23 July 2015 William Barton, probably Australia’s most famous didgeridoo player, is still travelling the world. He performs since a long time with philharmonic orchestras all over the globe. He and his mother Delmae are the heroes of promotion and preservation of Indigenous culture.
More on Facebook and Limelight Magazine
Comnment by Wake Up Time: William and Delmae Barton are superb ambassadors not only of Indigenous music and culture, but of Australian music and culture. They show that we can all work together, and that race, and even different histories don’t have to be a hurdle to co-operate and work towards a better future.
16 July 2015 Taxpayers “inexplicably” paid an “unjustified” $30 million when a Federal Government Indigenous body acquired Ayers Rock Resort in 2010, a letter to the Prime Minister alleges. The 38-page document from the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC), signed by chairwoman Dr Dawn Casey, to Tony Abbott was obtained by the ABC under Freedom of Information (FOI) laws. The previous owner GPT originally offered the resort to the ILC for $270 million in 2009, but the sale price was revised upwards by $30 million in 2010.
All together more than $100 million tax payer money ‘evaporated’, as was also detailed in Wake Up Time in June 2014. Dr Casey says that this is “perhaps the largest single evaporation of public money in the Indigenous policy domain, ever”.
Dr Casey has been advocating for an independent investigation into the purchase, but Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann have said they do not believe another inquiry is needed.
Comment by Wake Up Time: This scandal was revealed in Wake Up Time in June 2014. It is a shame that this problem is still not thoroughly investigated, as it should. The facts are very clear: the Resort should never have been bought under the current conditions.
9 July 2015 In a rare show of bipartisanship, Mr Abbott and Mr Shorten were jointly hosting a joint summit with about 40 of the nation’s most influential Indigenous representatives at Kirribilli House.
Mr Abbott said he hoped the wording of the referendum would be finalised by the middle of next year, with a vote in 2017.
Noel Pearson, the founder of the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership, told the ABC’s Lateline the meeting was a good start, but “largely redundant”: “At the moment for example we’re characterised as a race and it affects our whole psychology. I think the moment we move to recognition of Indigenous first nations we’ll enter a phase where race will just be a concept from the 19th and 20th century that we put behind us.”
Comment by Wake Up Time: Pearson’s remark sound good, but the problem is that Indigenous people themselves refer to Aboriginality as ‘race’. Wake Up Time proves that with several examples. Pearson also used the non-race statement previously to demand the option for special legislation for Indigenous people to prove that that is a non-racism based request. At all seems to be dodgy stuff. It is time to wake up and consider each of us as equal to the law.
2 July 2015 A Fairfax poll shows 85 per cent of voters support an amendment to the Constitution, which recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people as the first inhabitants.
Abbott: “Our mission is to correct the great silence in our Constitution. What we bring forward has to be something that can be owned ultimately by the vast majority of the people of our country. It has to be worth doing, but it has to be doable.”
The issue of constitutional recognition has evolved from a simple proposal to write in a preamble to the Constitution, into a more ambitious push to change race powers in the Constitution to ensure Indigenous people can not be discriminated against in the future.
Comment by Wake Up Time: It looks like Shorten and Abbott are very well aware of reluctance by Australians to vote in favor of a Constitutional change when the details become apparent. The principle in itself, as show the poll, is very much supported, but as stated in Wake Up Time, when it comes to the crunch support will fade easily. Especially suggested clauses to allow special laws for Indigenous people are not likely to be passed in a referendum, for good reasons.
26 June 2015 Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm questions if Aboriginals were first occupants of Australia; says it would be ‘bizarre’ to put into constitution, according to a report on ABC.
Senator Leyonhjelm cited the cave art known as the Bradshaws or Gwion Gwion in the Kimberley in Western Australia, although he mistakenly said they were in the Northern Territory.
A joint select committee has called for a referendum to be held to recognise indigenous people.
Comment by Wake Up Time: Leyonhjelm’s position is not helpful in any way. It is obvious that people who left Africa 60 or 75 thousand years ago not only ended up in Europe, Asia and America, but also in Australia. If it is important to recognise that fact in the Constitution, so what? The real issue is that that recognition should not lead to differences in the legal position of people currently living in Australia.
19 June 2015 A website with links to news about Aboriginal Affairs can be found on ABC.
It offers the latest news on Indigenous topics.
