WARNING: When resetting the agenda: Don't cede your sovereignty or acquiesce, in your enthusiasm for Treaty-talks

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The constitution stipulates that children born of a foreign group who have been in hostilities with British colonisers at the time of their birth, which includes 100% of our people all over this country, are deemed to be and classified as ‘aliens’.

2 November 2017, statement from the Brisbane by Ghillar, Michael Anderson

Convenor of the Sovereign Union, last surviving member of the founding four of the Aboriginal Embassy and Head of State of the Euahlayi Peoples Republic

Further insight into a viable pathway going forward.

I propose a refocusing of our political agenda, after our successful and clear ending of the constitutional recognition campaign, because Sovereignty-educated grassroots First Nations people refused to accept mere symbolic inclusion in the colonial Constitution.

This spelt the death knell for the bipartisan coercion to lure our Peoples into their racist colonial constitution, in order to put an end to the power of the Sovereignty Movement.

At least it is now clear that Aboriginal people have never been in the Australian Constitution and have never had citizenship, but instead are classified as ‘aliens’ by the constitution.

The constitution clearly stipulates that children who are born of a foreign group who have been in hostilities with British colonisers at the time of their birth, which includes 100% of our people all over this country, are deemed to be and classified as ‘aliens’.

This is confirmed by Quick and Garran’s interpretation of the constitution on the matter of aliens. This, in my view, confirms, that we, the descendents, continue to be classified as ‘aliens’ and non-citizens. This raises serious questions about the continued presence of all Aboriginal people in the Federal parliament, given they cannot produce any naturalisation nor citizenship papers.

The whole recognition process has a deep colonial resonance

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A Sovereign Treaty is the only constitutional reform with the potential of justice for Aboriginal Nations and Peoples

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If there is ever to be a national treaty between the Commonwealth and First Nations, it has to be through a process of meaningful negotiation in respect of our pre-existing and continuing sovereignty.

Additionally, a prerequisite to negotiations of a complete package is for the Commonwealth and its colonial States and Territories to unequivocally admit to the atrocities committed and gross violations of human rights perpetrated against First Nations Peoples.

A meaningful national treaty or treaties must include reparations, restitution and compensation for all the wrongdoings and the horrific carnage that occurred during the colonial establishment of modern Australia, which continues to traumatise to this day in all its forms, along with a guarantee that it never happens again.

There can be no justice, no peaceful co-existence, without honesty and truth.

I find a need to revisit the historical aspects associated with Treaty-making Australian style.

It has come to my attention that Patrick Dodson now appears to accept a lesson from the past, that is, he now appears to be recanting his original objection to treaty-making. In 1991, as the first Chair of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation Patrick Dodson was quick to make a media statement that 'Treaty is not on the agenda'.

It is ironic that Patrick Dodson may have seen the errors of his ways and now seeks to get on the same page that the National Aboriginal Conference (NAC) and Kevin Gilbert’s 1979 call for a Sovereign Treaty and the Treaty 88 campaign were on more than 30 years ago.

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The time has come when we must focus a defined strategy that will achieve our liberation and freedom, without appointed so-called ‘leaders’ (agents of the coloniser) bending to the occupiers' agenda.

The reality that now has to be dealt with is: What process is to be followed for a treaty or treaties that concludes a remedy for our Peoples' objective, for our age-old campaign to locate solutions for us to go forward. Who will set the agenda now for the treaty/treaties-process, if that’s what people want?

The material that has been circulating on this and other related topics raises a number of questions that must be addressed before we are to go forward, namely: What will be the centre-pieces of a national Treaty or Treaties?

We need to investigate the different options in respect to signing a Treaty/Treaties and to know if there are viable alternatives.

Treaties between First Nations is a solid start, but there still needs to be a final resolution with the occupying power of the Commonwealth. Then there is also the option of a Peace Accord, considering we are oppressed by a belligerent occupying foreign power. We’ll explore the implications of a Peace Accord in a later article.

The early push for a Sovereign Treaty was brought into sharp relief in August 1979 by the bold protest on Capital Hill, Canberra, before the new parliament house was built. It was here that Kevin Gilbert (1933-1993) and others crystallised the demand for a Sovereign Treaty that enshrines Aboriginal Nations’ sovereignty. Former PM Malcolm Fraser accepted the challenge and involved the National Aboriginal Conference (NAC) as the duly elected representative body.

Makarrata v Treaties

For the record: Sovereignty Never Ceded

By the 1980s the National Aboriginal Conference (NAC) consulted widely in the communities and had concluded a set of terms going forward. The historical records of the NAC demonstrate how the NAC approached the Treaty process, which was to include a whole number of demands.

It was at the end of the 1970s and early 1980s when people were still in the process of demanding Land Rights. Land Rights was continuing to be the catch-cry of the Aboriginal political struggle. Aboriginal people at this time were not moving backwards on this demand for Land Rights Now!

