Treaty call gains traction in Australia

Dare one hope that there is movement towards greater assertiveness by Australia’s indigenous people? At the end of which there could be a treaty between them and the invader society in the only former (?) British colony that hasn’t yet got one? Against the institutional racism from governments and the media that trickles down and manifests in the ignorant, disrespectful and racist attitudes and actions of the broader Australian community?


"If white Australia took off the blindfold, earmuffs and doona and actually listened to black Australia for the first time in history, the answer would be bleeding obvious: Treaty.” writes the pro-Aboriginal online platform It traces the decades-old clarion call for treaties from Indigenous communities and their allies. And makes the point that “change always comes from the grassroots, not from so-called ‘national leaders’”.


Grass roots leaders, 500 Elders from across Victoria, the smallest and most densely populated Australian state, recently gathered in its capital, Melbourne, at the invitation of the Labor state government and heard a promise that it would begin to negotiate a treaty. Unheard of previously.


But then Melbourne is the most cosmopolitan, racially mixed, progressive-thinking city in the country. It voted the first Greens Member directly into the national parliament. Unheard of previously, thought impossible in an insane electoral system geared to keeping just two big parties, Labor and Liberal, with their snouts in the trough. On indigenous policy – as in several others - they see eye to eye nationally. You really only have one choice: Libor.


“No Victorian needs to be scared of losing their property and where they live, and what they own now,” the Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Natalie Hutchins, said. Melbourne University academic and Wiradjuri lawyer Mark McMillan argues: “Anything the government does is legal. The Victorian Constitution says Victoria can make laws for anything that it wants,” he told National Indigenous Television (NITV). “It might be used as political leverage, like, 'if it can happen in Victoria why the hell can't it happen here?'”


Dja Dja Warrung elder Gary Murray said the state must pursue the best outcome. "It's not difficult to scope a treaty given what's happened in Canada and New Zealand and other places," he said. "I think we pick the best from that and bring it into the modern world." The treaty would be a legal document over Aboriginal affairs and services and addressing past injustices. Hear comment from the minister and Elders here.


Rod Little, co-chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, said Victoria should be applauded for having the courage to open up debate. Little, a Noongar and Yamatji man from Western Australia, said he hoped other states would follow Victoria’s lead and form agreements with their Indigenous peoples.


In the Northern Territory, where Aboriginal culture is still quite strong, and white racism is rabid, Richard Downs, an Alyawarr traditional custodian called for a treaty between the Commonwealth [national Australian] government and the Alyawarr people.


Writing in a letter to the Alice Springs News Online Downs said “greater autonomy within Aboriginal communities is necessary and the way to achieve this is through treaties”.


The Victorian development has triggered discussions elsewhere, including in Sydney, Australia's largest city with the largest indigenous population in any one area:  STICS Public Forum “Men speak out for Treaty”,,,, 'Monday, 14 March 2016 - 6 pm for 6.30 pm start, Redfern Community Centre, 29-53 Hugo Street Redfern. this event will feature five First Nations Men, followed by Q&A: Yingiya Mark Guyula, Djambarrpuyngu Nation, Yolngu Nations Assembly Spokesperson, Terry Mason, Awabakal Man, Chair of NTEU A&TSI Policy Committee, Tony McAvoy SC, Wiri Man, Barrister; Tauto Sansbury, Narungga Elder and Aboriginal Advocate;
Chris Sarra, Gurang Gurang, Founding Chairman, Stronger Smarter Institute; Facilitator: Jeff McMullen, journalist and film-maker'.
"DARWIN - Monday 7 March 2016 - 7:30pm.


Similar events are already planned for ADELAIDE, GEELONG and MELBOURNE.




