Brisbane: Arson Attack on the Commonwealth Games Clock

13 April – Yesterday in Meanjin (Brisbane, so called Australia) we watched on social media as the police brutalised and arrested peaceful Stolenwealth Games protestors on the Gold Coast. They used excessive force on young people, people with disabilities, and elders.

The police also tried to claim one young person self harmed while in their custody. Allies are urgently needed at Camp Freedom on the last two days of the Commonwealth Games, to join peaceful protests and protect the camp, which over the last two weeks, has been threatened by Neo Nazis, racists, and the Queensland Police force. Our action is in no way endorsed by Stolenwealth Games organisers and protestors (who have no knowledge of it), but they have our solidarity through this and more practical acts.

This surfboard clock was launched in 2015 on this fake beach to count down 1000 days until the Commonwealth Games. Time is now up for the Commonwealth, the State, and the weapons of the state — the police. If Queensland wants to slip back so easily to the days of the opppressive and violent Joh Bjelke-Petersen dictatorship, then more resistance can be expected. Fuck the Police. Fuck the Commonwealth. This isn’t the Queen’s Land. The time to decolonise is now, for healing the land and healing the people of the land.

#BurnAustraliaToTheGround #EyesonQLDpolice #Toomanycoppersnotenoughjustice

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Sydney: ‘No pride in genocide’: vandals deface Captain Cook statue

26 Aug 2017 – Early on Saturday, three statues in Sydney’s Hyde park – including one of Captain Cook – were attacked by vandals.

The words “change the date” and “no pride in genocide” were spray-painted on the Captain Cook statue, the former a reference to a campaign to stop celebrating Australia’s national day on the date the First Fleet landed.

Similar words were scrawled on a monument to Lachlan Macquarie, the fifth governor of New South Wales, and a statue of Queen Victoria was also targeted.

Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull, in a lengthy Facebook post described the vandalism as a “cowardly criminal act”.

“But it is also part of a deeply disturbing and totalitarian campaign to not just challenge our history but to deny it and obliterate it,” Turnbull said.

“This is what Stalin did. When he fell out with his henchmen he didn’t just execute them, they were removed from all official photographs – they became non-persons, banished not just from life’s mortal coil but from memory and history itself,” he said.

“Tearing down or defacing statues of our colonial era explorers and governors is not much better than that.”

Police have launched an investigation into the “malicious damage” in Hyde Park, which they believe happened between 2am and 3am on Saturday.

Police said graffiti was also used on Sydney’s ANZAC memorial, park benches in Hyde Park, and on the Archibald memorial fountain.

Australia has been engaged in intense debate this week over an inscription on a statue of explorer, Captain James Cook, in Sydney’s Hyde Park. The statue’s inscription claims Cook “discovered” Australia, prompting criticism that it ignored tens of thousands of years of Indigenous history.

The assistant immigration minister, Alex Hawke, who is vehemently opposed to changing the date of Australia Day, condemned the attack.

“This disgraceful extreme attack on our history &culture is shameful.” he tweeted on Saturday.

Scott Morrison also tweeted that the attack was “A national insult & disgrace”

While debate raged in the media, many in Hyde Park remained oblivious to the controversy over the statue on Saturday.

One tourist lying next to the statue on Saturday said he was unaware anyone had been on the continent before the Europeans. Another was unaware of Australian Indigenous history.

 

Narrabri: Traditional custodians lock-on at CSG wastewater plant

Gamilaraay custodians Paul Spearim and Nathan Leslie lock on to Santos equipment at its Narrabri wastewater treatment plant. Photo Iris Ray Nunn23 Dec – While people in the northern rivers are still celebrating the region’s new gasfield free status, two Gamilaraay traditional custodians from Moree are battling CSG company Santos using the same techniques that helped win the battle here.

The pair have entered Santos’ property about 25km south of Narrabri and halted construction at the Leewood coal seam gas wastewater treatment plant by locking themselves with a metal pipe to excavating equipment.

Fifteen supporters risked arrest to accompany the men onto the Santos’ property, while another 15 people demonstrated their support from outside the fence.

There has been a recent resurgence in protest activity against Santos’ works in the Pilliga forest near Narrabri as the company begins construction at Leewood.

The large-scale wastewater treatment plant is regarded as as a significant milestone in the development of the coal seam gas industry in NSW, and is the subject of a pending court case that will question the legality of its approval.

Fifty-four-year-old Paul Spearim, a respected Gamilaraay cultural authority, said in local language ‘Our ancestors are always watching (Ngiyaningu maran yaliwunga ngarra-li).’

