|Speech to Campaign Against
the Nazis Survival Day Concert
Melbourne, 26 January 1998
My name is Ray Jackson and I am from Sydney. I am a founding member of the Indigenous Social Justice Association and I am a member of the Freedom Socialist Party. I am also of Aboriginal descent and heritage.
I formally recognise that I stand on Wurundjeri land ‹ always was, always will be, land never ceded.
Welcome to the Campaign Against the Nazis Invasion Day Survival Concert. This appears to be the only opposition action in Victoria to their celebrations of invasion 210 years ago in Sydney that began the genocide of Iindigenous people throughout Australia.
The horror really began for the Wurundjeri Nation in 1835 - 163 years ago - when Batman done the beads and blankets trick in what became known as the treaty of Irimoo. The Colonial Office thought that even beads and blankets would set a precedent, so they cancelled the treaty and the deal.
Why deal for the land when the land was empty anyway - terra nullius. This insane and criminal concept is now being actively pushed by our current Prime Minister [and his pastoral and mining friends] in a sick and racist attempt to return all of Australian society to his dreamland 50s era.
Such a nightmare dream places Indigenous peoples not only pre-Wik and pre-Mabo, but also before the 1967 referendum in which some 85 - 90% of Australians told the then Holt government that Indigenous people must be recognised as human beings and counted for census purposes.
All the Indigenous people is Australia, but especially NSW, Victoria and Queensland, have fought, have struggled, but more importantly have survived. Today, for us, is a recognition of the invasions, of the struggles and of our survival as Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders against tremendously deadly odds.
An example of our survival skills is the finding of the Keilor skull, dated to be at least 40,000 years old. Other parts of Australia date us back to at least 160,000.
Another example of our survival skills, as well as of our collective suffering, are the generations of stolen children. I am a product of that genocidal practice, as are thousands and thousands of others.
Another example of Howard and Fischer's ahistorical view is of the crimes committed against the Indigenous peoples of this country and by them refusing to make an apology to the stolen generation. Their view, mouthed by John Herron, is that we should be thankful to our gaolers!
We have survived - we will survive. We will survive on our land. Terra Nullius has been proved a lie by the High Court of Australia. Howard, Herron and Fischer refuse to recognise this truth and want to disenfranchise all traditional owners of their lands, and thus our cultural links to the dream time existence.
The continuing Government initiated misery upon Indigenous peoples is easy to see in the worse than third world statistics on health, on wealth, on education, unemployment, on the housing statistics, but more tragically still, on the law and justice (so called) statistics. Proportionately our people make up too much of the law and justice statistics. And still, on a national basis, the deaths in custody statistics are out of control.
On Wednesday night [29/1] a deaths in custody public meeting will be held to review deaths in custody issues both within the Victorian prisons and in police custody.
A community deaths in custody organisation - yet to be given a name - needs to be set up in Victoria to look at custodial deaths, and other custodial issues, not only for Indigenous deaths, but for all deaths.
In roughly five months, five prison deaths have occurred in the private prisons of Victoria.
Such deaths must be publicly scrutinised by a community watch organisation and all of you are invited to come to the public meeting on Wednesday 28 January at 7 pm and the Harry Atkinson Centre, Coburg Lake Park, near the old Pentridge Prison.
I thank you for your time and attention and thank you also for helping us to celebrate our Survival tonight as the proceeds from this concert will be split between Campaign Against the Nazis, Mirimbiak Nations Aboriginal Corporation and the Aborigines Advancement League to fund their good and necessary works.
Enjoy the night.
Apartheid Rules in Australia
Australia has long been known as the 'Secret Country' and has been turning the clock backwards to the days of Terra Nullius. In January this year America's Secretary of State Madeline Albright listed Australia as a country offending against human rights and warned her fellow Americans against becoming involved with Australian businesses because of Australia's attitude towards its own Indigenous People.
Prime Minister John Howard has linked the Australian Government with his Multi-Nationals, big Mining and Industrial Businesses, Pastoralists and Grazier benefactors as well as other similar interest groups in order to maintain the relentless attack on the Indigenous People of Australia.
In doing so, the most convenient way for John Howard to destroy the Indigenous People's rights and deliver certainty to his select group of rapacious political mercenaries is to produce apartheid laws and return to the throwback days of Terra Nullius and pre Mabo. At the moment the Australian Labor Party is quite prepared to go along with the amendements because they wont be held responsible for the changes and can be seen politically to have attempted to uphold the rights of the Indigenous People.
