In my book The Break-up of Australia, published in 2016, the endpapers contained a map from the Native Title Tribunal showing how much land had been ceded to Aboriginal groups since the Keating Labor government’s Native Title Act of 1993. When I first saw the map I was more than surprised by how much of the Australian continent had been given away by this court. The map showed that, as a result of the tribunal’s determinations, some 30.4 per cent of the continent was owned by Aboriginal people in 2016. What’s more, the tribunal had accepted claims, which it had still to formally determine, for another 31.7 per cent of Australian land. That is, by the time this second batch of claims had been determined, 62.1 per cent of the Australian continent would be in Aboriginal hands. At the time, this seemed an extraordinary figure. What was equally extraordinary was that none of this data had attracted any interest from the journalists and editors of our fourth estate.
Last week, I checked the same map again. It had been updated on July 1, 2022, and showed that in the last six years the Native Title Tribunal had been busy handing over much more land to the same people. According to its latest figures, the tribunal has determined that 49.3 per cent of the Australian continent now belongs to Aboriginal people. And there are still more claims waiting for another 13.4 per cent of the continent to be formally determined. So the combined total of land to be defined by the tribunal as belonging to Aboriginal people now amounts to 62.7 per cent of the continent. Only 37.3 per cent of the continent belongs to the rest of us.
To put this in terms of area rather than percentages, Australia contains 7,686,850 square kilometers of land, including Tasmania and the offshore islands (Wikipedia: Geography of Australia) and native title now exists over 3,789,617 square kilometers of it.
Aboriginal land now covers an area more than four times the size of the state of New South Wales of 809,444 square kilometers. It dwarfs the acreage of Western Europe — the total area of Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Portugal amounts to 2,173,494 square kilometers (CIA World Factbook). And more native title claimants are waiting for determinations to be made on another 1,030,038 square kilometers of the continent.
In the early years of the Native Title Tribunal, a few claims were denied, about 10 per cent of those made. However, today the tribunal only accepts claims that fulfill all its criteria, so all those still in the tribunal’s pipeline will be admitted. Hence all the 13.4 per cent of Australia awaiting an answer will eventually be determined in the claimants’ favour. Here is the distribution by state and territory:
National Native Title Tribunal, Determinations of Native Title and Claimant Applications, as at 1 July 2022, Percentage of Land Covered. Source: National Native Title Tribunal, Native Title Determinations and Claimant Applications: http://www.nntt.gov.au/Maps/Schedule_and_Determinations_map.jpg
What the members of the Aboriginal political class are now demanding from the Australian people is constitutional change that permits the Commonwealth government to recognise that all this land be put in the hands of independent, self-governing Aboriginal crypto nations. Their political connection to the 37 per cent of the non-indigenous continent would be by treaties. However, these treaties would require the rest of us to pay for the upkeep of the Aboriginal states, since the existing remote communities have clearly demonstrated that, left to themselves, they could never become self-sufficient entities. Although the taxes of ordinary Australian citizens would be paying all the bills, they would nonetheless be treated as trespassers in what was once their own country.
It is hard to understand why this is not an issue in the debate over the Albanese government’s commitment to constitutional change. Once again, our mainstream media has shown it would rather repeat the homilies of leftist ideology than investigate all that lies behind this agenda. They should be putting the full case before the Australian people.
The Native Title Tribunal’s map is something all Australians should see before they vote on changing their Constitution.