Living on Stolen Land

The garb worn by the radical indigenous politician, Lidia Thorpe, during her protests on Australia Day this year had a much greater impact than she could have hoped. Waving her fake sword in the air and sporting the T-shirt slogan “Sovereignty Never Ceded: Speak the Truth”, Thorpe posed for photographs that were later used by almost every newspaper and television news bulletin in the country to accompany stories of her unexpected desertion of The Greens  in the Senate. However, the proponents of a constitutional amendment for the Aboriginal Voice were less enthusiastic. They quickly recognized the threat these images represented. They have since tried to play down the concept Thorpe was advertising and to treat her as an isolated extremist rather than an accurate spokesperson for her cause.

In his article in The Australian (February 9 2023) the legal academic George Williams claimed that the referendum on the Voice promised by the Albanese government “has nothing to do with sovereignty”. This was, he argued, because the Constitutional Expert Group of which he was a member said so. The group was appointed by the Albanese government last year to advise on the issue and, predictably, it supported the line the government wanted it to take. Albanese was advised to take a position that Aboriginal activists had long supported in order to cover up the real agenda behind their demands.

Twenty years ago, in the book Treaty: Let’s Get it Right!, Mick Dodson had recommended that the term “sovereignty” be left out of any debate over constitutional amendment. Given the well-known failure of other referenda to be passed in Australia, Dodson said the Aborigines’ best hope of success would be if their wording kept to broad and less contentious principles such as “the right to self-determination” and ”the protection of indigenous laws and culture”.

Within the ranks of the educated Aboriginal elite, however, there has never been any hesitation about stating, both among themselves and in appeals to their white political supporters, what they really want. Here are some of the highlights from a campaign that goes back for more than forty years.

In April 1979, when Malcolm Fraser was Prime Minister, the then existing Aboriginal body advising the minister, the National Aboriginal Conference, began to publicly endorse the notion of sovereignty and a treaty between Aboriginal people and the government. The government referred these arguments to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs which from 1980–82 conducted an inquiry into what it called a “Makarrata” or treaty agreement. The submission to this committee made by the National Aboriginal Conference declared:

In pursuing the Makarrata (Treaty) we assert our basic rights as sovereign Aboriginal nations who are equal in political status with the Commonwealth of Australia in accordance with the principal espoused by the International Court of Justice in the Western Sahara Case that sovereignty has always resided in the Aboriginal people.

In 1988, the year of the bicentenary of the British founding of Australian settlement, Prime Minister Bob Hawke agreed that one of the ways he would mark the occasion was by attending the Barunga cultural and sporting festival in the Northern Ter­ritory where he would be given a statement of national Aborigi­nal political objectives, since known as the Barunga Statement. Presented by the Yolgnu leader, Galarrwuy Yunupingu, chair­man of the Northern Land Council, the statement called on the government to negotiate a treaty with indigenous people to rec­ognise “our prior ownership, continued occupation and sover­eignty”.

In the bicentenary year 1988, activists also founded the Aboriginal Sovereign Treaty ’88 Campaign, which used the occasion to call for the recognition of sovereign rights of Aboriginal people. It affirmed their ownership of Australia and demanded the gov­ernment make a treaty with Aboriginal sovereign nations through the mechanism of international law.

In July 1990, a group of left-wing Aboriginal activists formed what they called the Aboriginal Provisional Government. Original members included Michael Mansell, Kevin Gilbert, Bob Weatherall, Jack Davis and Geoff Clark. Their aim was to establish an Aboriginal state “with all the essential control,” the panel noted, “being vested back into Aboriginal communities”. Geoff Clark also became chair of the Hawke Labor government’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC).

Over this time, two other well-known activists and media commentators, Patrick Dod­son and Marcia Langton, were both on record as having pub­licly affirmed the notion of sovereignty as a legitimate goal for Aboriginal politics. In his 1999 Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lec­ture, Dodson said any hope for reconciliation could not avoid the topic:

The sovereign position that Aboriginal peoples assert has never been ceded … Moreover, a significant number of the Aboriginal peoples in Australia continue to assert their unextinguished sovereignty. For them, no settlement will be possible until Australian governments are able to grapple with fundamental and difficult questions concerning the basis of the relationship between indigenous and non-indige­nous peoples in Australia.

