A major French human rights award has been given to the Indigenous Social Justice Association

Natalie Ahmat NITV News December 2013

Stalwart Koori social Justice Advocate, Ray Jackson and his organisation the Indigenous Social Justice Association, have been honoured with a major French human rights award.

While Mr Jackson fought for issues such as the rights of the marginalised and asylum seekers, he has also defended families of Aboriginal citizens deceased while in detention.

"Since 1987 I've been working with death and custody families for justice, and taking the police on, and taking the jails," said Mr Jackson.

He says he's amazed to receive such an honorary award, especially from the French government.

"I'm personally pleased that it was an overseas government that has at least recognised the human rights battle and the organisations that work for them," said Mr Jackson.

The five international awards will be presented in Paris on United Nations Human Rights Day, December 10.

3 Media Releases relating to Abbott's NT Land Grab
MEDIA RELEASE
A Letter from Ray Jackson ISJA

Ray Jackson, President
Indigenous Social Justice Association

The following information provided by both Ms. Michelle Harris of the 'concerned Australians' group and the attached letter from Dr. Djiniyini Gondarrra shows without equivocation the very clear message that the collaboration of the Federal government and the Northern Land Council (NLC) is utterly wrong at law. The Aboriginal law that has been in place for tens of thousands of years. That law, as explained by Dr. Gondarrra is the madayin law. a system of interconnecting customary balances that, to me, appears to allow for the safety of ownership to and between the various clan groups over those lands.

I am by no means attempting to pass myself off as having any deep knowledge and understanding of such a complex law system as put by Dr. Gondarra as I most certainly do not. But the good Dr's letter easily explains a complex system. My somewhat simplistic understanding of the term 'traditional owners' has now been widened to include significant others, the law men and women, who whilst not necessarily residing on the land or country in question must culturally have an ongoing involvement in any future process or uses of the country in question.

Since the Howard inception of the NT Intervention, based mainly on lies and an infamous land grab, the push for Aboriginal lands and 99 year leases has been inexorable. These practices were enlarged by subsequent Labor governments and so to the Abbot government. Since 2006 the main bludgeon used by governments has been to offer tax payer dollars for the subsequent profits of the multinationals. This money transfer seems to have escaped the interest of most Australians. When our NT mobs proved not to be prostitutes, as the governments assumed they would be, the additional bludgeon of divide and rule was increased. Governments went overboard in their divide and rule tactics by attempting to enrich some against others. The disaster and debacle that is the government plan to dump allegedly low level uranium at Muckaty station in the NT is but one example of this disgusting practice.

The Northern and Central Land councils were set up, initially, in an attempt to make sure that those living on country in an area of govt/mining interests were not picked off. As all deals had to go through the council and decisions could only be made after extensive consultations. Now it seems that that concept of self-determination has changed to one whereby the NLC at least wants now to make decisions for the land groups. this simply turns the original concept and process on its head. as an analogy I refer to the Whitlam government initiative of handing the block at redfern, after its purchase, to a designated Aboriginal Housing Cooperative that was managed by the Aboriginal families who lived there. Many self-managed not-for-profit organisations were set up and the block thrived until it was allowed to be overtaken by drugs and crime by Redfern police and NSW governments. In the interim however the management of the block changed from co-op to company. That move blocked the residents out and the emphasis turned from openness to secrecy. the block has turned from a dream to nothing, to ashes, to where the block has now stood empty for years awaiting finance to fund the dream of a secretive board.

I do not even pretend to know or understand what is behind the seemingly change of heart, and rules?, of the NLC but a reading of Dr. Gondarra's eloquent letter shows that the actions of the NLC in not respecting the ancient but still very applicable laws of country merely to try to inveigle the groups to accept 99 year leases that would only satisfy the Abbott government and their voracious for profits mining mates, just do not make any sense.

Of course, throughout these nefarious negotiations to grab the land, the government can always rely on its media camp followers, 'The Australian' and the 'Daily Telegraph', to help it in its machinations. 'The Australian' is well known for its complete obedience to the Murdoch view of how the world should be based solely on the diktats of the world Murdochracy. Murdoch has gone full circle from the time of his ownership of Adelaide's,'The News' when he publically fought against the wrongful conviction and gaoling of arreente man, Max Stuart in 1958 to rape and homicide, to now accepting that his paper is to be used only for propaganda purposes and the most outrageous spin. Mundine, Pearson and others can attest to that. Over the years both reporters and self-appointed columnists pushing the boss's view have become normal. The latest reporter is Patricia Karvalas but the good Dr. explains her sins of omissions far better than I so I leave it to him to do so.

