Editor's Column

Truth-Telling in Oceania

In George Orwell’s now-classic dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the world is divided into three superstates. One of them, Oceania, encompasses the continents of North and South America, Southern Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the British Isles. The government of Oceania is comprised of four major ministries who derive their objectives from the ruling ideology of Doublethink. The Ministry of Truth is dedicated to telling lies; the Ministry of Peace provokes war against the other superstates; the Ministry of Plenty rations food and generates poverty, scarcity and debt; and the Ministry of Love tortures and brainwashes its citizens into accepting all this and loving only the ruling tyrant, Big Brother.

It was telling that at Uluru in 2017, when the advocates of the Voice laid down their agenda for Aboriginal self-determination, one of their non-negotiable demands was that Australia should undergo a process of “truth-telling”. This concept has more than a little likeness to the aims of the ministries Orwell described in his book. It was the job of Orwell’s central character at the Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith, to rewrite the history of Oceania to fit whatever happened to be the latest political objective of Big Brother.

I was reminded of Orwell’s scenario at a musical performance last year at a high school in Sydney in which one of my dear offspring had a role. The school was once known for instilling good manners in its students but, at the start of this show, after the now compulsory ordeal of acknowledging Aboriginal country and the wisdom of its elders, the lights went down and a deep-throated female voice turned up the amplifiers and roared in the dark: “and First Nations never ceded their sovereignty”. To me, this sounded like a message from Big Brother. Other concert-goers told me later that this outburst and its authoritarian milieu were nothing new, at either this school or any other in Sydney’s inner suburbs. In Teal territory, it was now the norm.

The claim that Aborigines have always retained their sovereignty over the continent is a statement that implicitly asserts that British colonisation in 1788, and ever since, has been illegal, and that most of us are therefore living on stolen land. The idea actually originated in 1979 when, in Coe v Commonwealth, the indigenous lawyer Paul Coe sought leave to claim before the High Court that the Aborigi­nes were a sovereign nation and that Britain had wrongly asserted its own sovereignty over them.

Coe’s bid was denied at the time, but the idea was revived in 1996 in Henry Reynolds’s book Aboriginal Sovereignty: Three Nations, One Australia? Reynolds wrote this primarily to challenge Australia’s long-standing legal tradition that denied Aborigines had any sovereignty over the landscapes they once traversed. Reynolds argued that the High Court’s Mabo decision in 1992 not only recognised the existence of native title but it must have also entailed the existence of undeclared laws and forms of government that were needed to establish the reality of land ownership.

Reynolds and his activist colleagues in 1992 managed to persuade Australia’s High Court that Eddie Mabo, once a sedentary farmer on the Torres Strait island of Mer, held “native title” under the common law. However, it was a leap of the imagination to assume that the nomadic hunter-gatherers on the mainland thereby had the status of sovereignty over the land they used. Indeed, it is not hard to show that, legally and politically, Australia’s Aborigines never had any sovereignty to cede.

For a start, “sovereignty” is a term from early modern Europe that bears no relationship to the laws of hunter-gatherer Aborigines in pre-1788 Australia or any other place where the same form of land use still existed. When the continent of Australia was first colonised by the British, international law followed the model derived from the treaty of Westphalia in 1648 which held that European states had exclusive sovereignty over their territory, and that external powers had no right to interfere in their domestic arrangements. This was part of the meaning of the term “civilised”, which emerged in the eighteenth century in the European Enlightenment.

But to gain such status, a state had to be a genuine nation. In 1750, the most authoritative European legal scholar of international law, Christian Wolff, author of The Law of Nations According to the Scientific Method, said that for a society to be a nation it must have civil sovereignty and, as a corollary, only nations can be genuine sovereigns. Wolff argued that “separate families” or clans based on kinship who “wander through uncultivated places” can have rights of land ownership, which sovereigns should respect. But he emphasised that this did not turn these extended families into nations or give them sovereignty over their territory. He wrote:

The name nation … denotes a number of men who have united into a civil society, so that therefore no nation can be conceived of without a civil sovereignty. For groups of men dwelling together in certain limits but without civil sovereignty are not nations, except that through carelessness of speech they may be wrongly so called.

