Where there’s smoke there’s fire.

Fire at old Parliament House
Media Release

31 December 2021

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 into the interplay surrounding the recent fire that burnt the doors of Old Parliament House.

We wait for the results of the full investigation to understand what really took place and how the ceremonial fire became a conflagration. We need to acknowledge Albert Hartnett’s eye witness account that what was a smoking ceremony appeared to be inflamed by two Policemen who came from the inside of Old Parliament House with what he thought was pepperspray, or a spray to douse the fire, but instead it was an accelerant that ‘exacerbated’ the smoking ceremony fire, which first ignited the roof of the porch and then the doors. Truth has a life of its own!

The recent events at Old Parliament House have now shown and demonstrated very clearly that there is a three-pronged approach to deal with the colonial wrongdoings and the genocide being perpetrated against First Nations Peoples in this 21st century.

Ironically, the world has responded to the horrors of the locating of children’s bodies in residential schools throughout Canada, while here in Australia similar events have occurred, but our problem is not all the children who were taken were recorded in the government ledgers. No one speaks of the horrors, trauma and suicide that happened after the child or children were taken from their mothers and fathers. There are stories told by families of how their sisters, their brothers, their fathers and their mothers either committed suicide themselves at the loss of their child or children, while others became totally societally dysfunctional from the trauma and grief, the legacy of which continues to be felt in the intergenerational trauma, grief and loss within our communities. That is the human face of our history.

Then we go into the loss of language and cultural practices. The destructive impact of taking one’s language, cultural and spiritual belief creates in the human soul a walking corpse, who has no foundation for their spiritual and emotional well-being and then these persons have to live in purgatory, belonging to neither side, neither their own nor the foreign occupiers. They live between two worlds without any security. There can be no peace of mind and we are forced to live in a world of troubled times.

Now we look at assimilation. The question that has to be asked is: Why in the world would the people who did this to us have any expectation that we, the victims of this colonisation, would want to become like our destroyers and occupiers. This expectation is like the Stockholm Syndrome on steroids, not going to happen.

So, let’s now look at the First Nations’ political movement. We have three sectors that I can see within the First Nations political and social movement. There are those who have little to no connection to their Country and/or culture. These are the ones the late Herbert ‘Nugget’ Coombs wanted to work with to develop a middle-class Black Australia. These are the two-bob-mob running the tick-a-box projects and campaigns, such as reconciliation and voice to parliament etc. The reconciliation program for me personally is trying to get whites to swim in the same location and Blackfellas; to engage and sit and drink at the same location as Blackfellas without distinction; to shake hands with a Blackfella and say “Hello’; and to take advantage of our sporting prowess and achievements and use them as role models to convince our young people – you can do it too and assimilate.

On the question of voice-to-parliament. Why in the world would we permit ourselves to be part of the Stockholm Syndrome on steroids and acquiesce and give recognition to our oppressors’ alleged power and authority over our Country, cultural and spiritual norms. This voice-to-parliament objective is a resurrection of a movement that once defined us as the child-like race and someone else had to make decisions for us in our ‘best interest’.

No, we must own our own future and we are the ones to decide what it looks like and will be.

Then we have the young resisters who are frustrated and angry. The outcry that we are witnessing with the fire that burnt the doors of Old Parliament House is a symptom of the pent-up frustration, anger because no-one in authority wants to listen. This is their objection. These younger ones aspiring for self-determination and an assertion of inherent sovereignty realise that we are on a merry-go-round of one step forward and two steps backwards, or caught in a game of snakes and ladders. This is why they are angry. They are also objecting to the corporatisation of our aspirations. Take a look at Indigenous Business Australia (IBA), and the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) which are legislated monopolies that don’t give back to the Peoples so they can take ownership of their Country.

Nevertheless, we wait for the results of the full investigation to understand what really took place and how the ceremonial fire became a conflagration.

The cherry picking of ‘leadership’ and topics by politicians must stop. There are in this country many Nations with many different languages and very different priorities. They must stop seeing First Nations Peoples in Australia as a single homogenous group. No, we are different, that is why we are independent Nations, respecting each others’ boundaries. The public must learn this and learn it fast. You’ve had over 200 years to learn but no-one listened. Australia was colonised by the dregs of the British society. Those free settlers who came, came to make money and did massive land grabs. This now must stop.

The Aboriginal Embassy was and is deafening in its silence. The power of its very existence strikes at the very heart and soul of this illegal occupying colonial regime. Don’t forget Australians your sovereignty comes from the sovereign in England not from the land you call Australia. The spirit of the Aboriginal Embassy remains very strong. We do not have to destroy property to make a point politically or otherwise. This is the third group who continue to live with the spirit of the Embassy. We do not have to become violent or angry for people to hear our message. Violence attracts negativity, not support. The spirit of the Embassy can now manifest into a future pathway and it is proposed that on the 27 January in the Albert Hall, (100 Commonwealth Ave, close to the Aboriginal Embassy) the pathway forward will be revealed for all to discuss during the day’s conference. It is expected that we will walk away from this conference with a plan.

The reason people do not want to discuss the First Nations position in forums, or publicly, or at the breakfast tables is because to mention the word Aboriginal or First Nations is like sinking an electric cattle prod into the rear end of a beast, because it raises an inbuilt guilt complex that pervades the Australian society in general. Most people say, “Let’s agree to disagree,” or “Let’s just leave that one on the shelf.” The blinkered view of the Australian society is represented by this denial and state of mind. So when is the time to talk about the real issue?

The popular saying in the past has been, “We shouldn’t upset the establishment and the population, we need them on our side.” The world knows that change only happens when the population’s security is challenged.

So, let me just end by taking a realistic view of the fire in front of Old Parliament House.

The shock horror is that this struck at the very heart of the unstable security that the Australian population has. This uncertainty is represented in the media’s response and the public’s response to a shocking incident because it challenged their security. Where is the public outcry when Rio Tinto and other mining companies destroy our sacred places and sites? When we appeal through the mass media for help to protect our spiritual and religious icons, the laissez-faire attitude of the Australian public is one where they say, “Oh, the government will look after that.” Or they have pub debates or breakfast discussions about their world view of the destruction. They think that you may cut the ancient artworks out of the rock wall and place them in museums so that mining companies can extract the minerals which will create jobs and benefit the world by providing rare resources, while at the same time improving the bottom line of the one percenters.

Wake up Australia! First Nations will create within this land a true Australian identity. No-one will be able to stop this. Work with us and we’ll make a better country. We do know a little about adaptation.

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