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Perfecting Trickery: The Referendum Council

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This image taken after these delegates and others walked out of the National Referendum Council meeting at Uluru in disgust at the procedures and gagging. (L to R) Serena Williams, (Ngunnawal), Lidia Thorpe (Gunnai and Gunditjmara), Jenny Munro (Wiradjuri), Linda June Coe (Wiradjuri), George Coe (Wiradjuri) and Observer Ruth Gilbert (Wiradjuri).

By Ghillar Michael Anderson

(Editor’s note. Below is a shortened version of the media release by the Sovereign Union of First Nations and Peoples in Australia. The full version is available on the website, here.  On his return from Uluru, 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, details the rigged processes of the Referendum Council’s National Convention and the subsequent media)

I was absolutely shocked and horrified at the disjointed discussion that occurred on ABC TV Q&A last night ( 29 May 2017) from Parliament House, Canberra.

In my opinion the conclusions that occurred at the Referendum Council’s National convention at Uluru were totally betrayed by the Q&A panel.

Having been permitted to sit as an observer in the main National Convention of the Referendum Council at Yulara near Uluru, I was privy to observe the proceedings and I sat through the ‘Synthesis’ of the Regional Dialogues and what they called the breakout workshops as well, where the key topics were ‘The Voice’, ‘Treaty’, ‘Strategy’.

In respect of the Synthesis (summary) of the Dialogues it was very clear that nationally the specially selected people by the Land Councils (invitation-only delegates) independently concluded that it must be made clear that First Nations sovereignty was never ceded.

The next key point was the fact the people, from around this island continent, who attended these Regional Dialogues, were emphatic that they did not want a minimalist approach to constitutional reform and they did not want it to be symbolic. They wanted something substantive that would effect real and positive change. It was very clear that they did not just want to remove Section 51(26) the Race Power, because they did not want anything in the constitution that could be used in a manner that would be detrimental to First Nations Peoples exercising their rights and their right to be self-determining.

More importantly, the presentation in the Synthesis/Summary does suggest that an overwhelming majority of people, who attended these Regional Dialogues, were determined that, because sovereignty was never ceded, that Treaties should be made with Sovereign First Nations throughout the continent and they determined that our ancient tapestry of languages and cultures cannot be destroyed and lost forever to our future generations.

Noel Pearson, in his introductory presentation, made use of Mr Bayona-Ba-Meya, Senior President of the Supreme Court of Zaire’s spiritual notion of sovereignty, which was articulated in the International Court of Justice in the 1975 Western Sahara case :

…: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’, and the man who was born therefrom, remains attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with is ancestors. This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty …:

This tapestry of colour of the diverse Sovereign First Nations became visual when the coloured Tindale map was put up for all to see. It is from this that we must understand the richness of our ancient Law and culture, which must be defended and maintained at all costs. We must always tell ourselves on a daily basis that we have the oldest civilisation on planet Earth, and we are the Peoples who perfected the art of peaceful co-existence and sustainability, through the teachings handed down from the time of Creation, and that we are intrinsically linked to all things natural through the definition entitled ‘humanity’.

The political confrontation that occurred at the National Convention was caused by the very apparent stacking of the meeting by the organisers (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Studies, AIATSIS), no doubt supported by the Referendum Council. What was visually clear during the whole process was the apparent divide between members of the Referendum Council. For some of the elected delegates it was clear that when they were talking about issues that were not supportive of the Referendum Council’s ambitions, Noel Pearson and/or Pat Anderson were constantly leaving the meeting to have counsel with Mark Leibler, the Zionist Co-chair of the Referendum Council. It became clear that he is the puppet-master, who was clearly steering this ship as he sat outside of the meeting in a private conference area inside the Sails Hotel of the Yulara Ayers Rock Resort.

One does not have to take a second guess that he was privileged to live-streaming with other lawyers by his side. His controlling advice was apparent. A constitutional referendum was the only objective – that you must maintain the appearance of consent to the theme of constitutional reform, knowing that the people did not want just ‘Recognition’ and/or a minimalist approach, neither did they want to be assimilated into the colonial constitution of the occupying power.

