June 18, 2014 | Graham

Wild Rivers a victory for Indigenous progress

The Federal Court decision to rule the former ALP  Queensland government’s Wild Rivers legislation invalid is a victory for the future of Indigenous Australians, rescuing many of those in northern and western Queensland from the racist assumptions, and corrupt wheeling and dealing, of Queensland’s major left wing parties.

According to The Australian:

Federal Court judge Andrew Greenwood found yesterday that the decision was made too quickly and without enough consideration of the views of the traditional owners.

“The decision to make the declarations was a function of urgently delivering on an election promise … the declarations got ahead of the formulation of the material addressing the preconditions upon which the exercise of the power rested,” he wrote in his judgment.

The government had received 3062 submissions about the declarations, but 2577 of these were pro forma submissions made through the Wilderness Society’s website.

In other words, the decision was made by the minister without proper consideration, and it was made to secure the preferences of Greens voters.

Ironically the plaintiff in this case, Martha Koowarta, is the widow of John Koowartha, who took the Bjelke-Petersen government to court over land rights. Viewed over the course of 40 years, neither Liberal National, nor Labor have much to be proud of when it comes to land rights.

The decision will allow Aborigines to live in an economy, not just a society, and that is what they so desperately need in isolated areas.

Historically the Australian landscape has been one large farm – the ‘biggest estate on earth” as Bill Gammadge terms it in his book of the same name where he explores Aboriginal land management practices using the evidence available from original eye-witness accounts and still apparent in the landscape.

Modern Greens, through a misguided, romantic view of what nature is, and what is natural, deny the Aboriginal history, and deny Aborigines the opportunity to make a living from their own lands.

What’s more, for their own aesthetics, they would prefer to see Aborigines living what they call a “traditional” lifestyle, making them a scenic ornament, and robbing them of the opportunity to do what most other civilisations on earth have done and adapt and progress.

The sanctified Nelson Mandela may have been born in an African settlement, but he didn’t aspire to keep himself or his people there. The dream of black Africans is to join the Enlightenment project, because that project has delivered human health and well-being, as well as human dignity.

Australia’s indigenous are entitled to join the same project, and the evidence is, that when they do, by moving to the cities and becoming part of the national and international economy, their quality of life improves on a whole range of indices.

Of course, in the modern world the biggest estate on earth has to adapt as well, and who better to manage that than its indigenous owners.

The Bligh government’s authoritarian attitude to Indigenous Australians was not what is needed.

Thankfully the current LNP government appears to have learned from its mistakes in the past and is moving to ensure that not only do native landowners own their own land, but they can have proper title to it.

Changes instituted by the housing minister, with support from the Aboriginal affairs minister, means that Aborigines living in settlements are able to gain individual title to land so that they can raise finance to build their own house, or even create their own businesses.

One of the stupidest phrases that I sometimes hear is that “we live in a society, not an economy”. The plight of Aboriginal Australians, enumerated regularly in state of the nation reports, proves that the sort of society you have without an economy, is one that is unsustainable and damaging to its members.

The judgement is a huge leap forward, but it shouldn’t have had to get to the courts at all. No government should have passed the legislation in the first place.

Posted by Graham at 7:30 am | Comments (2) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. Exactly Graham!
    Now if we could just get some of the equally asinine heritage listings reversed, we could open up areas, that potentially, could earn the nation up to or over a trillion AUD a year!
    And a dam sight more useful, than a much touted tourist industry, that has just left an unrelenting tide of bankruptcies in its wake. Wild rivers is just the tip of an economic iceberg!
    We import around 91% of our oil, at an annual cost and rising, of around 26 billions per.
    Factoring in the usual multipliers, this could equate to as much as 186 billions worth of economic activity, [jobs, wealth creation] being exported!
    Is this really our policy position?
    Moreover, the imports produce 4 times as much total carbon, as that which lays virtually beneath our feet, or inside our north eastern seaboard, economic zone.
    It’s madness from both an environmental perspective, or on any pragmatic economic reckoning!
    That said, there is no case for allowing controlling foreign speculators, to sit on, manage or develop these prospects, when all the available evidence demonstrates unequivocally, that this is just a recipe, for handing over our economic sovereignty to foreigners, with absolutely everything, save the Australian national interest in mind!
    Further, these same entities and their quisling servants, will argue strenuously and disingenuously, for the seriously stupid status quo; given that serves their economic/bottom line interests alone.
    We need to become fully cognoscenti of the troubles and their implications besetting the Middle East and the Ukraine, which could easily exacerbate our rather tenuous position, relative to in house oil reserves.
    Without oil, all our defense assets are as useful as a hip pocket in a singlet!
    On a related aside, if CSG exploitation is making coal mining uneconomic, why would any rationalist, want to open up more coal mines, but particularly when vastly more profitable rare earths, lithium and copious thorium are beckoning as mining projects.
    Anyone can make a mistake, or rely on flawed ideology, to manage outcomes.
    Mistakes enable us to learn.
    Mistakes are only ever a problem, when they are compounded by repetition!
    But particularly, when those same mistake generated outcomes, all but equate to shooting yourself in your own economic foot!
    Then they must be jettisoned in favor of long overdue pragmatism.
    And this is where patent pragmatists, in comparing their decisions with ours, predicted, Australia would become the poor white trash of Asia.
    We are not pragmatists, just bumble mumble mantra mutterers, whose favorite broken record rhetoric, must surely be, the government has no business in business.
    We keep on parroting this mad hatter nonsense, while patent pragmatists, just like Lee Kwan Yu, are laughing all the way to the bank!
    Enough broken record rubbish rhetoric already!
    I mean, we surely don’t have to prove Lee Kwan Yu right?
    Wild rivers is just one area of mantra mutterers moronic moribund madness, that must be reversed!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — June 18, 2014 @ 11:01 am

  2. […] Young has described yesterday’s decision as a victory for indigenous […]

    Pingback by Federal Court Rules Against Wild Rivers | Jennifer MarohasyJennifer Marohasy — June 18, 2014 @ 12:02 pm

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