“Always was, always will be Aboriginal land” was the cry as supporters marched into the High Court. The High Court had just dismissed a challenge to the federal intervention into Northern Territory Aboriginal communities.
Effectively this means the take over of aboriginal land can continue by the Federal Government in the Northern Territory along with ongoing introduction of race based legislation. It went to court as some elders believe they were not being justly compensated for the loss of their land (and I suggest the lack of control over their land) covering their townships and several sacred sites. The court decided that there were mechanisms in place to determine a a fair compensation.
Jenny Macklin the Minister for Indigenous Affairs has also started fair compensation will be offered.
Us whitefellas look at this in purely monetary terms. Our indigenous people don’t. You ony have to spend time with them to see even the youngest talk about their country and can describe it from stories though they may not yet have been there.
How do you compensate for the loss of something that is part of you, that sustains you, that is your spirit? Even where they have not owned the land for several generations our aboriginal people still talk of how “their” country sustains them.
I just love the place because it is part of us.
It is interesting to note that in dismissing the challenge the High Court had to overturn a previous High Court decision that had stood since 1969.
Below is the ABC news article:
Maningrida owners to be compensated: Macklin
Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin says she is planning to fairly compensate Northern Territory traditional owners who have lost a court case against her over their land.
The traditional owners had argued it was unconstitutional of the Federal Government to take over their land at Maningrida for five years as part of the federal Indigenous intervention.
But the Federal Court ruled in Canberra today that the Government was justified in taking over the land if it offers just compensation and Ms Macklin said she was already planning to offer compensation.
“Our Federal Government has always taken the view that just terms compensation should be paid,” she said.
“That’s why I’ve asked the Northern Territory valuer-general to do the valuation of the level of compensation which should be paid. As soon as he gives me that advice, compensation will begin to be paid.
“I understand that people have very strong views about it, but I acted beforehand to make sure that we demonstrated that this Government will pay just terms compensation.”
Link: The Australian Newspaper
If you like this post and what else you see on the blog please subscribe by RSS feed (the orange button) or by email. The email subscription is just under my profile picture. Or you can visit my subscription page.