Genocide of Aborigines since invasion, international conference told

Melbourne, 13 July 2010 - - An Aboriginal leader has told about 500 international psychologists and psychiatrists meeting here that Australia has perpetrated genocide on Aboriginal people since the white invasion and continues to do so.

Michael Anderson, leader of the 3,000 Euahlayi, whose lands straddle the border between northwest New South Wales and southwest Queensland, made the accusation to a genocide section of the 27th conference of the International Association of Applied Psychology, running from 12 to 16 July in the Melbourne Convention Centre.

He found Australia breaching all the definitions set out in the United Nations charter against genocide.

"It began by the declaration of martial law and subsequent slaughter soon after the invasion," Anderson said, "and never stopped."

Some of the UN definitions are clearing Aborigines off their lands, to which they are spiritually connected, the removal of children from their culture to be brought up in a different one and the continued isolation of Aboriginal people from their roots.

These were the factors causing the high rates of illness among Aboriginal people, Anderson told his audience of about 500. "Our high death rate and low life expectancy are genocide."

"White Australians believe government propaganda that their policies are all in the best interests of Aborigines. Their propaganda about closing the gap (between whites and Aborigines) is just to make the public feel good."

An Australian woman attendee challenged him on the removal of children, claiming it was done for their own good. Anderson rejoined: "It’s people like you who are our problem." That got a round of applause from the audience of about 500.

Anderson described Aborigines as people displaced from and refugees in their own countries. He charged that governments impose programs rejected by Aborigines because they are never consulted about them.

He alleged that ongoing media silence on what is causing Aboriginal suffering is collusion contributing to their continued oppression.

The conference reportedly brought 3,000 psychologists and psychiatrists to Melbourne. Its genocide forum was opened by Paul Slovic of Oregon University in the US, who said active and passive genocide continues around the world. Sudan, Rwanda, Congo were mentioned.

Speakers alleged that big powers like the US stand idly by to secure their access to raw materials in these troubled countries. Anderson alleged that in all cases the real agenda is a deeply rooted purpose to access mineral wealth.

The conference heard that many countries practised the ostrich syndrome of burying their heads in sand and pretending to see nothing. But idle bystanders are just as guilty as perpetrators, the conference heard.

Michael Anderson can be reached on mobile 0427 292 492.




i'm currently doing a historical essay on whether or not it was a genocide in tasmaina (between 1803 and 1833). I havent found a lot of information that is very relevant to my question and was wondering if you had any additional information on this topic? Thank- you

Probably any library or internet.

I think using the term 'genocide' to describe the experiences of indiginous people in Australia is extreme and unhelpful. It is also an insult to victims of genuinely genocidal actions such as those during WWII and the Balkans War of the 1990's. The treatment of Aboriginal people by our ancestors is replete with examples of well-intentioned paternalism, as well as outright racism. But it isn't genocide and referring to it as such does the cause of reconciliation absolutly no good.


The international legal definition of the crime of genocide is found in Articles II and III of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.

Article II describes two elements of the crime of genocide:

1) the mental element, meaning the "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such", and

2) the physical element which includes five acts described in sections a, b, c, d and e. A crime must include both elements to be called "genocide."

Article III described five punishable forms of the crime of genocide: genocide; conspiracy, incitement, attempt and complicity.

Excerpt from the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide:

"Article II: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Article III: The following acts shall be punishable:

(a) Genocide;
(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
(d) Attempt to commit genocide;
(e) Complicity in genocide. "


It is a crime to plan or incite genocide, even before killing starts, and to aid or abet genocide: Criminal acts include conspiracy, direct and public incitement, attempts to commit genocide, and complicity in genocide.

Punishable Acts:

The following are genocidal acts when committed as part of a policy to destroy a group’s existence:

Killing members of the group includes direct killing and actions causing death.

Causing serious bodily or mental harm includes inflicting trauma on members of the group through widespread torture, rape, sexual violence, forced or coerced use of drugs, and mutilation.

Deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to destroy a group includes the deliberate deprivation of resources needed for the group’s physical survival, such as clean water, food, clothing, shelter or medical services. Deprivation of the means to sustain life can be imposed through confiscation of harvests, blockade of foodstuffs, detention in camps, forcible relocation or expulsion into deserts.

Prevention of births includes involuntary sterilization, forced abortion, prohibition of marriage, and long-term separation of men and women intended to prevent procreation.

Forcible transfer of children may be imposed by direct force or by fear of violence, duress, detention, psychological oppression or other methods of coercion. The Convention on the Rights of the Child defines children as persons under the age of 18 years.

Genocidal acts need not kill or cause the death of members of a group. Causing serious bodily or mental harm, prevention of births and transfer of children are acts of genocide when committed as part of a policy to destroy a group’s existence.

Protected Groups:

The law protects four groups - national, ethnical, racial or religious groups.

A national group means a set of individuals whose identity is defined by a common country of nationality or national origin.

An ethnical group is a set of individuals whose identity is defined by common cultural traditions, language or heritage.

A racial group means a set of individuals whose identity is defined by physical characteristics.

A religious group is a set of individuals whose identity is defined by common religious creeds, beliefs, doctrines, practices, or rituals.

Usually people are born into these four groups. These four groups share the common characteristic that individuals are most often born into the group. While some individuals may change nationality or religion - or even adopt a new cultural, ethnic or racial identity - usually people do not choose their group identity. In genocide people are targeted for destruction not because anything they have done, but because of who they are.

Group idenity is often imposed by the perpetrators. Perpetrators of genocide frequently make group categories more rigid or create new definintions which impose group identity on individuals, eithout regard to peoples individual choices.

