Tuesday, 30 June 2015

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Green Left Weekly Activist Calendar - 2015-07-01

Activist Calendar, July 1
Film screening: Freedom or Death

Friday, July 3, 6:30pm (meal from 6pm). 2014 documentary that went undercover to record the terrible condiditions faced by asylum seekers in Indonesia, Australia and Nauru. Guest speakerMohammad Ali Baqiri, asylum seeker who was locked up on Nauru. $8/$5. Resistance Centre, Level 5, 407 Swanston St, City (opposite RMIT). Organised by Socialist Alliance. For more info ph 9639 8622. Facebook event
Green Left Weekly Comedy Debate:Abbott is the root of all evil
Friday, July 24, 6:30 pm (for 8pm start). Master of ceremonies: Rod Quantock. With the comic talents of: Simon Keck, Kirsty Mac, Ali MC, Minister of UnAustralian Affairs, Morven Smith, Evan Thompson. Bar & meal available from 6:30pm.Brunswick Town Hall, cnr Sydney Rd & Dawson St, BrunswickTickets: $50 solidarity, $30 regular, $22 low-waged, $12 unwaged (doesn't include meal). Bookings essential. Book online at http://www.trybooking.com/HYDM or phone 9639 8622. A fundraiser for the progressive, non-profit newspaper Green Left Weekly.
This is the regular Melbourne activist calendar compiled by Green Left Weekly. Emailed to subscribers each Wednesday fortnight, it is a one-stop listing of the main left and progressive events in Melbourne and Geelong.
Since it began in early 1991, Green Left Weekly has offered an indispensable alternative to the lies of the big-business media and has helped build the various movements for social change. To subscribe to Green Left Weekly, visit our secure online website for rates and payment or call our national hotline on 1800 634 206.
You can also contact us at the Resistance Centre, 5th floor, 407 Swanston St, City; ph 9639 8622. In Geelong we are at the Activist Centre, Trades Hall, 127 Myers St (opening hours: Mon 2-4:30pm, Fri 10am-4:30pm); ph 5222 6900.
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Wednesday, July 1
Protest: Fight the fines on the jobless! From July 1 the unemployed can be fined for failing to attend a 'job search' appointment with their Employment Service Provider. It's time to fight back! 12 noon. 470 Collins St, City (outside Max Employment). Organised by Australian Unemployment Union.
Venezuela Solidarity Campaign. Organising meeting. 7pm. LASNET office, Trades Hall, cnr Victoria & Lygon Sts, Carlton South.
Thursday, July 2
Public meeting: Public images of WW1, Myth & reality. Former war correspondent Jill Jolliffe untangles the truths and misconceptions of WWI. Through material found in the State Library’s collection, she reveals how reporting influenced public perception. 6pm. Red Rotunda, Cowen Gallery, State Library. Free, but book online.
Public meeting: Next steps against family violence. Speakers: Rosie Batty, Hugh de Kretser (Human Rights Law Centre), Elizabeth Broderick (Sex Discrimination Commissioner), Kirstie Parker (co-chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples & the National Justice Coalition). Presented by Human Rights Law Centre & Women's Legal Service. 6:15pm. Melbourne City Conference Centre, 333 Swanston St, City. $20/$12. Bookings here.
Friday, July 3 - Friday, July 31
Concert: Ezekiel Ox. Ezekiel Ox's career in music, activism, theatre and spoken word has spanned 15 years and shows no signs of slowing down. Since Full Scale burst out of the Perth underground and onto the international seen in the early 2000's, he's continued to smash trends, ignore the inevitable haters and play by his own set of rules. Zeke has been booked for 5 shows at Melbourne's premier hip-hop venue, the famous and storied Laundry Bar. Every Friday from 9pm, Ox will be serving it up with his DJ, the newest player on the Melbourne circuit DJ Marze (Seeka, Birdz). Catch Ox every Friday this July, 9-10.30pm at the Laundry Bar, 48-50 Johnston St, Fitzroy. Entry free.