Wolff’s successor, Emmerich de Vattel, writing in his 1758 treatise The Law of Nations, or the Principles of the Law of Nature Applied to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns, made it clear that the European definition of sovereignty was based not on some blanket racial prejudice or sense of superior­ity over all the indigenous people of the Americas and the Pacific. Rather, it derived from the presence or absence of a civil society or nationhood. Vattel’s work distinguished clearly between the sedentary agricultural societies of the Aztecs and Incas in Mexico and Peru and the nomadic hunting tribes of North America. He argued that the former were genuine nations that had political systems comparable to those of Europe, and who legally occu­pied their land. Consequently, Vattel said, under the law of nations their overthrow by the Spanish conquistadors was unlawful. This was in contrast to the fate of the nomadic tribes of North America who failed to fulfil the prescriptions of natural law. They did not become nations and their profligate use of land was a legitimate temptation to more productive societies to transplant their own people and methods there. Like Europe in the pre-Westphalian era, their lives were dominated by warfare with rival communities that could last from thirty to one hundred years. Hence, neither Wolff nor Vattel justified the national sovereignty of hunter-gatherers or similar nomads.

In New South Wales, the absence of any native political structure that the first English explorers and settlers could recognise as a nation or state led them to annexe the territory as a colony of settlement. This meant English law came into force, the British Crown became the sovereign of all the land it claimed and, in legal theory, the indigenous people automatically became sub­jects of the Crown, living under the protection of its laws.

In 1836, in the first legal case that tested the status of Aborigines within the British colony, Vattel’s writings formed the basis of the judgment delivered by Justice William Burton of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in R v Murrell (with the concurrence of Chief Justice Francis Forbes and Justice James Dowling). After the colony’s forty-eight years of experience dealing with the tribes, Burton concluded that the Aborigines did not have anything that amounted to what the British and other nations could regard as government or statehood. He said they:

had not attained at the first settlement to such a position in point of numbers and civilisation, and to such a form of government and laws, as to be entitled to be recognised as so many sovereign states governed by laws of their own.

The legal judgment that ultimately confirmed the settled col­ony principle was given in the UK in 1889 in the case of Cooper v Stuart by Lord Watson of the Privy Council, who said:

There is a very great difference between the case of a Colony acquired by conquest or cession, in which there is an established system of law, and that of a Colony which consisted of a tract or territory practically unoccupied, without settled inhabitants or settled law, at the time when it was peacefully annexed to the British dominions. The Colony of New South Wales belongs to the latter class … In so far as it is reasonably applicable to the circumstances of the Colony, the law of England must prevail.

In our own time, the same principle has been confirmed time and again, and for similar reasons. Australia’s former Chief Justice Harry Gibbs knew that the issue of sovereignty could not be decided simply by the issue of Aboriginal claims to land ownership. As Wolff and Vattel had affirmed, the issue at stake was whether the Aboriginal clans in existence before European colonisation consti­tuted genuine nations. In denying leave to Paul Coe in 1979 to argue for an Aboriginal sovereign nation, Gibbs’s views were formidable:

it is not possible to say … that the aboriginal people of Australia are organised as a “distinct political society separated from oth­ers,” or that they have been uniformly treated as a state … They have no legislative, executive or judicial organs by which sover­eignty might be exercised. If such organs existed, they would have no powers, except such as the law of the Commonwealth, or of a State or Territory, might confer upon them. The contention that there is in Australia an aboriginal nation exercising sover­eignty, even of a limited kind, is quite impossible in law to maintain.

Gibbs went on to find that the issue of Aboriginal rights to land should be allowed to proceed in the High Court. Nonetheless, he insisted this was a different matter from that of sovereignty, declaring: “there is no aboriginal nation, if by that expression is meant a people organised as a separate state or exercising any degree of sovereignty”.

