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  1. #1
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    Australia : Indigenous activists threaten bid for UN seat

    Indigenous activists threaten Australia's bid for UN seat
    Lanai Vasek
    January 26, 2012

    INDIGENOUS activists are threatening to scuttle Australia's bid for a seat on the UN Security Council unless Julia Gillard signs a sovereignty treaty handing ownership of the nation's lands back to Aboriginal people.


    On the 40th anniversary of Canberra's Aboriginal Tent Embassy, founding member Michael Anderson said indigenous leaders would meet in the nation's capital this weekend to draft the proposed treaty.

    Mr Anderson, 60, said the Gillard government's push to recognise indigenous Australians in the Constitution did not go far enough to promote Aboriginal rights.

    He said his people needed to be formally recognised as the "true owners" of Australian land.

    Mr Anderson, a critic of indigenous leaders Noel Pearson and Marcia Langton, labelled Australia Day "invasion day" and branded as "arrogant" the Prime Minister and the Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin.

    He said the treaty of sovereignty would be finalised within a fortnight before being circulated among Aboriginal communities for consultation and then presented to the government.

    Mr Anderson, the only living founder of the Tent Embassy, said the proposed treaty would allow indigenous people to have total control over their own laws and live according to indigenous law.

    He said the document would also seek compensation from Australian taxpayers for the "land they stole".

    "We have to locate our niche in society and we will never be able to do that if we are beggars," Mr Anderson said.

    He said a team of international lawyers were working on the case, and the matter would be taken to the United Nations.

    "If the government refuses to talk to us about serous matters, of making settlements, then we will commence an international campaign against Australia sitting on the UN Security Council," Mr Anderson said.

    He said without the treaty the UN would "never agree" to grant Australia a seat on the council.

    More than $25 million has been budgeted for the bid for Australia to win a temporary seat on the UN Security Council this year, with Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd leading the charge.

    Mr Anderson said he would be requesting meetings with Ms Gillard and Mr Rudd later in year to discuss the treaty.

    He said he was astounded by how much Australia had "gone backwards" when it came to indigenous recognition and rights.

    "This country has gone mad. The leadership in this country is non-existent," Mr Anderson said.

    He said if the treaty was not agreed to by the government "Australia will become the next South Africa".

    "And we'll make sure of that because we will roll this thing out all across the world talking about how Australia deals with its indigenous population," Mr Anderson said.

    Close to 1000 indigenous people congregated at the Tent Embassy across from Old Parliament House in Canberra today, with nearly 500 participating in a march through the city.

    theaustralian.com.au

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    Mr Anderson is not helping at all.

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