The Senate to support and deliver Apartheid Law
The Australian Governments expectation in May 1998 is for the co-operation of the Senate to support and approve the Apartheid solution made up of Paul Keating's rotten Native Title Policy which was thrown out as garbage when he was thrown out of office, and the Liberal Party's Amendments. Such a situation shows how anti Aboriginal and racist the whole legislation is, and any belief that Kim Beazley's Labor Party could be an alternative would be totally misguided because of Beazley's recent treachery towards the Ngarrindjeri Women over the Hindmarsh Island Bridge incident.
LAND RIGHTS NOT NATIVE TITLE
Peaceful co-existence can only happen when our rights to exist are recognised and are implemented with Indigenous Sovereignty and Self Determination as the centre piece of any negotiated dialogue that takes place at an International level with International ramifications.
People should be aware that the use of
black political stooges in 1993
The Need to change Australia from a Racist Society to a Just Society
Australia interfered into the most sensitive domestic affairs of South Africa in order to change that country from a racist society to a just society. Australia must now expect the same treatment from the International Communities.
The recent political appointment of the
Australian High Court Judge
No Reconciliation without Justice
The Australian Government cannot be permitted to continue the dispossession or maintain the denial of the inheritance rights of the Indigenous Peoples, including those who were forcefully removed from their territory.
It is not the case that they were forcefully
removed and lost their Native Title Rights and continued connection with
their country, but that the recognition of forced removal itself reaffirms
the Rights of these people to inherit the property of their ancestors.
The Australian Government must totally confess to its crime of genocide
and face the consequences.
The Year 2000 is the International Year of Indigenous Sovereignty
PEOPLE GET READY
Now is the time for the Indigenous People of Australia and their supporters to look forward to the year 2000 and Claim the Impossible Accept Nothing Less. Now is the time to start rising up, to take what is yours, to make your choice, to go forward by your own authority and live a more fulfilling life through your own decisions. Since the time when the world was soft we have lived for over a hundred thousand generations, since the invasion we have survived for two hundred and ten years. To go our own way is not to go backwards but to go forward with the realisation of sovereignty and self-determination.
SO WHY CELEBRATE AUSTRALIA DAY?
What's in it for you? To share the
so-called glory of the past? . . .or to
CALL YALURITJA ON: 61 (0)8 9342-5394
The following extract is from an article
I wrote in
The thing about the indigenous world is what was written six years ago doesn't date that quickly. Very little changes regarding our oppression and also the story told of the other indigenous stories like the one by glen morris is equally ours. It is time we called for the states and federal government for the abondonment of Australia Day celebrations.
The following quote from Glen Morris is referred to in my article Iinternational Year for Indigenous peoples', Aboriginal Law Bulletin vol 2 no 59 p 11 December 1992:
"The use of a state apparatus for the promotion of national holidays, festivals, the construction of momuments, or other acts that serve to celebrate, either explicitly, or implicitly, the genocide and colonization of indigenous people is tantamount to the promotion of race hate and racism against indigenous peoples. Such activity is proscribed by several international instruments, is recognized as promoting intolerance and discrimination...
When an ideology that elevates to national hero status the architect of indigenous genocide, it infests the fabric of society. School children, fromt he time that they can reason, are inculcated with the notion that theft equals righteousness, colonialism equals liberation, that indigenous peoples were and are savages, and that Euro-American superiority has been vindicated through the colonialism of the western hemispphere. This holiday (celebration of the coming of Colombus) promotes the idea that indigenous peoples are inferior, and consequently, promotes racial intolerance, or worse, it promotes and justifies deliberate policies of indigenous dispossession and destruction - such as those that litter the entire political and legal landscape of the United States."
And every other place that is inhabited
by indigenous peoples.
What was the 'Day of Mourning and Protest'?
On January 26, 1938, amidst the sesquicentenary celebrations, a courageous and dedicated group of 100 Aboriginal men and women gathered in Sydney's Australian Hall to mourn the loss of their lands and to demand the same basic rights as the rest of the population.
It was the first national Aboriginal civil rights gathering. They called it the "Day of Mourning and Protest".