In 1993, in the wake of the High Court’s Mabo decision that found native title existed in Australian territory, Chief Justice Anthony Mason in Coe v Commonwealth (No 2), nonetheless said Mabo was “entirely at odds with the notion that sovereignty adverse to the Crown resides in the Aboriginal people of Australia”. The Mabo decision, he said, was:

equally at odds with the notion that there resides in the Aboriginal people a limited kind of sovereignty embraced in the notion that they are “a domestic dependent nation” entitled to self-government and full rights (save the right of alienation) or that as a free and independent people they are entitled to any rights and interests other than those created or recognised by the laws of the Commonwealth, the State of New South Wales and the common law.

In 2002, in the High Court case of Yorta Yorta Aboriginal Community v Victoria, Chief Justice Murray Gleeson, Justice William Gummow and Justice Kenneth Hayne held that the British Crown’s original assertion of sovereignty “necessarily entailed” that thereafter there could be “no parallel law-making system in the territory over which it asserted sovereignty”. No Aboriginal system of law could subsequently create valid rights, duties or interests.

However, in the coming referendum for the Voice, if the Australian people change the Constitution to give indigenous people special recognition via the completely open terminology presented by the Albanese government, all the above findings could possibly be reinterpreted. The new members of a High Court appointed by the same government could change the game completely.

The first role of the High Court is to interpret the Constitution, and if the people voted to amend the Constitution it would immediately open up the opportunity for judges to examine the constitutional con­sequences of the change and the intentions of those who voted Yes. In particular, it would sanction adven­turism among judges of that inclination. The fact that the amendments were approved by a referendum supported by a significant majority of the Australian people would tell them the national mood had changed in favour of amending laws and policies too. It would tempt judges to accept the more radical propositions of the Aboriginal political class that they remain the true proprietors of the land and that those of us descended from the more recent settlers need to re-negotiate our right to be here.

The continuation of public acceptance of the persistent and ubiquitous acknowledgments of country and other rituals and catchphrases which our education systems now use to indoctrinate young people, coming on top of a win for the Yes case in the proposed referendum, would create a climate that could persuade even the most traditionalist judges that Australia is ripe for sweeping reform.

If the referendum for the Voice does get up, some of the early demands we could expect to arise from the new Aboriginal chamber would not only be to eliminate Australia Day on January 26 but also to imitate New Zealand and give the Commonwealth of Australia a new name to suit its new status. I would nominate George Orwell’s choice, Oceania. We would deserve it.

All legal sources for this column are detailed in Keith Windschuttle’s The Break-up of Australia, available by clicking here

37 thoughts on “Truth-Telling in Oceania

  • ianl says:

    In an earlier comment on a large conference I attended in Sydney on this topic in 1993 (at a time that Keating was finalising his legislative response to Mabo), I made the point that the Aboriginal activists in attendance were explicit in their expectation of future High Court decisions favourable to their cause. During one notable session with a scheduled speaker mildly listing possible impediments to this process, the Aboriginal section of the audience paid little heed, being loudly engaged on their mobiles in instructing Keating “to get f…d” (I kid not), except when the speaker suggested that mining money may dry up – this stirred that segment of the audience quite noticeably. And oh yes, the question of Repossession and Reparations was mentioned quite often.

    My small group of friends and colleagues are agreed in our analysis of the currently evolved situation. We think that this finishes Elbow. If the Voice referendum as mooted gets up, continual disruption of all aspects of life will dominate, with no way of respite, like a sine wave. Elbow will never be forgiven by the general populace for the ever-growing mess. If it fails, Elbow will never be forgiven by his base.

    His heart-on-sleeve vanity, an “opportunity” he has waited for all his political life, has allowed his gullibility to win. In our view, he’s not really very smart.

    • Ceres says:

      Knowing how much politicians love weilding power it puzzles me why Albanese would potentially risk ceding power over all his “earth shattering wonderful Labor policies” to a group who could take any ignoring of their “voices” straight to the High Court. Gridlock for Albanese’s wonderful policies or worse, potentially no implementation of essential agendas for Australians. Third world stuff. Is this the whole aim? Or he is just plain dumb.

