plangermairreenner man of the Turbuna-Meenamatta (Mt Ben Lomond) region
Strong treaty demands have been going on with the Federal Government since John Howard’s prime ministership, 1997-2007 and continues to be dismissed by successive federal governments. Action in Victoria has led to a treaty being developed, but this is more a simple legislation which keeps the idea contained within Australian law. We see First Nation leaders discussing treaty options that align with a long-held presumption that any citizenship issues have already been resolved. There is an assumption that the 1967 referendum that allowed ‘Aboriginals’ to be included in the census, and giving powers to the Commonwealth Government to make decisions for the Aboriginal people was about citizenship. Rather a presumption of citizenship by settler colonial-Australia was asserted. However, Aboriginal people have never been citizens and the truth of history-reality are in conflict. Importantly, First Nations’ leaders are not discussing whether citizenship rights exist for us much less understand its true nature in treaty discussions. My intention is to expose the presumption of citizenship of First Nations in Australia. I will reason why the lack of citizenship rights is a major factor in treaty negotiations since any Treaty needs to be between sovereign entities. In fact, settler colonial-Australia’s insistence that Aboriginal people are citizens means that any Treaties developed are at risk of being meaningless legislative measures. A presumption to ensure a formal agreement between our First Nations and the Australian Government could be overlooked. Until this dilemma is recognised to be pre-eminent in the movement toward a Treaty or Treaties, First Nations’ people of Australia will continue to live within a state of exclusion, and at the whim of an alien settler colonial governance.
Jim Everett – puralia meenamatta was born at Flinders Island, Tasmania in 1942.
Jim Everett is a plangermairreenner man of the Turbuna-Meenamatta (Mt Ben Lomond) region, a clan of the greater Cape Portland nations in North-east Tasmania. Jim left primary school at 14 years to start work. His working life includes 15 years at sea as a fisherman and merchant seaman, Australian Regular Army for 3 years, and over 50 years of formal involvement in the Aboriginal Struggle. He has a long history of involvement in Aboriginal community-based organisations and in the public service, and has traveled Australia visiting many remote Aboriginal communities. Jim began writing poetry at an early age. His first play, We Are Survivors, was produced in 1984, and he directed and acted in it. His written works include plays, political and keynote papers and short stories. He produced One People Sing Freedom (ABC-TV 1988), and has been associate producer in many documentary films. He is published in many anthologies. Jim lives on Cape Barren Island writing and maintaining his involvement in cultural arts nationally.