Friday, July 3
Film screening: Freedom or Death. 2014 documentary that went undercover to record the terrible condiditions faced by asylum seekers in Indonesia, Australia and Nauru. Guest speaker: Mohammad Ali Baqiri, asylum seeker who was locked up on Nauru. 6:30pm (meal from 6pm). $8/$5. Resistance Centre, Level 5, 407 Swanston St, City (opposite RMIT). Organised by Socialist Alliance. For more info ph 9639 8622.
Sunday, July 5
Film screening: Bolivar: Man of Difficulties. Keynote speaker: Nelson D├ívila, Venezuelan ambassador to Australia & solidarity activists. 7pm. Cinema Studios Backlot, 65 Haig St, City. For more info ph 0425 539 149. Presented by Venezuela Solidarity Campaign  and LASNET.
Tuesday, July 7 - Sunday, July 12
CANBERRA Conference: Queer Collaborations 2015. Student-led conference that fosters political action and self-discovery through facilitating discussions and workshops on different topics. The theme for this year is 'Queer at Heart'. The Australian National University, East Road, Acton, Canberra. Facebook
Wednesday, July 8 – Sunday, July 12
ADELAIDE Students of Sustainability: Nourishing our roots. Annual environmental and social justice conference bringing together activists, entrepreneurs, speakers, educators and artists from around Australia for a week of celebration, education, culture, delicious food, networking and camping. SoS is based at a different university campus each year. Camping, workshops, skillshare, forums, community, networking.Flinders University on Kaurna country. For more info visit SoS.
Wednesday, July 8 - Thursday, July 9
BRISBANE Independent and Peaceful Australia Network Conference. Come to hear Senator Scott Ludlam, Professor Richard Tanter and Professor Kozue Akibayashi address why our 'Dangerous Allies' are threatening our security and why we need an independent and peaceful national agenda. Then join with others from 50 peace groups around Australia in developing our national network focussed on contributing to this agenda. For details and registration visit IPAN. For further information contact Annette 0431 59 7256.
Thursday, July 9
Anti-racism education and activism day. Come along for discussions on the origins of racism and Islamophobia and racism today, and afterwards help out with campaigning stalls to help build the July 18 anti-racist protest. 11am-3pm. Resistance Centre, Level 5, 407 Swanston St, City (opposite RMIT). Organised by Socialist Alliance.
Book launch: RISE Presents ‘We Are Here’ by Cat Thao Nguyen. A memoir that begins in 1975 with her family's gripping exodus by foot out of post-war Vietnam: A dangerous journey through the jungles of Khmer Rouge Cambodia to Thailand. From the crowded refugee camps the Nguyens were allowed to board a Qantas plane to a freedom. But the stark, contrasting suburban landscapes of Western Sydney, Australia were not the unalloyed blessing they'd imagined. A short reading followed by Q and A. 6:30pm. Readings Bookstore, 701 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn. Profits from the sales of the book will be donated to RISE. For more info visit RISE.
Friday, July 10
Rally: NAIDOC march. NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920′s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Indigenous Australians. 10am. Aboriginal Health Service, 186 Nicholson St, Fitzroy.
Saturday, July 18
Rally: Protest against Reclaim Australia. 10am. Parliament House, Spring St, City. [Note: New venue.]
Comedy: Nazeem Hussain in Yarraville. I will performing my show 'Legally Brown' one last time. 8pm. Yarraville Live, 135 Stephen St, Yarraville.  Book at http://bit.ly/1IQ9pzU
Friday, July 24