      • john mac says:

        Was going to reply to ianl about Albo’s intelligence , but as you’ve also raised the question , Yes he really is that dumb ! Self-awareness, a sense of irony , and foreknowledge of consequences not in his capacity . Has been an “activist” his whole life and “Fighting Tories ” his Raison d’etre , hardly evidence of a well rounded education . His complete ignorance of interest rates or employment figures , inability to think on his feet and and blind adherence to all of his policies , whether green, Identity or financial – all leading us down the road to ruin – well he HAS to know , doesn’t he !? So he’s either evil or stupid . My monies on stupid .

    • Stephen Ireland says:

      Extremely apt recollections, ianl.
      There seems to be an uncanny similarity to the ‘lending’ of Eddie Jones to the Poms so that they could flog us on the rugby field.
      But then we taxpayers, and rugby fans, are so forgiving – or are we?

  • mgldunn says:

    Fellow readers might like to ask those who assert ‘sovereignty’ was never ceded, if they admit, as a consequence, that they are in possession of stolen property ? Really, they should give up their home and report themselves to the police.

  • brandee says:

    The question in my mind is to how did the Welcome to Country ritual become established and then become so widely entrenched? It seems to have happened under the coalition governments of either Abbott, Turnbull, or Morrison. Conservative governments? The Morrison government set up the NIAA [ National Indigenous Aboriginal Agency] with current funding of $4.5bn and multiple responsibilities just like the Voice.
    Perhaps the NIAA promotes the Welcome in a similar way that ACON, the government funded Aids Council of NSW, has morphed to become a ‘rainbow’ promoting force with strong influence over national broadcasters, banks and big business, and football clubs. Of the latter clubs the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles had a number of Christian Pacific Island players who were penalised as they rebuffed the homosexual implications of the rainbow jersey.
    Let’s have a conservative political party that engages in Truth-Talking to unmask the Truth-Telling ideologues and their devious scheme of which Keith Windschuttle so clearly reveals.

    • Brian Boru says:

      “The question in my mind is to how did the Welcome to Country ritual become established and then become so widely entrenched? ”
      Brandee, I think the answer is in the effect of group dynamics. If one person takes a lead and no one objects to what is being said, then the group will follow that lead.
      That is why it is so important that if you do not wish to acquiesce in what is being said that you should voice your objection. Simply say a loud, “I don’t agree”.

    • john mac says:

      Hear, Hear , brandee . How indeed !? This ritual is getting longer and more insufferable at every sporting event , public meeting. musical event- soon to the opening of a packet of chips ! The HR and marketing depts of all major corps are on board this nonsense , most being filled to the brim with activists , wagging the corporate tail with glee . Same with local councils (Fiefdoms to be more correct) Virtually unelected busybodies , Gramscian footsoldiers wishing to bend the world to their will as the rest of us just wish to get on with our lives. The elevation of stone-age hunter gatherers to “first nation” status is the ultimate joke on the West . First inhabitants yes , but unable to defend what they say was theirs , and the fact that almost anyone but the English would have wiped out the Aboriginals to the point of genocide matters not to today’s grievance mongers and trough snouts .

  • Another Richard Harrison says:

    I take it that by “sweeping reform” you actually mean revolution, impoverishment and chaos.

  • Ian MacDougall says:

    This process would be a more straightforward traditional political dogfight had there been one Aboriginal tribe, nation or call it what you will in possession of the entire Australian mainland plus Tasmania in 1777. But the 19th C anthropologists who first studied them identified three separate races or ethnicities among them: the Tasmanians, the Murrayans and the Carpentarians; all physically distinct. Thus, pre-1788 there must have been at least three separate ‘invasions’ of what we now call Australia: not one. Each of these would have been likely resisted by those already here.
    Traditional Aboriginal weapons, particularly their war spears that were barbed so as to prevent extraction forward or back from the victim’s body also testify to to the serious intentions of their users. The only way to extract such a spear from the victim would have been to cut him open for the embedded length of the spear and lift it at 90 degrees from its track through the victim’s body, using stone knives to do so. Urine and/or some herbal preparation would have been the only antiseptic available, with perhaps smoke for an anaesthetic.

