Australian Senate to vote on weakening indigenous people’s land rights forever

Land rights, not mining rights

Today (13 June) the Australian Senate will vote on whether to weaken Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land rights forever. Attorney-General [justice minister] George Brandis’ changes to the Native Title Act are designed to help out the Indian Adani company’s coalmine plans in Queensland, and their other mining mates, but will have far reaching consequences for our people and future generations. It’s urgent that we flood [Labor opposition leader] Bill Shorten’s office today to tell him not to side with the government, vote down the “Adani amendments” and protect our land rights. Click here to read the talking points before you pick up the phone.


If enough of us can launch a last minute alarm into the Labor party by picking up the phone or sending an email, we can get block these changes to our land rights. Back when this legislation was first introduced, 20,000 of you wrote a submission to the Parliament about the changes in just 48 hours.

When the government tried to rush through the changes without consultation, we delayed the vote. Since then, nothing has changed. There has been no further consultation with Indigenous communities.

And a poll we commissioned that I spoke about on Radio National yesterday, found that more than half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people hadn’t heard about the changes to Native Title and 81% were concerned about changes that would benefit the mining industry.

We can do this! Call Bill Shorten now and tell him to block the bill. Our land rights are so important for allowing us to fulfil our duty to protect country. We can’t let them be traded away for short term profits.

Like Tony McAvoy, Australia’s first Indigenous QC [Queen’s Counsel = senior attorney], said last week, Senators must take a deep breath and come to terms with the fact that the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people all over Australia will be affected by the proposed amendments.

We will continue this fight for land rights until we see justice for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

In solidarity Larissa, for the Seed and AYCC teams.

Here's Tony McAvoy's great piece


And here's my interview on ABC Radio National


The Australian Youth Climate Coalition · Australia

You can keep up with Australian Youth Climate Coalition on Twitter.

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It’s make or break time for decency.


After two failed attempts in the Parliament, the Government is bringing back its pro-mining Native Title amendments, and appears to have the support of the Labor Opposition.


It will be heard in Parliament today.


We will be there too. We will maintain our resistance. We will make sure that no matter what happens, everyone knows that we are not going away. That Adani still has us to contend with.


There are some parts of the bill worth considering, but there is no doubt that key parts are intended to advantage Adani and the mining lobby.


Our fellow Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owner, and one of Australia’s leading native title lawyers, Tony McAvoy SC, spoke out strongly last week.


He made it clear that a trial to decide the fate of Adani’s deal with the W&J would take place in March 2018, even if the Senate votes to amend the Native Title Act.


Adani’s problems with W&J will not be solved this week. We have them in the court and they are going nowhere fast.


Tony also offered the Parliament a way through the current debate. He encouraged Senators to take a deep breath and come to terms with the fact that the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people all over Australia will be affected by the proposed amendments.


These native title changes should not be rushed because the mining industry says jump.


We support the sensible suggestion of ‘splitting the Bill’.


This means that some Indigenous Land Use Agreements, entered in good faith, and working well for Traditional Owners, are not inadvertently affected by the recent Federal Court decision. But the changes that were clearly designed by George Brandis to give away our rights to Adani remain invalid.


But this is a simple measure. There’s no crisis, no urgency and no need to go further at this time.


It would be better that proper Native Title Act reform be pursued by consulting with Aboriginal people around the country to gain consent for real improvements.


We have asked Labor to reconsider its position. You can help by contacting Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and reminding him of your support for our rights.


Nothing has changed since the bill was last before the Senate in May. There has been no deeper or broader consultation with Aboriginal communities around the country since the bill was last rejected.


Please email Bill Shorten on:


And cc us on:


Tell him you will be watching and that support by Labor for the Government’s bill will be taken as an abandonment of their once strong and principled commitment to Aboriginal rights.


There’s been too much noise about Adani. Settling native title amendments has become synonymous with looking after Adani’s interests.


But Adani’s interests lie in taking away our right to say no, to challenge them in the courts, and to resist their destruction of our country.


And they have much of the media, and the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments, onside.


They ignore us, denigrate and marginalise us, or pretend we’d be better off if only we supported their crazy project.


But we will fight on and continue to tell our true story.


And to help people better understand our fight, please read and share 'Unfinished Business: Adani, the State and the Indigenous Rights Struggle of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council'.


This report by senior researchers from the University of Queensland raises issues that are crucial to the important and timely debate about the rights of Indigenous peoples in Australia and around the world.  


And to help us keep up our fight and hold Adani to account in the courts, please donate when you can.


As always, we are grateful for your support of our campaign to protect our country and spare the world this mine of mass destruction.


Adrian Burragubba & Murrawah Johnson


for the Wangan & Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council

In a cynical publicity stunt last week, Adani gave themselves a ‘green light’ for their polluting mega-mine.

The very next day, the company threatened to walk away unless they get $1 billion of public money.

They can't get a bank to fund their mine. Adani are trying to wedge our elected representatives. They want public money. Now.

But they know their polluting mine has no social license. Over the past few weeks, political support for the mega-mine has started to fracture. One after another, MPs are breaking ranks to speak out against the mine. An unnamed Liberal Party figure told a Guardian journalist, “Christ, I wish it would just go away.”

With Adani more desperate than ever and a small cheer squad of politicians suffering coal-mania, right now, the stakes are sky high.

That’s why it’s critical we make the #StopAdani campaign thunder through our streets and reverberate all the way to Parliament House.

Will you donate today so together, we can stop Adani from holding our elected representatives to ransom and shelve this polluting megamine once and for all?

We don’t have deep pockets like Adani. We don’t have millions of dollars to make flashy ad campaigns or hire lobbyists to sweet talk politicians.

But we work in different currencies. Like passion. And people power. And our moral responsibility to leave our children and grandchildren a liveable planet.

Right now, together, we need to make the #StopAdani campaign rumble through our communities across the country, in Parliament, on social media and in the national press.

With your donation today, together we can:

Recruit a new #StopAdani campaigner to work 100% dedicated to this campaign

Investigate and expose the damage Adani’s coal would cause our reef, people and planet

Seed, skill up and empower local communities to target their MPs through the #StopAdaniChallenge

Hire logistics coordinators in key cities to prepare for mass mobilisations in the coming months

Help regional Queenslanders get to Canberra to speak for the future their local communities want to see

We won’t let a polluting company build a megamine that will wreck our climate, steal our future or destroy our reef. Not now. Not ever.

Thank you,


Kelly O'Shanassy
Chief Executive Officer

Australian Conservation Foundation