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The Forum > Article Comments > Law and order one set of rules for all Australians > Comments

Law and order one set of rules for all Australians : Comments

By Selwyn Johnston, published 25/9/2007

The UN 'Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People' encourages the division of a nation along racial lines.

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The truth of thye matter is that Australia is already divided on racial grounds---as are all other countries.

Try walking around many places in Australia inside of a brown skinned body and you will very quickly see how racistly divided we are.
There is an almost overwhelming wall of invisible prejudice out "there", or rather within all of us.
And the so called "aborigines" have to deal with it all of the time.

Such a wall of prejudice also operates in the USA re the African-American and the original native-American "Indians". The only good Indian is a dead Indian.

When I was a child and young person I never ever saw anything on TV or read anyhing in which a white man served or helped a person with "coloured" skin. "they" were always there to serve us and carry our baggage, both literally and metaphorically.
And to be killed off like flies or "barbarian savages" in their thousands if they dared to resist our "civilizing" misssion.
Of course "god" was on our side too to give "divine authority" to whatever we were doing.

A similar scenario is now being dramatised by us whitey's against the people of Iraq.
Bringing them "jesus" and "civilization" via shock and awe.

The white man rules OK.
Posted by Ho Hum, Tuesday, 25 September 2007 10:09:58 AM
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You've got one thing right Selwyn, which is that "Everyone should read the Declaration before coming to a decision on it, as it is not a difficult document to read."

Sadly, your assessment of the Declaration and what it means is mostly nonsense, particularly your suggestion that it somehow seeks to 'divide the nation along racial lines.' Nor does it give the potential for our Parliament to be overridden on anything - no international Treaty does, let alone one like this which is non-binding.

The least you could do is link to the version of the Declaration which has actually been adopted - try this one http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/indigenous/declaration.htm. When people do read the proper document, if they are still tempted to believe any of Selwyn's alarmist nonsense, I suggest they take particular note of Article 46:

"Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, people, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act contrary to the Charter of the United Nations or construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States."

It is a pity that even basic efforts like this Declaration to get some recognition that Indigenous peoples should have rights, the same as the rest of us, get attacked. Of course, John Howard and Mal Brough have been running the same sorts of alarmist and knowingingly false misrepresentations about it, so one can't blame others for assuming some of their criticisms might be true.
Posted by AndrewBartlett, Tuesday, 25 September 2007 11:28:57 AM
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How many generations does a settler have to settle in a place before he (or she) becomes "indigenous"?

Any law which seeks to "classify" or "catagorise" on the basis of race, colour, creed or ethnicity, regardless of how well intentioned its affirmative agenda sound, is a bad law and will become the source of civil dissent sooner than later.

Of course the UN is the ideal bodily for producing asinine declarations of rights, after all, they do not answer to any electorate of real people, indigenous or otherwise.
Posted by Col Rouge, Tuesday, 25 September 2007 11:39:20 AM
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There is nothing like an election for a political candidate to try to play the "moral panic" card, especially if it is also the race card. If it applies to Aborigines, it is particularly popular with right-leaning "independents". Is he trying to "wedge" One Nation?
Posted by jimoctec, Tuesday, 25 September 2007 12:29:28 PM
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Thanks Andrew Bartlett for pointing out that Selwyn Johnston linked in his article to a 13-year-old draft of the Declaration, substantially different from the one which was adopted. In particular it doesn't call for restitution of lands taken from indigenous peoples (though it does urge "redress"), nor does it unequivocally assert the right of inidigenous peoples to traditional law.

It remains telling that the four countries voting against the adoption of the Declaration are those four countries founded as British colonial enterprises where the European immigrant population is the majority.

Johnston may still be correct in claiming that it is not in Australia's national interest to sign and ratify this treaty. Providing, of course, that by the national interest he is actually referring, as politicians often do, to the financial interests of large investors (of any nationality) with mates in Australian politics.
Posted by xoddam, Tuesday, 25 September 2007 12:57:04 PM
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Since when do we do anything about UN declarations. We are signatory to the Universal Declaration of human rights, the refugee convention and protocol, the convention on the rights of the child, the convention against torture and other cruel and unusual treatment, the covennant of civil and political rights, the convention of the law of the sea.

And many others.

When we get refugees or a TAMPA situation they go in the bin.

The UNHRC has ruled against Australia on many occasions for breaches of all of the above and we just ignore it. One case that springs to mind is Roqia Bakhtiyari and her five children that the UN deemed had been illegally detained, tortured, deprived of the rights of the family and others and must be released and compensated.

The result? They stayed locked up and were then deported to the wrong country with no documents and dumped in the snow of Rawalipindi to rot or die. Do not ever tell anyone in Australia who follows and believes in human rights that we uphold UN decisions.

We will laugh with bitter laughter.
Posted by Marilyn Shepherd, Tuesday, 25 September 2007 3:43:54 PM
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