With constitutional change deferred, it's time to negotiate a treaty

Michael Anderson

Media Release
Goodooga, northwest NSW, 21 September 2012

Having deferred a constitutional change, the federal Labor government and the Liberal coalition opposition must now take this opportunity to focus on the real issues and not band-aid programs and objectives that serve to soothe rather than deal with the hard matters that Australia has to face up to. The continuing sovereignty of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island nations and peoples must now be the blueprint for change. Constitutional reform to merely have our people referred to as the first peoples of this land is without any spirit or purpose, just an appeasement and a conscious numbing exercise.

Professor Pat Dodson and his cohorts are gutless in their advice to governments; this is why they are sought after by both sides of politics. More to the point, one needs to ask how come these type of people are seen as the only Aboriginal people with a master plan for our peoples.

I wonder who in the Labor government saw the light and gave the advice that the majority of the Aboriginal people were working up a campaign to say 'Vote NO' to the proposed constitutional changes.

Professor Dodson cannot legitimately argue that the Aboriginal people were truly consulted on this matter. Moreover, it is a well-known fact that Professor Dodson has always campaigned against any suggestions of continuing Aboriginal sovereignty. In fact Professor Dodson is on parliamentary Hansard in 1983, where he stated categorically that he is not in support of arguing for Aboriginal sovereignty and argued that 'land rights' was the real and only issue, then he and his collaborators gave us 'native title'.

Given that this is indeed Professor Dodson's position, it goes without saying that he disqualifies himself from giving any advice to governments, no matter what their political persuasions are. In fact, now that we know what Professor Dodson's position is, he should now publicly state what his visions are for Aboriginal people across this country and then travel to speak with us personally about his vision or visions if there is more than one.

Constitutional Reform Panel
Professor Patrick Dodson
Mark Leibler
Panel members
Professor Patrick Dodson
Mr Mark Leibler AC
Mr Graham Bradley AM
Mr Henry Burmester AO QC
The Hon Fred Chaney AO
Professor Megan Davis
Mr Glenn Ferguson
Ms Lauren Ganley
Professor Marcia Langton
Mr Bill Lawson AM
Ms Alison Page
Mr Noel Pearson
Mr Robert Oakeshott MP
Senator Rachel Siewert
Ms Janelle Saffin MP
Mr Ken Wyatt MP
Mr Mick Gooda
Ms Josephine Bourne
Mr Sam Jeffries
Ms Jody Broun
Mr Robert (Les) Malezer

It is sad that Professor Dodson and his conservative colleagues choose to give advice on what 'all' Aboriginals want as a future. They know full well that they do not have the authority to make such outrageous claims. In fact the federal government and the opposition will be better off if they now turn their attention to the question of negotiating a treaty with Aboriginal people. Australia is an unsettled nation with a 'black history' that can no longer be ignored. Just as the High Court said in 'Mabo', Professor Dodson also acknowledges the fragility of the Australian statehood. During his interview with Sky News, he said words to the effect of "Australia is a fragile nation".

What is disturbing in all discussion about altering the constitution is not just meaningless recognition, but the fact that the politicians seek to keep within it a clause that permits any political party in government to maintain the constitutional and legal right to make laws permitting discrimination based on race. Moreover, section 25 of the existing constitution also allows for any race to be banned from voting in a general election for government.

Are Australians so naive as to think that no political party will do it? History shows that this cannot be taken for granted. We have seen tyrants come to power arguing that they are looking after the 'national interest'. Just listen to the daily radio talk back programs today. It is worrying to say the least.

Australia is a nation that cannot deal with its original inhabitants and the guilt that resides within this country hurts the invader society. The decision in Mabo created an opportunity to deal with the real issues, but instead the government and their frustrated chosen Aboriginal leaders continue to get it wrong.

Aboriginal people across this island continent just want the right to be who we are. We are people of many languages; clans; and we are attached to our country through our law. We are a people who have one Dreaming, connected through song lines that can be creased across the vast land mass. We are 'NOT' Australians, we are Yolngu, Gomeroi, Eora, Arnangu, Murrawurri, etc. Our rights come through our laws which are those of the ancient original inhabitants. There are no reasons for 'special measures'. Our rights are inherent rights. The reason the invader society fails to deal with this is because they have nothing similar. The invader society is one that comes from a bastardised confused 'mishmash' of all sorts with little to no loyalty to a oneness. They create a mental picture of what they want to be and indoctrinate their children into their confused dream and when challenged use force and violence to get and or maintain what they create. Violence begets them as this is what their genetic inheritance tells them. This is their way of getting what they want. Just like the proverbial 'brat' child.

Aboriginal people across this country are now making their stand. We are a sovereign people and the invaders' leadership and their negative Aboriginal collaborators must now face the truth and back our calls for a treaty to be negotiated.

Mr Anderson can be contacted at 0427 292 492,