Green Left Weekly Comedy Debate: Abbott is the root of all evil. MC: Rod Quantock. With the comic talents of: Ali MC, Kirsty Mac, Minister of UnAustralian Affairs, Morven Smith, Evan Thompson; other TBA. 6:30 pm (for 8pm start). bar & meal available from 6:30pm. Brunswick Town Hall, cnr Sydney Rd & Dawson St, Brunswick. Tickets: $50 solidarity, $30 regular, $22 low-waged, $12 unwaged. Bookings essential. Book online at http://www.trybooking.com/HYDM or phone 9639 8622. A fundraiser for the progressive, non-profit newspaper Green Left Weekly.
Saturday, July 25
Rally: Stop Labor's cruel refugee policy. No to offshore processing! No to mandatory detention! Organised by the Refugee Action Collective; endorsed by Labor 4 Refugees. Speakers include: Sue Lines (ALP Senator); Pamela Curr (Asylum Seeker Resource Centre); Aran Mylvaganam (Tamil Refugee Council); Mohammad Baqiri (Afghan refugee);' Michele O'Neil (State Secretary Clothing Textile and Footwear Union of Australia). 12pm. Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Convention Centre Place, Southbank.
Rally at the ALP Conference: Demand a binding vote on marriage equality. 1pm.Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Convention Centre Place, Southbank.
Wednesday, August 19
Rally: Student day of action against fee deregulation and funding cuts. 2pm. State Libray, cnr Swanston & La Trobe Sts, City. Organised by National Union of Students.
Saturday, July 4
BALLARAT Rally: Marriage equality now. 3pm. Bakery Hill, Ballarat. Organised by Equal Love Ballarat. Facebook
Friday, July 17
GEELONG Red Cinema: Oliver Stone's 'South of the border'. Documentary examines the free-market economic policies of the US and the International Monetary Fund, and how they have failed to alleviate Latin America's chronic income inequality. The film suggests that financial calamities such as the Argentine peso collapse of 2001, combined with Latin suspicions of US drug-eradication efforts and resentment over the selling off of natural resources through multinational companies, have contributed to the rise of socialist and social-democratic leaders across the region. Meal 6:30pm; film 7pm. Entry by donation. Trades Hall, 127 Myers St, Geelong. For more info ph 5222 6900. Presented by Socialist Alliance.
Australia Kurdistan Solidarity. Meets regularly to build solidarity with the Kurdish freedom struggle in Rojava (liberated zone in northern Syria), Turkey and elsewhere. For campaign and open letter to have the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) removed from the Australian list of terrorist organisations see Lift the ban on the PKK. For information ph Gulay 0412 926 706 or Aran 0410 197 814.
Australian Unemployment Union. The Australian Unemployment Union is an organisation by the unemployed, for the unemployed. Our mission is to protect the common interests of the 750,000+ Australians who are currently unemployed. For more information visit AUE or Facebook.
Australian West Papua Association (AWPA). Struggles against the Indonesian occupation of West Papua and against environmental destruction and resource theft. For info 9510 2193 or email AWPA.
Climate Action Moreland. Meets regularly to develop action on climate change in the Moreland area. For information ph Andrea on 0424 508 535 or email CAM.
Friends of the Earth's Anti-Nuclear & Clean Energy (ACE) collective. Meets every second Tuesday. FoE office, 312 Smith St, Collingwood. For meeting times & more info email Zin.
Indigenous Social Justice Association. The Indigenous Social Justice Association was established in January 2005 campaigns to permanently stop Aboriginal deaths in custody. During 2013, ISJA will meet the first Thursday of every month. For more info visit ISJA.
