Genocide, Sovereignty and Treaty April 27, 2006Posted by campsovereignty in Analysis, Camp News, Facts.
While most of the press you will see about Camp Sovereignty is focussed on the superficial issues, there are of course some deep issues that Camp Sovereignty is there to talk about, and make moves towards reconciling. Most significantly is the issue of jurisdiction (thus the name Camp Sovereignty).
Below is a piece complied by one of our supporters containing information provided by Robbie Thorpe, who probably knows more about the legal and constitutional issues surrounding Australia’s history than anyone else. We hope you read this piece and learn a bit more about the historical reasons that Camp Sovereignty was set up, and why it is still there, keeping the Fire and the Spirit alive!
GENOCIDE, SOVEREIGNTY & TREATY
State Government and Melbourne City Council have little jurisdiction over the royal title of King’s Domain as it’s heiress, the Queen, does not complain of trespassing. Yet non-indigenous Ministers are officially in charge of all Aboriginal affairs in Australia and have the powers to ‘list or not to list’ what is sacred. The Australian Constitution is dangerously close to representing a dictatorship, as parliament erodes the freedom and well being of it’s people and leaves us living in the last western democracy without a Bill of Rights. After finally winning the right to vote just less than 40 years ago, Indigenous Australians still don’t have the enshrined human rights to practice their own religious ceremonies and traditions.
In 1947, the Genocide Convention was produced by the UN in response to WWII Nazi atrocities but was not incorporated into Australian domestic law until over 50 years later. In 1997, Robbie Thorpe and other activists began a successful 6 year legal battle with the federal government to finally put anti-genocide legislation in place for the first time.
Captain Cook and Commander in Chief Arthur Phillip never obeyed the King’s orders to negotiate “consent from the natives” before settlement nor cause those who “wantonly destroy the natives” to be “bought to punishment”. The illegal occupation of Australia was a premeditated act of genocide to wipe out Indigenous life and remains the longest running undeclared ongoing genocidal war. With no Treaties or evidence of consent to colonise traditional lands, Indigenous Australia never ceded sovereignty and is under no jurisdiction of the Crown or backward British colonial law. All subsequent government laws and ‘assistance’ programs have focused on policies of assimilation, removal from traditional culture, enforced reliance on welfare and profiteering from Indigenous misery.
Eddie Mabo’s High Court ruling in 1992 was reported by the Herald Sun of the day as effectively telling the government to negotiate a Treaty with Indigenous Australia. “The decision stated that Aboriginal People had a pre-existing relationship with their land which was capable of the recognition and enforcement of the British legal system.” With the lie of Terra Nullius invalidated by Common Law, it has yet to be replaced by a formal Treaty process.
Not since 1972 has the Australian public seen such mass media interest in Indigenous self-determination and justice. Like the Tent Embassy in Canberra, Camp Sovereignty is a neutral meeting place of social, spiritual and political significance to Aboriginal People that restores pride and dignity. Treating the causes instead of the symptoms by acknowledging land dispossession and annihilation of culture, the Sacred Fire represents the resurrection of a resting place to learn, practice and share Indigenous culture, and for visitors to be Welcomed to Country in a respectful way they will never forget.
RACISM OR HARMONY ?
Some media has targeted mainstream mindsets with an utter fabrication of facts during campaigns of racial vilification and misinformation against Camp Sovereignty. Guards on duty at the Shrine of Remembrance saw no one from Camp go anywhere near the place, the jogger was a PR stunt woman out of work, and Robbie Thorpe’s ‘warrant’ was quickly withdrawn when police apologised for the ‘misunderstanding’ of falsely accusing him of stealing his own lucky silver 50 cent piece in his pocket!
Meanwhile up to 20,000 people have visited the Sacred Fire in just 6 weeks for the privilege to spend a day in the park and learn to listen to Elders about the way Aboriginal People do spiritual business. Countless tourists, locals and school children including members of devout Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish communities, have come to see for themselves that Camp Sovereignty is a special place to remember. Of all the thousands who passed through the Sacred Fire Smoking Ceremony, only one complained of feeling he’d been burnt; the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Gavin Jennings! During the Games, Jimmy Cliff invited Camp Sovereignty Elders on stage, while Paul Kelly, Kutcha Edwards, Michael Franti and even Cathy Freeman came to the Fire.
Visitors also signed Black GST declarations to the Prime Minister showing “support for the Indigenous People of Australia in their demand for justice, for the end of genocide, the restoration of sovereignty and entering into a process of good faith negotiation towards a Treaty…The Indigenous People of Australia are the oldest known culture on this planet and it is the responsibility of all of us to protect and respect tens of thousands of years of knowledge.”
Nothing can extinguish the flames of healing that have permeated across the world from this Sacred Fire. As Robbie Thorpe says, “This is not a claim for land, this is a claim for lore…You can’t kill the spirit. You can’t put it out.”
“As we sit on the banks of the Birrarung Marr,
Watching the effluent affluent toxins go past,
We ponder and watch our sacred land trashed,
With complete disrespect and utter ignorance.
Maybe that’s what the indoctrination of a lie
for over 200 years does to people’s minds.
White Australia has a Black History,
We’re talking about a mass murder mystery”
Robbie Thorpe, Camp Sovereignty 2006.