Terra Nullius, the theft of a land


firsta

I live in a land that has been populated for close to 60,000 years. Recently the Prime Minister of our country denied this https://newmatilda.com/2014/11/14/tony-abbott-says-nothing-bush-australia-white-settlement, an act he continues to do even though he is the self appointed representative of the people who have inhabited the land for this time. Our Country, Australia is the only western country that does not recognise the indigenous native in their Constitution, in fact the words “other than the aboriginal race” were contained in up to 1967 when 94% of the population voted to have it removed in a referendum. I am ashamed that prior to this under the White Australia Policy of the government our Indigenous brothers and sisters, The First Australians had been considered less than human.

Terra nullius is a Latin expression deriving from Roman law meaning “land belonging to no one”, which is used in international law to describe territory which has never been subject to the sovereignty of any state, or over which any prior sovereign has expressly or implicitly relinquished sovereignty.

We are showing the inspirational SBS series The First Australians at the place that I work at Darebin Intercultural Centrehttps://www.facebook.com/DarebinInterculturalCentre?ref=hl ,a series created by First Australians to belie some of the myths that have been put across as the history of our land http://www.sbs.com.au/firstaustralians/. Facts I have learnt from this series are that there were over 250 Tribal groups populating the country when whites first arrived and that genocidal actions were taken against them to steal their land such as the 5 pound bounty put on an aboriginal in Tasmania and the hiring of  professional hunters to complete the task by the government of the day.

This made me think that families who first settled the land in the early days probably saw or took part in some horrendous actions to claim their lands if they were all populated by an aboriginal tribe. I grew up in the bush so somewhere in our distant past who knows what occurred.

massacre

On the night of the 12 February 1965, 30 university students from Sydney boarded a bus and set off to campaign in the country towns of New South Wales. Officially called Student Action for Aborigines, they were led by Charles Perkins, a young man who would become one of the most important Australian Aboriginal activists, as well as a leader in the Aboriginal community through his work as a politician and bureaucrat, as well as through his sporting achievements as a soccer player, coach and administrator.http://www.skwirk.com/p-c_s-56_u-490_t-1335_c-5130/tas/sose-history/australia-after-1945/an-era-of-protest/charles-perkins-freedom-rides

Charles Perkins and his ilk were willing to fight for the rights of Indigenous people and their actions led to the referendum of 1967 and allowed people like Vincent Lingiari to lead his fellow stockman and families off the Wave Hill cattle station where their civil rights had been being abused by the Vestey family, a wealthy British family who had run the station since the 1880’s. In 1975 the land was handed back to the Gurindji people by then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam , the first such case and the beginning of the land rights movement in Australia.

Finally, to give back to you formally in Aboriginal and Australian law ownership of this land of your fathers. 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 this piece of the earth itself as a sign that we restore them to you and your children forever.—Gough Whitlam, August 16th 1975 [4]

This opened up actions to be taken by several governments to either crush or support land rights http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_title_in_Australia , the most famous case being Mabo vs. Queensland over the period of 1988 to 1992. Eddie Mabo took the government to task about the right his Murri people had  re owner ship of Mer, his home island. Unfortunately Eddie became ill and died several months before the victorious decision was handed down http://www.abc.net.au/tv/mabo/biography/eddie-mabo.htm.

eddie

So why will the government of a supposedly civilised land not recognise the first 40,000 years of their lands history in their constitution? If you look at these statistics it could be assumed that the will of the people is not there and the government are listening to the unspoken racism that exists in  our country http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/people/racism-in-aboriginal-australia#toc6

Terra Nullius is an abomination and belittles the people of our great country and we should be taking all steps we can to have it reversed and call out to our elected head of government to stop making statements that suggest he supports its existence. The fight for land rights has also risen again as the premier of Western Australia intends to  close 150 settlements http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-12/indigenous-communities-closures-will-have-severe-consequences/5886840. I believe we are better as a nation in recognising our indigenous brothers and sisters, the First Australians than some of the actions occurring seemingly in the name of the money barons who wish to mine without having to ask anyone. Say no to Terra Nullius and the fold back of land rights.

Namaste until we meet again my friends.

