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Respect the First Peoples

Written by: Shane S. on 2 May 2020


As we traverse the current COVID-19 crisis, serious thought should be given to the oppressed and most vulnerable of people, the First Peoples of this land.

It may be said that many others are in the same situation and it is true that many others are seriously disadvantaged but, it is the First Peoples who are the most vulnerable in this, their own country, at a time when history is repeating itself.

In 1789, the smallpox epidemic killed 90 per cent of the First Peoples in the Port Jackson area and some three quarters of those in the Hawkesbury river and Port Hacking areas of NSW. In 1919, the so called, “Spanish flu” (not originating in Spain), resulted in a 50 per cent mortality rate for the First Peoples across Australia. We hope this will not be the case today with COVID-19, yet all credible indicators suggest it has the potential to cause greater anxiety and harm to the First Peoples than to all others in Australia.

Statistically the First Peoples have a life span of 8.6 year less than others. Aboriginal health standards in Australia let almost half of Aboriginal men and over a third of women die before they turn 45. At all ages, Aboriginal life expectancy is lower than for non-Aboriginal Australians. Half as many First People reach 65 as do people in Bangladesh. These are just a few of the distressing statistics to be found relating to First Peoples’ mortality. Causes are varied and numerous, commencing with the original invasion of this country and what followed as a result of the invasion including:

  • Poor health and nutrition
  • Poor or non-existing housing
  • Low education levels
  • High levels of unemployment
  • High infant mortality rates
  • A host of preventable diseases
  • Destruction of their culture, language, country etc
  • Racism
  • Colonialism


How is it that Australia, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, has one of the worst records IN THE WORLD for protecting its own First Peoples?

Terra Nullius, The Big White Lie 

Can Australia ever come to grips with its history of invasion, genocide, racism and rejection of the original inhabitants based on the concept of Terra Nullius, “land belonging to no one”, which ironically is fundamentally opposed to the First Peoples’ “everyone belonging to land”?

On June 3 1992, the High Court decreed that Indigenous people had ownership of the land long before European settlement, and that therefore Terra Nullius was void. Yet the trickery and deceit that followed was awe inspiring in its boldness to undermine and maintain the Terra Nullius lie.

White laws changed to concede the legal decisions of the High Court but then, State and other laws are introduced to ensure it is business as usual. Collusion between Governments and miners, and other concerned members or lackies of the very rich and powerful elite, ensure politicians of all persuasions fully understand the implications and devastation to occur (for the ruling class) if these legal changes are not made. The changes build in legal loop holes to get around the High Court decisions and build more barriers for First Peoples to jump over or get around just to start the process for Land Right Claims. The real problem was that it had taken hundreds of years for the highest Australian Court to make a positive decision relating to the ownership of this land, so in the meantime the great lie, Terra Nullius, was built upon. 

If there was no one for the land to belong to, then no person was on the land prior to invasion.

No one had to be consulted prior to entry or for any other activities the colonisers wanted to participate in. Laws were drawn up, the country carved up, the First Peoples sliced up, their languages, traditions and cultures ripped up and their basic way of life, stuffed up, all based on the original lie, Terra Nullius. The lies continued developing, expanding from generation to generation. All-encompassing, all powerful, promoted at every opportunity, undermining the basic values encompassing the First Peoples culture, traditions and life.

Rotting Stench of Terra Nullius

The stolen generation’s stories of degradation, pain, suffering and humiliation were told for decades by the First Peoples, who were ignored, rejected and ridiculed, until the whites lies were eventually exposed and the truth cut through the nation in disbelief and even now, some people are still not sure that the First Peoples were telling the truth. A truth established in fact and shattering the lies and cover-ups propagated by an establishment determined to maintain the status quo, the rotting stench of Terra Nullius, the mainstay of the great lie, “First Peoples don’t tell the truth”.

In the Northern Territory, land never given, never ceded and never agreed to, invaded through politicians’ consent to remove the Racial Discrimination Act and based on more lies, “First Peoples men were paedophiles and the children had to be saved” and other outrageous claims. Send the army in to sort it all out. Coincidently, a national election was brewing and Prime Minister, John Howard, was in strife.

Outcome? No gangs of paedophiles were found, the army was engaged for a while putting up tents and arranging for the inoculation of people and other petty stuff more suited for department of health or other like organisations, but enough distraction was created and John Howard was re-elected then the army went home. Still the fabrications go on and on and on. Intervention has continued in the NT with more negative than positive outcomes for the First Peoples. Theft of children continues, with more in custody than ever before.

No political gains here now so let’s just move along.

While this is happening women all around Australia are being raped and bashed to death by the hundreds in nice, quiet suburbia without a murmur of any government intervention to protect those unfortunate women which, would have been, unlike the Northern Territory, welcomed.

At the same time children were being raped and abused by “well respected members” of the community, good Christians and church leaders. The houses of faith were houses of debauchery and suffering, endemic with cover ups and sleazy deals, hiding the truth and protecting the guilty. Let’s not forget those society leaders who were up to their necks in it or who were too busy pointing a misguided finger at the First Peoples. Yet no intervention to stop that. Just more lies.

So, what’s to be done?

  • Easy – show respect to the First Peoples, accept without equivocation their original ownership of this land.
  • Compensate them for the trauma, devastation and theft of their land. 
  • To be treated as fellow human beings, no better, no less, worthy of intelligent thought, with a unique understanding of this land and its surrounds.
  • To celebrate the world’s oldest continuous culture of tens of thousands of years instead of celebrating their subjugation.
  • To treat with respect and learn from their laws, cultures and languages.
  • Ensure their mortality rates and health are no less than the general populations and that all preventable diseases are eradicated.


There is no separation of the First Peoples and the land they were born on, it is one and the same, good health is intrinsically linked to the land. Country sick – People sick.


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