Land Rights was and will always be the main issue that we address as Nations and Peoples. It is our centrepiece. Anything short of true Land Rights will never be accepted as a satisfactory settlement of grievances.

I would like to clarify to our readers where the NAC got to in the Treaty-making process more than 30 years ago. The National Aboriginal Conference had reached a point in the Treaty negotiation process with former PM Malcolm Fraser when some issues became a sticking point with the likes of John Howard. There were enormous concerns that certain Australian government members had with what were becoming clear stand-out issues in the Treaty-making process.

The key issue was, in fact, the same concern that the NAC had successfully campaigned for when they first issued a demand and a call for a Treaty of Commitment, along with Kevin Gilbert’s and others' demand for a Sovereign Treaty. The NAC skilfully and strategically had reached a significant position where the pre concession for negotiating a Treaty was that the Commonwealth had to admit that Aboriginal Sovereignty had never been ceded. The second prerequisite was that Aboriginal Peoples, under our Law and culture, maintained a proprietary interest in land on the island continent now called 'Australia'.

These arguments were founded on the principle that there was never a declaration of war between us and the invader State; there was never a cessation of hostilities; there was never a peace process adopted; and there was no evidence of cession by any First Nation at any time.

While the NAC had achieved a significant position in respect of negotiating a Treaty, the government was concerned that it was imperative for the Commonwealth to avoid any terminology which focused on parity when it came to dealing with Aboriginal rights during Treaty negotiations. This parity comes from the fact that we are equal in our right to negotiate, because of our stand on sovereignty. We were not a secondary party. We were key players and insisted that none of the issues raised by our communities across the continent in the consultation process could be avoided.

The NAC focused attention on key matters such as the right to be self-determining; reparations; compensation; and restitution. These were matters that were central to the whole process in the sense of going forward with the Treaty negotiations. There was nothing in between. The focus was on central primary issues and not on peripheral issues.

One central issue that the NAC concluded was that the Commonwealth of Australia, with the agreement of their State counterparts, had to include the British Foreign Office in any Treaty-making process, because Australia is a federation of colonial states, as stated in the constitution, which is an imperial act of the British parliament.

We must not forget the material fact that the Commonwealth of Australia does not have its own sovereignty. Australia operates under British sovereignty and the Australian parliaments, both State and Federal, govern in right of the Crown of Britain as a belligerent occupying power. Ruling in the right of the Crown of Britain means that Britain has the equivalent of a caveat over Australian governance and land administration. Therefore Australia could not negotiate and ratify a Treaty with First Nations without British involvement.

It should also be understood that the Mabo (No.2) decision of 1992 set the cat amongst the pigeons when it ruled that Aboriginal Nations and Peoples have always had, and have maintained, proprietary interest in land, including waters and airspace. This is combined with the fact that the Pacific Islanders Protection Acts 1872 and 1875 confirm that Britain did not claim sovereignty and dominion over the Australian continent and its islands.

The Defining phase in our struggle

Based on all of this information it is imperative that those Aboriginal leaders within the States who are enthusiastically engaging with the colonial States on 'treaty-talk' need to realise that the States will not and cannot engage with First Nations and their leadership as sovereign equals.

This state-led process can only be carried out on the basis that the colonial States are the Masters of Ceremony and the First Nations, or the grouping of Aboriginal people within that State, can only negotiate on matters that are determined by their respective State constitutions. The colonial States can then only advise the Commonwealth what the content of a National Treaty could be, because the States are not sovereign bodies able to negotiate Treaties in the true meaning of Treaty under international law. The Victorian government spelt this out in its recent 'Treaty Fact Sheet':

There are three main limitations on treaties in Victoria:

  1. The parties must agree on what is necessary and just.
    
  2. As a state within the Commonwealth, the Victorian Government can only agree to what is within its own constitutional powers.
    
  3. As one state within the Federation, Victoria can only advocate for what is included in a national treaty 
    

It is crazy to jump head first into a pond without understanding the depth of the water, especially if you can't swim! The colonialists wear the floaties and I can assure you that they will not give you a rubber tube to jump onto.

They will let you sink, until you have nothing, then resuscitate you enabling them to dictate the terms to you, because they will be arguing that, if they did not resuscitate you, you would no longer exist. Therefore their attitude will be that you should be grateful that they are prepared to talk to you.

The Australian colonialists are masters at deception, lying, cheating and spin. They will do this and get away with it if our Peoples fail to understand and assert our sovereign inherent rights.

I urge our people to learn and understand that our sovereign inherent rights come from our pre-existing Law, culture and customs, which are underpinned by the Tjukurrpa, Goomerra, that is our sacred spiritual Law.