In the political climate prevailing in the 1930's, the activists who participated in this action risked severe penalties and reprisals. The harsh laws that governed the lives of Aboriginal people at the time made the organisation of such a protest very hard. In those days, Aboriginal people were forced to carry a pass to control their whereabouts. Free movement and assembly was restricted.
The civil rights leaders who organised the protest drove around in a beaten up old car to publicise the meeting. On several occasions, they were thrown out of missions and reserves by white managers when they tried to address the Aboriginal residents.
The protest was a pivotal historic event which set the agenda for the contemporary Aboriginal political movement. The visionary demands made at the meeting influenced momentous changes; including the abolition of the Aborigines' Protection Board and similar agencies empowered with the removal of Aboriginal children from their families, the extension of voting rights, the 1967 Referendum, Land Rights Legislation, the Native Title Bill and improvements in the areas of education, employment and health. The courageous Aboriginal men and women who stood up and protested against oppressive legislation, inequality and injustice deserve recognition as Australian heroes.
The original event was organised by the Aborigines' Progress Association (APA), which was led by William Ferguson & Jack Patten - in response to the Australia Day celebrations marking 150 years of white settlement. Here's their manifesto.
"The Old Australians"
You are the New Australians, but we are
the Old Australians. We have in our arteries the blood of the Original
Australians, who have lived in this land for many thousnads of years. You
came here only recently, and you took our land away from us by force. You
have almost exterminated our people, but there are enough of us remaining
to expose the humbug of your claim, as White Australians, to be a civilised,
progressive, kindly and humane nation. By your cruelty and callousness
towards the Aborigines you stand condemned in the eyes of the civilised
The other important historic event of the
time was the petition to the King organised by William Cooper of the Australian
Aborigines' League in 1937 - which called for the creation of an Aboriginal
seat in the House of Representatives
60th Anniversary of 1938
Day of Mourning and Protest Celebration and Re-enactment
On 26 January 1938 over one hundred men and women from Aboriginal communities in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland came together. They assembled in the Australian Hall, at great personal risk, determined to draw up their manifesto for Aboriginal Civil Rights. Those who could not afford to make the trip sent their messages of solidarity from all over Australia.
It is with great pride that we present this celebration to honour these courageous people.
We are coming together on the same day and in the same plac to re-enact and re-affirm the decisions and demands made at that time.
The struggle continues; what progress
have we made in 60 years ? Should we adopt "Our 10 Points" as a policy
for the future ?
“Our ten points: a long-range policy for Aborigines” was adopted at the 1938 Day of Mourning and Protest held in Australian Hall, and published in the first edition of the Australian Abo Call newspaper in April 1938.
The January 24, 1998, annual general meeting
of the National Aboriginal History and Heritage Council adopted an update
of the original 10 points, which were displayed on placards and read out
by NAHHC chairperson Jenny Munro during the reenactment, as a response
to John Howard's “10-point torture”.
Commonwealth responsibility for Aboriginal affairs. (1938 plan)
2. Aboriginal minister in Commonwealth cabinet.
Commonwealth minister with full cabinet rank.
3. Administrative accountability to Aboriginal communities.
Aboriginal advisory board nominated from the grassroots.
4. Equal access to employment and long life for aged pension.
Full citizen rights and equality without delay.
5. Respect for traditional marriage and kinship in family law.
Free choice in marriage without mission approval.
6. Equality of housing and access to clean water.
Equal access to housing privileges.
7. Recognise sovereign land rights of each Aboriginal nation.
Special settlements for Aborigines to be self-supporting.
8. Genuine elimination of racism with whites training whites.
Genuine Aboriginal protection with Aborigines training Aborigines.
9. Full and free health care available to every child.
Free and equal maternity and child-care.
10. Compensation to overcome genocide and stop oppression.
Freedom from oppression.
Anniversary of Day of Mourning
Four hundred Aboriginal people and their supporters gathered in Sydney on January 26, the 60th anniversary of the 1938 Day of Mourning and Protest by Aboriginal people at the sesquicentenary celebrations of European colonisation of Australia.
The re-enactment, organised by the National Aboriginal History and Heritage Council, of the 1938 gathering included a silent march on the original route from Town Hall to the Australian Hall (now the Mandolin Cinema), readings of the original speeches by the organisers' descendants and presentation of the 10 points in the conference manifesto, with a 1998 update answering John Howard's 10-point scam.
