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RIghts Of Indigenous Peoples’ Struggles Continue As Governments Side With The Big End Of Town

Written by: Ned K. on 23 December 2023


(Above: Image ironically sourced from )

The National Indigenous Times December edition reported on the front page that both Labor and Liberal Parties voted in the Senate to defeat the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Bill 2022. The Bill was tabled by Indigenous Senator Lidia Thorpe. 

The Bill, if it became law, would require Commonwealth law in Australia to be consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. If the Bill became law in Australia, the federal government would have to prepare an action plan to enhance the objectives of the Declaration. The Bill if it became law would also require the Prime Minister to present annual reports to Parliament.

Reading the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, it is not hard to see why the 
two major parliamentary political parties voted against it.

The Declaration comprises 42 Articles. 

For example, Articles 3 and 4 state:

"Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development"

"Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions".

Article 10 would send alarm bells to the mining companies and their obedient politicians.

"Indigenous people shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories."

The Rights expressed in the Declaration are far in advance of the Voice and the promise by the federal Government that the Voice would have required governments to "consult" with Indigenous Peoples on some issues.

The UN Declaration when first passed by a majority in the General Assembly in 2007 was a "non-binding" Resolution. Even so, four settler society governments -USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia voted against it. 

Lidia Thorpe rightly expressed her anger at the federal government voting against the Bill in Parliament on 6 December 2023. The federal government voting against the Bill showed that they now have no problem supporting a non-binding UN Resolution. Enshrining the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Articles into Commonwealth law would be binding on the government, a far cry from the requirement to "consult" with Indigenous Peoples' representatives but not being bound by their demands.

When it comes to the crunch, the major political parties in parliaments at both state and federal levels since the Voice was defeated are acting in a manner that shows they are more interested in protecting the interests of capitalism and the policiesof the imperialists than the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Another example of this was the recent banning of the words "From the River to The Sea" on a mural by an Indigenous artist at a local Adelaide suburban community public school.

The mural expressed solidarity and connection between the Indigenous Peoples of Australia and Palestine.


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