People urged to attend Canberra First Peoples sit-in

Canberra agenda

The opportunity for real change, for the reclaiming of our voices, for the reclaiming of the Aboriginal rights struggle is at hand. We have the choice of reclaiming or giving the game away. If we do not make the move now to reclaim it in Canberra there will be much damage done, irreparable damage. This is what was said yesterday at Redfern at the second of three lead-in forums to the Canberra Sit-In, on the ​27th.


Following on from the Adelaide forum which galvanised another convoy to head to Canberra, similarly so the Redfern forum. A bus will be leaving from The Block for Canberra. Contact Wiradjuri legend Jenny Munro. However those of you live in Sydney, you can get to Canberra by bus (Murray or Greyhound for between $20 to $40 and by train or by car in three hours).

Freedom Movement delegate and Wiradjuri social justice stalwart, Jenny Munro spoke passionately of the betrayal of our people by assimilationists and by Governments. Jenny said that the First People do not have to betray their identity and culture to assimilation. Jenny urged that people journey to Canberra for the Sit-In.

Indigenous Social Justice president, Wiradjuri man Ray Jackson chaired the event and he spoke of the urgent need for as many people to get to Canberra for the Sit-In. Ray called for unity and that nothing should be allowed to undermine unity. Ray was in Alice Springs at the birth of the Freedom Movement in November and he said that the Canberra Sit-In was a real shot at change.


Humanitarian and former international journalist and filmmaker, Jeff McMullen with more than four decades of service to Aboriginal communities and to the Aboriginal rights struggle spoke articulately of the far too many issues confronting the marginalised and confronting people’s right to be Aboriginal. Jeff said that if we wait any longer irreparable damage will be done to the First People of this continent. Jeff said that by the middle of this year much will “be concrete” that Government is already touting.


Humanitarian, academic, researcher but foremost a relentless social justice campaigner, Gerry Georgatos with more than three decades service to Aboriginal communities and to the Aboriginal rights struggle spoke passionately about the urgency for a sustained chance in Canberra. Gerry said positive history is only the result of cultural shifts, of people powered movements and that it is imperative everybody drop everything and get themselves to Canberra. Gerry spoke of the racism that this nation is deeply mired within and exampled a devastating story, recent, of a family who lost a loved one to suicide – in the Kimberley – and the horrific racist born treatment of his family that followed his death.

Proud Murri man Ken Canning spoke powerfully of the need for people to get to Canberra. Ken explained that no political party cares enough about the Aboriginal rights struggle, about the poverty of First People, about the attacks on their cultures. Ken said it is up to us.

The Brisbane lead-in Summit is tomorrow (Tuesday), 3pm at Musgrave Park (Brisbane Tent Embassy). Speakers will include Professor Gracelyn Smallwood who is journeying from Cairns for the forum and then is journeying to Canberra for the Sit-In. Professor Sam Watson, Wayne Coco Wharton, Uncle

Paul Spearim, Paul Bud Spearim Jr, Boe Spearim, Dr Marcus Woolombi Waters, Rosemary Bell, Jade Slockee and lastly Gerry Georgatos.

Convoys are now leaving Western Australia for the journey across the continent to Canberra for the Sit-In. There are few excuses that we cannot drop everything, and many reasons why we should, to be in Canberra.


National Freedom Movement​

Report on Redfern Freedom Summit meeting

below is the press statement from nadine re the redfern event held yesterday at the block and notice of the musgrave park event to be held tomorrow.
for our event some 50+ people attended with a rough balance between aborigines and non-aborigines.
both ghillar michael anderson and les coe, both elected freedom delegates, were unable to attend the forum.
aunt jenny kicked the forum off by reporting on the alice springs meeting and the election of the 20 freedom delegates and the call to return to their communities to speak more broadly on the issues affecting our peoples. the final point made by aunt jenny was for all people, aboriginal or no, to get to the tent embassy in canberra for the sit-in that would begin over the invasion day weekend, 25 to 27 january, and to continue at least up to the major action from the grandmothers against removals that will be held on 13 february. parliament begins sitting from 9 february. actions and events will occur throughout the sit-in. see attached freedom summit leaflet.
our next speaker was jeff mcmullen who is very well known for his outstanding support to the fight for real justice for aboriginal people, including most importantly, our freedom summit call for the decolonisation of aboriginal lives. jeff also urged for all who possibly can to make it to canberra.
gerry georgatos then in a most honest and passionate address gave reason after reason why the freedom summit needed to happen and as a consequence of that the absolute necessity for all who possibly could from around australia to be in canberra for the sit-in and the actions arising from that event. his amplification of suicide issues for our people was particularly poignant.
another long time campaigner for justice then told of his life search for justice, a real and substantial justice, for all aborigines. ken canning, aka burraga gutya, added his commitment to the cause of sovereignty, treaties and social justice. ken spoke of the horrors of our huge numbers of men, women and our children in the corrupt gaols and juvenile justice centres. and yet again the plea to be in canberra for the sit-in.
further reports on these four contributions are below.
a proud noongar warrior was then invited to speak to us and thus uncle ben spoke of his life and his long time contribution to the struggle for justice at all levels in wa. other warriors were raised whose involvement in the struggles will never be forgotten as they are now part of the black-and-white history
of our nations since the invasion of noongar country.
following uncle ben was the voice of our youth when felon took the floor to remind us that the battles were not restricted just to the old but was a youth issue also. all, young and old, women and men, were needed at the canberra sit-in but it also needed to be understood that the redfern aboriginal tent embassy, (rate) was integral to our long walk for justice and will be continuing during the sit-in in canberra and therefore for those unable to attend the act tent embassy then they were urged to come and support the tent embassy at the block.
in that same vein the forum was reminded also of the joint isja-rate invasion day rally and march on invasion day here for those activists and/or supporters who are unable to be in canberra over the invasion weekend. more on this event later in the week. we have given the police notice of our intention to march so hopefully it will be a peaceful event and not replicate the shame of cronulla.
ray jackson
indigenous social justice association

prix des droits de l'homme de la republique francaise 2013
(french human rights medal 2013)
1303/200 pitt street, waterloo. 2017
61 2 9318 0947
0450 651 063

we live and work on the stolen lands of the gadigal people


See also



Henry Reynolds: If We Are To Re-Think Australia Day, Where Should We Begin   |   What’s in a name?   |  We must look to our humanity to solve the crisis of Indigenous incarceration | Racism alive and well