie to suggest that the statement comes from one of the largest consultation processes ever conducted in Australia. It is a false representation of what First Nations Peoples believe and aspire to.10

As First Nations Peoples we know this is not right and we also know that our independent Nations across Australia have never had the opportunity to have proper input into what is said in the Statement. This very fact must be expressed loud and clear. The independent Nations have not had a proper input into the 'Statement from the Heart' and its intended ambitions. The 'Statement from the Heart' does not even expose the tip of the iceberg of the true aspirations of our independent Nations

We MUST ask: Are those promoting the 'Statement from the Heart' now about to give away our sovereign inherent rights and deny our children's grandchildren the right to be self-determining, controlling their own destinies, and determining their social, cultural and economic rights into the future as First Nations?

Referendum Council Troopers

We cannot allow this 'elephant' to agree to anything in respect of Constitutional reform for and on our behalf.

There is presently within the existing Australian Constitution, a constitutional head of power that permits the creation of specific statutory law on and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples ONLY.

Yes, governments can also use this power negatively, however, this will only be permitted if we as Peoples and the public are not on guard to ensure that governments do NOT perpetuate wrong doings and human rights violations. The Commonwealth Racial Discrimination Act 1975, together with the preamble to the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2005 as amended, which set up the Indigenous Land and Sea Council, imported all international Covenants and Conventions into Australian domestic laws on human rights. I should also say that these laws are far superior to those in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

Why do I say this? Simply, Australia has only paid lip service to UNDRIP, while the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2005,as amended, now incorporates into Australian law the United Nations laws on Human Rights.

On the issue of the Preamble to the Constitution of Australia, I strongly urge all concerned not to allow any reference to any symbolic gesture being included in Australia's Constitutional preamble. To explain why, I just simply say: There are only two pieces of legislation in Australia in which the Preamble is actually part of the substantive body of the domestic law of the country, that is, the British/Australian Constitution Act 1901 and the Native Title Act 1993. What this means is that whatever is written into the Preamble becomes part of the law of Australia. In this regard, laws can be introduced through the Preamble which can and will define our rights, including describing that there is no need to program special measures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. This means, we will lose our identity as First Nations, as we will be described as 'Australian citizens' with all the same rights and obligations to conform to the Australian way of life, observing all their customs and beliefs, while our ancient customs and beliefs will become museum pieces to be observed as something of the past. Our Ancient Laws, culture and customary practices will no longer be a real matter in the Australian legal and political system. All this will go if we permit these 'Two-Bob' mob and the modern 'Black Trackers' have their assimilation way.

Be very careful of what you wish for.
Ghillar, Michael AndersonContact: Ghillar Michael Anderson
Convenor of the Sovereign Union,
Head of State of the Euahlayi Peoples Republic
Contact Details here