Beads and Blankets: referendum and voice

Beads and Blankets: referendum and voice

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 progressive No Vote of the referendum and the First Nations Peoples Voice to parliament.

Media Release

30 June 2023

In this Video at (4:41) Ghillar Michael Anderson hands back the Beads and Blankets to the King Charles at Australia's Parliament House because the First Nations and Peoples still hold the Sovereignty to the Lands and Resources of what is now termed Australia.

My offering of the Beads and Blankets to King Charles on 20 June 2023 is a serious one

It has to be noted that Banks and Cook recorded in their journals for 29 April 1770 that our People opposed their landing and the shooting of the land owners, and were not interested in ceding nor conveying any rights to our lands by the acceptance of offerings of strings of beads.

The hard question for those promoting the Yes Vote is the extent of limitations that will be placed on this facade of the Voice to Parliament. PM Albaneze has made it patently clear when he restricted the Voice to advising the executive government on matters that affect First Nations Peoples on health, education and other social welfare issues. But then there is the obvious question: If this Voice is to have any effect, then it must have broader terms of reference that will address far bigger issues than the assimilation strategies that have been forecast, that being - be white, think white, act white and don't invoke First Nations rights under international law. The assimilation policy is truly reaching its crescendo. The only difference this time, as it is being promoted, is those involved in the Voice are agreeing to establish a new assimilation strategy for the colonialists. By doing it this way First Nations Peoples will never be able to prove that genocide is an underlying policy of government because this Voice will do the job for them.

How do you stop the slippery slide into oblivion where our ancient knowledge, cultures, arts, crafts, and languages become ancient relics of the past bound for museums as pieces of artistic expression only, instead of it being real, under our Laws and customs with right of access to our ancient spiritual places, currently being illegally prevented by the law of trespass?

There can be no meaningfulness in the referendum if this is the pathway that the government has in mind.

The type of issues that have to be addressed are:

(a) In the Mabo (No.2) decision 1992 the High Court of Australia held that native title is recognised by the common law, but it is not an institution of the common law and is inalienable by the common law of the coloniser.

Now I must ask: Do you all understand what this truly means? The decision-making is taken away from the legislature of Federal, State and Territory governments as well as the courts.

(b) A recent decision in the ILSC v Michael Anderson and others in the New South Wales Supreme Court on 7 December 2022 Justice Griffiths ruled that, as a leader and ceremonially educated Elder, I hold spiritual sovereignty of Euahlayi Law and culture (under our Celestial Law).

With these two decisions there arise some very serious legal questions that must be addressed. One such decision is our ability to enforce our Law and culture upon the lawbreakers, e.g., the colonial state.

The decision of Justice Griffiths in recognising my spiritual sovereignty takes this whole question to new heights, which means that the recent decision of the full bench of the Federal Court for the Yunupingu on behalf of the Gumatj Clan or Estate Group v Commonwealth of Australia [2023] FCAFC 75 opens the door to correcting colonial injustices.

If the Labor party was serious and truthful about addressing the impacts of colonialism and wrong-doings, why would Dreyfus, the Commonwealth Attorney-General, appeal to the High Court a case that provides justice for Yunupingu on behalf of the Gumatj clan and sets a path for our Peoples nationally. For me personally, it shows the true underbelly of this crooked piecemeal of a referendum offering by this Labor government. By lodging the High Court appeal the current Labor government is no better than anyone else we have dealt with.

This brings me to another point. If this Labor party was serious, the so-called Black expert lawyers and advisors to the government on how to best deal with First Nations Peoples issues nationally should be making it clear that, if truth telling is the go, then let’s have a look at former PM Howard's 10-point plan, which resulted in the changes to the Native Title Act 1993. The amendments facilitated and enabled the NSW government to pass the NSW Property (Relationships) Legislation Amendment Act 1999 (to Compensation to Relatives Act 1897) so that the NSW Government will not be responsible to pay compensation for any wrongdoings, especially in relation to land that was illegally seized from our Peoples. This is despite early local court decisions that recognised that, if First Nations Peoples were classified as British subjects from first contact and under the protection of British law, then our rights to compensation for all lands and waters and minerals must be compensated, e.g., R v Murrell and Bummaree (1836) 1 Legge 72; [1836] NSW SupC 35.

It should especially be noted that the Gumatj clan's decision in the Northern Territory #DATE also recognised their allodial title which means that they own the minerals. This now opens Pandora's Box and, instead of the Labor Party negotiating with our Peoples to reach amicable settlements on this point, they run off to the courts where they appoint the judges to shield them from First Nations claims. Once again, the thief is the judge.

So, I ask: Is this the type of government that we want to support by encouraging people to vote yes in a referendum? The government can then use any success to declare that the First Nations Peoples are acquiescing and agreeing to be governed by their colonial power.

But we do not acquiesce to the colonial power from Britain, and we do not surrender our inherent unceded sovereignty.

My final point is this: If we are to look at the successful native title claims around this county we find that in excess on 80% of land and water rights are now recognised as being in the First Nations ownership, that is, exclusive possession and non-exclusion possession by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Peoples from Port Hedland in the west to Cairns in the east, and every coastal strip between those two points in the north.

With the governments' paranoia about the invasion by the 'Yellow Peril' (China), our Peoples need to have the ability to develop an interface, through negotiations, on where the governments allot land for the Americans to build military complexes on and within First Nations Peoples lands and military ports for their warships. These are issues that go well beyond the thinking of those currently pushing the Yes Vote. The people pushing the Yes Vote are simple minded and say Yes to anything that appeases colonial governance of this country, never mind dealing with the hard questions and issues that we expect leadership to address.

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