19 June 2015 This report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare lists the numeracy and literacy skills, and health situation of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in remote and non-remote parts of the country.
79% of Indigenous people live in urbanised parts of the country, for non-Indigenous that is 98%.
Adequate literacy and numeracy skills reach levels of almost 100% in all non-Indigenous groups, also in remote parts of the country. In Indigenous groups this is between 80% in urbanised areras, to below 40% in remote parts of the country.
This indicates that the location in itself does not necessarily mean lesser chances of adequate education.
Indigenous people aged 15 and over in non-remote areas (23%) were significantly more likely to report having used an illicit substance in the previous 12 months than those in remote areas (19%).
The healthcare costs per person for Indigenous people in remote areas is about twice as high as for non-Indignous people in the Outback. In Urban areas those costs are only 14% higher.
Comment by Wake Up Time: This report provides lots of interesting data. Health care and education levels seem to be good in remote Australia. The results in Indigenous communities are clearly far less encouraging, though. The main reason for that is clearly the way people use the available services. It is time that Indigenous people take more responsibility for the education of their children and for their health.
12 June 2015 Indigenous groups are warning remote Northern Territory communities could close after the commonwealth offered a one-off payment to cede control of them. Approximately $154.8m was allotted in Tuesday’s federal budget to the NT government to “take on full responsibility for delivering municipal and essential services in remote Indigenous communities”.
The head of teh government’s Indigenous advisory council, Warren Mundine, said the handback of responsibilities to the territory could provide jobs and business opportunities for local community members.
The opposition in the NT states that more than 10,000 people live on more than 500 homelands and outstations across the NT and considers “this Federal budget is a real disaster for Territorians who live on remote communities and outstations. The on off $ 155 million payment looks like an “upfront sweetener” before making the NT Government pick up the bill into the future”. Sources: Alice Springs News and The Guardian
Comment by Wake Up Time: Whether the federal government, or state and territory governments fix this problem, it is necessary to define a comprehensive policy to tackle the major problems in the communities. By not fixing direct and indirect payments from mining to the communities, and by allowing special rights to people based on race, the problems will never be fixed.
5 June 2015 The prime minister Tony Abbott has been asked to launch an inquiry into the controversial acquisition of Ayers Rock Resort amid claims new information has come to light.
The Indigenous Land Corporation has written to Abbott advising him it has new information warranting an inquiry into the $300m purchase made by the ILC in 2010. “The problem is the ILC paid too much and we borrowed too much,” CEO Michael Dillon told a Senate committee in Canberra on Friday. The corporation this week sent a 38-page letter to Abbott – bypassing Scullion –advising him of the new information that it believed warranted an inquiry. The letter outlines six alleged breaches of the law.
The resort runs at a profit, but $198m in loans must be repaid over the next two years, forcing the corporation to refinance. Because the resort is only valued at $225m, the corporation will have to inject $30m-35m in new cash.
More information in The Guardian and The Australian
Comment by Wake Up Time: In Wake Up Time an investigation into the financial mismanagement was revealed in June 2014. Now, one year later, finally something is happening. It is time for a thorough investigation.
29 May 2015 Aboriginal assets in Alice Springs, through “principal investments,” as declared by Centrecorp on its website, are the Peter Kittle Motor Company  which also has a major presence in South Australia; Yeperenye Shopping Centre ; L J Hooker ; Milner Road Foodtown [not shown]; Chifley Resort ; Memorial Club  property; and properties at 75 and 82 Hartley Street .
Assetts influence our retirement rights, but that does nbot apply to Aboriginal land. The main reason is that land is not used to generate income. As editor Chlanda of the Alice Springs News writes: “Because all that would require work. Ah, that four-letter word”.
The secretive Centrecorp Aboriginal Investment Corporation Pty Ltd has minimal public disclosure obligations. An assett test is almost impossible. Two organisations, also extensively described in Wake Up Time, Kurra and the Granites Mine Affected Areas Aboriginal Corporation own funds of about $ 70 million. They rely on Centrecorp for its investment decisions.
It is time to open up the financials of these organisations and make the system as transparent as any other organisation.
Comment by Wake Up Time: Good job, Edwin Chlanda. The lack of work on these vast lands is at least partly caused by the Traditional Owners themselves. It is time to open up this injust financial network, especially for the people living in poor conditions in the Aboriginal towns.”