The voice of this much respected man must be listened to. he has pleaded his case with much truth and humanity several times over the Intervention/Invasion years and it is more than time for the white noise to be muted. We respectfully offer our full support to his pleas for whatever that may be worth.

I also give the last words to Dr. Gondarra, "we want the shameful march of colonialism to end."

fkj

Ray Jackson
President
Indigenous Social Justice Association

MEDIA RELEASE
A Letter from 'concerned Australians'

Dear Friends,

I would like to thank all those who attended the conversation on the "Dismantling of the Aboriginal land Rights Act (NT) 1976" yesterday. To those who were unable to attend I wanted to let you know that we will attempt to use the material from the event to make a couple of you tubes which we will be able to send to you sometime soon.

It is clear from the legal advice that was provided, from both Alastair Nicholson and Frank Vincent, that there is a great deal for NT communities to be concerned about as our new Government offers considerable sums of money in return for 99-year leases. The intent of the land right act was spelt out by Gough Whitlam when he spoke to Vincent Lingiari in 1975. He said:

Vincent Lingiari, I solemnly hand to you these deeds as proof, in Australian law, that these lands belong to the Gurindji people and I put into your hands part of the earth itself as a sign that this land will be the possession of you and your children forever.

Forever!

We were very fortunate to have with us Malcolm Fraser whose government was in power when the Land Rights legislation was passed into law. He stated, "If the government is wanting 99-year leases, it goes a long way to making sure Aboriginals can no longer control their own land."

Rosalie Kunoth-Monks from Utopia shared her concerns of the increasing trauma within her community. She said. "Right now we are again traumatised because that's the last stable thing we feel under our feet: our earth, our ground, our home of thousands of years."

There is little doubt that government is eager to regain control over land as part of its economic drive for business and mining development.

Dr Djiniyini Gondarra from Galiwin'ku posed questions to Alastair Nicholson, former Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia and answers to these and Rosalie's questions will be circulated soon. Dr Djiniyini has been travelling around communities in Arnhem Land discussing the implications of the 99 -year leases. He has also been engaged in refuting claims made in The Australians regarding its misunderstanding of the meaning of a "Traditional Owner' His letter, to which a clarification was made by the paper, is of great educational value and so I am attaching a copy for those who wish to read it.

Thank you.

Michele Harris
'concerned Australians'

See: Malcolm Fraser criticises govts Leasehold Plan Sydney Morning Herald

MEDIA RELEASE
Dismantling the Land Rights Act (NT) 1976

I express my deep concern at the actions of the Abbott Government as evidenced by the behaviour of the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Scullion, in hastily procuring MOU's on township leases for 99 years in Gunbalanya and Yirrkala in recent weeks. He is quoted as saying that this was part of a blitz to encourage other communities around the country to sign similar deals.

There is no evidence of general consultation with the communities concerned and the haste associated with the process would suggest that there has been no time for reflection or the obtaining of legal and other advice as to the advisability of what the Government proposes. The process therefore places unfair pressure on the communities concerned.

What these leases involve is the handing over of hard fought entitlements to lands to the Government for at least four generations for what would appear to be short term gains. A 99 year lease is regarded by most people as an effective surrender of title.

It is a decision that requires careful and mature consideration and not one taken in response to a fly in fly out Government 'blitz'.

Our Madayin-Law is upheld by the Ngurringgitj-Tradition in the land. A lease that takes control of the land means we are giving away our Law and our identity. We will have nothing to live for. We will become fringe dwellers. Our land can never simply be exchanged for monetary gain.

Government behaviour thus far is consistent with that of its many predecessors in trampling over the rights of Aboriginal people and treating them as second class citizens.

It also flies in the face of consultation recommendations of the Australian Human Rights Commission aimed at consensus decision- making, which two Parliamentary Committees have endorsed, including one of which Senator Scullion was a member.

It is also inconsistent with the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to which Australia has endorsed.

I call on other Aboriginal Communities to reject the Government's overtures involving any changes unless and until they abide by culturally appropriate protocols and undertake to give the communities access to independent advice, including legal advice at the Government's expense.

Rev. Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM
6th November 2013
0428 402 929

NT First Nations leader calls for rejection of lease deals
Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra says the proposed lease deals are regarded by most Aboriginal people as an effective surrender of title.

 Article

Don't take our lands - Yami Lester
"If we sign these leases then we are finished forever as people on Country, our rights will disappear into the forgetfulness of time.

 Article