ABC’s Q&A Program

Last night’s Q&A program was embarrassing to watch, because it was very evident that the panel was not in unity ‘with a clear and defined outcome’ from Uluru. In response to questions being asked by the moderator, the panel kept stumbling and were not clear and precise. Noel Pearson’s emphasis on a ‘Voice’ was misleading and ambiguous and our cause for concern is such that the panellists, who attended the convention, had in fact lost their way and that is the price for betrayal. They failed to clearly articulate what was decided at Uluru.

As a person who has been engaged for more that 40 years in political confrontation and advocacy, I would say Noel Pearson marked his territory by steering the conversation to constitutional reform, when that was not a decision made at the National Convention at Uluru.

Furthermore, Megan Davis’s performance was as honourable as she could make it, knowing that what was being discussed on Q&A was not a true representation of the outcome. She reminded Pearson that the Final Report has not been released. Pat Anderson’s performance represented uncertainty and confusion. Stan Grant realised this frustration and attempted to wade a path forward without saying what he really wanted to say. The young playwright and writer Nakkiah Lui was clearly lacking a legal and political understanding of the consequences and spoke passionately with a very convincing colonised mind, which demonstrated what a Stockholm Syndrome mindset looks like.

The concluding presentation by the young interpreter made the Uluru Statement sound very nice and sweet. It sounded like a poem not a legal statement. In fact it cannot be argued that it is a legal statement. It is a statement of ambition romanticising a dream.

In reality what did not take place at the Referendum Council Convention at Yulara/Uluru was proper discussion on the two primary questions:

  1. Which way are we to go? and
  2. What are our choices, our pathways?

What was not raised nor discussed was that on these points it is imperative that they are followed up by definitions, that is to say:

  1. Do we want to be included in the constitution by way of constitutional referendum? or
  2. Do we want a Treaty/ Treaties between the Commonwealth government, or Britain, and the Sovereign First Nations of this island continent as we continue to hold the continental common law?

These are the questions that should have been dealt with in detail, but were never responded to individually.

The program and agenda items represented the hedging of these two very important questions. Clearly, members of the Referendum Council worked very hard to avoid making this a black and white issue on these two points. In fact, they drove the proceedings of the meeting in such a way that confused everybody.

(L to R) Noel Pearson, Marcia Langton, Patrick Dodson with Mark Leibler at a ‘Recognise’ meeting in 2015. The ‘Referendum Council’ is the updated version of the government propaganda machine

To continue…

Having spoken with our senior Elders, Lawmen and Law women there is a move that we must make, that is, to be inclusive, not exclusive. It then becomes a choice for those who were affected by forced removals to go back and learn that Law and culture, proper way, and not be divided for any reason.

Going forward the process is not about Sean Gordon’s recent ABC radio statement (29 May 2017) when he alluded to the fact that there should be two processes: one for the educated, assimilated people who no longer have their Law and culture and one for the fullbloods who retain their Law and culture in full. This attitude underscores what was happening at the National Convention. The Convention organisers unashamedly manipulated Alison Hunt to control the plenary sessions by having her rule that the process in the plenary sessions was governed by traditional protocols, but Lawmen were making it clear on the outside that this is a different type of meeting and that the First Nations Law should not control the freedom of the peoples’ voices, and they were disturbed that this was happening.

My concluding observations are in fact very disturbing for several reasons.

  1. The now promoted notion that there should be two processes of negotiations: one for the ‘educated, assimilated people of the east and southeast of Australia’ who it is suggested know little to nothing of their cultural legal norms which are dictated to by our Creation (included in this group are the stolen generations and their descendants); and one for the ‘fullbloods’ and ceremonially educated, who continue to maintain their ancient Law and culture to this day.
  2. There was no question or discussion that focused on the impact of any constitutional reform on First Nations’ Law, culture and ceremony.
  3. The group chosen to take the process forward was not elected from those elected delegates who carried a mandate to attend the Referendum Council’s National Convention, but instead is a mish-mash of delegates, facilitators and paid staff who attended the Regional Dialogues. The most disturbing feature of this group’s appointment is that there are no defined terms of reference for them to pursue. Clearly, they have an open-ended agenda, which could mean anything. This cannot be accepted, because there is too much room for corruption.
  4. On the question of the Treaty/Treaties I can say that there was no consensus on the form that this treaty would take, that is, is it to be a domestic Treaty controlled by existing Australian law, or is it to be a Treaty between Sovereign First Peoples and their Nations, governed by international law? The paid lawyers present were not able to give any definitive response to the question of how will the terms of this Treaty/Treaties be governed and protected, so as to be assured that we do not fall into the same pitfalls as the Native Americans, Canadians and Maori have with their own experiences with their treaties.