Background compilations, research projects, videos, audio interviews, calls, declarations, motions, policies, media statements, articles & events about treaties:

The Yolŋu Nations Assembly endorsed Yingiya Mark Guyula to run as an Independent the August Northern Territory elections   -   First Nations women speak out for treaty – audio, video, text    -    Sovereign Union: treaty   -    Stop the genocide, recognise sovereignty, draft a treaty   -  Time to talk treaty – a compilation of treaty messages   -    Many Indigenous people in Australia claim sovereignty on the grounds that Indigenous people have never surrendered to the government?   -    When the right people lead then lives will be saved   -   What will it take to end Aboriginal disadvantage, the inequalities and the various crises?   -   White lies and black lives: Malcolm Turnbull just widened the credibility gap   -   0Online poll finds majority of black Australia opposed to recognise campaign  -   First Nations Peoples’ Rights are under attack from many sides  -   Sovereignty, land rights, native title and treaty issues   -   Would a treaty help Aboriginal self-determination?   -   Four issues papers on treaty published by University of New South Wales          


The message from very many Aboriginal peoples is that the time is long overdue for genuine negotiation on treaties   -   The Victorian government will enter talks to draft Australia's first treaty with Aboriginal people   -   Australian Labor Party forum treaty   -    First Nations women speak out for treaty   -   Freedom summit 2: 'Treaties of Unity' - Alice Springs meeting September 2015 - 7 Videos   -   Watch the Let’s Talk Treaty discussion   -   True reconciliation requires a treaty   -    I'm a treaty man! I’m grassroots and I don’t believe in recognition in the constitution    


The "Recognise" project is leaving behind they key issue of Aboriginal sovereignty & that treaties with Aboriginal peoples must come first -  
Freedom Summit 2 pushes for treaty     


Background calls, declarations, motions & policies

Election candicacy: Yingiya Mark Guyula treaty now   -    Yingiya's touring dates & location details   -    Yolngu Nations Assembly: Uniting Church acknowledges Maḏayin law and gives support for a treaty for Arnhem Land   -   National Aboriginal Freedom Movement: Aboriginal Sovereign Manifesto of Demands   -    Indigenous push for treaty gathers momentum   -   Tertiary Education Union conference calls for treaty before constitutional recognition  -   Real self-determination requires radical changes   -   To hell with the racist Australian government’s constitution       

Media statements:

Yolngu Nations Assembly (Yolnguw Makarr Dhuni): Indigenous Treaties   -    First Nations leaders gather once more in the heart of Australia to define treaty   -   Time for treaty - Sydney Public Forum   -    A sovereign treaty is the only constitutional reform with the potential of justice for Aboriginal nations and peoples   -   Credible dialogue to treaty/ies with the Aboriginal Australians     

Background articles:

A fair go for the First Nations: Australia needs a treaty   -  Treaties are agreements between equals   -   Another way forward for First Nations self-rule   -   First Nations treaty(ies), sovereignty and an Australian republic   -   Former Labor prime minister Keating's 'unfinished business of the nation'   -   Keating was right to intervene over recognition and Indigenous Australia's unfinished business   -   Paul Keating pushes 'unfinished business' of Indigenous treaty and republic   -  Historic meeting of 500 black leaders unanimously opposes constitutional recognition   -   Treaty with Australia's indigenous people long overdue   -    Indigenous Law Bulletin: Does true reconciliation in Australia require a treaty?   -    Aboriginal women on why Australia needs a treaty   -    'That word' treaty - The value of historical insights          

Background events:

“Men speak out for treaty” Monday, 14 March 2016 Redfern   -   Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney | 29 February 2016: Time for treaty - Sydney Public Forum   -    First Nations women speak out for treaty   - 

YINGIYA MARK GUYULA Tuesday, 15 March - 6pm at the Trades Hall Auditorium Sydney      

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Stan Grant

A 10-year-old girl has taken her own life. How can we possibly look away? 

A girl who should have been playing with dolls decided her world was so bleak she no longer wanted to live. Look at your children today and think about that.  that. Someone’s daughter. A child who came into the world with the joy of all newborns.’ When is enough enough? What does it take to snap us out of our complacency? How many needless deaths does it take to tell us that Indigenous Australia is in deep, deep crisis?

My mind is flooded with these questions this day as I ponder the suicide of a 10-year-old girl in Western Australia. She is one of so many. Nineteen people have killed themselves in remote parts of the state since December. She is the youngest.