Category Archives: For your information

Trayvon & The License To Kill

14 full days, 56 witnesses, 7 Statements by the defendant, 200 pieces of Evidence, 3 911 calls, 6 non-emergency calls by the defendant and 6 jurors. That was the trial of George Zimmerman, charged and as we now know found not guilty of second degree murder for shooting Trayvon Martin dead.

The trial lasted approximately 6720 minutes, I watched and heard them all live as they happened. Having worked on a capital case (Angel Diaz) in Florida my interest in the matter was more than, but not excluding, the issues that seemed to capture the attention of so many around the world and here in Australia. I wanted to write something during the trial, I wanted to write something when the verdict came down but what do you write when you see nothing that isn’t just part of the daily struggle.

There was nothing particularly unique about this trial or even the case for that matter. A dead black child the result of a gun shot wound is not much news to report in the US of A. And despite all the publicity, all the media and all the talk I knew during those 6720 minutes of trial time that it didn’t matter what happened in the trial, Zimmerman was getting off. How could I be so sure? Find me a trial in the south where a white man has been convicted by an all white jury of killing a black man!

Oh, you hadn’t heard that one before! Well you can spend all day looking, but you won’t be able to prove me wrong. That is the dirty little secret of race that really plagued this trial. It wasn’t that Zimmerman may or may not have racially profiled young Trayvon, we know he did. We know from his statements (“these fucking punks, arseholes”), the witness whose evidence wasn’t allowed on the stand¬†“I know George, and I know that he does not like black people…He would start something. He’s a very confrontational person. It’s in his blood. Let’s just say that.”, And Zimmerman’s previous 6 calls to police regarding young black men apparently up to no good who it turns out did nothing. Or the witness that would have given evidence about the Zimmerman families racism (Not allowed as evidence), Zimmerman assaulting a police officer in 2005 (not allowed as evidence) or Zimmerman’s ex-fiance who took out a restraining order against him for Domestic Violence. No, none of that could be allowed in to prove this was an angry racist, a violent one who didn’t really like Black people. It wasn’t just that George was racist, that we were allowed to know, it was the systems overt racism that had to remain behind bars.

All of which made the jury of his peers, that nice representation of society (31% Black in that part of Florida), the 6 white women, perfect for ensuring history would not be made with the conviction of a white man killing a black man in the south. Oh, but one of the jurors was Hispanic I hear you say…., So was George ūüėČ This as DL Hughley rightly pointed out is not about the white man, not about supposed “Brown Solidarity”, this is a “Black Non-Black thing”.

This is what helps all explain away the fact that one was a boy, the other a man. One was armed with a packet of skittles and the other a gun, one more than 50lbs heavier and that heavier male with the gun also having trained in mixed martial arts for 18months being deemed the one in fear of his life and justified in shooting that black boy dead. It’s what helps you explain a medical examiner who said you can voluntarily walk around and talk 15 seconds after having your heart ripped out of your chest. Yes he said it, check the transcript. While you are there you can read another expert testify that Trayvon was the bigger threat even with Zimmerman having a gun, a great deal of practice on the firing range and close combat MMA training. Normally we’d call bullshit, but to continue to free white men for killing black men you have to continue to suspend belief in all the evidence and that is just what the jury did, just as it was planned out for them and just the way they saw it even after it was all over. Juror B37 has since stated when asked if she felt sorry for Trayvon that she felt sorry for George.

That’s how it plays out, that you can end up dead and the guy that kills you earns the sympathy. That a child who commits no crime can be shot in the heart and his killer not only get off but get his gun back. It’s a non-Black Black thing. Just like we have a non-Indigenous Indigenous thing in Australia. Where you can be a highly paid columnist found guilty of racism and yet with your TV show, radio show, blog and newspaper articles still feel “Silenced” and have one particular political party go into bat for your free speech rights. That’s how Marlon Noble can be locked up in WA for 10 years for no crime and that’s how¬†Mulrunji can have his liver split in two but his killer not convicted just those who protested his death.

It’s a Black Non-Black thing and until we own that the next Trayvon killer, the next Mulrunji killer, has a license to kill!

