the dreaming

re-visioning Aboriginal Sense of Place


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Unless otherwise indicated, the quotes are from Robert Lawlor's "Voices of the First Day"

Please note there is no intention to offend by using the words "Aborigines" or "Aboriginal" or "Indigenous"

To learn what a TREATY would mean -  click  HERE

Blog Posts

PAUL KELLY - THE AUSTRALIAN - Uluru Statement deserves respect, but treaty would backfire

MAY 31,  2017.   What The Australian has to say about a Treaty that cannot happen now:

"After a 10-year process and six months of discussions around this country, the historic Uluru Statement from the Heart, authorised by 250 delegates, deserves a respect and evaluation by the political class befitting its seriousness.

This declaration is not hard to grasp. It is a new direction in the debate over constitutional recognition. It offers a better chance for a successful referendum because it breaks from the dead end this process had reached. It recognises the conservatism of the public and seeks to work with, not against, the Australian Constitution.

The political class should take more than five minutes to comprehend what it means before rejecting it. Immediate rejection betrays contempt for the diligence, realism and revisionism this document embodies.

Are there risks in the Uluru Statement? Of course. There is no easy road on this journey. Are the politicians and public entitled to be confused? Yes, the departure from the doomed stalemate of the past decade is great and the document constitutes a new direction, but not a detailed policy.

Nothing will be achieved without goodwill. Without goodwill from both indigenous and non-­indigenous peoples, this project is lost and Australia will become a poorer entity.

Compromise is the name of the game and the indigenous leaders are willing to compromise. That spirit must be reciprocated.

There are three big political steps involved in the Uluru Statement. First, under the influence of Noel Pearson the indigenous majority has abandoned its insistence that a non-negotiable condition of recognition be a constitutional ban on racial discrimination.

This is the pivotal concession. A reluctant Pearson has embraced this position over the past couple of years founded in a harsh realism. The zenith in the campaign for a constitutional clause came with the 2015 report of the joint select committee chaired by indigenous members Ken Wyatt and Nova Peris that called for a constitutional ban on discrimination on grounds of race, colour, or ethnic or national origin.

This mirrored the deepest faith of the progressive class in its aspiration to exploit the referendum to achieve a sweeping change in Australia’s constitutional character, transfer power from parliament to judges, set this country down the American path and secure guarantees that would apply far beyond indigenous issues.

Any such referendum was always doomed. It would never be accepted by a Liberal prime minister, a Coalition cabinet or a Coalition partyroom. Yet this posi­tion appeared to be locked in. To its discredit, Labor embraced this position in statements from Bill Shorten and other senior figures.

It meant that many people and institutions, such as The Australian newspaper for example, supportive of constitutional recognition, would have had no option but to oppose the referendum. Frank Brennan has long pointed out the folly of this idea, saying it meant every state or federal law or practice dealing with indigenous issues would be reviewable by a court in a process sure to inflame public divisions and tie indigenous policy in hopeless litigation.

Pearson’s success in securing the abandonment of this position is remarkable. He has worked with an array of constitutional lawyers, notably Greg Craven and Anne Twomey, and Liberal MP Julian Leeser, who has called the Uluru Statement the “big breakthrough”. The defeat of the progressive class on this issue has far-reaching import — if it cannot persuade the indigenous peoples on this front then the campaign for a constitutional bill of rights, the ideological fixation of people such as Gillian Triggs, is a truly lost cause.

Leeser tells this column the new approach, “looking at the structures of government and offering a voice in policymaking, reflected the thinking of (Samuel) Griffith and (Edmund) Barton and their colleagues who framed the Constitution, had they turned their minds to this issue”.

This brings us to the second political conclusion. At Pearson’s initiative the indigenous leaders have sought empowerment through process and institutions — incorporating into the Constitution a First Nations voice, an indigenous body, almost certainly elected, to provide advice and recommendations on proposed policy affecting indigenous peoples.

On ABC’s Q&A Pearson called it “the tent embassy in stone”. The leaders said it was designed to ­address “the torment of our powerlessness”.

