Don't be fooled! Voice to Parliament and State-based treaties miss the mark

Don't be fooled! Voice to Parliament and State-based treaties miss the mark
Media Release

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 further insight into the trickery around State-based ‘Treaty’ and the powerless ‘Voice’ to parliament.

Both major political parties tow the colonial line regarding First Nations rights. Even though Labor promises to put the Voice to Parliament to referendum in their first term of office, if they win the election on Saturday, this misses the mark completely. What is the advantage to First Nations Peoples to have a Voice when the Federal parliament has no obligation whatsoever to take notice of any advice offered by consultation, let alone enforce the advice? I just wish everyone could see how ridiculous and inconsequential this proposed referendum is! It is only designed to steal, without our free prior and informed consent, our sovereignty and thereby ensure First Nations loyalty to the colonial invaders. This trickery will be done as if First Nations have agreed to it when, in fact, it is the majority of colonials and newcomers who will be voting over the top of us and there is no proposal that is being put up seeking our consent to be governed. Once again, this is the tyranny of the majority. The authorities claim it is widely supported by First Nations, but at grassroots this is far from the case as the ‘Walkout’ from the conference at Yulara demonstrated with the opposition to the ‘Statement from the Heart’.

We’ve already had a Voice to parliament when former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam set up the National Aboriginal Consultative Council (NACC) so he had someone to talk to. Once the NACC exerted some muscle it was quickly revamped into the National Aboriginal Conference (NAC), which was disbanded once the assertion of First Nations’ sovereignty became too strong through the demands of a Treaty framework, which has been agreed to by the Fraser government. The research showed that it was imperative for the negotiations to commence in England with the British monarch, whose sovereignty gives Australia its assumed legitimacy.

Later we had the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) which was shafted once its Chair, Geoff Clark, agitated the concept of Treaty in UN forums.

The federal government must respect the opinion of every First Nation and not just a few compliant ones brainwashed by the colonial rhetoric. First Nations are NOT an homogenous group. As in the USA and Canada, First Nations in Australia have different languages and different priorities. We are tired of advising colonial authorities who just ignore whatever does not assimilate into their colonial framework. This is why the Sovereignty Movement is gaining momentum.

It is also disappointing to hear Minister for ‘Indigenous Australians’, Ken Wyatt, talking one-on-one with NITV reporter Karla Grant, when he likened the contractual agreements with the Noongar and Yamatji Deeds of Settlement to that of a ‘Treaty’.

A contract between the State and the First Nations People has nothing to do with a proper sovereign Treaty, in the contemporary meaning of the word in international law. The terms of a contract and a treaty are vastly different from each other. The contract, when one studies it, is a compensation package agreed to by those involved and only deals with wrongdoings and suffering and the formalisation of the disposal of their land and natural wealth. Whereas a Treaty goes well beyond this and is oversighted by the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.

An international legal perspective is given by Gary Lilienthal in the video Treaty Trickery - You do not make a Treaty with an agent.

I must emphasise the point yet again, the Treaty must be between the sovereign authorities who are claiming ownership and title to this Country in accordance with the natural laws of the State. In Australia’s case, the sovereignty that has been claimed by Britain is a forced assumption of a right. However, when we investigate a right in this sense no English monarch has ever led a war campaign against First Nations Peoples on our soil and thereby take possession of this land as result of a declared war which would entitle the invading monarch to claim a right, as a consequence of conquering the First Nations Peoples whom they had declared war against. Had this been done the monarch would have a right to claim possessory rights as part of the spoils of war.

Having said this, there is another element to this process as an outcome and that is the laws of the ancient kingdom remain until the legal structure that is to apply to the newly conquered territory has been successfully negotiated between the two warring parties, that is the victor and the loser, the conquered. This process allows for the integration of the ancient law to be integrated into the new world order of the new state.

This has NEVER been the case in Australia. The Crown of England cannot claim an unencumbered land title, and the courts say the same, see Mabo case:

51. … But if the land were occupied by the indigenous inhabitants and their rights and interests in the land are recognized by the common law, the radical title which is acquired with the acquisition of sovereignty cannot itself be taken to confer an absolute beneficial title to the occupied land. [Mason CJ and McHugh J in agreeance with Brennan J in Mabo v Queensland (No 2) ("Mabo case") [1992] HCA 23; (1992) 175 CLR 1 (3 June 1992) ]

This comes directly from the very fact that the Crown of England has at no time obtained a possessory right to our Country. The Crown only has a pseudo-right that is recognised as ‘radical title’. This comes from the establishment of a Crown land registry office on the mainland which is deployed by the British authorities as if it were a ship’s log book. They transferred this maritime principle to a land registry office where they logged the surveyed areas of land that were granted to the colonial squatters. This gave the squatters an assumed ‘mere colour of title’ to use the land under their colonial legal system and any resistance by First Nations Peoples was quelled by the colonial military police troopers who were protecting the ill-gotten gains.

See: Gary Lilienthal & Nehaluddin Ahmad (2019): Colonial land title in Australia:
a meta-legal critical inquiry, Commonwealth Law Bulletin, Vol 45, 2019 - Issue 2, pp 231 - 256

This is evidenced when one reads the 1837 Report of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Aborigines (British Settlements) which stated at page 4:

‘Thus, while Acts of Parliament have laid down the general principles of equity, other and conflicting Acts have been framed, disposing of lands without any reference to the possessors and actual occupants, and without making any reserve of the proceeds of the property of the natives for their benefit.’

It was also reported on page 5 that:

‘Too often, their territory has been usurped; their property seized; their numbers diminished; their character debased; the spread of civilisation impeded. European vices and diseases have been introduced amongst them, and they have been familiarised with the use of our most potent instruments for the subtle or the violent destruction of human life, viz. brandy and gunpowder.’

At page 5 the Report affirmed:

‘It might be presumed that the native inhabitants of any land have an incontrovertible right to their own soil: a plain and sacred right, however, which seems not to have been understood. Europeans have entered their borders uninvited, and, when there, have not only acted as if they were undoubted lords of the soil, but have punished the natives as aggressors if they have evinced any dispossession to live in their own country.

“If they have been found upon their own property, they have been treated as thieves and robbers. They are driven back into the interior as if they were dogs or kangaroos.” [Ev. 2. 1817, 1819.] Report of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Aborigines (British Settlements) with the Minutes of Evidence, Appendix and Index. Ordered, by The House of Commons, to be Printed, 26 June 1837. Imperial Blue Book, 1837 nr VII. 425, p.11.

What we have going on in Australia now is a horrible wilful deceit which is being rushed through by State authorities to coverup the true nature of our First Nations Peoples’ rights.

In the following videos I have condensed (as much as possible) the legal arguments that confirm First Nations’ sovereignty, title to lands, ownership of waters, natural resources and biodiversity. It is truth-telling of a very high order. (45m) and (51m)

WHERE TO FROM HERE? -1 & 2 Decolonisation & sovereign inherent right to self-determination

The West Australian efforts with their compensation and Deed of Settlement packages are a pathway the government chose to settle and compensate for the wrongdoings. The only problem with this is that our people are being blind-sided by the very fact that they have rights to the values of the waters and mineral wealth that exist in their lands. In their Deeds of Settlement these elements are missing and are NOT being compensated for, which means that the First Nations owners of Country have transferred enormous wealth to the State without any right of residual ownership and/or to be compensated at a percentage going forward into the future.

Another wrongdoing yet again, in the modern day. The colonials cannot help but cheat, deceive, lie and continue to operate in an unconscionable way, by preventing First Nations Peoples from being fully informed of their inherited rights. It is all about expediency for the State and the theft continues, but for the general public the impression is the authorities are doing the right thing so what are First Nations Peoples complaining about?

The fact is the colonial wrongdoings continue and the spin doctors do an excellent job of misleading the public on the realities of these deceitful and unconscionable practices of the colonial authorities, from which they benefit.

I can assure the public that these agreements and so-called treaties are being negotiated as domestic treaties where the First Nations Peoples rights that are being accepted are those that are written into the State or Territory constitutions, that is, no State or Territory can negotiate any more than what is established in their own constitutions.

Early on in the Victorian treaty process, the State government made it very clear in a Fact Sheet that the Victorian government can only make recommendations to the Commonwealth regarding what should be included in a treaty.

'There are three main limitations on treaties in Victoria:

1. The parties must agree on what is necessary and just.

2. As a state within the Commonwealth, the Victorian Government can only agree to what is within its own constitutional powers.

3. As one state within the Federation, Victoria can only advocate for what is included in a national treaty.'

Treaty-making rights are exclusive to the Commonwealth.

So, join the dots, the whole State-based ‘treaty’ processes being advocated are yet another form of trickery to deprive First Nations of their rights and assets. It is possible, however, for these pseudo-treaties to refer to the various international laws on human rights, the social, economic, cultural and political rights of the Peoples. But the States cannot go beyond what is written in the State or Territory constitutions. Treaty matters are matters that belong to the Federal Government under the Federal Constitution. Even then the Federal Government is a mere agent of the Crown of Britain, which ultimately is the only power that can negotiate Treaties with First Nations since the head of power for the Commonwealth is the Queen’s Governor-general.

So then, what are First Nations people currently negotiating? Are they negotiating for the right to be educated, be housed, have rangers, establish their own local committees, run their housing companies, run their medical and legal services etc? Well, kind people, we already have that and if we don’t have it now, we had it, but it was taken away stealthily, step by step.

So then, are they waving the magic dollar in front of your eyes, or is it more than that? Are they negotiating your right to learn your language and practice your culture in some form to protect your culture in a museum? What about protecting your culture from destruction by development, e.g. how do you protect Juukan Gorge and Burrup Peninsula in pseudo-treaties of this kind?

Don’t be fooled, don’t be caught - again.

We are NOT going away, so don’t let them say the opportunity won’t come again. Don’t sign away future generations’ inheritance.

As Peoples who have survived over 234 years of deliberate genocidal practices, we need to stand firm and say: “NO!”. We must get ‘Where to from here?’ right, before we agree to anything. We are not here to conveniently forget and we are not here to give the colonial intruders security over that which is not theirs.

Stand up for your rights People, don’t be conned.

Ghillar, Michael AndersonContact: Ghillar Michael Anderson
Convenor of the Sovereign Union,
Head of State of the Euahlayi Peoples Republic
Contact Details here