Langton had expressed similar views. In a 2002 paper titled “Ancient Jurisdictions, Aboriginal Polities and Sover­eignty”, given to the Indigenous Governance Conference, Can­berra, she said:

Aboriginal people have continued to argue that not only customary property rights in land but also ancient jurisdictions survive, on the grounds that, just as British sovereignty did not wipe away Aboriginal title, neither did it wipe away Aboriginal jurisdiction. Aboriginal governance under the full body of Aboriginal customary laws, by the same logic as that led to the recognition of native title at common law must, even if in some qualified way, have survived the annexation of Australia by the Crown.

Langton says Aboriginal dissatisfaction about their position has created a demand for separate nationhood. In 2005 she endorsed a book titled Treaty, authored by legal academics Sean Brennan, Larissa Behrendt, Lisa Strelein and the ubiquitous George Williams. In her Foreword, Langton wrote:

The Australian state has consistently failed to understand and to accept the right of its Indigenous people to be allowed the fullest rights to self-determination. It is little wonder that calls for a separate nation find ready adherents in the Aboriginal community.

The only prominent member of this long-standing elite who took a modified view of sovereignty was Noel Pearson. He said a case could be made for Aboriginal self-determination within the existing Australian nation. He advanced the concept of “local indigenous sovereignty”:

A concept of sovereignty inhered in Aboriginal groups prior to European invasion insofar as people have concepts of having laws, land and institutions without interference from outside their society. … Recognition of this “local indigenous sovereignty” could exist internally within a nation-state, provided that the fullest rights of self-determination are accorded.

Pearson was evoking a distinction that derives from international law in the nineteenth century. This defined sover­eignty as the supreme power by which a state is governed but identified both external and internal sovereignty. External sover­eignty was about the power of a nation to deal with other nation states like itself. Internal sovereignty was the power vested in either the people of a democratic state or the ruler of an autoc­racy by its constitutional law or internal public laws. Internal sov­ereignty need not be absolute but could be divided, as the Australian Constitution divides power between the Common­wealth and state governments. Hence, Pearson’s “local indige­nous sovereignty” could be created if Aboriginal people were given a state of their own within the Commonwealth.

The common assumption all these activists share is that the real aim of constitutional change is not to arrive at some final settlement that will make the nation complete. They support recognition of Aborigines in the Constitution simply as one more of the steps they need to take towards their real objectives: political autonomy, traditional law and values, and sovereignty over their own separate state or nation.

Some, like Pearson, regard a constitutional amendment as a critical step towards this goal. Others, like Thorpe, think it would be better to first do a deal with the Commonwealth for a treaty that would itself define the kind of constitutional amendment they want. But the goal both approaches seek is essentially the same.

It is also important to recognise that this goal is far from being confined to the leading members of the Aboriginal urban elite. While the names of Pearson, Dodson and Langton are among the most promi­nent backers of some form of sovereignty, there is fairly reliable evidence of how deeply embedded the notion has become within the wider Aboriginal population, especially those connected to land councils in the various states and territories and those employed by both Commonwealth and state government bureaucracies.

In 2011, a survey by the National Congress of Australia’s First Peo­ples found the three most important issues for its members were sov­ereignty, health and education. No fewer than 88 per cent of Congress members identified constitutional recognition and sovereignty as top priority. The report also quoted the National Indigenous Lawyers Corporation of Australia saying, “recogni­tion of our sovereign status is an aspiration of Aborigi­nal people and Torres Strait Islanders and an issue that will need to be con­fronted at some stage in the not too distant future”.

In other words, reporters, news editors, headline writers and academic commentators today are being quite deceptive when they describe Aboriginal sovereignty as an issue confined to a bunch of easily excitable political fringe dwellers like Lidia Thorpe. Sovereignty has now become the mainstream demand of all members of the Aboriginal political class. Aboriginal activists are uncompromisingly radical in their insistence that “sovereignty over all of Australia” lies with them. The best-known Northern Territory Abo­riginal identity, Galarrwuy Yunupingu, made it very clear how intransigent he stood in relation to our democratic nation. In 2009 he declared:

The clans of east Arnhem Land join me in acknowledging no king, no queen, no church and no state. Our allegiance is to each other, to our land and to the ceremonies that define us. It is through the ceremonies that our lives are created. These ceremonies record and pass on the laws that give us ownership of the land and of the seas, and the rules by which we live.

In a similar vein, some prominent Aboriginal individuals who once accepted Australia’s political and religious institutions without question, have themselves since become radicalised. Some, like Lidia Thorpe, have come to reject the notion of constitutional recognition on the grounds that, as a sovereign and independent people, the Aborigines are not part of the Australian nation, hence constitu­tional recognition is a ploy to divert and placate them.