It is now essential for these questions to be answered on a national level. It is now essential for communities to be engaged and in the languages chosen by them. At all future meetings interpreter services must be provided.

It is not acceptable for the moderate and right-wing Aboriginal people to pre-determine what non-Aboriginal Australians will accept and will not accept…

We have the right to free ourselves from tyranny and oppression. We have the right to our own identity and nationality. We have the right to determine freely our own economy. We have the right to determine our own political affiliations and governance. We have the right to own all our the natural resources on and within our lands and waters.

We cannot be arbitrarily criminalised and incarcerated for ‘otherness’.

When developing a program for going forward, my mob, the Euahlayi and the far western Gomeroi, will make our own determinations on our pathway forward and will not be bound by the confusion and mess that is currently being played out.

I believe there are many other First Nations who are of the same mind.

The full article here.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for posting this Dee. I recommend checking out the full version of this article. There is much to learn on many levels. The divide and conquer, smoke and mirrors and the great Australian silence along with lies and deception demonstrates the way the geopolitical system works.

  2. I’ve got a very ill feeling about this referendum to include aboriginal people in the preamble of the Commonwealth Constitution of Australia.
    Not because of recognition itself but because I suspect the government is going to try and word the change to the preamble and perhaps even the referendum question, in such a way that they can then use it to overcome something else in the constitution that is a thorn in the side of all Australian commonwealth governments.
    While I have no proof of this at all, I suspect this ‘thorn’ is something that makes it harder to move forward with the implementation of the global agenda.
    I constantly ask myself why does government want a referendum? I think only ‘we the people’ should have the constitutional power to call a referendum. I always feel uneasy for the constitution when governments want a referendum.
    Already the COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA and the AUSTRAILIAN GOVERNMENT are private companies registered on the New York stock exchange.
    No legislation at either the Commonwealth or state level has received royal assent as per the constitution since the 1970’s. (Section 58)
    God help us what will happen to our constitution should we become a republic.

  3. Fourth last paragraph “we have the right” can only mean

    “We are willing to fight for this.” Same with all “rights” — they don’t exist like flora and fauna.

    It’s a matter of trying to get enough others to ally with you against oppressors.

    Go for it! Please go for it.

  4. The native people of this land are a mainly good culture (do no harm to mother earth) that have been clinically shafted (murdered) and relegated to the fringes of today’s society . They didn’t deserve this just like any other races that have been invaded by the crown .
    But yes , we can keep the facade going , with elections and referendums by voting with pencils and now on-line . This place is a demoncracy that has morphed into a defacto communist state . By all appearances , the CCP is the new boss here .
    According to the masters plan , all races are to be mixed to form a global melting pot of chaos in all the cities . With everyone marching the goose steps of the military industrial .
    Ever since the turn of the century we are experiencing a tranceformation of biblical proportions . Maybe the real locals have a better chance by living of the wealth of the natural world
    rather than the banksters debt slave system . We are all Aboriginal now ,” no matter what colour you are still my brother”

  5. Beds Are Burning
    Midnight Oil

    Out where the river broke
    The bloodwood and the desert oak
    Holden wrecks and boiling diesels
    Steam in forty five degrees

    The time has come
    To say fair’s fair
    To pay the rent
    To pay our share

    The time has come
    A fact’s a fact
    It belongs to them
    Let’s give it back

    ——————————————–

    and then Peter Garret gets into politics, gets elected, and does absolutely nothing.