Fundraiser for Naomi Foster, Please Help A Young Aboriginal Woman!

Naomi Foster, a local Yuin woman from Wallaga Lake, is recovering from a blood clot that has left her paralysed with restricted arm, neck and head movement. is asking you to take the time to read the poster below and spare a little money to help this young, strong woman through a very difficult time.


Please make donations at any Westpac Branch with account name Southern Womens Group ‚Äď Naomi Foster, PO BOX 468 Bega, NSW 2550. The fundraising will close at the end of September.

Bradley Manning

Kimberley Aboriginal families lodging legal challenge to Canning Basin Agreement

Aboriginal families in the Kimberley are planning a legal challenge of the Canning Basin Agreement, saying it is premature and erodes their native title rights.

The Joint Venture Agreement was signed between the State Government, Buru Energy and Mitsubishi Corporation and passed through Parliament earlier this week.

The agreement sets out time frames for the companies, secures a portion of the gas they produce for the domestic market and exempts them from having to renew their exploration permits for a decade.

Karajarri chairman Joe Edgar says they, and the Nyikina Mangala families, have decided to lodge a legal challenge in the Supreme Court.

“We were quite unhappy to learn about it because we’re still in the negotiating process,” he said.

“It’s really disturbing.”

In a written response, a spokeswoman for the Premier has said the Canning Basin Agreement does not relate to native title.

She says it will be up to the companies to negotiate with traditional owners and ensure all the correct native title and cultural approvals are in place before the project proceeds.

Immigration Mathematics

Mathematics || Spoken Word by Hollie McNish

A poem about immigration, based on a guy I used to have to listen to when I worked in a clothes shop. The poem owes a lot to a book by economist Philippe Legrain called Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them:¬†…. It’s a good book, I wish we had it on the school curriculum.

We and the land are one – Guboo Ted Thomas

The original Wallaga Lake and Mumbulla Mountain Aboriginal land rights claim documents submitted by Guboo Ted Thomas to the NSW Parliament in the 1970s were recently found at the Bega Aboriginal Land Council. The documents capture the tone of dispossession and emerging Aboriginal activism of the time. They are also the powerful submissions that ultimately led to the handing of title to the Yuin people of the Wallaga Lake Reserve and the protection of Mumbulla Mountain as an Aboriginal Place.

 In June 1978 Guboo Ted Thomas wrote to then NSW Premier Neville Wran:

“We, the Aboriginal people of Wallaga Lake and members of the Yuin tribe, do hereby place before you and the Government of New South Wales our claim for our Land Rights.”

The claim was for the title deeds of Yuin tribal lands at Wallaga Lake to be handed over to the Aboriginal people.

It was the beginning of a battle for lands rights that would last many years.

“When white people first came to Australia, they took all the land, with dreadful consequences for our people,” he wrote.

“Even though there was plenty of land for everyone, they took the lot!’

The Wallaga Lake Aboriginal Reserve had been created in 1891 by the NSW Aborigines Protection Board and run by a state appointed manager.

Aboriginal people from the Yuin tribe as well as people from the Monaro and Victoria were moved there.

The speaking of Aboriginal language was banned, traditional culture discouraged, and the managers controlled movement to and from the reserve.

Guboo Ted Thomas was born in 1909, grew up on the Wallaga Lake Aboriginal Reserve, and as a young man was educated in the rites, laws, and customs of the Yuin people.

He was 58 years old when all Aboriginal people were finally made Australian citizens following the 1967 referendum.

In the early 1970s he began campaigning for Aboriginal land rights and remained an activist until his death in 2002.

In his 1978 submission to then NSW Premier Neville Wran he wrote that almost all of land on which generations of Aboriginal people had lived had been taken from them, leaving them only a few acres of which did not even have title.

Original document

Original document

“We must always live in fear and insecurity, worrying if even the little we have will be taken away from us,” he wrote.

He pointed to section once part of the reserve, now the coastal suburb of Akolele, that in 1949 ‘was taken away from us and given to white people for their holiday homes’.

“This bit of land was very important to us because it contains one of our sacred burial grounds.”

