Jobs Events Advertise Newsletter

Perth protests Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill

Rachael Knowles -

Perth streets flooded with protestors standing in solidarity against the West Australian Government's draft Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill.

The 'Protect Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Walk', which took place on Saturday, was organised by South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALC), Native Title Services Goldfields (NTSG), Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) and the National Native Title Council (NNTC).

The walk began with a Welcome to Country by Noongar Elder John McGuire and was followed by an address from Martu Elder Bruce Thomas and a minute silence.

Walkers, who came from across the state, marched towards the Swan River foreshore, and across the Matagarup Bridge before congregating at Optus Stadium.

There SWALC Chair Brendan Moore introduced several speakers who each addressed the crowd about Aboriginal cultural heritage, the proposed draft bill and the necessary protections needed.

The message that resounded in all addresses was that the current draft bill isn't good enough.

"We all come here from different nations â€" but we all have to stick together for one cause .... We all have the same law. All we want to say is no. We are not supporting this Bill until government comes back and rewrites this with us," said Njamal and Pitjakarli Traditional Owner from the Pilbara Doris Eaton.

Yamatji man Dwayne Mallard questioned the effectiveness of the Bill and reminded WA Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Stephen Dawson, who was not present at the event, that his role requires him to do the right thing by Aboriginal people.

"There's a couple of fundamental issues with [the Bill]. Obviously, a really great sticking point at the front end is the voice - or lack of. That there's no right to veto," he said.

"For human begins that descend from the oldest continuous culture in the world; yet to be told in Law that we have actually have no right to say no to the desecration and destruction of the very culture we are born into.... not just the tangible landscape and barna and hills and rivers but then also the mythology and Songlines - once gone are irreplaceable.

"For a culture that's 65,000 plus years old it's just no longer acceptable, it was never acceptable. It's got to stop."

Other speakers at the event included Noongar woman Geri Hayden, Nhanda Widi â€" Yamatji man Richard Evans, Spinifex Pilki woman Sandra Evans and Kariyarra woman Pat Mason.

"The voices in the desert are crying. They've said, 'leave it alone, don't touch it' because the people in the desert are weeping, and mourning for their land," said Evans.

"They are tired, because the Government never, ever listens. They have never listened to the people."

Djabwurrung man from Victorian and NNTC CEO Jamie Lowe emphasised the messages sent by the speakers.

"The big thing especially from the messages you have heard today and over the last few years from the mob is that this [bill] doesn't reach the standard of prior and informed consent. You heard that strong today," he said.

"The days of doing things about Aboriginal people without Aboriginal people are over. Aboriginal people want to be designers of this Bill and also in the operations of it, they need to be in charge of that."

By Rachael Knowles

   Related   

Torres Strait Regional Authority congratulates local councils on recent elections
The Torres Strait Regional Authority has commended the recently elected councils...
Joseph Guenzler 17 Apr 2024
Indigenous nursing students thriving at TAFE NSW
Flexible learning and practical training are being offered for nursing students...
Dechlan Brennan 17 Apr 2024
Wugularr School honours AFLW player Ashanti Bush with name of new merit award
Gold Coast Suns AFLW player Ashanti Bush has been recognised by a school in remo...
Jackson Clark 17 Apr 2024
Roundtable could be key step towards boom for Indigenous agricultural products
A series of roundtables to define Indigenous agricultural products are set to be...
Callan Morse 17 Apr 2024

   Rachael Knowles   

Stephen Dawson booted from Western Australian Aboriginal Affairs portfolio
Questions have arisen about Western Australia’s Aboriginal Affairs Department af...
Rachael Knowles 21 Dec 2021
Inquest into Victorian death in custody of Aboriginal woman begins
Please note: This story contains reference to and an image of someone who has di...
Rachael Knowles 17 Dec 2021
Gamilaraay star hits new heights as Toyota Star Maker Grand Finalist
Country music star and Gamilaraay woman Loren Ryan has a grand finalist in the 2...
Rachael Knowles 22 Dec 2021
WA Government cops backlash after passing of Cultural Heritage Bill
Criticism has continued for the Western Australian Government after the Cultural...
Rachael Knowles 16 Dec 2021