Namaste

Who seeks Asylum?


asylum

I work at the Darebin Intercultural Centre in Preston where we have an Asylum Seeker Lounge which actually means I get to interact with actual Asylum Seekers.

Seeking international protection

The term asylum-seeker is often confused with the term refugee. An asylum-seeker is someone who says he or she is a refugee and seeks international protection from persecution or serious harm in their home country. Every refugee is initially an asylum-seeker, but not every asylum-seeker will ultimately be recognized as a refugee. While they are waiting for their claim to be accepted or rejected, they are called asylum-seekers. The term asylum-seeker contains no presumption either way – it simply describes the fact that someone has lodged the claim for asylum. National asylum systems are there to decide which asylum-seeker actually qualifies for international protection. Those judged through proper procedures not to be refugees, nor to be in need of any other form of international protection, can be sent back to their home countries.

I always ask people who agree with the policy that there are no such thing as asylum seekers who need to catch boats and not wait on the list that never decrease for organisations such as the UNCHR have they ever met an asylum seeker and listened to their stories. There is a great project in Melbourne Australia that tells these stories http://opencity.org.au/ – they cannot use there real names for fear of reprise to their families in their home countries and unfortunately in our country from over zealous government officials but I know several of the people in this projects and having read them it changed my ideas of what and why these people take the dramatic action of boarding a rickety boat that may end up at the bottom of an ocean.

boats

Sara who I know has lost her family because of the repressive laws regarding women in her home country. Highly educated and a translator of books Sara decided to leave after the last books she translated was not allowed to be published because it broke Islamic Law. religion raising its head once again. Women do not have the right to seek leaving their country where Sara was from , so she flew out with the intention of not returning and seeking asylum in a country where women had rights and chose Australia. Sara spent 9 days on a boat after paying $5,000 to a boat smuggler and lost contact with the person who traveled with her from her home country. Because one has money does not mean you are an Asylum seeker, money is not the answer to living a meaningful life.

Mustafa was raped by the Taliban at the age of ten years old for a three month period and has been in Australia and on the same visa for the past five years. He has 8 dollars a fortnight  left over after paying his rent which he buys a packet of biscuits and a bottle of drink and recently had to leave his shared accommodation and has been going through the trauma of finding new accommodation on a severely low income.

biscuits

I recently found a Pledge to Asylum Seekers written by L. Clancy and L. Mariah for Bendigo for Refugees, http://www.pledgetoasylumseekers.org/

Our Pledge to Asylum Seekers

YWC pledger_4 Welcome!

This site is for sharing the Pledge to Asylum Seekers, written by two Australian writers who wanted to create something that would generate empathy, humanity and hope.

We wrote the Pledge to bring some perspective to an issue that has become lost in politics. We hope that it will move people’s hearts, demonstrate the depth of compassion felt by both individuals and groups, and inspire further action.

The Pledge is as follows

To those who come from desperation and despair,

To those who have endured violence and unrest.

To those who have no place of safety,

Who come to our shores seeking sanctuary:

You are Welcome here.

We pledge to the mothers and to the fathers,

We pledge to the children and pregnant women,

We pledge to those tortured, broken and dispossessed,

We will acknowledge you with kindness and compassion:

You are Welcome here.

We pledge as part of the human family:

We pledge as members of a global community:

We pledge as people who have sought and found

A peace and safety such as you seek,

You are welcome here.

As the children and grandchildren of displaced persons,

We will not shirk our responsibilities.

We will Not stand by while your cjhildren are hidden offshore.

We will insist on change to the current system.

You are welcome here.

If you dream of your children living in safety,

Of sharing the hard works and the rewards:

If you long to contribute to a caring and just society

And subscribe to a ‘fair go for all’,

You are welcome here.

Bring respect fellowship and goodwill.

Bring your heart, your courage and your aspirations.

We are fair honest, open-minded and generous,

We greet you in friendship

And you are welcome here.

Signed ___________________

This is for the humans to sign, people who recognize that do not belong to teams, but one human race. Go to the webpage print a copy out sign it and get your organisations and friends and family to sign it and return the humanity to a situation that seems to have lost it at the moment.

Namaste until next time my friend

sNamaste