‘We want Santos to get out of our sacred lands and protect our gali (water),’ he added.

His lock-on partner Nathan Leslie, a 32 year-old Gamilaraay man, said he saw it has his responsibility to stop the project on his ancestral land.

‘We’re halting construction at Santos’ Leewood coal seam gas wastewater treatment facility in the Pilliga as this operation is a major step forward for the risky CSG industry in NSW and as a Gamilaraay man it is my responsibility to oppose this threat to country.’

‘This Leewood facility will result in 500 million tonnes of toxic waste after just five years of exploration activity.

‘This toxic industry threatens our water, our country and our culture, and Gamiliaraay people say “no” to Santos’ coal seam gas,’ Mr Leslie said.

Yidindji: Murrumu Walubara Yidindji renounces citizenship to reclaim Australia

Murrumu Walubara Yidindji is the foreign minister of Yidindji sovereign nation, an Indigenous tribal group that has renounced ties with Australia.

Murrumu Walubara Yidindji is the foreign minister of Yidindji sovereign nation, an Indigenous tribal group that has renounced ties with Australia

2 Nov –

A small Aboriginal tribal group that has established its own government and renounced legal ties with Australia aims to make history by entering into the first Indigenous treaty with the Commonwealth.

The Sovereign Yidindji Government, whose lands stretch south of Port Douglas, through Cairns, inland across the Atherton Tablelands and 80km out to sea, says it wants to help Australia overcome the legal conundrum of operating on Yidindji territory without consent.

"The Commonwealth of Australia does not have consent or a treaty to enter Yidindji territory."“The Commonwealth of Australia does not have consent or a treaty to enter Yidindji territory.” Photo: Ben Rushton

Murrumu Walubara Yidindji, the foreign affairs minister, said his government was similar to the Vatican City State – with its own laws, language and institutions.

To the Yidindji people, Australia is a “foreign entity”.

“The Commonwealth of Australia does not have consent or a treaty to enter Yidindji territory, so we had to show the leadership to create our own institutions of government,” Murrumu told Fairfax Media on a visit to Sydney.

“It doesn’t have any validity in law.”

Formerly a journalist known as Jeremy Geia, Murrumu has renounced his Australian citizenship, relinquished his passport and bank accounts, and eschews Australian currency.

“Australia, we can see the injury you’ve got,” he said.

“We can cure it and we’re not going to send you a bill for it. It’s a hearts and minds game and all we’re saying is we have our own jurisdiction.”

On Sunday, he sent his condolences as Yidindji foreign affairs minister to the people of Russia after an horrific plane crash in which all 224 passengers on board perished.

“Today I conveyed our condolences to Russian Foreign Ministry agents & our thoughts and prayers to loved ones of the crash victims #7K9268“, Murrumu Walubara Yidindji tweeted on Sunday.

​Since early last year, around 40 people have taken the citizenship pledge to join the Yidindji tribal people, who also have their own driver licensing system.

Murrumu was pulled over by Queensland police on Sorry Day in May this year and charged over allegedly driving an unregistered vehicle without a licence, he said.

He did not show up to court to defend the charges and said he had no idea how the case against him had progressed through the state’s legal system.

“It’s got nothing to do with me,” he said.

He is unsure how he will achieve international travel on a Yidindji passport, but is reaching out to countries like Russia and Venezuela to establish diplomatic relations.

The Yidindji government has also sought meetings with the Australian government, but is yet to get a response.

“What we’re saying to the Commonwealth of Australia is: come and sit down with us, have a cup of tea and let’s talk about entering a memorandum of understanding to grant you consent to enter our territory,” Murrumu said.

“This could be a blueprint for true reconciliation.”

Professor Megan Davis, a constitutional law expert and chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples, said there was nothing stopping the Commonwealth from today entering into a treaty with the Yidindji government.

“People might think it seems a little bit out of the box, but it’s not. It’s quite a conventional way to do it,” she said.

“It’s a ‘Field of Dreams’ principle: build it and they will come.”

The impediments to treaties, like those in Canada and New Zealand, were political, not legal, the University of NSW academic said.

Aotearoa/NZ: Lake Horowhenua row escalates

Oct 29 – A showdown of sorts has taken place on the shores of Lake Horowhenua, where a long-running dispute between the local rowing club and one of the lake’s Māori owners recently reignited, along with allegations of assaults and vandalism.