Quit Coal: No New Coal Power for Victoria. A Melbourne-based collective which campaigns against expansion of the coal industry in Victoria. We believe this is important because building new coal infrastructure locks in decades of dirty, old technology, when we should be moving towards clean, renewable energy. Quit Coal meets each Wednesday at 6pm, at FOE, 312 Smith St, Collingwood. For more info visit Quit Coal or email us.
Refugee Action Collective. Established in 2000, RAC is a democratic, grassroots activist collective, representing a broad cross section of the community. It aims to mobilise opposition to Australia's inhuman refugee policies. For more info ph 0413 377 978 or visit RAC.
Timor Sea Justice Campaign. For info visit TSJC, email Tom Clarke or ph 0422 545 763.
Victorian Climate Action Calendar. Online updates are available at http://vcac.org.au/calendar/.
Recent articles from Green Left Weekly
        To subscribe to Green Left Weekly visit our secure online website for rates and payment or call our national hotline on 1800 634 206. Join us on Facebook. You can also contact us at the Resistance Centre, 5th floor, 407 Swanston St, City; ph 9639 8622. In Geelong: Activist Centre, Trades Hall, 127 Myers St (opening hours: Mon 2-4.30pm, Fri 10am-4.30pm); ph 5222 6900.
        Links: 'Socialism for the 21st century'
        Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is a journal for the post-Cold War left; a journal that rejects the Stalinist distortion of the socialist project; a journal that takes into account ecological questions; a journal that is taking steps to bring together the forces for socialism in the world today; a journal that aspires to unite Marxists from different political traditions because it discusses openly and constructively. Links seeks to promote the international exchange of information, experiences of struggle, theoretical analysis and views on strategies and tactics within the international left.
            Socialist Alliance: Broad, non-sectarian, activist
            Socialist Alliance is a proud supporter of the Green Left Weekly project and contributes a regular column. Socialist Alliance is a broad, non-sectarian socialist party, dedicated to bringing together all those who want to resist the capitalist assault on our planet and its people and fight for a socialist society that puts people's needs before business profits. Anyone who agrees with the general approach of our policies is welcome to join and organisations are invited to affiliate. For more information visit Socialist Alliance or join us on Facebook.
            See our recent statements:
            Contact Socialist Alliance. Join with other socialists in the struggle.
            • Melbourne: Visit us at the Resistance Centre, 5th floor, 407 Swanston St, City; ph 9639 8622. In Melbourne, Socialist Alliance meets on the first Tuesday of each month, 6:30pm, at the Resistance Centre.
            • Geelong: Activist Centre, Trades Hall, 127 Myers St (opening hours: Mon 2-4:30pm, Fri 10am-4:30pm); ph 5222 6900.
            Moreland Socialists
            Moreland Socialists is open to anyone (even if you live outside the area) who wants to work constructively to support Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton and use her position to build up a stronger activist left presence in Moreland. In general, we meet monthly and alternate between Coburg and Fawkner.
            If you want to get involved in the group, email us at Socialist Alliance or phone Sue on 9639 8622 or 0413 377 978.
            For news and opinion visit Sue's Moreland Report or Facebook.
            Resistance Bookshop
            Just out!
            An account of the pathbreaking 1980s struggle of women to gain jobs in BHP's Port Kembla steelworks. 76pp, $10. Available from Resistance Bookshop, Level 5, 407 Swanston St, City