The claim did not contest that land ‘as we do not wish to disturb these people’.

He expressed worry that with the white population increasing they would lose even more land.

The claim asked that the title deeds to the remaining reserve, as well as Merriman’s Island, and adjacent Crown Lands be handed over to the Yuin people in perpetuity.

“This land is part of us and we are part of it. It has always been so in the past and it will always be so in the future. We and the land are one.”

Five years later, after continued lobbying and demonstrations, the title deeds were handed over to the Yuin people.

Meanwhile, in 1979, Guboo Ted Thomas began seeking the support of the white community to recognise the cultural significance of Mumbulla Mountain, about 30 km south west of Wallaga Lake.

He explained how it was a sacred mountain where boys would be initiated and ‘taught about the Tribal Law and how they should behave, and they were taught the special secrets of our Culture’.

“They had to spend a long time on the Mountain away from their people, and they were put through special tests to prove that they were men.

“Then they were initiated and brought back to the tribe as young men who respected their Tribal Law and Culture.

“The law has been handed down from one generation to the next, ever since the Dreamtime.”

He wrote how the last initiations had been held around 1918 and how he had been too young.

He was concerned about logging destroying the sites and wrote of his distrust of the then Forestry Commission who he claimed were ignoring a provision to survey sacred sites before beginning logging operations.

He was successful in getting the logging stopped while an archaeological survey was carried out by archaeologist Brian Egloff.

He lobbied for support that the ‘whole area of Mumbulla Mountain in which sacred sites are located should be gazetted as an Aboriginal Place … administered by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.”

Mumbulla Mountain was gazetted as an Aboriginal Place in 1984.

In 2006, four years after Guboo’s death, it was incorporated into a complete handover of the Gulaga and Biamanga National Parks to the Yuin people, as he had envisaged, jointly managed by the Aboriginal owners and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Bill Brown

I’ll Keep it Brief Mia – Australian Blackface

1. As most of us know Delta Goodrem retweeted the other night a chap in blackface and thought it “Hilarious”

2. Mia Freedman uses her popular website Mamamia to defend Delta and suggesting “there is a huge difference between painting your face black to mock an entire race and painting yourself black to respectfully dress up as someone who has black skin.”

Well that is where you are dead wrong Mia, your whole article is wrong, but this is particularly offensive. There is a misconception in your article and in most of what is written about Blackface that it began as a way of white actors painting on the black and playing buffoonish characters. This is flatly incorrect! Although this is what would become of Blackface it actually started much earlier in serious theatre were the complete lack of black actors meant the roles were filled by white folk with their faces and arms painted black.

Now why couldn’t black people simply play those roles like we would expect now. Geez we got a whole season of Redfern Now with an Indigenous cast playing their own black roles. What on earth was going on back in the¬†halcyon days of blackface that required white folk to black up.


This is what was happening Mia, this is where the black men were in this country! I know you probably think slavery was confined to the United States and ended with the Civil War and stamped out with the Civil Rights movement. But how about looking back at the history of your own country, the massacres, the forced labour, the removal of children, the brutality. This is why these men were not available down at the local theatre to play a black role, in Australia they were in chains!

So when blackface is used in Australia, when a famous person thinks it is “Hilarious” and when you believe in can be used “Respectfully” look back at this photo and have a think. This is the real past of where Blackface in this country comes. And now fast forward to today, a life expectancy for Aboriginal people at third world levels.

Look above at the photo again, they are black faces, they are slave chains around their necks and the use of Blackface is the re-attachment of those handcuffs and padlocks!

A Proving Ground for Proud Carers of Country

Murrandoo Yanner

A quiet evolution has been occurring in remote Aboriginal communities over the last decade, with ranger programs enabling people to earn a decent income, support their families and experience the pride that comes with that.

Marcia Langton is right – some Aboriginal people in north Australia are breaking into the middle class and mining companies have been forced, kicking and screaming, to contribute to this. My own family has benefited from the Century Mine near my homelands in the lower Gulf of Carpentaria.