For instance, the former actress in the 1955 film Jedda, Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, born in 1937 on Utopia cattle station in the Northern Territory and educated at an Anglican mission hostel in Alice Springs, spent the decade of the 1960s as an Anglican nun in Melbourne. However, after a stint in the 1990s as an official with ATSIC, she had become a critic of constitutional recognition. By 2015, she was denouncing proposals for a referendum on the grounds that it would only further the outdated government policy of Aboriginal assimilation. She told an ABC television program:

The truth is we are sovereign people of this country, therefore we do not need to sought or to look for approval by anyone. We have a continuing history that has never, ever been ceded. … We certainly are not equal in this country because everything that is handed down to us, whether it’s through the policies from the Federal Government, is towards assimilation. We do not want to be assimilated for the cost of losing our identity.

Yet when Anthony Albanese spruiks his support for constitutional change, he persists with assurances that there are no fundamental issues like these for Australian voters to be concerned about. On January 26, against a background of left-wing demonstrators protesting for constitutional recognition at “Invasion Day” rallies, Albanese told a media conference in Tasmania:

Across the country, every state premier, every chief minister, is supporting Yes at this referendum because this is about progress going forward. It is about reconciliation. It’s not a radical proposition. So I’m not surprised that some radicals are opposed to it. Because this is a mainstream proposition. This is a modest and gracious request for reconciliation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

But, as I have long argued in other pages of Quadrant and in my book The Break-up of Australia, the proposed Voice or its variants would all be the opposite of reconciliation. The goal has always been political power and who will have ultimate sovereignty on this continent.

Today, we are in a situation where the Aboriginal political class is unwilling to accept a position in contemporary Australia as an ethnic minority group. Its members want other Australians to recognise the “distinct rights” that purportedly flow to Aborigines because their ancestors got here first. As declared by the title of the recent book by award-winning Aboriginal author Ambelin Kwaymullina, (Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Western Australia and daughter of author Sally Morgan) the rest of us are Living on Stolen Land. This is a title that consolidates the objectives of what were once the far left of the Aboriginal political movement but which have now become the central agenda of the demand for constitutional change.

If the proposed referendum is held later this year, as Albanese has promised — some time between September and December, he said recently — voters need to be aware of its ultimate objective. This is to establish a politically privileged race of Aboriginal people, and to relegate of the rest of us to a subservient position in what we once thought was our own country.

56 thoughts on “Living on Stolen Land

  • Botswana O'Hooligan says:

    One wonders what plan “B” is if the referendum fails, will the PM and his Merry Mob legislate a “yes” type system and still create a two class nation with we whites as the underdogs for they will have the numbers to pass such legislation? We aren’t out of the woods by a long shot and probably never will be as long as someone can conjure up a drop of aboriginal DNA.

  • rosross says:

    And everyone ignores the fact that the many different peoples here in 1788, called Aborigines, were invaders and colonists and also stole the land. The hypocrisy is breath-taking.

    Australians with Aboriginal ancestry have self-determination as citizens. There is nothing else. There can be nothing else because the roughly 800,000 who register Aboriginal ancestry, most of them so minimally it is a joke, are not united, were never united and will never be united except as Australians.

    Self-determination requires a united group. There is none and never was. In 1788 there were 350-500 different groups, at war most of the time, without a common language. Today there are thousands of variations on those original themes and they are finally united, as Australians and with a common language, English.


      Absolutely, very well put. The Aboriginal agenda has been and still is, driven by aboriginal activists, some with but a minuscule of aboriginal ancestry. These people have gamed the system and availed themselves of a British education, brought here by our founding forebears, once through the system they have been trying to bring our democracy down, agitating for more and more benefits for “their people”, but the real Aboriginals still sit in squalor in bush camps, are still the perpetrators and receivers of domestic violence and child abuse. The only ones who do manage to benefit from the annual taxpayer handout of around $40Bn are these very same activists who are destroying our country.

    • christopher.coney says:

      One reply to this is that ‘aboriginality’, which is obviously not an aboriginal word, developed out of the colonial encounter that began in the late 18th century. It was the same in many colonial situations. For example, Indonesia only emerged after World War II as a state which was based on the colonial borders created by the Dutch as the Netherlands East Indies.

      On a separate point, I would really like to know what proportion of people who identify as indigenous would vote ‘No’ to the referendum proposal as things stand at present. There are a good number of indigenous people who have been successful in various endeavours and who are not part of a political elite; presumably many of them would vote ‘No’.