    • John-Tassie says:

      Ian, perhaps you should read my paper in Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
      Vol 136 (2002) pg 35-37 Tasmanian Aborigines and DNA A study of maternal line mtDNA re the murder of a Tasmanian Aboriginal elder woman. Two distinct lineages, one unique 50,000 year isolation and one linked to known Victorian aboriginal mtDNA haplotypes. The data hole using the living to reconstruct DNA history in Tasmania is that no pre1800 male Y chromosome survive today. The data published are from family members of the deceased elder and others, whose lineage was exclusively traced back to before 1800. The question was asked of the forensic lab – from the semen sample (she was raped as well) is the perp aboriginal?
      John Presser

  • Stephen Ireland says:

    Thanks ARH. Keith’s ironic use of the term ‘reform’ set me thinking, not for the first time, on the self-righteousness implied by its general use in recent times – it’s much more emotive than, say, ‘change’.
    Wiki thinks that ‘Reform means the improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt, unsatisfactory, etc. The use of the word in this way emerges in the late 18th century and is believed to originate from Christopher Wyvill’s Association movement which identified “Parliamentary Reform” as its primary aim.’
    One suspects that there was little ambiguity, due to either ignorance or intent to deceive, when used by Wyvill’s mob.
    Google is instructive:
    Reform as a verb, means ‘make changes in (something, especially an institution or practice) in order to improve it. “the Bill will reform the tax system”‘

    Can we think of many improvements to the tax system in our lifetimes?
    Google’s list of synonyms include
    improve -make better – better – ameliorate – refine – mend – rectify – correct – rehabilitate – alter –
    make alterations to – change – adjust – make adjustments to – adapt – amend – revise – recast – reshape –
    refashion – redesign – restyle – revamp – renovate – rework – redo – remake – rebuild – reconstruct –
    remodel – make over – remould – reorganize – revolutionize – reorient – reorientate – vary – transform –
    convert – customize – tailor – permutate
    Perhaps His Majesty’s Opposition might think to ask the Prime Minister which of the above are included in his intentions (more than one choice permitted) given that reform is such an easily misunderstood term. Some of them might sound nice when attached to ‘generosity’.
    subject (hydrocarbons) to a catalytic process in which straight-chain molecules are converted to branched forms for use as petrol.
    Or as a noun

    ‘the action or process of reforming an institution or practice. For example “the reform of the divorce laws”‘

    Isn’t society and the taxpayer paying for those Murphy reforms of the 70s in spades?

    As an engineer I would be happy to restrict the use of ‘reform’ to its place in chemical reactions or industrial processes, assuming that such happiness wouldn’t give offence and thus qualify for cancellation.

  • Tony Tea says:

    Speaking of Truth Telling, I see that South Australia is changing the law to make it easier to identify as an indigenous person. Since Kyam Maher is the Attorney General of South Australia, and therefore SA’s head law-maker, and also identifies as an indigenous person, even though he’s not (apart from the vibe), are we looking at one of the greatest boondoggles in Australian political history?

  • RobyH says:

    It is difficult to see how he can override High Court 3 part definition. But in the area of race anything is possible

    Maher appears to be a fraud. Attorney General AND Aboriginal Affairs Minister – says he is an “initiated” Aboriginal man – the whole story stinks and should see him loose his job and the concept of Aboriginality torn down. But NO the Premier double downs to protect his appointee. The “initiation” is a whole other story … and seems to be a paid event in the desert.

    Its simple – no laws based on race – only need. Then you can identify as whatever you want and you can be happy in your self identification. – but whilst we have laws on race we will have major problems. A person of the Aboriginal race in Tasmania up until a 1970s was a full blood only. Let’s just go back to that. Anything else is mixed descent. Then we only have up to 20,000 Aboriginals. Simples.


