Aboriginal Law Bulletin
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have held the first historic National meeting to formulate a response to the High Court decision recognising Native Title.
The initial response has been presented in a document known as the Eva Valley Statement. The Statement will be presented to Prime Minister Keating.
The thrust of the Statement is that Aboriginal People believe the High Court has asserted our People's long term traditional connection with the land, seas, air and waterways of this country. The meeting demands the Commonwealth Government comply with the legal and human rights associated with the High Court ruling.
“Thoses rights will be breached by the Commonwealth Government’s proposed legislation. The meeting has rejected the Prime Minister’s intended legislative response”.
A representative body has been nominated to put forward their position including the necessity to negotiate.
The negotiations will involve a lasting settlement for the benefit of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. This settlement will address issues such as dispossession, social justice and economic development.
This is the first of a series of regional and national meetings on this issue.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples held their first national meeting at Eva Valley, Northern Territory, 3rd - 5th August, 1993 to formulate a response to the High Court decision on Native Title.
It was resolved to present the Eva Valley Statement to the Prime Minister.
There is an urgent need for this Statement to be considered by all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
We reject the Commonwealth Government's position on the proposed legislation. We want legislation based on Native Title to advance Aboriginal Rights to land. The Federal Government proposal does not. The Government must only move on this issue with the support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. The development of any legislation regarding the Commonwealth Government's response to the High Court's decision on Native Title will need the full and free participation and consent of those Peoples concerned.
We want the Commonwealth Government to take full control of Native Title Issues to the exclusion of the States and Territories. We want a national standard for our people not numerous different standards.
We demand that:
1. Recognition and protection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Rights.
2. In response to the High Court finding that the Commonwealth Government acknowledge that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Title cannot be extinguished by grants of any interest.
3. No grant of any interest on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Titles can be made without the informed consent of all relevant title holders.
4. Commonwealth Declaration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Title in reserves and other defined lands.
5. Total security for Sacred Sites and Heritage Areas which provides for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples' absolute authority.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have nominated a representative body to put forward our position in these matters including the necessity to consult and negotiate with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples about these principles.
To ensure there is equity in and ownership of the negotiation process, it is essential that this body be provided with the resources to carry out the wishes of Aboriginal and Tones Strait Islander Peoples.
We call upon the Commonwealth Government to acknowledge what the High Court has stated in the way in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have become dispossessed and disadvantaged.
Further that the resources to be provided to enable full and informed negotiation with Aboriginal and Tones Strait Islander Peoples be over and above and distinct from the limited resources presently provided to address the gross disadvantage which arises from our dispossession.
5 August 1993
A 3 day Conference on Aboriginal Culture, Heritage Protection, the Environment & the Law will be held at the Australian Museum, Sydney from 8 - 11 September 1993.
There will be workshops on: Hunting and Gathering; Fishing and Sea Rights; Sovereignty and Self-Government; Local Government Responsibilities and Site Protection; and many others.
Speakers - including Mick Dodson, Terry O'Shane, Geoff Clark, Jenny Munro, Noel Pearson, Henrietta Fourmile, and Delia Lowe - will cover such topics as: Cultural Property Ownership; Religious Freedom and Spiritual Development; Mineral Resources Development; and Maintaining and Promoting Language.
For information contact: Jackie Wurm, Conference Organiser
Environmental Defender's Office
Suite 82, 280 Pitt St
Sydney NSW 2000.
Tel: (02) 2613599, Fax: (02) 267 7548.
For information on accommodation options contact:
Karyn Sulter, NSW Aboriginal Land Council,
PO Box W125, Parramatta NSW 2150.
Tel: (02) 689 4444, Fax: (02) 687 1238.
These are some of the questions you will discuss in the Aboriginal Reconciliation Study Circles Project, a joint initiative of the Australian Association of Adult and Community Education (AAACE) and the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation. The project involves 1000 Study Circles around Australia meeting and discussing these issues. An 8-session Discussion Kit - available in September - is free to self-managing study groups.
If you want to participate in this national project or would like more information contact: Deborah Durnan, Project Consultant
AAACE National Office
PO Box 308, Jamison Centre ACT 2614.
Distinguished U.S. law and literature scholar, Richard Weisberg, will be the keynote speaker at Australia's fourth Law and Literature Conference, to be hosted by Wollongong University's Law School from 8 - 10 October, 1993.
Workshops for lawyers on Plain Legal English and Effective Communication with Aboriginal clients will be conducted by leaders in these fields, including Judith Bennett of the Law Foundation for Plain Legal English, Sydney University Aboriginal Education specialist Jennifer Newman, John Boersig of the Aboriginal Legal Service and Commonwealth Parliamentary Counsel Hilary Penfold.
There will be particular focusses on cross-cultural communications in legal settings; the legal regulation of sexuality; law, race and colonialism; and legal themes in nineteenth century literature. Peregrine Whalley of the Northern Territory University Law School, and comparatiave literature scholar Professor David Myers will speak on “Terra Nullius: The Greatest Australian Myth?”
For further information contact:
Penny Pether, Faculty of Law
University of Wollongong, tel: (042) 214 293 (W)
Mr Robyn Handley, Faculty of Law, tel: (042) 213 726
Gillian Curtis, Media Officer, tel: (042) 213 926; (042) 286 705.
A timely response to confusion surrounding the Mabo decision is Sean Flood's "Mabo: A Symbol of Sharing". The book aims to dispel myths about Mabo as well as provide general background information for laypeople.
Available from the author at Carl Shannon Chambers
13/169-183 Liverpool St, Sydney, NSW 2000
tel: (02) 268 3111; fax: (02) 268 3168 for $17.95 (includes p&h), $11.25 (bulk orders of 10 or more but does not include p&h).