  • IainC says:

    I’ve noted a few meretricious and self-parodic comments from Yes supporters in various articles recently.
    Australia is the odd nation out in not recognising rights to self-determination and sovereignty of its Indigenous peoples.
    (Yep, we are lagging behind in reactionary racist legislation, flag-waving nationalism, divisive right-wing rhetoric and gap-widening separatist government policies. Catch up, mates!)
    The first step is to build Indigenous peoples into the nation’s political structures by enabling them to be heard.
    (Ummmm….Federal Parliament, State Parliaments, local councils, innumerable Aboriginal bodies, newspapers, television programmes, a dedicated broadcasting channel, subsidised books, race-based funding of 30 billion dollars, race-based positions in Australian organisations…..have I missed any? The only Aborigines NOT heard are those advocating direct practical action and assimilation like Jacinta Price and Warren Mundine. Perhaps they should get some funding so they can have a voice?)
    It is also wrong to claim this is a racial or racist measure – it proposes a representative body for Indigenous people not based on racial characteristics but on the simple reality that they are the descendants of the original inhabitants. Nor does it confer special privilege; it allocates only an opportunity to offer advice on matters affecting Indigenous people.
    (Wrong – this special Voice is ONLY available to those with Indigenous ancestors (i.e with that racial heritage), and no other race. It’s not available to Asians, or Africans, or Europeans, or Eskimo, or American Indians, or…. Ironically, an upper-middle-class woman in a million dollar house in Northcote with an Aboriginal grandmother would comply, and an Anglo-Saxon woman married to a full Aboriginal man in the Kimberleys would not; her 18-year-old son would, however. . This race selective nonsense has got to go, for the sake of our international reputation.)

    • lbloveday says:

      “Australia is the odd nation out in not recognising rights to self-determination and sovereignty of its Indigenous peoples”.
      Presumably from The Australian where George Williams wrote that in his article
      “Voice has nothing to do with issue of sovereignty”.
      Unusually the moderator allowed my comment:
      Quote: Australia is the odd nation out in not recognising rights to self-determination and sovereignty of its Indigenous peoples.
      The author then lists 3 nations, United States, Canada and New Zealand that “recognise the sovereignty of their first peoples in the form of self-­determination and the power to make decisions for their people”.
      What about the many more than 3 nations that don’t? Seems to me those 3 are the odd few out, not Australia.

  • vicjurskis says:

    Well said Keith.
    I dunno whether Albanese is too stupid to realise the implications or lying to cover up or both. The bigger problem is that Dutton knows it’s wrong and is asking questions instead of standing for basic principles. First Nations is an oxymoron. The aboriginal flag is ridiculous. The idea of an Aboriginal Voice is extreme racist condescension. It says that blackfellas are all of one mindless mob same as the other rainbow watermelons stuffin up our society, economy and environment, who aren’t game to claim black privilege. Pascoe is a standout cos he’s a white greenfella that claims to be black..
    Australia is stuffed cos there is no viable opposition anywhere. The NSW liberal government is worse than greens. We have political consensus on the Climate Scam, the Koala Scam, the False Voice and Fake Renewables.
    It’s ironic that just when the evidence is clear that Putin allowed the shootin down of MH17, Tony Abbott, the only one who called him out, is bein criticised for callin out the climate scam.

    • Brentyn Graham says:

      I like you Vic ..absolute truths..well said

    • Botswana O'Hooligan says:

      It’s ironic that just when the evidence is clear that Putin allowed the shooting down of MH17, Tony Abbott, the only one who called him out, is being criticised for calling out the climate scam.

      OK, so why weren’t the presidents of the USA and France hanged, drawn, and possibly quartered when the USS Vincennes belted the Iranian A-300 civilian airliner out of the sky and the French did the same to the Alitalia DC-9 off Corsica. TA is a great man but he should perhaps seek knowledgeable opinion ere he threatens to “shirt front” blokes like Putin. Mate, we must always measure our cloth many times ere we start cutting it.

      • vicjurskis says:

        Both incidents news to me. MH17 was very public and Abbott was ridiculed by the same media who neglected to publicise the alleged incidents you refer to. They effectively defended Putin instead of hangin the bustard. let alone drawin and quarterin. why would an honest man seeing an obvious wrong seek ‘knowledgable opinion’. TA doesn’t need referral to a spin doctor.

      • Carryn McLean says:

        The US apologised and paid compensation to the families of the victims. The French also apologised.

    • ianl says:

      >” … whether Albanese is too stupid to realise the implications …” [part quote]

      No, he understands all right. He does think, though, that the mass of Australians are too stupid, or too trusting, to realise the point.

      His vanity (a common characteristic of “elites”) also pushes him to think that he will be able to manage us as the mess unfolds.

