“Goodmoring all just letting you all know that my left leg has heal up and I ready to go to start the walk on to Kalgoorlie. I well be leaving Southern Cross tomorrow morning around 8:00am to start the walk to Coolgardie town, then Kalgoorlie. It well take me about four days to get to Kalgoorlie. Also that mean I well be out of signal for 4 day until I get close to Coolgardie town than Kalgoorlie.
On top of that then I well start the walk from Kalgoorlie on to Leonora town and that well take other 3 to 4 days of walking. Before I go on to Laverton town where the biggest test of my life start there. Laverton town well be the last town I well see. Then I well be walking on thought the central desert road for about 14 day’s out in the desert before reaching Warburton town. That mean I well be out of signal for about 14 day out in the desert. The elders out there well walk with us to make sure I reach Warburton safety more or less lorn mob I need to walk though the desert area because I need to get they message stick and the story from the elder from the community out in goldfields mob.
After I leave Warburton then I well start the walk on to Kaltukatjara community in the N.T next to the board of western Australia and north territory before walking on to Uluru Mutitjulu the heart land people. The biggest test of my walk well be the desert area and no one has Never walk that road seen the old time. If I walk that road it well show this country and the world that I well not stop until I reach Canberra to see the prime minster to get justice for my people.”
“Also just want to thank Jum, Garry’s brother for lending me his Kangaroo skin. So I can wear it when I reach Parliament house in Canberra”
“We just changing trailer because of the other one is to small. So we changing to a big one. Thank to Jum Gum an Garry making this work. We at Garry brother place working on the new trailer.”
“Please have a read. Why I’m pushing for a treaty for my people and walking for justice for my people.”
Did you know that Australia is the only Commonwealth nation that doesn’t have a treaty with its Indigenous people? This is a major concern for many Indigenous people. But why?
What is meant by a ‘treaty’ in Australia?
Calls for a treaty in Australia refer to a formal agreement between the government and Indigenous people that would have legal outcomes. A treaty in Australia could recognise Indigenous people’s history and prior occupation of this land, as well as the injustices many have endured. It could also offer a platform for addressing those injustices and help to establish a path forward based upon mutual goals, rather than ones imposed upon Indigenous people.
Treaties are accepted around the world as a way of reaching a settlement between Indigenous people and those who have colonised their lands. New Zealand, for example, has the Treaty of Waitangi, an agreement signed in 1840 between the British Crown and over 500 Maori chiefs, while Canada and the United States have hundreds of treaties dating back as far as the 1600s.
Australia has never entered into negotiations with Indigenous people about the taking of their lands or their place in the new nation. And yet, the idea of a treaty in Australia goes back many years. In 1832 the Governor of Van Diemen’s Land remarked that it was “a fatal error…that a treaty was not entered into” with the Tasmanian Aboriginal people. In recent times, Prime Minister Bob Hawke promised to deliver a treaty by 1990. However, the controversial term raised alarm and was changed to a ‘document of reconciliation’, Makarrata* or compact. These discussions were eventually replaced by the push for Constitutional recognition.
* Makarrata is a word in the Yolngu language meaning ‘the resumption of normal relations after a period of hostilities’. Some people preferred the word Makaratta because they felt the word treaty was too divisive and more often describes agreements between countries rather than within countries between different parts of the population.
Why’s treaty important?
A treaty could provide, among other things:
– a symbolic recognition of Indigenous sovereignty and prior occupation of this land
– a redefinition and restructuring of the relationship between Indigenous people and wider Australia
– better protection of Indigenous rights
– a basis for regional self-government
– guidelines for local or regional treaties
– structures and systems for local and regional decision-making processes.
What is sovereignty and what does it have to do with treaty?
Many Indigenous people base their calls for treaty on claims to Indigenous sovereignty. The word sovereignty is usually used to describe the independence of nation states. It refers to a nation’s ultimate authority to govern its own affairs without interference from other countries.
Many Indigenous people in Australia claim sovereignty on the grounds that Indigenous people have never surrendered to the government. Therefore, they claim that their sovereignty, their authority to govern their own lives, has never been extinguished.
Sovereignty is a means for Indigenous people to seek greater control over their lives and limited government interference in Indigenous affairs. Indigenous sovereignty in Australia includes concepts such as self-government, autonomy and the recognition of cultural distinctiveness, though not the creation of a new country.
Supporters of a treaty generally agree that a treaty must acknowledge Indigenous sovereignty. However, previous governments have claimed that recognising Indigenous sovereignty in Australia would fracture the nation. For example, Prime Minister John Howard said that “[a] nation … does not make a treaty with itself”. Today the issue of sovereignty continues to underlie calls for, and opposition to, treaty.
How is treaty different from Constitutional recognition?
Calls for a treaty and proposals to recognise Indigenous people in the Australian Constitution are two related but separate issues. Treaties and constitutions serve two different purposes; a treaty is a contract between two sovereign parties, while a Constitution is a set of governing laws (7). These initiatives are not mutually exclusive, and can even complement each other.
There are concerns among some groups that Constitutional recognition would effectively negate Indigenous sovereignty, making future attempts at a treaty impossible. However, legal experts state that none of the current proposals to change the Constitution do anything to undermine claims to Indigenous sovereignty.