I hope mining and other economic development will continue to provide opportunities for Aboriginal people, but a quiet evolution has been occurring in remote Aboriginal communities over the last decade that isn’t well understood.

Up to now, indigenous-ranger programs have had bipartisan support, starting under the former Howard government and greatly strengthened by Labor. It’s an evolution because ranger programs are increasing the capacity of our mob and bringing them out of poverty, while also contributing to the evolution of attitudes in remote regions and healing the land.

We live in a relatively pristine natural environment in the Lower Gulf of Carpentaria, with only minor development pressures on the landscape so far. But threats degrade this landscape gradually. It is death by a thousand cuts: damaging uncontrolled wildfires, eroded rivers and wetlands, weeds taking over and choking out the local plants. The landscape is changing from what we knew as kids, and feral animals damage our sacred places, predating on traditional foods and bringing disease.

Indigenous ranger groups have been going for decades in some remote communities but it wasn’t until the Howard government brought in what is now the Working on Country and Indigenous Protected Areas programs, and also when the Beattie government established the Wild River legislation that a reliable source of funds was available for local rangers.

In the past five years, Carpentaria Land Council rangers have lit hundreds of thousands of hectares to protect country from late season wildfires, shot over 40,000 feral pigs in sensitive habitat and prevented the spread of serious weeds into the Northern Territory. Most important of all, we have 20 rangers that are now professional land and sea managers.

Contracting indigenous people by government to manage country in remote Australia is just common sense. We have a cultural obligation to look after country. In the Gulf we rejected the early half-arsed CDEP ranger programs where people were given uniforms and then asked to paint rocks white (”green welfare”).

We wanted real ranger jobs for our people. We wanted to provide a meaningful service. Our rangers are taught by the best whitefella scientists, and mentored by the best characters we can muster. Now, we have some of the best-performing rangers in the country using both traditional knowledge and science.

Working in the Gulf means getting along with our pastoral neighbours. I have not exactly been a great fan of the pastoral industry over the years because of the racist way they have treated us. But I realise a lot of pastoralists are willing to work towards a common goal. Through years of hard work on the ground, we now have a solid relationship with many local pastoralists. It’s ”practical reconciliation” Gulf-style.

Working hard and earning a decent income enables people to support their family and experience the pride that comes with that. Our rangers know they are as good (if not better) than whitefellas at their work, and that makes a big difference to self-confidence.

In the 2012-13 series of Boyer lectures, Marcia Langton says that Aboriginal opportunity is ”constrained by limited human capital”. Our rangers are building that capital, and will be able to work in other land-based industries like mining, tourism or agriculture if they choose. We are building professionals that will be employable in their chosen field, and human capital that will provide for a future economy: one that will be carbon-constrained and changed by climate.

Building a work ethic through rewarding employment gets results, having a job is a much better way to deal with alcohol problems than the paternalism of the NT intervention.

Mining is here to stay in northern Australia, but it’s no silver bullet. Mining jobs are limited and all booms eventually bust. Building an economy in remote regions of Australia requires longer-term vision.

There is a lot of unmanaged country out here. Our people want to get to work managing it. Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas are a great success story providing real jobs and good management for our country.

In a federal election year I am calling on all leaders of state and federal political parties to support increased funding for these programs over the next decade. That’s a vision we can all support.

  • Murrandoo Yanner is chairman of the Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation. He is a Gangalidda man of the Gunamulla clan.

Save the CNS – Prevent Black Deaths in Custody!

There have been no Aboriginal deaths in police custody in NSW and the ACT since the Custody Notification Service, a 24-hour legal advice phone line began in 2000.




Show how MASSIVE the support is for the government to fund this service by signing this petition and keeping a vital service alive.

Every time our lawyers speak to an Aboriginal person being detained, they check upon the welfare of the person by asking RU OK? Often people aren’t OK.

Threats of self- harm or suicide are common. Our lawyers are skilled at hearing ideation or real threats of self-harm or suicide. The lawyer talks carefully with the person, notifies the Police and the vulnerable person in custody is made safe.

The CNS is an extremely SUCCESSFUL program assisting vulnerable people with fair and equitable access to justice and welfare.