Aboriginal Law must sit on top of whiteman's law, because 'our Law is the Law of this land'

This is in contrast to the Christian Bible that came with the First Fleet and grants the rights to the Crown of Great Britain. The biblical teachings allow for the various kingdoms of Europe to exist, because it says that the children of Abraham shall go out and become kings and queens. In fact the Bible prescribes that they go and take the lands of heathens and pagans and by doing this they have a divine right to rule over those they appropriate.

This is the background to the British Crown's claim to the right to rule.

On the other hand, our Creators created us, First Nations Peoples, on and within our lands and we did not have to go out on crusades to take the lands of others within Australia. We have very defined rights and boundaries under our ancient Law, customs and cultures and we have a unique obligation to each other through the Songlines. We also have the obligation to maintain peace, order and good governance under our Law, culture and customs.

To use the modern international law to free ourselves from the tyrannical practices of the colonial occupying State, it is incumbent upon us as Peoples, through our independent Nations, to stay Home or to go Home, mark and record our ancient boundaries and follow the accepted international process of making Unilateral Declarations of Independence and thereby assert our right to govern over and within all that is in our Country under our Law, customs and culture.

If the occupying colonialists want to continue operating within our Lands, they must come to the table and talk to us about governance and co-existence into the future. It is only at this point that any Treaty-making becomes relevant.

We are the sovereigns of the soil. They are not.

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We as Peoples need not only to become fully aware of our inherent sovereign rights, but also we must now go and look up the legal definition under international law of what occupation means and what being occupied means, so that, before people seek to negotiate Treaties, they are fully aware of what being an occupied Nation and People truly means.

In international law, a territory is considered “occupied” when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. ... International humanitarian law stipulates that the definition of occupation only extends to territories where such authority has been established and can be exercised.

The form of administration by which an occupying power exercises government authority over occupied territory is called "military government." Neither the Hague Conventions nor the Geneva Conventions specifically define or distinguish an act of "invasion". The terminology of "occupation" is used exclusively.

Belligerent occupation in a foreign war, being based upon the possession of enemy territory, necessarily implies that the sovereignty of the occupied territory is not vested in the occupying power. Occupation is essentially provisional.

Synopsis of law governing belligerent occupation

· Legality of war is irrelevant to effectiveness of the governing law

· Legality of conduct during occupation must be distinguished from legality of the occupation (jus ad bellum v jus in bello)

· Neither occupation nor the law of war operate to transfer sovereignty over the territory occupied

Source: Stone, Oppenheimer FM 27-10, British Manual Part III, Hague Convention IV, 1907, Articles 46-56, Geneva Civilians Convention, 1949, Protocol 1 to Geneva Conventions.

‘Neither occupation nor the law of war operate to transfer sovereignty over the territory occupied’ crystallises our position.

We are seeing people rise up all over the world to fight against the occupying States in the international definition. Peoples want to be self-determining with a right to govern under their own laws and customs, while maintaining their own spiritual and religious practices and while maintaining their own cultural values.

This is embedded in Article One of the UN International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

which Australia has ratified:

Part 1, Article 1:

  1. All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
    
  2. All people may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principal of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.
    
  3. The States Parties to the present Covenant, including those having responsibility for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories, shall promote the realisation of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.
    

This is what we want and we need to go forward with this in mind.

It is important to understand that if people are watching the Spanish confrontation with the Catalans they need not be fearful, because we are First Nations Peoples, we are by admissions of the Australian Parliament, an occupied people and we have never been part of the Australian constitution, nor its citizenry.

And whereas in its 1983 report to the Australian Federal Parliament, Two Hundred Years Later, the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs on the feasibility of a compact or 'Makarrata' between the Commonwealth and Aboriginal people, acknowledgement was given to this disputed question:

It was further stated, that some would say that sovereignty inhered in the Aboriginal people inhabiting Australia at the time of settlement by the Europeans and that sovereignty still subsists even though not recognised by the occupying power or its legal system.

[quoted from the ‘Proclamation: First Nations Sovereignty’ ]

We have always been independent, so it is only stating the norm (status quo) for your Nation to make a Unilateral Declaration of Independence. www.sovereignunion.mobi

It cannot be said that we are acting in a treasonous, seditious manner, nor rebellious manner. We are freeing ourselves from tyranny, a humanitarian crisis, gross violations of human rights, genocide and ethnocide. We have been in hostile relationship from the day the resisters threw a spear at Captain James Cook after, by his own admission, he fired the first shot.

Ghillar, Michael Anderson

Convenor of Sovereign Union of First Nations and Peoples in Australia

and Head of State of the Euahlayi Peoples Republic

Asserting Australia's First Nations Sovereignty into Governance

www.sovereignunion.mobi

ghillar29@gmail.com, 0499 080 660 www.sovereignunion.mobi

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