      What mess ? Reparations, perpetual rent on “freehold” …

    • Rotorjoe says:

      Can we now look forward to Albo supporting aLGBTIQ+ Voice?

    • rosross says:

      In terms of what Putin did or did not do, I only know that NOTHING which comes from the Americans or Australian politicians can be trusted. We know they lie. They lied about Covid, they lie about lots of things and they all lie about Russia and China.

      The US set up this war in Ukraine to weaken Russia and is doing the same sorts of things in Taiwan, hoping for a war to weaken China. Let’s hope the Russians and Chinese are smarter than the Americans, which is not hard, and enable us to return to a multipolar world, leaving behind the disaster of having the US run rampant around the globe playing boss of the schoolyard.

      I would love to see the source for the claim, ‘it is clear Putin allowed MH17 to be shot down. It would be good to balance it against the early evidence the Ukrainians shot the plane down, mistaking it for one carrying Putin.

      • cbattle1 says:

        Yes, rosross,
        The real war is here and now! The Australia that most Quadrant readers can relate to is being destroyed slowly but surely from within, by the Left, as our government aligns itself militarily with Britain and the USA against Russia and China. Britain and the USA are countries that are at the vanguard of “Woke” culture; multiculturism, open borders, self-loathing of White heritage, etc.
        Russia and China, OTOH, celebrate their traditional culture, marriage, language, and dare we say “race”? Russia is actually having a “revival” of Russian culture, including the Russian Orthodox Church. However, the future for Russia and China doesn’t look very promising, given the momentum of “progressive” forces rallied against them. The demonization process has already started.
        OBTW, what is the difference between the Ukraine, and the First Nations of Australia? Just as the Second World War led to the liberation of all those colonised people in Africa and Asia, will not this current war in Ukraine lead to or give support towards the liberation of the First Nations here?

    • rosross says:

      You are so right about Dutton and the Aborigine shenanigans.

    • john mac says:

      Vic , I would posit that Albanese is the least intelligent PM we’ve ever had , and dangerous because of it . He is the ultimate “feeler” , devoid of serious thought . And we elected him ( well not we at QOL) .Gramsci has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams .

      • vicjurskis says:

        Thanks John Mac. Albo is certainly not the sharpest tool in the shed. i’m not sure whether he may have a slight speech impediment which causes his frequent mispronunciation of long words or whether it’s a literacy problem, so i won’t presume to judge him on that. But i don’t think we can credit Gramsci for Albo’s success. Full credit must go to Scomo. He was a reasonably intelligent and articulate politician who opted to be a vote counter instead of a leader. Morrison embraced the Climate Craze cos he thought it would keep him in power after he’d won the ‘unwinnable’ Climate Election with the support of genuine conservative voters. So he lost the ‘Real Climate Election’ to Rainbow Watermelons. The Liberal’s review was run by vote counters who think they can win next time by repeating the stupidity. Now we’ve got Dutton who used to be rational, asking questions about the stupid racist proposal to wreck our constitution. Instead of fence-sitting and vote-counting he should be leading. The Liberals cannot survive as alternative rainbow watermelons. Matt Green Kean will soon prove that in NSW. Peter Dutton will prove it in Canberra unless he makes a stand on Fake Renewables and the Fake Voice. Barnaby should have split the coalition and given conservatives a choice. But apparently the Nats are vote-counters too. Pity they can’t count their real constituents. So we’ve got Littleproud in charge and the only remaining mainstream conservative leader, Matt Canavan, in the background. At least he gets airplay in the only MSM outlet that gives both sides a say. But they provide a platform for woke apologist Chris Kenny to further split the opposition. What hope have we got?

  • Dallas Beaufort says:

    And what’s in the secret mens business, thousands of years of ritual abuse of women and children, the last meal on the table?

  • NarelleG says:


    Thank you – share to my social media.
    This is what people refuse to believe:

    “voters need to be aware of its ultimate objective. This is to establish a politically privileged race of Aboriginal people, and to relegate of the rest of us to a subservient position in what we once thought was our own country.”

