Senator Canavan’s appropriation “the height of disrespect and arrogance”

Latest News / Tuesday, February 12th, 2019



Tuesday 12 February 2019

Senator Canavan’s appropriation of our peoples’ struggle
is “the height of disrespect and arrogance”


FEDERAL RESOURCES MINISTER Matt Canavan is running a protection racket for Adani, while taking cheap shots at the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. His insistence on propping up some Adani supporters amongst the Aboriginal community, and his thoughtless attempts at appropriating our history and our struggle for land rights, all for his support of Adani, are the height of disrespect and arrogance, say Traditional Owners.

W&J Traditional Owner and lead spokesperson Adrian Burragubba said: “There have been four meetings between 2012 and 2018 of the W&J people that have rejected an ILUA with Adani, and one, in 2016, that purports to have obtained agreement by 294 votes to 1. The numbers are a gross distortion of the will of the W&J people. “294 to 1” is manifestly unbelievable.

“The Adani meeting is subject to ongoing legal proceedings in the Federal Court. It should never have been certified and registered, as many of those people who attended do not come from W&J country or identify as W&J people, while hundreds of the people belonging to the families represented by the W&J Council refused to participate in the meeting, having decided three times previous to that to reject the ILUA.

“The Adani ILUA does not meet the international test of free prior and informed consent and is under appeal to the full bench of the Federal Court.

“Justice Robertson has said there is “an arguable case of error” in the decision of the primary judge. We intend to pursue litigation in defence of our rights and our country. The ILUA has not achieved conclusive registration and the State Government has not proceeded with extinguishment while the case is running.

“Neither Senator Canavan nor Adani would know Aboriginal rights if they fell over them. We will persist with our petitioning of the courts and various UN bodies because the legislation and processes in Australia fall well short of international laws and standards to which Australia is a signatory.

“The Coalition Government has an appalling record on Aboriginal rights, and we operate under a worse native title regime today than when the UN CERD, more than 20 years ago, found the Howard government’s “10 point plan” changes to the Native Title Act were racially discriminatory.”

On the W&J Council

The W&J Traditional Owners Family Council represents the W&J community – the people from that land. Adrian Burragubba is the appointed leader and cultural adviser.

The Council has authority under the laws and customs of the original owners of W&J country.  We are rightful owners of our ancestral lands and waters, and our property rights cannot be voted away by anyone.

We do not accept the coercive rules of the discriminatory Native Title Act, which allow our land to be taken and destroyed.



Anthony Esposito,

W&J Council Adviser

0418 152 743


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