    The truth is that the culture of aboriginal peoples in Oceania and elsewhere has been idealized to the point of romantic fantasy by people who weren’t present. The reality is that the consequences of sin afflicted those cultures just as much as it does every other culture since The Fall, or from an evolutionary point of view, since the gene became selfish.

  • w.laing says:

    Thanks for the column. Small correction: Oceania’s ruling ideology was not Doublethink, which was rather a Party technique (and means of survival). The ideology was IngSoc.

  • call it out says:

    So can someone tell me why The Australian rejected the following comment?

    A coalition of black activists and feel good white progressives are leading a charge to permanently engrave all indigenous citizens as inferior, needing special victim status to make their lives whole. A NO vote is a determination that dignity and fulfilment for all comes mostly from personal efforts, once given half a chance.

    • Doubting Thomas says:

      The Australian’s commentary vetting process is remarkably consistent. Criticise any of their favourite causes, or any of their journalists’ opinions and your comment will be rejected.

      • William Pierce says:

        Agreed Doubting Thomas. The Australian does that. And then they have effrontery to tell you they won’t argue about it. In this day and age they are the town square, and it is not okay that they seek to censor views they don’t like.

        • lbloveday says:

          I have had a sizable number of REJECTEDs “overturned on appeal.
          They even recently allowed me to set a journalist right, first time ever.
          Talking of envy, here’s a Twitter post from the author:
          GemmaTognini @GemmaTognini
          The Treasurer and Prime Minister have the benefit of fully indexed pensions of at least $300k per year, for LIFE. And they have the temerity to lecture us about what’s fair? Vergogna.
          Chalmers was first elected in 2013, 9 years after Howard/Latham closed the Parliamentary Pension Scheme to newcomers (while ensuring that they retained the benefits). He receives an employer contribution to superannuation of 15.4% compared to the majority of Australian’s 10.5%, but under the same access conditions.
          There is enough to criticise Chambers for without making things up.
          Story: Treasurer’s idea of ‘fairness’ translates as politics of envy

  • cbattle1 says:

    Again, Keith, you have written clearly and powerfully! I am no longer able to say what you have written is the truth, because, as it was asked long ago, “What is truth?” The short answer to that question seems to be that truth is whatever the Left says it is!

    I suggest that books like the “Fabrication” series be published in a low-cost paperback format, and launched into the public domain, to challenge the notion that the Leftist academics won the “History Wars” long ago, with their “True” account of Australia’s history.

  • Daffy says:

    I think there’s an upside. Aborigines aren’t dumb. They will open up mines all over the place, build ports and a network of wet-season-proof rail lines all across the top end, including a network of high-speed links. Factories will spring up pre-processing bauxite and uranium. We’ll have thriving aluminum, steel and nuclear industries.
    These guys aren’t dumb, they just want a way to lever themselves out of the Western European insanity we have now embraced. Their forebears lived as animists and know its a road to nowhere, and they probably don’t want to be taken back there when there’s untold wealth for the picking

    • rosross says:

      Firstly there are no Aborigines as any cohesive or identifiable group. There never was. In 1788 there were hundreds of different groups, most no more than family clans, not even big enough to be tribes, without a common language and often at war with each other.

      Today, there are thousands of variations on those themes with more than two centuries of intermarriage and most who register Aboriginal ancestry are more Anglo-European than anything else and so minimally Aboriginal in ancestry it would be laughable to call them Aborigines. The group, numbering around 900,000, mostly wannabe’s, ranges from 100% Aboriginal ancestry, few of those, to less than 1%, lots of those.

      In remote communities you will find most if not all of the 100 percenters from various clans, and quite a few of the 50 percenters. In these communities they remain divided by familial and tribal clan differences. They are not united, except as Australians. It would be impossible to have unity in even one community, let alone unity in all of them combined and the suggestion they have anything in common with the urban Aborigine Lites is simply laughable.

