Yow, NT elections are on this year in August 2016. Yolŋu from Arnhem Land have electorate areas: Arafura, Arnhem and Nhulunbuy. Since the first NT legislative council in 1947, we Yolŋu have been voting for ALP and CLP politicians to speak on our behalf, but their policy is governed according to the Monarch of the Commonwealth of England, created by a King 800 years ago, or more. That’s why our voices through politicians, (both Yolŋu and Balanda) have never been listened to, because that law is not ours. It operates according to the (foreign) Westminster system of law. Sadly, some Indigenous candidates will stand for ALP and CLP parties this year, but they will be controlled by a foreign sovereignty. I have been endorsed by the Yolŋu Nations Assembly to stand as an Independent candidate for the seat of Nhulunbuy, and I will represent my people according to the Yolŋuw maḏayin system of governance created by a mimay’ (unseen creator), created ever since time began, and handed through Djaŋ’kawu and Barama/Lany’tjun. I am proud to be a Yolŋu leader/elder. I have knowledge systems passed on to me by fathers. I will represent my people with the Djirrikay (proclamation) according to the Yolŋu Ŋärra (parliament) of this land.
The reason that I want to do this is the voices of my people, of Arnhem Land and Australia wide, our voices have never really got through to the parliament house in the way it was meant to be. Our voices and our cause have been misinterpreted and twisted around and the politicians we have voted in before have always thought of how Yolngu people should live. It’s always been said “I think this is what is good for you”, rather, I want to go in there and say “this is what we know we need for our children, this is what we know we need for our community.”
I come from a background of Yolngu knowledge systems and the parliament and constitution on the ground (from our land). I’m standing as an Independent for the Seat of Nhulunbuy to represent my people and make sure the voice of our people is heard.
We want our power back we want to do our own justice, we want to do our own discipline, we want to be who we are, who we have been for over 40,000 years of culture that has been here and survived. We want our system of law to be recognised. I will speak for my people, what the voices are saying; “Give us our power back, give us our freedom back, give us our life back.” We want treaty. We want a partnership. We want a dialogue in decision-making. We want diplomatic discussions with the government, the Yolngu government and the balanda government working together, making decisions for our people together.
Most recently, our communities have endured Federal and NT government policies through “The Intervention” and “Stronger Futures” policies. As a normal part of life my people are now subject to:
– blanket welfare quarantining
– the threat of fines and further welfare cuts for not attending school
– the abuse of our children’s minds in ‘English Only’ and Direct Instruction – schools are making our children dumber not smarter.
– the threat of arbitrary acquisition of our community assets by government
– work for the dole branded Remote Jobs and Community Program
– the demand for leases in exchange for housing and basic infrastructure,
– the rejection of Aboriginal customary law in (non-Indigneous) court judgements of criminality
– the criminalisation of kava use
– the unregulated movement of strangers in our communities – the permit system that was once required to enter our land was removed.
We are now also subject to:
– continuous police intimidation with lower resourcing of legal aid
– the threat of 99 year leases over our communities or a new compulsory acquisition of land
– the slander of our culture
– and we are daily subject to permission by mainstream culture for outsiders to assume superiority
The Intervention also saw a temporary investment in housing, although homeland housing was defunded and some communities ended with less total rooms then they began with. Our housing assets were also taken from us by government and are now controlled by government housing organisations.
Unbeknown to most, the Intervention also coincided with a raft of NT government actions:
– the stealing of assets away from community-controlled associations to create new regional councils,….
– the destruction of bilingual or ‘two-way’ education policies for ‘English Only policies’… (and now Direct Instruction),….
– And the ‘Growth Towns’ policy which diverted almost all funding from homelands.
Our communities need real infrastructure, bilingual programs back on communities and on homelands. Not “small schools”, not “learning centres” and visiting teachers, but equality in education, with permanent qualified teachers. Health centres improved, renal patients back home with family and country. Medical facilities improved. Small businesses and CDEP back on communities and homelands. Remove this CDP “work for dole” business. Our people must exit this ‘mainstream’ we’re currently in. Our community leaders and our old people need to have that power back to think and make decisions for the community.
Without past wisdom and knowledge, there is no future for our young generation.
We Yolŋu in Arnhem land and across the country need to break the silence and call out loud for sovereignty of our nations and say TREATY NOW!!!!!!!!
If you wish to make a donation to my campaign see www.chuffed.org/project/ymgfortreaty