By Michael Anderson, Aboriginal political activist and leader of the Euahlayi Nation
Goodooga, northwest NSW, 8 November 2010.
The New Way Summit program has confirmed that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people successfully removed the international lie of Terra Nullius only now to be served up more lies by the Australian legal fraternity.
Recent legal research has found that courts of the 1840s were in disarray because there was a great deal of confusion on the legal status of Aboriginal peoples which surrounded citizenship after the British boat people’s invasion in 1788.
For the most part the courts were confused because they had found themselves with a race of people whose country they had invaded and usurped without having any plans or strategies as to how they should relate to them, let alone co-exist through agreements or treaties. The courts at the time considered our people ‘dependent aliens’.
The mistake the British invaders made was to assume that the Aborigines and Torres Strait Island people had no understanding of an organized society with strict rules of governance and law. The only thing the British invaders understood was that the country they now found themselves in appeared to be untamed and wild; thus, it was their view that it was all up for grabs, to be tamed and cultivated, British style. The people who were in occupation were considered nomadic wanderers who always looked as though they were starving and were always on the move seeking food.
Unfortunately, in 2010 Australia still falsely claims international sovereignty. A report submitted to the United Nations in 1999 by the Institute for Constitutional Education and Research, titled “Australia: ‘The Concealed Colony!” stated the “continuance of the application of British law within the territory of the independent sovereign nation Australia”. That means there is no such thing as Australian law.
In this submission, it was noted that “An extraordinary decision was made in the High Court of Australia in Melbourne on December 15, 1999. Justice Hayne declared that Australia had domestic sovereignty but did not have international sovereignty”. This decision confirms that Australia itself, as a nation, continues to be a colony of Great Britain.
The Sovereignty New Way Summits have now pursued the matter of the status of our people in this colony by conducting a series of document searches in order to ascertain our status as independent sovereign Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island nations and peoples.
To date responses have been received from the Queen, the British Foreign Office, the New South Wales governor’s office and the office of the Australian Governor General.
We sought from these authorities proof of the transference of sovereignty and the relinquishment of our spiritual customary legal title to our land, waterways, natural resources and airspace above our territories by our forefathers and foremothers through prior and informed consent in the form of treaties and/or compacts.
It is not surprising that all respondents said that there are no documents of this nature. On the other hand, the New South Wales Crown Solicitor gave advice to the New South Wales governor. On the 13th October 2010, Noel Campbell, the Office Secretary and Chief of Staff to the governor, wrote to Neville ‘Chappy’ Williams of the Wiradjuri Nation, saying that “the courts have consistently held that the fact of the sovereignty of Australia and New South Wales over Australia is something which cannot be considered or challenged in the courts of Australia”. A legal fact I agree with.
The letter goes on, “the courts have confirmed that sovereignty over Australia was validly acquired at colonization and the common law of England properly received at that colonization applies and binds equally all those in Australia, including colonists, later immigrants and indigenous people. In the light of that, it is neither necessary nor appropriate to provide you with any documents as to the so called ceding of sovereignty by any people”.
I am absolutely amazed that such a statement of advice would be made in writing, because there are some glaring legal mistakes in this letter.
Firstly, the common law did not arrive here at the same time the illegal boat people arrived from England, it came later. At the time the boat people arrived, the colonists were soldiers and prisoners and the instructions from the British Admiralty, who had sole carriage of responsibility for this invasion, ordered that the “Rules and Disciplines of War” be applied. Australia was then in fact a big prison.
Furthermore, Noel Campbell’s advice has failed to consider the 1975 opinion of the International Court of Justice in the “Western Sahara” case, where the United Nations referred the question “was the Western Sahara Terra Nullius’ at the time of invasion by Spain in 1884”. The ICJ concluded that “According to the State practice of that period, territories inhabited by tribes or peoples having a social and political organization were not regarded as terra nullius: in their case sovereignty was not generally considered as effected through occupation, but through agreements concluded with local rulers. The information furnished to the Court shows (a) that at the time of colonization Western Sahara was inhabited by peoples which, if nomadic, were socially and politically organized in tribes and under chiefs competent to represent them.”
On the sovereign status of the various Western Sahara tribes and their peoples, the ICJ also concluded that “at the time of colonization by Spain there did not exist between the territory of Western Sahara and the Mauritanian entity any tie of sovereignty or of allegiance of tribes, or of simple inclusion in the same legal entity”, when Spain invaded.
Given this international legal position one would be forgiven for thinking that the Crown Solicitor’s Office considers us idiots who would believe his advice.
We are at a cross road in our time. Forget about the blankets and trinkets offered by the national and state governments. As independent sovereign peoples we have bigger fish to fry. We owe it to our forefathers and foremothers, we owe it to our children and grandchildren and we owe it to ourselves.
We continue to be dependent ‘aliens’, depending on our captors for our welfare cheques and special measure housing and infra-structure programs, while they keep up their assimilation policy of removing our children and teaching their white history, their language and their social and economic norms.
I repeat my earlier calling, we must now stand against the black collaborators who advise the government to place rations and restrictions on our people, take our land back through blackmail if we want houses built. This is not freedom, this is imprisonment.
The governments are playing with the hearts and minds of our people. They are slowly, but surely, killing off what is left of our pride and dignity for the sake of a cheque and a roof over our heads.
These policies are cruel and inhuman and the United Nations cannot help us. But we can help ourselves if we decide to take assertive action.
A welfare cheque and a second rate house will not give us justice.
To contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org, landline 02 6829 6355, mobile 04 27 29 24 92, fax 02 6829 6375.