(Cairns... Far North Queensland)
LAW AND ORDER… ONE SET OF RULES FOR ALL AUSTRALIANS
September 2007 at the United Nations General Assembly session in New York,
Australia together with the United States of America, New Zealand and Canada
voted against the acceptance of a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
A majority 134
countries supported the Declaration while 11 countries abstained from voting.
These countries were Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, Georgia,
Kenya, Nigeria, Russia, Samoa and Ukraine.
There are 192 members
of the United Nations, which tends to indicate the 34 countries for one reason
or another just didn’t attend. It would be interesting to know which countries
these were. The Declaration had been before the Assembly for over 20 years and
as the former director of the Inter-American Indigenous Institute, said
"Many governments signed it as a formality, just to get it out of the
Treaties mean different
things for different countries and some countries take them more seriously than
others. It is the responsibility of each and every Government member of the
United Nations to vote against any treaty, declaration, and proposal or
otherwise that would be detrimental to the national interests of their country
and to be up front about it as the four dissenting countries in this case were.
A copy of the Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous People is readily available on-line and if net
access is unavailable to you ask your local parliamentary member to print you
off a copy for your perusal. It’s a public document and they should be only
too pleased to help. Everyone should read the Declaration before coming to a
decision on it, as it is not a difficult document to read. It is probably one of
the most important documents you will ever read.
There is little doubt
that the majority of people reading the Declaration will come to the conclusion
that it is definitely not in Australia’s interest as it only has the potential
to unnecessarily intrude into and disrupt what is, after all, a delicate
Without question it
gives encouragement to divide the nation along racial lines and in doing so
protect all those things that are so abhorrent to the majority populations in
any number of countries, and override what has become generally accepted decent
standards and behaviour.
It gives the potential
for the Parliament to be overridden or neutered on serious moral reform and
rights issues and introduces yet another level of laws, something we don’t
really need. In doing so it could over ride the interests in the rights of the
majority of the people and at the same time disadvantage already stressed groups
such as women and children within indigenous communities.
The claim is made that
the Declaration is non-binding and is only an “in-principle” document. For a
country such as Australia, which has a good record of respect for United Nations
decisions, nothing could be further from the practical truth. Experience has
shown us that there is a regular line of progression from “in principle” to
“persuasive” and finally to “authoritative”.
The New Zealand Government is aware of this and has simply stated that, “… the UN Declaration was incompatible with New Zealand law”. End of Story!
The interesting side
issue to this disastrous Declaration is that up until the point of acceptance of
the Declaration by the United Nations General Assembly the matter was a
bipartisan issue in Australia. Both Labor and Liberal agreed that the
Declaration should not be agreed to.
The dangers were
apparently there for all to see. Now that Australia has properly registered its
dissenting vote at the United Nations, the Labor Opposition has had a worrying
change of heart, which gives the impression that they are no longer opposed to
Presumably, if elected
to power, they would ratify the Declaration on Australia’s behalf and this is
the reason why it should be compulsory reading for everyone.
If the Labor Opposition
is doing this simply for political reasons in a pre-election stunt, they have
embarked on a dangerous mission. On this issue the Howard Federal Government is
to be complimented on it’s protection of our national integrity, as in fact
should be the New Zealand Labor Government.
This issue is much
bigger than the ‘stolen generation’, plus the Wik and the Mabo cases put together
and, is an issue of National importance given the total breakdown of law and
order in some Cape York aboriginal communities.
RETURN TO: AN INDEPENDENT'S VIEW
Written and Authorised by Selwyn Johnston, Cairns FNQ 4870 Australia