Why are we marching?
We are organising this commemorative march because nothing has changed! In fact, we have lost ground! The punitive Northern Territory Intervention continues, welfare reforms that remove previous rights to cash payments target Aboriginal communities, the CDP work for the Dole requires unfair and burdensome requirements on remote Aboriginal communities not demanded of non-Aboriginal people! We have no funded national representative voice! The ongoing exclusion of Indigenous Aboriginal decision making continues! Repeated cuts in funding of Aboriginal programs and services has ensured Close the Gap can’t succeed and is actually harming communities.
The tolerance of structural racism which has condoned violent racism has led to the deaths of Elijah Doherty, Ms Dhu, and Kwementyaye Ryder and others, and enabled the torture of youth and children in detention. These approaches have led to shocking suicide rates and have failed to address the ongoing appalling living conditions for Aboriginal and Islander peoples. Punitive policies and the lack of recognition of our fundamental rights as Indigenous peoples, must be stopped!
"Its time we help address grieving & loss in our communities & move towards healing our people."Pastor Uncle Ray Minniecon
So Aboriginal people from across Australia are coming together in support of our joint call for justice for Aboriginal people, justice through a Treaty!
A Treaty will also provides the framework to implement the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the Australian Government endorsed in 2009. Establishing a Treaty process also looks to implement the 1988 Burrunga Statement and Australian Government commitments previously made to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
We call on all our non-Aboriginal allies to walk with us! We need mass support to show the government, like with marriage equality, that there is real and substantial support for a Treaty with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
1988 Burrunga Statement
We, the Indigenous owners and occupiers of Australia, call on the Australian Government and people to recognise our rights:
- to self-determination and self-management, including the freedom to pursue our own economic, social, religious and cultural development; to permanent control and enjoyment of our ancestral lands;
- to compensation for the loss of use of our lands, there having been no extinction of original title;
- to protection of and control of access to our sacred sites, sacred objects, artefacts, designs, knowledge and works of art;
- to the return of the remains of our ancestors for burial in accordance with our traditions; to respect for and promotion of our Aboriginal identity, including the cultural, linguistic, religious and historical aspects, and including the right to be educated in our own languages and in our own culture and history;
- in accordance with the universal declaration of human rights, the international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights, the international covenant on civil and political rights, and the international convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination, rights to life, liberty, security of person, food, clothing, housing, medical care, education and employment opportunities, necessary social services and other basic rights.
We call on the Commonwealth to pass laws providing:
- A national elected Aboriginal and Islander organisation to oversee Aboriginal and Islander affairs;
- A national system of land rights;
- A police and justice system which recognises our customary laws and frees us from discrimination and any activity which may threaten our identity or security, interfere with our freedom of expression or association, or otherwise prevent our full enjoyment and exercise of universally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms.
We call on the Australian Government to support Aborigines in the development of an international declaration of principles for indigenous rights, leading to an international covenant.
And we call on the Commonwealth Parliament to negotiate with us a Treaty recognising our prior ownership, continued occupation and sovereignty and affirming our human rights and freedom.The Government response was: