Photo: Independent candidate for Nhulunbuy Yingiya Mark Guyula is calling for a treaty.
Nhulunbuy independent candidate Yingiya Mark Guyula calls for treaty with Indigenous people
By Alyssa Betts
Wed 9 Mar 2016, 4:09 PM AEDT
It is time for Australia to forge a treaty with its Indigenous peoples, an independent candidate contesting the upcoming Northern Territory election has said.
Yingiya Mark Guyula will run in the NT seat of Nhulunbuy with the backing of the Yolngu Nations Assembly, a group of Arnhem Land Aboriginal leaders.
He said Australian Government ministers needed to hold the same diplomatic talks with Arnhem Land Aboriginal leaders as they would with a foreign country.
"Because most of the time it was the CEOs or representatives from the Northern Territory Government — or representatives from the Federal Government — that's been coming and sitting down with the highest rank of my elders, and that's not good enough," Yingiya said.
"[I'm] campaigning on a treaty which is equal opportunities in self-management, self-determination — power for the people.
"We have been disempowered by Stronger Futures. We have been disempowered by the Intervention."
The Yolngu Nations Assembly (YNA) has regional representatives from eight areas in Arnhem Land, and aims to uphold Madayin law, which they say is the traditional legal system of Yolngu people.
Nhulunbuy locals say treaty needed as sovereignty never ceded
The YNA maintains they have never ceded sovereignty and that their system of law is overseen through their own authorities and government.
"We want the Government to recognise our Madayin system of law, and that it may be run in partnership with the Westminster system of law," Yingiya said.
Yingiya said Aboriginal parliamentarians from major Northern Territory parties had not been able to bring about much-needed change for Indigenous people.
"The Aboriginal people ... who've run in the seats of Labor or the CLP [Country Liberals party] have failed simply because they've been under pressure, under a different system of law: the Westminster system of law."
Yingiya is now touring parts of Victoria and New South Wales to raise funds for his campaign.
Labor's grip on the seat of Nhulunbuy has loosened with the closing of the town's refinery and the recent NT Electoral Commission's boundary redistribution. But ABC election analyst Antony Green estimates sitting member Lynne Walker's old margin of 19 per cent would still be nearly 14 per cent, even with the changes.