Let’s get clear what it isn’t — it isn’t a new parliamentary chamber, a rival to the Senate; it has no executive or legislative power; it cannot delay laws and lacks the power to wreck the system. Given the destructive operations of the current Senate, it’s more than rich for politicians to fantasise about the damage this body could render when they have a real live wrecking machine on display. Don’t remotely think an indigenous advisory body would perform with the irresponsibility of the existing Senate.

Indeed, it is possible to think a referendum question asking “Do you support an indigenous body in the Constitution to offer non-binding advice on issues concerning the indigenous peoples?” might actually get up.

Being realistic, however, the problems are immense. The new body would be created by an act of parliament. But when? The public would need to know the nature, composition and rules of the proposed body before any referendum. They could not vote blind.

Brennan argues the Referendum Council should recommend action be taken to set up quickly the new body, since a referendum must await its established operation.

Pearson wants a referendum as soon as next year. An indigenous adviser tells this column one option was a sequence as follows: ­tabling the bill to establish the body, holding the referendum and then legislating the measure.

It is extremely doubtful that would work. Uncertainty about the nature of the body being incorporated into the Constitution will become a chronic difficulty for the referendum’s success. It is unclear how this can be solved.

The third conclusion from the Uluru Statement is the determination of the indigenous leadership to advance a treaty or range of treaties. This could kill the referendum outright. Last week’s statement called for a Makarrata Commission, not part of the Constitution and therefore not part of the referendum, to prepare the ground for treaties or agreements — “the coming together after a struggle”.

The problem is acute. While the referendum is not about a treaty, it cannot be divorced from the plan for a treaty. The Liberal Party and the Nationals have not embraced the treaty concept. There has been no considered analysis of a treaty and no concrete proposal for a treaty at the national level. Who are the exact parties to a treaty? What does it constitute? What are its consequences? It is hardly credible Malcolm Turnbull could endorse the concept.

Because the treaty has been foreshadowed but not defined, it remains a gift for those seeking to run a scare campaign about the consequences of the referendum. The danger with a treaty is that the public will see it as divisive rather than uniting.

The conundrum is obvious — by putting a treaty on the table and giving it potentially more weight than the constitutional referendum, the indigenous leaders may have ruined any hope of the referendum’s success.

The risk is that by asking for too much, they may finish with too little. There was, of course, another way. It is the way they universally reject. It is the method of the 1967 referendum — seek a modest and symbolic constitutional change, secure a huge vote, unite the nation for your cause, build massive goodwill and use the referendum’s momentum to launch a historic series of initiatives over the next 20 years.

The mistake indigenous leaders make is to vest too much in so-called “substantial” changes to the Constitution that are extremely difficult to achieve. Having insisted when John Howard was prime minister that symbolism was all-important, they now say it is worthless. Let’s tell the truth: a modest and symbolic change is far better than no change at all."…/a8a45aafc630371e28432f0b5…



Here is what a Treaty means -

The torment of our Powerlessness

"These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the torment of our powerlessness."

Please click on the Link below to read the ULURU STATEMENT made at the 2017 National Constitution Convention  - it is a PDF document so you will need to download the free Adobe PDF Reader program if you don’t have it already – at this Link   HERE  .


Indigenous summit rejects 'minimalist' recognition, pushes for treaty and voice in Constitution

A referendum could be held early next year to enshrine a "First Nations Voice" in the constitution after a historic all-Indigenous convention overwhelmingly backed the move. 

On Friday 26 May 2017, indigenous leaders from across the country at the conclusion of 3 days of deliberations at the First Nations National Convention, out rightly rejected the idea of mere recognition in the Australian Constitution, instead calling for a representative body to be enshrined in the nation's founding document and for a process to be established working towards treaties.

In a stunning repudiation, the convention rejected acknowledging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the constitution, instead backing the Indigenous voice. It also called for a road map to a treaty.

Key points:

  • Constitutional recognition was "totally rejected"
  • Uluru delegation calls for First Nations Voice enshrined in the constitution
  • Delegation also calls for a truth and justice commission, the Makarrata Commission.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart is the result of three days of deliberations during the national gathering.  The announcement is the result of a historic convention in the centre of Australia.   250 indigenous people from all around Australia convened in Uluru to try and reach a consensus on whether a referendum on constitutional recognition was needed, and what it would look like.