            Sunday, 28 June 2015

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            Which of Australia's major political parties has the guts to recognise and represent the views of compassionate Australians? None?


            Please note: Three sentences in this article have been edited to bold.
            This has been done by The Editor of The Network.


            Frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon has fired a salvo in one of the most electorally important battles for Bill Shorten at the coming ALP national conference – whether a Labor government should turn back boats.
            Fitzgibbon, a former defence minister, predicted that turnbacks would be part of Labor’s policy for the election. “Let’s have the debate at national conference. I believe that will be the outcome,” he said.
            Fitzgibbon’s view represents that of the NSW right, of which he is a member, but the issue is difficult for Shorten and the conference.
            It is one about which many ALP members feel passionately; the national conference make-up between right and left is closer and more uncertain than usual; and Labor at the last election was highly critical of the Coalition’s policy.
            Shorten is already in a tricky position. When immigration spokesman Richard Marles last year signalled Labor might embrace turnbacks, Shorten slapped him down, saying “the case has not been made out for change”.
            But there is a growing feeling in the parliamentary party that Labor needs to alter its policy.
            If the conference said an ALP government should not turn back boats, it would be handing the Liberals a big weapon for the election. Together with the tough offshore processing regime, turnbacks have been regarded as important in stopping the people smuggling trade.
            The parliamentary party is, in theory, bound by what conference decides, although in practice the MPs have exercised considerable flexibility.
            The draft platform for the July conference is silent on turnbacks.
            The Labor for Refugees group is gearing up for a strong fight at the conference.
            Its national co-convenor Robin Rothfield told The Conversation on Sunday that an amendment on turnbacks was being prepared based on ACTU policy.
            Rothfield said the proposed amendment would go to a meeting of the national left in Sydney at the coming weekend.
            It reads: “Labor rejects other policies of ‘deterrence’ implemented alongside offshore detention, especially intercepting and turning back boats at sea, or transferring refugees to other vessels for immediate return to their countries of origin without a proper assessment of their claims for protection.
            “Such policies needlessly put both asylum seekers and seafarers in danger. Provisions in the Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment Act 2014 which facilitate boat turnbacks and give the Immigration Minister the power to secretly suspend the application of Australian Maritime Law and International Maritime Conventions to any vessel must be repealed.”
            Fitzgibbon told Sky a range of tools was needed to ensure the flow of boats did not resume and “one of those tools currently is boat turnbacks”.
            “Personally I can’t see that there’s an overwhelming argument that turnbacks isn’t an important part of the tool kit.” Fitzgibbon said there was a universal commitment within shadow cabinet to ensuring the asylum seeker flows did not begin again.
            The ALP’s incoming national president, Mark Butler, from the left, said that Labor was “committed to making sure the boat passageway between Java and Australia remains closed”.
            Pressed on whether he thought that turnbacks should be part of Labor’s policy, Butler told reporters that one of the concerns Australians had with this policy area was “the government’s obsession with secrecy, particularly their obsession with secrecy they have around the turnbacks operations they have in place.
            “Particularly around questions involving safety at sea, for everyone involved including Navy personnel, but also the impact on relations with our important neighbour, Indonesia.”
            The government is already preparing its counter if Labor does say it will turn back boats. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton was out on Sunday declaring that Labor in government would not follow through with action.

            Postscript: Mirabella on the march
            Former Liberal frontbencher Sophie Mirabella on Sunday won preselection for her old seat of Indi, making the Victorian electorate one of the most interesting contests to come. In 2013, Mirabella lost what had been a safe Liberal seat to independent Cathy McGowan, who ran a campaign based on localism.
            Mirabella, who would have been a cabinet minister in the Abbott government, had ignored the signs over years of an eroding vote. Bidding for preselection, she admitted she had spent too much time away from her home patch. “Clearly, I got the balance wrong,” she wrote to preselectors. But some Liberals believe she could be a drag on the party’s vote because of her previous record.
            The Nationals have indicated they will also run a candidate. Their strategy has been to position themselves, if McGowan held the seat, to mount a strong bid for it on her likely retirement after another term.

            Thursday, 25 June 2015

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            Forget constitutional recognition. It's not the best option. Let's do Treaty and let's do it right. Let's out Australia's racist past, its attempts at ethnic cleansing, its whitewashing of who did what.



            - the blog of Natalie Cromb
            It is re-posted here with Natalie's kind permission.

            ***

            Constitutional Recognition? Treaty First!

            Between the Recognise campaign and Noel Pearson’s latest support for a conservative campaign for Declaration of Recognition, one thing is certain, constitutional recognition is on the agenda. Despite noted Indigenous support, these campaigns are looked upon with suspicion mainly because of the fact that the question remains over whether it would affect the sovereignty of Indigenous people, especially with respect to land rights.
             
            In order to effect the changes suggested by the constitutional recognition campaigns, we would need to have a referendum. This would not be our first referendum.
             
            On 27 May 1967 a referendum was held to seek a determination of two questions. The first question, referred to as the 'nexus question' was an attempt to alter the balance of numbers in the Senate and the House of Representatives. The second question was to determine whether two references in the Australian Constitution, which discriminated against Aboriginal people, should be removed.
             
            The Constitution was changed, giving formal effect to the referendum result, by theConstitution Alteration (Aboriginals) 1967 (Act No 55 of 1967), which received assent on 10 August 1967.
             