Australian Hall is the current focus of a campaign to preserve post-1788 Aboriginal history.
The 1938 conference drew more than 100 Aboriginal men and women, who travelled at great personal risk from NSW, Victoria and Queensland to draw up a manifesto for Aboriginal civil rights. One of the main organisers, Jack Patten, president of the Aborigines' Progressive Association, opened the 1938 conference and moved the resolution:
“We, representing the Aborigines of Australia, assembled in conference at the Australian Hall, Sydney, on the 26th day of January, 1938, this being the 150th anniversary of the white man's seizure of our country, hereby make protest against the callous treatment of our people by the white man during the past 150 years, and we appeal to the Australian nation of today to make new laws for the education and care of Aborigines, and we ask for a new policy which will raise our people to full citizen status and equality within the community.”
Jack Patten's son John and grandsons Jardyn and Jonathan read his speech: “On this day, the white people are rejoicing, but we as Aborigines have no reason to rejoice ... Our purpose on meeting today is to bring home to the white people of Australia the frightful conditions in which the native Aborigines of this continent live. This land belonged to our forefathers 150 years ago, but today we are pushed further and further into the background.”
Patten went on to demand “full citizen's rights, including old age pensions, maternity bonus, relief work when unemployed, and the right to a full Australian education for our children. We do not wish to be herded like cattle, and treated as a special class.”
He slammed the Aborigines Protection Board of NSW, which oversaw the conditions of slavery, starvation and poor education on Aboriginal stations, as “the greatest handicap put upon us”, and demanded its abolition.
Another of the conference organisers, William (Bill) Ferguson, secretary of the Aborigines' Progressive Association, seconded the resolution. His speech was read by his daughter June Barker and grandson Bill Ferguson:
“The Aborigines Protection Act applies to any person having `apparently a mixture of Aborigina blood'. We have been waiting and waiting all our lives for the white people of Australia to better ou conditions, but we have waited in vain ... I have travelled outback and seen for myself the dreadful sufferings of our people on the Aboriginal reserves.
Ferguson argued against demanding an Aboriginal member of parliament in favour of ordinary citizens' rights, including the right to own land, land grants such as were given to immigrants, the right to have money, for government education, including of Aboriginal teachers and nurses, and the end to the Aboriginal Protection Board system of apprenticing Aboriginal girls for domestic labour, which was “nothing but slavery”.
Other descendants and representatives from the same area as the original activists read their speeches, and NAHHC chair Jenny Munro presented “our 10 points”.
Redfern activist Lyall Munro spoke about continuing black deaths in custody. He gave a fiery response to the Howard government's Wik bill and to the black leaders who had made concessions during the 1993 negotiations on the Native Title Act, promising that Aboriginal people and their supporters would take the struggle to the international arena, including the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Jenny Munro said that the NAHHC was hopeful of an announcement by state planning minister Craig Knowles to revoke the exemptions on the permanent conservation order covering the Australian Hall, which permit demolition of all but its facade. In October, the Heritage Council of NSW recommended that the exemption be lifted.
The NAHHC's Land and Environment Court action to have the exemption declared void is continuing.
from 'Green Left'
Australia Day address
INVASION DAY PROTEST IN MADRID
At 22:00 Central European time on Sunday 25 January, a group of Australians and Spanish supporters of indigenous peoples gatecrashed an Australia Day party in Madrid (Spain) attended by members of the Australian community and embassy staff. They unfurled an Aboriginal land rights flag, draped with the slogan "Australia blanca tiene una historia negra" (White Australia has a black history").
One of the group spoke a few words in a Pitjantjatjara dialect "Pukulpa pitjama anagaku ngurakuta" (Welcome to indigenous land), and asked why Australian schoolchildren were not being encouraged to learn some of the 250 indigenous languages of the country with a 20,000 year history.
The spokesperson accused the government of pushing a racist policy that was bringing shame on Australian citizens abroad, and drawing the country to the brink of racial confrontation for the sake of multinational mining interests and a few wealthy landholders, including several members of the present Governing parties.
When the spokesperson began to encourage
the audience to pressure the Australian Prime Minister to accept the High
Court's Wik ruling on co-existence, the microphone was pulled out of his
hand by the party MC and, after a brief tussle, the protesters and their
land rights flag were removed from the stage.