By Alison Ryan
Indigenous SOVEREIGNTY generally relates to “inherent rights deriving from spiritual and historical connections to land”.
The CLOSING THE GAP (for life outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians) PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT is a formal agreement between Commonwealth, state and territory governments, the National Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations, and the Australian Local Government Association.
The objective of the NATIONAL AGREEMENT on Closing the Gap is to enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and governments to work together to overcome the inequality experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and achieve life outcomes equal to all Australians.
Scott Morrison of the Liberal Party of Australia was PM between 2018 and 2022. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to establish the Joint Council on Closing the Gap in December 2018, committing to a Partnership Agreement, and then in July 2020, the Joint Council agreed to the National Agreement. Scott Morrison created the “new-federation” National Cabinet during the covid-contrivance which contravenes Constitutional Commonwealth governance. Where are our protests?
The National Agreement took four Priority Reforms:
* Strengthen and establish formal partnerships and shared decision-making
* Build the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled sector
* Transform government organisations so they work better for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
* Improve and share access to data and information to enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities make informed decisions.
As year 2024 rolls in, the Indigenous First Peoples might well be enslaved by these four Priority Reforms if the following were to continue – Treaty Agreements/ Community Local Government & ALGA Governance/ Government transformation & new-federalism/ data & digital storage.
From closingthegap website, the Closing the Gap Target 15 is:
“People maintain a distinctive cultural, spiritual, physical and economic relationship with their land and waters”.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people maintain a distinctive cultural, spiritual, physical and economic relationship with their land and waters.”
15a: By 2030, a 15 per cent increase in Australia’s landmass subject to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s legal rights or interests.
15b: By 2030, a 15 per cent increase in areas covered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s legal rights or interests in the sea.
As at 30 June 2022, 4, 138, 356 square kilometres of the land mass of Australia and 91, 111 square kilometres of the sea country of Australia were subject to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s rights or interests.
The Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples’ owned land and water titles, and the Proportion of all land which is Indigenous owned or controlled, stands “Nationally, as at June 2022, 16.1 per cent of Australia’s land area was owned or controlled by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This is unchanged from the same time in the previous two years (June 2020 and 2021)”.
The present Australian Government Corporation has control over the Indigenous First Nations peoples through the Land Councils, its Acts and Agreements. UNDRIP’s principles are self-determination, participation in decision-making, respect for and protection of culture, equality and non-discrimination, but the Australian Government has not taken steps to implement the UNDRIP into law.
The Australian Parliament must govern for all Australians, not just prefer the “inherent rights deriving from spiritual and historical connections to land” for one particular people group. Today’s non-indigenous Australians cannot atone for the sins committed against aborigines in prior generations. But today we as Australians can fully commit to help solve the troubles affecting First Nation peoples. How can we, if we enjoy goods and services and house and land, not extend the same blessings to others? The aboriginal people may well believe that the land is their mother.
To them the land is the giver of life who provides them with everything they need. The land is a spiritual part of the Aboriginal people and you cannot separate one from the other. However this belief of connection with land is what is going to cause a lot of trouble to those who do not share the same belief. This is a religious issue. And, not wanting to be provocative, but why if it is a spiritual truth, has the land so failed to deliver the aborigines out of their troubles. I think the only wise answer lies in “Love God and love your neighbour as yourself”. For all.
Editor: While governments fall over themselves to ‘hand back land’ to Aborigines, there is a catch – Aboriginal people are unable to do anything productive with this land. Under the terms of Aboriginal Freehold or any other title it is unable to be legally sold, subdivided, mortgaged, farmed, run livestock, or enjoy a productive return.
It can be utilised for tourism of a vague nature and some of it can be lived on by individuals or a community. In Queensland the hand over of massive areas of mineral-rich Cape York Peninsula to Aboriginal groups is in the same boat.
Prior to Christmas the singer Peter Garrett the former federal Labor Minister was trying to bribe Aboriginal elders on Cape York into allowing federal and state Labor create a vast World Heritage area ultimately for the benefit of mining. Garrett is an awful singer let’s hope his bribery skills are just as horrible.
This Aboriginal land can be mined in some circumstances by multinational mining companies but generally it is locked up and sterilised for future mining activities. Former Queensland Labor Premier Anna Bligh, now CEO of the Australian Banking Association, when in government mortgaged nearly all of Cape York to Rothschild Bank as collateral for a $60 billion loan to the state.
This is reflected in the conditions of the titles which forbid just about every activity. Mrs Bligh got her reward from the banks for accepting these loans. She now earns a high six figure salary.