    • mmm I have much to say about peter garrett as the minister for education. Yesterday I searched my files to find some writing i did several years ago about Aurukun in Cape York–a colleague asked for it. I found and re read the chapter I had written and then Fair Dinkum I see your reference to Beds are Burning–so I include a little of the origins of this song- an indulgence -it is validating to share stories.
      In 2000 while on a field study trip with some central desert people an elder told us this story as we walked along the shoreline on the beach at Mapoon Cape York.
      ““This is where we lived Old Mapoon, before we were taken to New Mapoon near Bamaga, they said there were houses there for us, there were no houses. They came secretly in the night, and early in the morning, the police, with their guns came into our houses and arrested us, we were forced onto the boats, told we were going for questioning, and we stood and watched, as palm fronds were piled up against our homes, we watched them light the fires we saw our houses burning, our mattresses burning. As we went out around the coast we could see that black smoke from the fires for a long time, from our church, our school, our homes, all burning…then from no where, hundreds of birds came down from the skies they formed into a V and flew with us above the boat for a long way, a big cloud casting a shadow over us and we wept. They wanted to mine our land, now we are back, back at Old Mapoon and we will stay.”
      Also a quote from website `We’re the ones that were moved out by police, by gunpoint, [on] that boat they sent for us … sneaked in on us in the night … they came from Thursday Island. We were really sad, but we just had to go because they told us we were going for questioning. At the Bamaga wharf they told us there were seven houses waiting for us to walk in and light the stoves. And when we arrived in Bamaga there were no homes. We were just standing out in the streets like a mob of cattle with nowhere to go’.[19]
      `This is what they do, but the world doesn’t know. People don’t know how we were treated. They destroyed the homes, burnt them down you know. And I seen all the burning down of the homes, the church … it was destroying our culture, our lives.'[20] Mrs Jimmy Rachel Peters:

      • Also Quote from website:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papunya,Northern_Territory
        “Beds Are Burning” is a political song about giving native Australian lands back to the Pintupi, who were among the very last people to come in from the desert. These ‘last contact’ people began moving from the Gibson Desert to settlements and missions in the 1930s. More were forcibly moved during the 1950s and 1960s to the Papunya Settlement. In 1981 they left to return to their own country and established the Kintore community which is nestled in the picturesque Kintore Ranges, surrounded by Mulga and Spinifex country. It is now a thriving little community with a population of about 400.”

        This was obviously written prior to the Intervention 2007 when military tanks rolled in and cyclone fences, built to the same specifications as refugee camps and prisons- although barbed wire rather than razor wire-encircled the new “English only” school.

        “Midnight Oil performed the song in front of a world audience of billions (including then Prime Minister John Howard) at the closing ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The whole band were dressed in black, with the words “sorry” printed conspicuously on their clothes. This was a reference to the Prime Minister’s refusal to apologize, on behalf of the government of Australia, to the Aboriginal Australians for the way they had been treated over the previous 200 years, particularly in relation to native title and the government-sanctioned removal of Aboriginal children of the Stolen Generations from their families.”

        Yes Peter Garrett should stick with music– there is great power in music and song

        • Thanks Diane – “Yes Peter Garrett should stick with music– there is great power in music and song”

          I think he was actually going to return to music with the old band again, not sure if it was for just a one off thing or not, or even if it has already happenned or not..

          hard to imagine him singing “beds are burning”, or even “U S Forces” now – without all the hypocrisy making the crowd physically ill. Im sure he was elected because of his fame, and the voice he could bring for justice. What a total let down.

  6. If the aboriginal people get sovereignty what will it mean?
    Would they have sovereignty over parts of the Australian continental land mass?
    Would they be able to elect their own representatives to the Commonwealth of Australia parliament?
    Would they have their own constitution, their own parliament, their own laws, their legal system and elections?
    Would they have the power to give and or revoke citizenship to persons of other countries who live in their lands?
    Would they have the power let foreign corporations enter and operate in Australia on their own lands?
    Would they have the power to levy and raise their own taxs?
    Would they have the power to detain non aboriginal people?

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