Australia is the only Commonwealth country that does not have a treaty with its Indigenous peoples.

The message for the Australian public and Federal government is:

"In '67 we asked to be counted. In 2017 we're asking to be heard."

The Convention, consisting of 250 Indigenous delegates, called for a "Makarrata Commission" to supervise and monitor agreements between Indigenous groups and the Federal government and to voice Indigenous concerns about the treatment of Australia's first people,

Founder of the Cape York Partnership, Noel Pearson, said the Uluru Statement, which will be presented to the Referendum Council to adopt options for constitutional reform to then be delivered to the Federal government, presents Australia with a chance to address "the nettle of the structural situation in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live."

The Referendum Council was jointly appointed by the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten on 7 December 2015.

Its job is to advise the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition on progress and next steps towards a successful referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution.

Not surprisingly, the Deputy Prime Minister also said any proposal to the effect of a new parliamentary chamber would be unrealistic. 

"If you are asking for a new chamber in the federal parliament, some of the articles I see are heading in that direction, that's not going to happen, I am going to be fair dinkum with people," he said.

"We want something we can sell to the Australian people. You know the bosses in this show?

"If you are suggesting that we have local government, state government upper and lower house, then a federal government with a lower house, a Senate and another chamber again, you don't have to be Nostradamus to tell the future of what happens here. The Australian people will say no to that."


How strange.  I thought Life wasn’t about “bosses” and as an Australian who has lived in Australia for over 50 years I certainly don’t feel that I am the “boss” of the Government !!  Also how arrogant for him to say we will say No.

Mr Barnaby Joyce -     I   SAY   “YES”




Speaking on the ABC's Q&A on Monday 29th May, Indigenous Australian panellists Noel Pearson, Pat Anderson Megan Davis, Nakkiah Lui and Stan Grant took to justifying Friday's First Nations National Convention and the Uluru Statement, which calls for constitutional reform involving a "First Nations Voice" in parliament and a serious push towards a treaty with Indigenous people.

Please listen to the Questions and Answer session at the ABC site, link below.  You can also download (save) the Video and / or copy or read the Transcript.


Co-Chair of the Referendum Council and Chairperson of the Lowitja Institute, Pat Anderson said: "We are voiceless and powerless in our own lands. This is our country. We have been here for 60,000 years. There has to be substantive change, structural change that will make a difference.

I think, Australia is ready for it. I think we're mature enough and sophisticated enough to have this what might be a difficult conversation, but for goodness sake let's have it and be done with it.”

The Referendum Council will officially recommend to both Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten that a treaty be established with Australia's First Nations people, and that a permanent place for First Australians is constitutionally enshrined in Parliament.









Survival Day 26 January - Australia's Day of shame

I won't be celebrating the 26th January as Australia Day and here is why. If Australia Day is about celebrating a Nation with fair services and opportunities and equal treatment of all people of Australia, regardless of the colour of their skin, then I am not celebrating the Anniversary of the day that colonialists first arrived at NSW, Australia, leading to mass slaughter and dis-possession of Australia's Aboriginal people, and treating them like animals, a legacy which of course, to any intelligent person, has had a huge negative impact upon the current generations of Aboriginal people.

I choose to celebrate every day knowing there are people who understand and care about Australia's "black history" and who take real action to bring about reparation, like Clinton's Walk for Justice.

Why not celebrate Australia Day on the 17th September when the Australian Citizenship Act 1973 received Assent, marking the end of the White Australia Policy? Some may say who cares what the date is, it's the purpose or point. Well, people celebrate the anniversary of the day they were born ( their birthdays ) for the reason that date in the past mattered and the same applies here.

What is really disturbing to me is the lack of ignorance around the ongoing ramifications of the Invasion Day.  So many people say rubbish like "Aboriginals have got it easy now" or "They bring their troubles wholly upon themselves" and the list goes on ....  even, astonishingly, things like "survival of the strongest" and "that's what happens".  Well, if white people were not fearful of the original inhabitants of Australia, and were NOT greedy, arrogant and power mongering, they would have cultured a respectful two-way relationship between themselves and the Aboriginal custodians.  Given that they didn't, it is way time that people of today take on responsibility for being part of a Collective, and supposed civilised and humane Society, to restore Aboriginal sense of place.