  • abrogard says:

    This is bloody awful and we will lose.
    We lost to the covid hysteria.
    To the mask non-science, nonsense.
    To the illegal mandating.
    To the vaccine nonscience, nonsense, illegal mandating.
    To the crippling of doctor’s freedom to practice.
    We lost to emergency powers now enshrined as the norm.
    We lost to suspect and useless vaccines mandated for children.
    Now in Ukraine we lose to a false narrative.
    To appropriation of our funds without consultation or explanation, investigation.
    To a mainstream narrative that a conflict between two Ukraines is a conflict of a single Ukraine against a Russia.
    To a narrative that has it a Russian invasion is being fought against when ALL the conflict is on Donbas land occupied by Kiev and the people fighting shoulder to shoulder with the Russians.
    We lose because our people are fat, sugar sucking, pampered, lazy, braindead egocentric pleasure lovers who find the pain of thinking intolerable.
    And our people have no help from our intelligentsia, our media, our educators, our lawyers.
    The Aboriginal activists (not aboriginal at all really ) are cunning remorseless, lean, hungry, activist hunter gatherers engaged continually in savage hunter gathering.
    They have been reaping great spoils since the days of ATSIC and they never forget those days.
    They have masses of help from OUR media, lawyers, legislators, academics, activists etc..
    They are essentially predators armed and ruthless.
    ‘We’ are essentially a big stupid fat cow.
    And we will be slaughtered.
    The whole Western world is in this state as the Ukraine thing makes clear.
    For god’s sake: they took Europe’s gas pipeline after even saying they would do it! And Europe does nothing.
    They impose sanctions which hurt ONLY their supposed allies! And the allies do nothing.
    There is no apparent end to the madness.
    Living in the West becomes intolerable, slowly but surely.
    The only hope, as I see it, is in the multiplicity of social organisations still existing out there in the wider world. Perhaps somewhere out there a tolerable society can be found.

    It is a paradigm deeply entrenched in their psyche: this way lies riches.

    • john mac says:

      A sad but true post , abrogard . The “feelers” , a more intolerant cabal has never existed , are in charge and the fate of the west hangs in the balance . They (the left) are chalking up victories daily and our meagre wins are always a dollar short and a day late .

  • rabel111 says:

    The movement for aboriginal sovereignty, is a demand for something that has never existed in Australia. A unified Aboriginal state.

    There was no overarching aboriginal nation, only a collection of competing local spheres of influence, some in dispute. By granting a treaty with Australian aboriginal people, the Australian parliment will bring into existance a new state, not recognising pre-existing sovereignty, a new state that has never resolved local differences or power struggles, will most likely only represent a very small proportion of Aboriginal Australians, and more likely, be loaded with political activists seeking power and influence.

    • Carryn McLean says:

      Interested to know what the new “state” will look like. A separate state as also been mentioned – where?

      • MichaelinBrisbane says:

        I can only envision it as a thought experiment like that of Schrodinger with his cat — might be alive might be dead.
        Another metaphor that comes to mind is with the internet’s iCloud. I don’t trust the iCloud, and i’m not very enamoured with the idea of Aboriginal Sovereignty.

  • Stephen says:

    The Voice and the sovereignty campaign risk creating an arrogant minority opposed by a resentful majority. A situation to capable of ending in tears.

    • Peejay says:

      More like a situation resulting in bloodshed.

      Once the sheep who Vote The Voice in start to realise what they’ve done it will be all over red rover. We will be forever paying high rental to these mentally archaic dreamers. They actually believe that the majority of so called aboriginals who are urbanised and integrated will just uproot their lives and move to a sovereign aboriginal state. They are just plain stupid. Much lke the Wokists i suppose.

      The Commonwealth already has the powers to create other states. If two states wanted to cede part of their state, they have to agree and comply fully with the legislation and voila! a new sovereign is created .The mind boggles on what it would be called.

      Here’s a little exercise for the readers. Take four prominent aboriginal activists. Let’s take PEARSON, DODSON, THORPE AND LANGTON. We have son of a pear; son of a dod and a ton of lang. I’m not very good at these brain twisters and can only come up with Thorlangson or Thorlangdod. They don’t sound very aboriginal so maybe readers have a better take.

      I’m being flippant only because those dreamers pushing this agenda have a child like and childish view of how their Nirvana will operate. If it’s anything like the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders Commission (ATSIC) they’ll be putting out their hands for endless amounts of money for them to waste in perpetuity.

  • William Pierce says:

    100% right, Abrogated. Life in the West is becoming intolerable, not really because there is a lot of woke nonsense like aboriginal sovereignty but because a tendentious class of insufferable Australians are fellow travellers shamelessly spouting sophistical lies about the make-up of our country and the rights that ought to accrue to those whose grandparents settled here or the millions of migrants who these people seek to relegate to the status of second class citizens. The idea of sovereignty is in any case completely impractical. If, for example, an indigenous court were set up to hear cases involving an indigenous person, such as a charge of assault, does an alleged white victim get to move the case to one of the ordinary courts? If it is a more serious charge, say, wounding, will the indigenous court empanel a jury? And who would be on that jury – anyone who ‘identifies’ as aboriginal (judged by a Bruce Pascoe, or by someone who is 5% indigenous)? At every level, in every conceivable way, indigenous sovereignty is incapable of working in practice.