Since July 2012, when the government stopped funding it, ALS staff have covered the costs of the phone line however we are struggling and cannot afford to continue funding the service.

The CNS will cease to exist on the 30th of June 2013 unless government funding is urgently found.

The phone line costs the same to operate as holding two juveniles in detention for one year – $500,000 per annum.

The ALS is urgently calling on the NSW and/or Australian government to fund this essential service. Aboriginal incarceration rates are already too high. It is likely they will increase if the CNS does not exist.



– The police must contact the ALS every time they take on an Aboriginal person into custody. It was a recommendation from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and is now legislated under NSW law.

– In the NSW Attorney-General’s Second Reading Speech (2013) on the revised Right to Silence legalisation, the A-G stated the ALS 24-hour legal advice phone line WILL be available for Aboriginal people taken into custody, thereby removing none of the protections afforded to vulnerable Aboriginal people.

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Racism on Qantas?

Aboriginal men sue Qantas after being kicked off plane

By Jayne Margetts

Updated 25 minutes ago

A group of eight Aboriginal men are suing Qantas after they were thrown off a flight and told they would not be allowed to travel in a big group.

The men were on their way home from a two-day Indigenous leadership program in Cairns which was funded by the Federal Government.

One of the men, Michael Edwards, is an elder of the Dunghutti people from Kempsey on the mid north coast of New South Wales.

It has been nearly three years since Reconciliation Week, when he and seven others were thrown off the Qantas flight before it left Sydney.

But sitting on his pool deck, reflecting on what happened, he says it is an encounter he cannot get out of his head.

“I think we were discriminated against by Qantas because there was only eight Aboriginal people on the plane,” he said.

He and the seven other men are suing Qantas for damages, accusing the airline of false imprisonment.

Many of the men had never left Kempsey before let alone flown on a plane.

Mr Edwards says soon after they boarded the flight, security guards were called to remove them.

“They weren’t doing nothing. Not a thing at all. Just had the headphones in just listening to a bit of music just bopping, that’s all,” he said.

The men were allegedly taken to a bus which was parked on the tarmac and locked in for an hour-and-a-half.

One of the men, Craig Edwards, says they were told they could not leave, even to go to the toilet.

“We were on the bus for an hour, two hours, like little dogs we was, they just had us like dogs on a bus,” he said.

It is alleged the men were then escorted by Federal Police back to the terminal and told they would have to catch a flight the following morning.

Michael Edwards says he was humiliated.

“People were looking at us. Giggling and you know. I felt like a criminal, like I’d done something really bad and we did nothing wrong,” he said.

Mr Edwards says they were told they could not travel as a group but would have to fly in pairs, on separate flights, two hours apart.

Instead they chose to hire a car and drive back to Kempsey through the night.

Craig Edwards missed the birth of his first grandchild.

“I hate Qantas. I don’t think I will ever fly with them. Like I said I wanted to go to more programs but I can’t now because I won’t get on a plane,” he said.

‘Uncomfortable and threatened’

Qantas’s version of events is very different.

In an affidavit, flight attendant Kelly Kalimnios says the men were behaving in a rowdy and boisterous manner.

She said one of the men told her: “F*** off you f****** white trash.”

She says they ignored her requests to calm down.

Ms Kalimnios says she called the captain and told him: “I’m feeling uncomfortable and threatened. They will have to get off or I’m getting off.”

Michael Edwards says Qantas is lying.

His version of events is backed up by federal independent MP Rob Oakeshott who was also on the flight.

“From everything I saw they were behaving no different to anyone else who is a bit excited about catching a plane,” he said.

“It was an extremely heavy-handed response to some actions which, from where I was sitting and where my chief of staff was sitting, we thought was certainly over the top.

“I think that would be the reaction of most people that were on the flight.”

The case is set down for hearing in Sydney in August.

In a statement Qantas said it was “defending these claims in court, and as such, we won’t be commenting on the specifics of this case.

“Broadly speaking, Qantas has a zero-tolerance policy towards behaviour it believes could compromise the safety of anyone on our aircraft.

“This policy is applied equally to all passengers.”

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