Once again, the Government is coming after our lands. We don’t have much time.
Now that Parliament is back for the budget sitting, the Government will try again to curb our rights by fast-tracking amendments to native title laws through the Parliament.
The Government’s rushed changes to the Native Title Act arrive in front of the Senate this week. They are due to vote tomorrow.
Native title is about more than mining interests, and changes to the law must be about progress in rights and justice for our peoples. But instead we have seen Malcolm Turnbull, on his recent trip to India to visit Gautam Adani, making it about ‘fixing Native Title’ for the mining billionaire.
After successfully fending off George Brandis’ bill in the last sitting, with the enormous help of 6,500 of our supporters, we have worked to turn back these unacceptable changes.
Brandis has been holding closed-door meetings with some CEOs of native title services and representatives of the mining industry, to stitch together the appearance of consultation with ‘native title interests’.
A host of characters, from the Queensland government, unions, Newscorp, local government mayors, the National Party and the Deputy PM, have tried to strong-arm Opposition leader Bill Shorten into guaranteeing the bill’s passage.
The Government and Adani continue to propagate the lie that all that is needed for Adani to overcome its ‘final hurdle‘ – the rights of Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners – is for the Native Title Act amendment bill to pass tomorrow.
The Labor Opposition is now under huge pressure to line up and pass the changes – and we can see that crass inducements of steel contracts for South Australia are being dangled in front of the Xenophon Team to get their votes as insurance.
Labor have said they will make sure traditional owners across Australia have certainty about their native title rights and that they will be questioning every element of Brandis’ process.
This is a good start — but we have to make sure they stay strong for the vote tomorrow.
Can you email key decision makers in Labor and ask them to stay strong in defence of our Native Title rights and interests?
Can you email:
Mark Dreyfus QC – Shadow Attorney General – firstname.lastname@example.org
Tania Plibersek – Deputy Leader of the Opposition – Tanya.Plibersek.email@example.com.
Penny Wong – Opposition Leader in the Senate – firstname.lastname@example.org
Warren Snowden – Member for Lingiari – Warren.Snowdon.MP@aph.gov.au
And cc us on: un-sr-ip-via@
Ask them to ensure that Labor stands firm and does not pass this amendment bill. Remind them that Indigenous peoples’ rights and native title are the most important thing here – not the miners, or anyone else.
Let them know you support proper consultations and involvement from Traditional Owners around the country in any native title reform. And tell them that you haven’t fallen for Brandis’ scam emergency. Remind them that the timing of this bill should have nothing to do with Adani.
We will keep you updated over the next 48 hours, as the fate of the native title rights of W&J people, and Traditional Owners all around the country hang in the balance.
Adrian Burragubba & Murrawah Johnson
for the Wangan & Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council
P.S. As always, our need for funds to sustain our effort is ongoing. Please donate when you can to assist with our long struggle. And share our web site, our Facebook page and our petition page so others can learn about and support our campaign too.