    Voice referendum: Vote NO to apartheid.

  • Daffy says:

    I note that factors of contention mentioned above include health and education. They are in the hands of Aboriginal communities, surely? However, they appear to be a low priority in those same communities, regrettably, so why mention them? Just excuses to siphon money into pockets, I would imagine.

    God Save the King
    I pay my respects to our elders Phillip, Macquarie and Wentworth (the federation bloke not the mountain feller).

  • Stan Yeaman says:

    Flying a national flag is a statement of sovereignty and therefore the flying the aboriginal flag on every public building must surely be an implied acceptance of aboriginal sovereignty. Likewise, the statement of recognition of aboriginals as “traditional owners” in the opening words of every public meeting is also an implied recognition of aboriginal ownership of all land. It could therefore be argued that Australians have already accepted an implied aboriginal sovereignty over all of Australia. Crown Land no longer exists.

    • Watchman Williams says:

      Both the flying of “aboriginal” flags and the farcical “welcome to country” have been imposed upon Australians by government direction, not by legislation passed by Parliament. They have no legal status. Moreover, the so-called aboriginal flag was designed by a white man and is only about fifty years old.

  • john.singer says:

    First thank you Keith Windschuttle for yet another clear concise and most informative paper on the narrow subject of Aboriginal Sovereignty.

    Why some readers had to deviate into the shooting down of aircraft defies logic.

    We are dealing with a post-1788 group of people descended from ancestors who before 1788 did not know of the wheel, beast-of-burden, cultivation of crops, domestication of food sources, outside world or even a common language. They claim sovereignty and law based on songs and dance passed down to them since the Dreaming. They claim “occupation of the land’ from 20,000 to 60,000+ years (Pascoe has suggested 120,000yrs) Yet nowhere in that claim is there any comment by a song or dance relating to the growing and shrinking of that land. Of people forced inland by rising seas fighting with those for the right to occupy the land.

    Geology is more accurate than song and dance and it says that 120,000 years ago mainland Australia was smaller because the seas were about 8 metres higher and (as glaciers grew elsewhere) the seas fell for a period of 100,000 years, the inhabitants would migrate to the newly exposed lands for sustainance until the lands were at their maximum about 20,000 years ago when they were part of Greater Sahul which included Papua New Guinea, Australian mainland Tasmania and all the islands of the Torres Strait. Nor do they tell that in less than 12,000years the process reversed and seas which had receded slowly rose swiftly and by 9 to 8,000 years ago the lands separated again to their modern shapes and isolation. Nor what happened as people moved inland were they massacred by the inlanders? or did the dispossessed prevail?

    Are we now being threatened by an imagined or even invented history funded by ourselves? Recently I read a book called “Everything You need to Know About the Uluru Statement from the Heart” by Megan Davis and George Williams. In the book Ms Davis, who had more than a little to do with the UN policies on indigenous populations, admits she received a grant of many Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars toward the research and preparation of that book.

    • NarelleG says:

      @John Singer
      Thank you.

    • vicjurskis says:

      OK John Singer. Let’s be narrow and ignore the big picture of “fundamental issues like these for Australian voters to be concerned about”. Sovereignity refers to a nation or state rather than a tribal stamping ground. These were in dispute amongst different aboriginal people of the same genetic/geographic origin. No need to “deviate” into geology. But since you mentioned it, the earliest known occupied site, dated to 65,000 years wasn’t directly affected by changing sea-levels.

      • john.singer says:

        @ Vicjurskis
        65,000 years ago the sea level was about 100-110 metres below present and Australia was part of the Continent of Sahul. The seas rose and fell over the next 40-45,000 years to a level abt 130 metres below present. A site of habitation 65,000 years old must have been well inland and in an elevated position at the time even if it near the coast today.

      • rosross says:

        The earliest known site occupied by humans does not necessarily have any connection to any of the peoples here in 1788. We have no idea if any of them were descended from the first humans to arrive.

        Evidence of human habitation is not evidence of Aboriginal habitation.

