Non Vox Nostra
One of the principal issues that document identifies is reparations. Its article 28 endorses the following two clauses:
1/ Indigenous peoples have the right to redress, by means that can include restitution or, when this is not possible, of a just, fair and equitable compensation, for the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used, and which have been confiscated, taken, occupied, used or damaged without their free, prior and informed consent.
2/ Unless otherwise freely agreed upon by the peoples concerned, compensation shall take the form of lands, territories and resources equal in quality, size and legal status or of monetary compensation or other appropriate redress.
Since the Aboriginal political class now declares at every opportunity that they never surrendered their sovereignty over all of Australia and that British occupation of Aboriginal land in 1788 was illegal both then and now, the Commonwealth government could be faced with some very costly demands. The appropriate reparations would be equal in value to all the property that was purportedly stolen from them – that is, the entire continent of Australia, its offshore islands and waterways – that have not already been returned or compensated.
In 2005, another declaration by the UN was passed by the General Assembly. This is generally identified as the acceptance of the human rights set out in the Van Boven Principles. (The formal title was: Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law). Today it is frequently referenced in papers and reports on Aboriginal policy by Australia’s various human rights bureaucracies and in documents advocating Aboriginal treaties.
For example, one of the most exhaustive of these reports is the Northern Territory Treaty Commission, Final Report, 2022, which argues that a treaty with First Nations should provide reparations for indigenous people under the Van Boven Principles. This requires the Commonwealth to provide to Aboriginal people “an acknowledgement and apology for breaches of human rights; guarantees against repetition; measures of restitution; measures of rehabilitation, and monetary compensation”.
The NT report says reparations should be paid to those indigenous peoples who have suffered personal pain and suffering, and have endured losses of identity, family connection, language, culture, and access to traditional land. Since large numbers of those who identify as Aboriginal today would not trouble their conscience by pleading they or their ancestors endured such misfortunes, they would not hesitate to join the long queue for reparation payments.
We already have an example of the granting of similar terms by the Commonwealth government in the $600 million dollar grant announced in 2021 to members of the Stolen Generations and their offspring. The then Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, allocated the money for the “healing” of those allegedly suffering from trauma. Most of it, some $378 million, was to fund a “redress scheme” comprising compensation grants of $75,000 to each individual who identifies as a survivor of the Stolen Generations, plus a $7000 grant “to facilitate healing”. The rest was allocated for grants for research services and healing treatments.
Even though the major test case of the Stolen Generations in the Northern Territory Supreme Court, Cubillo and Gunner v Commonwealth, found the claims by the plaintiffs were unproven, and the High Court of Australia in Kruger v Commonwealth found the same about claims of genocide, Wyatt agreed to pay compensation not only to those who claimed to have been stolen but to their relatives and descendants for the alleged trauma they suffered, with no limit on how distant this family relationship might be. Even the great-grandchildren of the original Stolen Generations claimants could make a claim. The policy would serve those “descended from older generations who were removed — great grandparents, grandparents, parents, aunties, and uncles”.
Even greater munificence can be expected if the current Commonwealth government wins constitutional referendum later this year and introduces a treaty with similar ideological objectives.
The key ideas that inform these policies do not derive from Aboriginal culture or its modern political advocates. Like the term “First Nations”, the most influential ideas about reparations and compensation in the international milieu come from the US. They are not ancient or traditional there either.
Senator Liddle said the gruelling process of establishing an Indigenous Voice to Parliament is distracting the federal government from addressing some of the most urgent issues such as poverty and suicide and incarceration rates.
Do you think Anthony Albanese will ever answer Peter Dutton’s 15 questions?
‘Warning to all Australians’: Jacinta Price predicts Voice to Parliament constitutional change will lead to High Court challenges
Indigenous Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price has hit out at Anthony Albanese’s “very dangerous” Voice proposal arguing there was “no guarantee” the body would not challenge government decisions in the High Court.
Country Liberal Party Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price says the Prime Minister’s proposed Voice to Parliament constitutional amendment left open the door to numerous High Court challenges.
The Prime Minister unveiled the wording for the referendum question as well as the lines which will be embedded into the constitution in Parliament on Thursday.
But despite reservations that his draft words revealed last year could allow the Voice to challenge government decisions in the High Court, Mr Albanese made very few changes.
- There shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice;
- The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
- The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its composition, functions, powers and procedures.
Senator Price raised concerns with the provision which allows the Voice to “make representations” to the “Executive Government”.
“If they do not agree with what the executive has to say or what they want to legislate, there is no guarantee that they will not take this to the High Court to challenge,” Senator Price said in Canberra on Thursday.
“Not even a cabinet minister has the right to make a challenge in the High Court about decisions that they don’t agree with.
“If you think they’re not going to challenge the government of the day, the executive, within the high court…this will then put strain on the rest of the nation for decisions being made for all Australians.”
Senator Price argued the Labor government had “buckled” to the demands of the First Nations referendum working group after being urged to reconsider the reference to the executive.
“This voice proposal, the question going forward and the fact that it refers to the executive is very dangerous. This is a warning to Australians to really understand what’s going on here,” she added.
Country Liberal Party Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price said the Albanese government had “buckled” to the demands of the referendum working group.
“Given there is reference to the opportunity for the Voice to make
representations to the executive suggests that they have a power that basically is a power stronger than a cabinet minister.
“And there is no guarantee, they cannot guarantee that they will absolutely not be challenged in the High Court.”
The Prime Minister was questioned on whether the inclusion of “Executive Government” could lead to legal challenges.
Mr Albanese reassured voters the working group included some of the “best legal minds in the country” who had designed the question to “rule out any of the nonsense” which could be used to disparage the Voice.
“If you look at the tweaking of some of the words, it’s based upon advice, making it very clear about the primacy of the parliament, making it very clear that this isn’t about veto or third chambers or anything else,” Mr Albanese said.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has demanded the Prime Minister release the Solicitor-General’s advice on the constitutional amendment which may have suggested the removal of the words “Executive Government”.
AEC launches ‘Disinformation Register’ amid Voice debate
Electoral Commissioner aims to tackle ‘misinformation’ about the Voice referendum process.
Comment by Nelle- AEC is a joke and not to be trusted