      So, agree, they are not necessarily stupid but they are poorly educated, often illiterate, highly dysfunctional because of addictions and violence and incapable of a level of reason and unity which would allow them to achieve what you suggest.

      The Lites are however more than capable of doing as you suggest because they are educated and functional. However, they are not Aboriginal in any remotely definable sense and they care about themselves and not those struggling in communities.

      So, your premise is as fantastic and impossible as most theories retrofitted to the small group of Australians with Aboriginal ancestry who remain trapped in backward and destructive tribal systems.

    • PT says:

      Not sure why you imagine that, Daffy.

      Aboriginal political leaders tend to be rent seekers. Coughing up the money is someone else’s problem. And even if they do get a consensus for mining in a particular area, the truth is that they’ll still be subject to net zero, anti-nuclear and other forms of green tape.

      A case in point: the James Price Point debacle in WA. The Barnet Government had negotiated with the Kimberley Land Council to acquire the land and access and set aside their “rights” for a major gas hub. This was to provide a site to treat gas from the Browse Basin and produce LNG for export (or to ship to Sydney and Melbourne if they ever built LNG receival facilities). Many people don’t realise that natural gas needs to be treated to stabilise it if it is to be moved any distance by pipeline, and the longer the pipeline typically the more extensive the treatment needs to be. And without the plant, the gas is a stranded asset.

      So what happened? Well the greens mobilised against it, including Bob Brownout making appearances and touting his “expert knowledge”. We were told of a Swiss analysis that supposedly showed it was more economic to build a long pipeline to “existing facilities” on the Burrup Peninsula than build a new facility at James Price Point. We had Broom residents come out a complain about this industry ruining their pristine town (the site was 60km from the town). There was talk about it “destroying” the fabled dinosaur footprints, even though these were near Broom the town and 60km from the site. We were told how the place was a “humpback whale birthing cove” – but this was apparently more than 200km along the coast. And they dug up some disgruntled aboriginals, who claimed it was all without their permission, denied the Land Council had any authority to make such decisions, etc.

      If James Price Point is anything to go by, there will never be enough money to pay off all these competing groups and keep the projects viable. And whilst Aboriginals are, apparently, exempt from various environmental restrictions, the mining industry is definitely not. And the net zero stuff will most certainly apply.

  • Geoff Sherrington says:

    Keith W,
    Excellent articulation of history and research, thank you.
    Some actual experience follows. In 1970-80 I was for 6 years VP or President of the NT Chamber of Mines, though I lived in Sydney and Melbourne. The main Chamber agenda item each month was aboriginal affairs. Apart from administrative meetings, I used to go bush with anthropologists and meet up with aboriginal elders and family. I cannot speak of more parts of Australia than the Top End of NT, part of Cape York and part of the Kimberley, places that I visited with academic support.
    There is a notion afoot that Australians and the World need to treasure and benefit from the knowledge learned and held by aborigines pre-settlement. Or even for a while after. (A current example is fire management). This was tested when I would ask senior aboriginal people if they knew about heritage, history, legend, learning directly from ancestors. Mostly, the answer was “no” – but sometimes that they had been relearning it from academics etc.
    It is time for aboriginal leaders of today to be asked to document, in relation to Voice, what they actually know has been retained through history since (say) 1788. I suspect that legends about Rainbow Serpents and The Dreaming will be recited, but I suspect that few if any will be able to trace a path of reference back to authentic, recognisable ancestors.
    A story to interpret an old rock painting can be recited at any time, but is it one genuine story derived from one legend passed unbroken from generation to generation? Who knows? I do not.
    Of course, the point is to examine if there is any true tradition surviving without influence of whiteys. If there is none, there is no further point in discussing topics like nation and sovereignty, because their required components were, for a time, unknown – then rediscovered or reinvented? Geoff S

    • Lonsdale says:


    • john mac says:

      Yes Geoff , we never question this “Knowledge ‘ Or “Custom” that they so proudly emphasize , because it barely exists ! And much of what they have learned has come from white activistemics . The “Dreamtime” is just a Romantic catch-all for gravitas , and if there is no written word to consistently pass on history to generations , no currency to add value to anything , or architectural infrastructure to fall back on , what is there ? Are there ANY worthwhile customs of theirs we can adopt ? Cannibalism, sexual violence , infanticide , complete female subjugation all part of the “custom” , while we’re supposed to elevate rock art to Sistine chapel status ? The recent contrived “Welcome to country” is the very opposite of what they want , and we pay every time it gets used , thousands of times a day ! What a brilliant rort and I wonder if Ernie Dingo gets royalties , which could make him the richest man in Australia .