  • Doubting Thomas says:

    Those interested in the potential implications of the Voice should keep their eyes on what’s happening in California. The activist left are pretty much a unified world-wide cancerous growth and they are relentless. California is determined to pay millions of dollars compensation to African Americans in that state for the inherent disadvantage of slavery. Millions to each individual regardless of their linkage to slavery.
    This “precedent”, just like the First Nations nonsense, will be adopted by the Aboriginal Industry here and pursued relentlessly by the leftists aided by the corrupt mainstream media until an ALP government will cave.

    • Rebekah Meredith says:

      Huh? California entered the US as a non-slave state (as part of the Compromise of 1850, that calmed politics enough to stall the start of the American Civil War). California probably allowed slavery under the Spanish, and perhaps even under the Indians, but not as a US state.

  • Watchman Williams says:

    “It is little wonder that calls for a separate nation find ready adherents in the Aboriginal community”.
    I think that should read “in the predominantly European part aboriginal community”.

  • PT says:

    As far as I can see, this “sovereignty” stuff seems to date from HC Coombs and their “discussions” over a “treaty” in the ‘70’s.

    The idea was that under this “treaty” aboriginals (then around 1% of the population) would get guaranteed about 10% of GDP (presumably some sort of compulsory land tax and resources rent tax collected by the Commonwealth and handed over to aboriginal groups). Coombs claimed that the rest of us would get a “treaty of cessation”. This explicitly means they’d formally surrender sovereignty.

    As far as I can see it, this was done so Coombs et al could claim the rest of us got something from it. And he invoked the old Australian fear of being overrun by claiming that foreign powers could claim our government was illegitimate and thus they could rightfully invade without it. This is a. It if a nonsense since all nations then (and since) recognise Canberra.

    But it’s clear that any “treaty of cessation” would be roundly condemned by Aboriginal activists if floated today. They’ll clearly take 10% of annual GDP, and then claim they’re owed more, and won’t even formally accept the sovereignty of the Commonwealth or Crown. This so-called “reconciliation” is a one way street.

    I wonder if it’s ever occurred to all these lefties (like the CFMEU) that they’re seeking to create a caste of landowners at best, or a ruling oligarchy?

    It’ll ultimately rebound on them. But it would be much better for all of us to not open this Pandora’s Box.

  • Ian MacDougall says:

    First to arrive were the ancestral Tasmanians. The Australian continent was Tasmanians from sea to sea. Next in were the ancestral Murrayans, who apparently came in without any by-your-leave to the contemporary occupants. Score: invasions/displacements 2. Then at the end of the last glaciation, the Bass and Torres Straits rose, isolating the continent from what is now PNG and the Torres Strait Islands.
    Then came the ancestral Carpentarian Aborigines, taller and more ‘gracile’ than the more thickset Murrayans. Again, no by-your-leave recorded: not even in rock art. Score: invasions/displacements 3.
    Last in were the Europeans, from 1788 to the present, and also people “from all the lands on Earth” making the present multiracial population mix. Score: invasions/displacements 4.
    My late father was fond of saying “If only La Perouse had got his act together, we’d all be drinking French champagne at $2.00 a bottle.” And there he was partly right. Except it would be a different ‘we’ gargling the champers.
    Always was, always will be: Tasmanian land. Except that the only ‘full-bloods’ to be found today are Carpentarians and Torres Strait Islanders living in the ‘Deep North,’ fishing out of tinnies powered by outboard motors and lining up the odd salty croc in the cross-hairs of the telescopic sights of their ever-handy rifles.
    As someone said: “It’s a hard life, but someone’s got to do it.!”
    The present population is such a vast improbability, with so many of those identifying as ‘Aborigines’ having part non-Aboriginal ancestry, most notably some of the more prominent Aboriginal spokespersons, that it is definitely a one-off, never to be repeated; in this universe or any other.

  • Adelagado says:

    The Voice will rapidly become an aboriginal House of Lords. Racist, hereditary, situated in Parliament House, with a de-facto power of veto or eternal delay over virtually all decisions.

  • wdr says:

    The failure of the Liberals and of Peter Dutton- who should be good- to vocally oppose this is inexplicable, and evidence of just how far is the reach of Wokedom.

  • robtmann7 says:

    Thanx Keith for a clear description of a (confused) scene. The dominant theme is hypocrisy.


  • bomber49 says:

    Prior to colonisation there was not a united Aboriginal nation. Various tribes would invade neighbouring territory to steal the right to hunt and claim women even if it meant killing their neighbours. Just look at the extensive range of Aboriginal weapons (largest collection in Adelaide) designed for killing men. How is that hundreds of these disparate tribes that range from the tip of York Peninsula to Margaret River can now speak with one voice and ask for a treaty. If there were to be a treat there should be many treaties for each tribe.

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