            The proposed changes put forth by the Recognise campaign are:
             
            ·     The removal of section 25 which states that the States can ban people from voting based on their race;
            ·     The removal of section 51(xxxvi) which can be used to pass laws that discriminate against people based on their race;
            ·     The insertion of a new section 51A to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to preserve the Australian Government’s ability to pass laws for the ‘benefit’ of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
            ·      The insertion of a new section 127A recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages were this country’s first tongues, while confirming that English is Australia’s national language.
             
            A new proposal for recognising Indigenous Australians drafted by Constitutional conservatives Damien Freeman and Julian Leeser supports a separate declaration of recognition as opposed to a symbolic preamble to the Constitution or a new Section 51A. This approach is supported by Noel Pearson.
             
            The Constitutional conservatives are against the Constitution containing any racial discrimination prohibition on the grounds that it would diminish the power of the Parliament.

            Most constitutional law experts who have expressed their support for constitutional recognition have also expressed their support for Treaty due to the fact that they consider that the changes to the Australian Constitution merely redress the many racist provisions within the nation’s founding document and the issue of sovereignty must be conveyed in a Treaty.
             
            Megan Davis, an Aboriginal and South Sea Islander woman who is the Director of the Indigenous Law Centre and a UN expert member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, has stated “constitutional recognition—whether amendment of the race power or a non-discrimination clause—does not foreclose on the question of sovereignty. The Australian legal system is a system that was received from the Imperial British Crown. Aboriginal people have never consented nor ceded. Sovereignty did not pass from Aboriginal people to the settlers” following the Expert Panel on the Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in 2012 however, there still seems to be concerns within the community regarding the threat to land rights.

            These concerns are real and relevant and those in positions of power to effect change, ought to make steps to liaise with community leaders to address concerns.
            Without seeing the wording of the proposed changes, I cannot form a view on whether I am for or against but currently, without information - I cannot support it in good faith.
            Further, I am an unapologetic advocate FOR Treaty FIRST.
             
            The discussion surrounding treaty, for me, is inherently frustrating. There are so many obstacles to treaty; from the lack of awareness of non-Indigenous Australians as to what a Treaty is and why on earth Indigenous people would want one; the political factions (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) competing between Treaty or Constitutional recognition as if it is a one or the other dilemma; and ultimately, the political machinations of how a treaty would be put together functionally to ensure maximum support of the Indigenous people and the government.

            Despite many attempts to rewrite and sanitise history, we know that, under English law at the time of Governor Philip’s claim, there were three legal regimes under which a colony could be acquired:
             
            1.        Settlement – where territory is uninhabited and the ‘settlers’ brought English law with them;
            2.         Conquest – where territory was inhabited and the native laws survived provided they weren’t  discordant with laws of the crown; or
            3.        Cession – where the territory was inhabited and the sovereignty was ceded to the Crown and the applicable law would be determined by agreement, but in the absence of any agreed changes, local law would continue to apply.
             
            The prevailing legal doctrine is that Australia was acquired through settlement despite the presence of an Indigenous population because the English common law contained a definition of ‘uninhabited lands’ which considered lands uninhabited if they contained peoples ‘uncivilised’ by the 18th century English norms.
             
            Ultimately, through the doctrine of terra nullius – Indigenous people were subverted as savages and this was integrated into the Australian Constitution which was drafted on the premise of Indigenous people being so inferior as to not garner a mention and considered to be a fading race in any event.
             
            Terra nullius was a deliberate social construction designed to enable settlement, parcel of land at a time to enable expansion of colonial settlements and to do so without any compensation to the lawful owners.
             
            The illegality of the actions of the Crown was clear even as far back as 1832 where the Chief Protector of Aborigines at Port Philip, George Robinson wrote;
             
            I am at a loss to conceive by what tenure we hold this country, for it does not appear to be that we either hold it by conquest or by right of purchase.
             
            This is not new to Indigenous people, we know that this country was not ‘settled.’ We know that sovereignty was not ceded. It is this disparity of understanding between what we know and what white Australia is told happened that we need to overcome.
             