Key Terms:

The crime of genocide has two elements: intent and action. “Intentional” means purposeful. Intent can be proven directly from statements or orders. But more often, it must be inferred from a systematic pattern of coordinated acts.

Intent is different from motive. Whatever may be the motive for the crime (land expropriation, national security, territorrial integrity, etc.), if the perpetrators commit acts intended to destroy a group, even part of a group, it is genocide.

The phrase "in whole or in part" is important. Perpetrators need not intend to destroy the entire group. Destruction of only part of a group (such as its educated members, or members living in one region) is also genocide. Most authorities require intent to destroy a substantial number of group members – mass murder. But an individual criminal may be guilty of genocide even if he kills only one person, so long as he knew he was participating in a larger plan to destroy the group.

Ratification Status: 135 Nations are parties to the Genocide Convention, but 52 Nations are NOT, including Indonesia, Japan and Nigeria.

Article II was included without change in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as Article 6 and also in the the Statutes of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and former Yugoslavia. For a more detailed description of the crimes described in Article II (Rome Statute Article 6) see the Elements of the Crime of Genocide agreed upon by the International Criminal Court Preparatory Commission in June 2000.

Over 80 nations have made provisions for the punishment of genocide in domestic criminal law, sometimes modifying the legal definition. Prosecution of genocide in domestic courts is becoming more frequent.

For more, google "United Nations definitions of genocide"

Recognise Australia in any of this? Hard to live with, but from ownership comes healing.

Genocide is not a crime in Australian law.

Diet Simon

Author Philip ( forwarded by Diet

One of he most compelling arguments concerning genocide is the White Australia Policy enacted as one of the first Acts of the Parliament of Australia with the Immigration Restriction Act 1901. The White Australia Policy proposed that Aborigines would die out, and were thus not included in the Constitution at Federation, and non-whites would be refused the right to immigrate, with the goal of creating a nation populated exclusively by those of white complexion. The White Australia Policy was the basis of the removal of children of fair complexion, the stolen generation, while their siblings of darker complexion were usually allowed to remain with their families. A common tactic was to blacken the faces of children when welfare officers were around. It is the failure of
government to actively preserve, encourage and maintain the right to habitation of Australia's first peoples that constitutes an act of genocide by international standards. The White Australia Policy was abandoned during the 1960s when the government decided the nation needed immigrants for nation building and traditional white stocks sources were

The experience of the Jews during WWII and, later, the victims of Pol Pot, Idi Amin and Robert Mugabe put any notion of genocide against Australian Aboriginals into perspective.

You seem to have a mindset that locks you into the slaughter of millions as the only possible definition of genocide. I suggest you read the book "Blood on the Wattle: Massacres and Maltreatment of Aboriginal Australians Since 1788", by Bruce Elder. I was not able to finish reading it because it depressed me too much. See some detail on the book at

There probably were never millions of Aborigines. But how about the estimate that 80% of them were wiped out? Equivalent to 17.6 million of the present Australian population of 22 million.

Probably thousands of minds worked on the United Nations definitions. Your single one is "more right" than all of those?

Ask yourself what is so hard for you to accept.

Own the past to heal the present.

My friend was once told by an old lady: "Isn't it funny? I can remember when after church every sunday we'd go shoot the blacks."

Historically of course we had a genocide. (Entire population of Tasmania? What?) Of course a genocide is the sort of thing that reverberates in a cultural and pragmatidc sense for more then a couple of years!

Saying that there is currently a genocide being committed against the Aborginals of Australia might be too much, but saying that there has been a historically recent genocide and its effects are still being felt and have not been delt with is an extreamly legitimate statement.

More children than ever are being taken out of Aboriginal families when they could be left with relatives or other Aboriginal people.

Taking children out of their cultural environment is genocidal, according to the United Nations definition.

"after church every sunday we'd go shoot the blacks" - No joke, here on the Sunshine Coast, near Peregian Springs, is precisely such a massacre-after-church site, commemorated by the naming of "Murdering Creek Road".

Real estate developers are trying to get the name changed because it makes it hard to sell property in the naturally beautiful area, and it's thought they'll get their way.


Hi Diet

Do you know much about the Massacre at Murdering Creek??? I am currently writing a novel which amongst other issues explores the signifigance of place and the natural environment and how we can learn much from aboriginal culture in this regard. I am basing an event in my novel on the massacre at Murdering Creek. Can you point me in the direction of any historical accounts that might be available - I can't find much more than a few short articles online. Cheers

On Friday 13th July 2007 I saw Aboriginal students of the TAFE college in Nambour (, phone 07 5457 1000) perform a very powerful multi-media play about the Murdering Creek massacre (see below). They were directed and mentored by a lecturer of the college. The college has an Indigenous support officer, Warren Lawton, whom I couldn’t reach when I tried this morning: 0448186750.

Friday 13th: Theatre: Murdering Creek at 7pm, $30, $20, $15
This extraordinary production by Adrian Ross portrays the history surrounding the deadly Murdering Creek. It combines modern dance with insightful filmed monologues by cast members and big-screen, filmed sequences featuring the cast members to portray scenes unachievable on stage - particularly the multiple shootings in Murdering Creek. The lead role is taken by a Lyndon Davis, a direct descendent of the Gubbi Gubbi people. Even more remarkable is that he tells his own family’s history as an artist, storyteller, dancer and didgeridoo performer. The aim of this production is to move forward and heal spirits of indigenous and white communities. The play will be followed by a forum featuring Lyndon Davis, Adrian Ross and Michelle Hall.

Sorry, I mean to say
"...effects are still being felt and have not been delt with is an extreamly legitimate statment."