One of the lake’s owners, Phil Taueki, who lives at the lake, has been at war with the rowers over the use of club sheds he says were illegally built on Māori land.

The Horowhenua Rowing Club had been permitted to lease the buildings on the lakeside but after being told to leave and given a deadline, they have begun moving out.

The conflict between the two parties is deeply embedded in the management, ownership and administration of the lake, which is the subject of 22 Waitangi Tribunal claims.

Lake HorowhenuaLake Horowhenua – once the food bowl for its iwi – is now one of New Zealand’s most polluted lakes.

Lake Horowhenua is unique. It is owned by Māori but, after a parliamentary act in 1905, its administration and management became the responsibility of a government-appointed board.

The Horowhenua Lake Domain Board is made up of four council representatives and four iwi but at present just three iwi members sit on the board.

In 1950, the government also formed a trust to represent the Māori owners, but not all of the owners support it.

Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell said the model was not one that would be used today. He said he had heard the concerns of Māori about the set-up and was willing to work with them to solve the situation.

Mr Taueki, who is one of the lake’s many owners, operates without his wider iwi’s support – but with the belief he has every right to occupy and manage the lake, of which his grandfather was an original owner.

The Taueki whanauThe Taueki whanau – including Phil Taueki, at far right.

According to a Māori Land Court judgment, the buildings at the heart of the dispute are considered fixtures and, consequently, are the property of the lake’s Māori land owners.

The lake’s board, however, has permitted the rowers to use the club sheds for decades.

Mr Taueki has often been left standing on his own in his opposition to the agreement.

During the long-running dispute, there have been allegations of assaults, claims of death threats and vandalism.

Mr Taueki has had about 40 different charges laid against him but said all of them had been withdrawn or dismissed, with only a couple still pending.

He said the lakeside had been quiet since the rowers left the buildings and he hoped they would not come back.

Continue reading “Aotearoa/NZ: Lake Horowhenua row escalates”

Lake Horowhenua: Maori Protesters Occupy Sailing Club

15 Sept – On his way back from terminating the Maori occupation of Kaitaia Airport, Police Superintendent Wallace Haumaha was diverted to Lake Horowhenua to deal with another Maori occupation.

Last Sunday, more than twenty Mua-Upoko owners took possession of the former Sailing Club building overlooking this privately-owned lake.

Superintendent Haumaha warned these owners he could arrest them and lock them all up in jail, but was prepared to let the status quo remain while he conducted some investigations.

However, former Horowhenua District Councillor Anne Hunt was on hand to show Superintendent Haumaha copies of various court judgements including one from the Supreme Court confirming that the clubs were unlawfully occupying buildings that belong to Mua-Upoko.

She also pointed out that the Crimes Act justifies owners entering their own buildings during the daytime for the purpose of taking possession thereof.

Mrs Hunt says she is concerned that the police still assume that Lake Horowhenua is the subject of a Treaty claim.

“This is far from the truth”, she says. “A certificate of title was issued in 1899 for the bed of the lake and all the land surrounding it. It was then declared ‘inalienable’ by the Appellate Court.”

Nevertheless, Parliament passed a law in 1905 letting the public use this privately-owned lake free of charge.

Mrs Hunt says research commissioned by the Waitangi Tribunal confirms her suspicion that the Crown never bothered to consult the owners first, and as far as she is concerned, that is “theft by statute”. The owners have never received any compensation for the use of their lake.

Both the Rowing and Sailing Clubs had erected clubrooms on this freehold land without bothering to get permission from the owners first. The Court has already confirmed that as fixtures, these buildings now belong to the Mua-Upoko owners.

The other Domain building is occupied by members of the Horowhenua Rowing Club, who refuse to vacate the building even though their licence to occupy expired in 2007.

The Court of Appeal has since established that the Reserves Act prohibits any attempt to extend this lease even on a month-by-month basis.

Last Sunday, the owners recorded footage of the rowers trespassing on a waahi tapu site to launch their boats. Judge Atkins had warned them not to do so, and had summoned Police Inspector Mark Harrison to an in-Chambers hearing to put in place protocols to prevent further culturally-offensive behaviour.

Cr Jo Mason testified in court that rowers urinated in this area because there are no toilets in the building.

Mrs Hunt says that many of the owners believe they have been forced to tolerate this situation long enough. As 30 October marks 110 years since the Horowhenua Lake Act was passed, the owners are preparing to take back control of their own property and decide who can use their own facilities.

Plans are in place to set up a waka ama club this weekend, and negotiations will continue this week to decide what happens to the northern building at the Domain.