            This is a critical point to the success or failure of any cause – the truth and the wide acceptance of truth as fact. The average Australian simply does not know about the fight for equality and rights that the Indigenous people have been waging for 227 years.
             
            They don’t know that Indigenous people were the subjects of forced and violent dispersals from their cultural lands; they were the victims of massacres and murders; rapes and retributory attacks to any resistance; there were genocidal policies based on pseudoscience of Indigenous inferiority; there were sinister attempts to murder countless Indigenous people when the introduced diseases weren’t killing enough Indigenous people to the white man’s liking and there was a pervasive  mindset of the Indigenous people being sub-human.
             
            Some Australians may recall the 1967 Referendum and all of the hope and positivity surrounding the concept of equality in the lead up to the vote and think that following this purportedly momentous event in Australian history that the Aboriginal people then had the equality they fought for.
             
            We know that is not the case, however, there are many generations - especially the younger generations, that are simply not taught about the history of this nation, that are not taught about the Indigenous culture beyond boomerangs and spears, they do not know that statistically we have the highest Indigenous incarceration rate compared to non-Indigenous people in the world, they do not know of our appalling mortality rates, they do not know about the welfare indicators that demonstrate Indigenous people are the lowest on the socio-economic pyramid.
             
            This is not an indictment on the Australians that do not know, this is an indictment on the education system and those that draft the curriculum that perpetuates the ignorance that pervades our country and it is an indictment on main stream media for failing to report on the real issues, on the brave men and women agitating for the very thing that Australia hangs its hat on: A fair go!
             
            A fair go cannot be achieved without a Treaty.
             
            A Treaty would be the basis upon which the sovereign Indigenous people of Australia and the Government could negotiate the terms of rights to land, minerals and resources and the self-governing of communities. It would be a binding agreement that would have sanctions that would deter breaches of the terms of the treaty.
             
            Whilst I advocate for treaty, I am not flippant in thinking that getting a treaty is going to be easy because it is the least palatable option for Governments because it holds them to a set of obligations that they ordinarily would not live up to.
             
            Treaty is essential because 227 years after colonisation we remain at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid; because after 227 years children are still being removed arbitrarily from Aboriginal families; because after 227 years racism remains rife in society and none more so against Aboriginal people; because after 227 years we are still being subjected to cruel punishments including water being switched off, communities being closed and being forced into work programs that provide less than the minimum wage and then having to buy groceries in government run shops that charge $6 for a kilo of flour.
             
            To arbitrarily decide the fate of our people without our consultation and agreement will always be met with resistance.
             
            And for those who champion the Recognise campaign and its intent to change the constitution to recognise Indigenous people, I say:
             
            We have the benefit of hindsight and know that constitutional recognition, will not change the mortality or incarceration rates of our people. It will not stop the removal of children or turn the water back on in remote communities.
             
            Constitutional change is symbolic, it is not a cure all.
             
            A treaty is vital to the future of this nation, of this I am certain. But again, I do know that it is not a cure all.
             
            A Treaty is the first meaningful step in ensuring that there is engagement of all in the success of its outcomes. It will leave Indigenous people empowered and part of something positive in history as opposed to disillusioned and disappointed at the millions of broken promises and setbacks we have suffered over the last 227 years.
             
            The two critical elements to bridging the cultural divide, in my mind, are empathy and education.
             
            In my mind, one cannot achieve true empathy without an education that sets the context for empathy. Education is critical and the education of this nation’s black history will provide the major shift in consciousness that we yearn for.
             
            People need to learn about Indigenous history and culture and do so with an open mind and pure heart. Once they know and truly understand and consider the impact such devastation would have on their lives, their well-being, their resolve to fight another day – only then will we really be able to have a meaningful discussion about what it is going to take to heal hurts and have hope for a future our ancestors would be proud of.
             
            Treaty is the insurance policy we need that we can hold the government accountable for their actions so real gains can be made for the Indigenous people of Australia.
             
             

             
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