  • Peter Marriott says:

    As I see it, the urban aborigines, or at least those who for the moment identify as aborigines, know nothing about the distant past of their own supposed tribe….only what they’ve invented or been taught by the lefty white anthropologists of today ( some of the anthropologists of the past may have been a little more reliable ).
    The aborigines living in the reservation areas know an equal amount, i.e. nothing, at least nothing genuine….. but at least they do look more like real aborigines, albeit much fatter and more muscular than those of 230 years ago….thanks to the white society that supports them of course.
    The only one who can give any real interpretation of the life of the originals was the convict William Buckley who lived with them for 32 years ( 1803-1835) which of course was when they were still real, fair-dinkum aborigines as when the first fleet arrived in 1788.
    Of course he is never mentioned by these people because his story would be a real wake call for all those who want to sort of hand over the place to todays version…..who I might add probably wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes if thrown in amongst their original, so called peaceful, hunter gatherer, come part time farmer…. ‘ancestors’.
    All in my humble opinion of course.

  • john.singer says:

    What I find so remarkable is not only the clarity of Keith Windscuttle’s words but that he says in a sentence what we lesser mortals struggle with in a paragraph.

    However, Keith makes no mentionof Usufruct but the High Court does. A Usufructuary lifestyle is on land belonging to another, so NO Sovereignty resides in a Hunter Gatherer. Hence Pascoe et al seeking to establish Aboriginal people as being farmers and villagers, which they were not.

  • padraic says:

    That’s right, john.singer, about the meaning of Usufruct and the obvious attempt by the lawfare activists to get rid of it by claiming a settled lifestyle with farms and villages. The activists are trying to change the legal position of modern Australia being settled, rather than occupied by “invasion” which would allow them to challenge previous High Court rulings and thus lead to land never ceded and hence the need for a “treaty” and a separate identity and power enshrined in the Constitution. Who needs democracy when you have lawfare activists calling the shots?

    • john.singer says:

      Usufruct was not ownership only a right to take the fruits of the land and it could coexist with other people ‘s rights of carriageway so there should not be a right in Native Title to exclude people crossing, passing through or even climbing.

  • padraic says:

    Exactly. You still see it in rural England where people can walk on a foot track through a wheat field et al . I have done country walking in Kent and have seen it in action. The point I was making is that the lawfare activists are wanting to change Native Title to actual legal repossession by ATSI.

  • grpalmer1911 says:

    The question no one has asked is:
    Do High Court Judges actually have the power of ancient Kings?
    Do Judges have the legal power to extinguish Australian Crown Title and replace it with Native Title?
    If Judges do have such imperial power, where exactly is said legal power enshrined in Australian Law?

    Any lawyers out there who can advise?

  • William Pierce says:

    People like Julian Leeser truly frighten me. He wants to wreck the equality of all because he is emotional about the plight of the tiny percentage who are indigenous (which would be fine if the voice would help them, but it will do nothing practical to help). His response is very like former German chancellor Merkel who brought in huge numbers of middle easterners whose culture and values were and are completely inconsistent with European ones. Her bleeding heart has damaged Germany beyond repair. If the Voice gets up we will face appointed (not elected!) activists like Pearson and Langton interfering in every government decision, and because those people are invariably impractical exponents of the always failing and impractical Left they will throw a monkey wrench into every liberal, centrist or conservative measure. They will wreck our country, and the rest of us will have to sit by and watch helplessly. For heaven’s sake, vote No.

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