Rally for Wik
Support Native Title Action
Tell the Australian Federal Government to:
- Abide by the High Court's Mabo and Wik decisions
- Confirm the property rights of aboriginal people
- Respect indigenous people's relationship with the land
- Establish respectful processes for negotiating binding agreements
- Support a process of reconciliation; no justice on land - no reconciliation
- Withdraw the 10 point plan
By fax or phone tell this government that we will not allow the 10-Point Plan to go ahead. Say 'No' to the land grab by the rich pastoralists who hold 42% of this country.
Organised by a coalition of indigenous', women's, community, union, environmental and faith organisations, speakers from DON'T (Defenders of Native Title) and Mirimbiak Nations
Authorised by Leigh Hubbard
Secretary Victorian Trades Hall Council
The wealth of the nation is built on the dispossession of the indigenous people of Australia.
This was recognised in the High Court's Mabo judgment which overturned the concept of Terra Nullius (empty land). More than 200 years after the first fleet arrived in Sydney Cove, the Court recognised the prior ownership of the land by Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. In the same decision, the High Court ratified the land titles that had been granted since 1788.
In 1993 the Native Title Act was introduced to give statutory expression to the situation of land tenure. This confirmed the dispossession of many Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders and set hurdles for those who wished to reclaim their land.
There was further clarification of the situation of land tenure in the High Court's judgment on Wik. This decision clarified that native title has not been extinguished just because public land has been leased to pastoralists. But it also made it very clear that the pastoralists' interests will prevail if there is a conflict between the leaseholder and the native title holder.
If the Howard Government push through their ten point plan we will all be losers.
The Howard 10 Point Plan will enable pastoral leases to be upgraded to the equivalent of freehold title. 42% of Australia is covered by pastoral lease. This is public land and is owned by all Australians. Most of the leases are held by 16 private families and 19 corporations. This makes it a large scale land grab which will benefit very few rich people at the expense of everybody else.
The Howard 10 Point Plan will extinguish Aboriginal Native Title rights of access on some leases; and restrict rights of access on other leases. Aborigines have sometimes been able to live on their traditional lands while working for the pastoralists (the pastoral industry was largely built by aboriginal labour) thus maintaining links with their land. If the Wik Bill passes parliament, these people can be refused access to the lands their families have inhabited for tens of thousands of years.
The Howard 10 Point Plan will mean that the taxpayers of Australia will have to pay for this land grab by the pastoralists when Native Title is extinguished.
The Howard 10 Point Plan will enable pastoral leases to become primary production leases. Many pastoral leases cover environmentally sensitive land which, when the leases are upgraded, would be able to be used for logging and other environmentally damaging activities.
The Howard 10 Point Plan will probably constitute a breach of the Racial Discrimination Act because laws which extinguish Native Title are to the detriment of indigenous people on the basis of race. This would be a breach of Australia's International Human Rights obligations.
The coalition Government has cut public spending on health, social security, education and aged care. They have also introduced industrial relations laws which encourage attacks on workers' rights and our standard of living. Now they want to pass laws to encourage the further dispossession of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders for the benefit of a small and select group of landholders.
Now is the time to take a stand.
Rally against the Howard Government's 10 Point Plan
Contact Takver with questions Or comments about this web page .
Last Modified : March 22, 1998