26th January is Invasion Day and Survival Day for Aboriginal Australia.



Clinton's Walk for Justice - Perth to Canberra

Twenty six year old Clinton Pryor is walking across Australia.  Clinton says:

I do not want to see communities closed down and see my people lose their home because the government has decided not fund service for them. It is not right and this why I am doing the walk to save my people from losing their home and being forced to live homeless.


If you are at all interested in or concerned about restorative justice for Australia's First Nation's People, head over NOW to one of the links below, and learn more.


The official "Clinton's Walk for Justice" website will give you comprehensive information about the Walk.

The government wants to close down our Indigenous communities and I need your help to make a stand to keep communities open.

As an Indigenous person created by the dreamtime, I believe it is my responsibility and the responsibility of all people to look after the planet and to keep the dreamtime alive.

By removing people from country, our connection with our ancestors and spirituality is put at risk. I know because I grew up on country.

Clinton Pryor


To learn what a TREATY would mean,  go to  THIS  post of Clinton's FB Page.

Alternatively,  visit the Australians Together page   HERE


Intolerance & Ignorance: Racism - The Silent Destroyer

My partner is an incredibly strong man. Resilient, compassionate and calm in the face of much turbulence, stress and hurt.
Some days it gets to him though. It's not that he does not love and embrace his Aboriginality but more that he feels so many around him don't or won't.

Even the proudest and strongest Aboriginal person will at times feel the crushing pressure that is living as a minority in your home land.

Today was one of those days. His day at work had been ok and he was feeling positive to be heading home.

It only took several little interactions along the way to sour his mood. He stopped to use the ATM and a man sitting at the nearby bench promptly gathered up his wallet and other belongings and then moved to the table furtherest away. After using the machine he turned and despite his bad feeling forced himself to nod, smile and say 'how's it going bud?' as he passed the man. Sometimes a friendly gesture will be reciprocated. Other times it isn't. The man glared back at him with disdain and did not reply.

He then had to fuel up and went in to pay. The man walking out as he was walking in glared at him and refused to move to either side to allow room for him to pass by.

My hubby had little time to react. He turned side on and squeezed through the gap with a polite smile.

Again no smile, just a look of disdain and judgement and the aggressive body language to match.

At home, anger became hot tears. 'Why do people have to be like that and look down on me? Who do they think they are to assume they're better and can treat me like a piece of shit?' 'I'm tired of going out of my way to seem non-intimidating, polite and approachable. It doesn't matter how I dress or act they still can't even smile back or acknowledge me like a bloody person. I try not to let it get to me but it sometimes it hurts and it makes me so angry I could just snap on them.'

I tell him these people have the problem, not him and that they are a dying breed. 'Yeah well there's a whole bloody lot of them and they're not dying out fast enough. I'm not going to see the change in my lifetime. I will die feeling the glare and hate that I was born into.'

There is nothing I can say. What he says is true and there are days, moments, when you feel the full impact of what being Aboriginal means in a country where racism is rife. Where some people assume a spot on a pedestal and have such arrogance that they judge, condemn and dictate to our people from a position of self righteous ignorance usually fuelled by stereotypes and hear say rather than any sound understanding and insight of our history, culture and current struggles.

Some will be inclined to minimise and perhaps suggest that he is paranoid or wrongly assuming racially motivated behaviour. He is not. This is not his imagination, nor mine. These are the behaviours and attitudes that Aboriginal people encounter constantly and that can chip away at self esteem and confidence, often replacing them with anger, resentment and defiance.

For our youth dealing with it, it is even harder. They often lack the words to articulate what they're experiencing and feeling and people to talk to about it. They feel powerless, voiceless, misunderstood and at times, hated.
They internalise this and it can become a self fulfilling prophecy. 'If that's what you think I am, then that's what I will be' or 'Why bother? Whatever I do people will still judge me by what other Aboriginal people do and stereotypes they have anyway.'

How do you address racism and discrimination that is wordless? That you can feel but not articulate? How do you pick yourself up and dust yourself off after a particularly bad day of it? How do we equip our young people with the knowledge, strategies and support they need to remain staunch in the face of racism with no definite end?

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