11/02/2015 - Sovereignty is the foundation of Aboriginal rights

The APG is fully in support of the Aboriginal delegates who met with Minister Scullion in Canberra on February 9, and of the delegates who protested outside the Parliament to raise awareness of Aboriginal issues.

APG Secretary Michael Mansell said the delegates were right to raise sovereignty as a key issue.  Mansell claimed Aboriginal sovereignty was the “foundation” for Aboriginal rights and entitlements in the twenty-first century.

“We had absolute control over ourselves and our lands before the invasion. Those rights may have been absolute then but because things have changed over the last two hundred years the rights we are entitled to today are tempered only by today’s circumstances.

That means our rights must be recognised subject only to practical realities, not what is political acceptable. Aboriginal delegates should always approach talks with government on the basis of our sovereign status and our demands should be tailored accordingly.

A treaty should be offered to resolve the historical dispute. The treaty could provide for:

  • all crown lands to be handed back to Aboriginal people;

  • the Federal Parliament establish an Aboriginal Assembly;

  • give the Assembly the same powers as States have, limiting its jurisdiction to Aboriginal lands; and

  • hand over the Aboriginal Affairs budget to the Assembly.”

Michael Mansell (Pakana)
Aboriginal Provisional Government