Editor’s Note: This 2012 declaration, evocative of our July 4, 1776 document, was issued by an organization called “The National Unity Government” and asserts the sovereignty of indigenous ‘first nations and peoples’ in Australia. The document is the product of a series of gatherings that first convened in 1999.
Act of Sovereign Union between First Nations and Peoples in Australia
Whereas in the course of human events and history there are times when it becomes absolutely necessary for one Nation or People to dissolve the political and legal bonds which have connected them with another;
Whereas we now call upon the powers of the Creators of the DREAMING to enforce the natural authority that establishes a decent respect of humankind. It is required that we should declare the causes which impel us to the separation from our oppressor and to now declare our unity under our DREAMING and songlines, as we have since time immemorial;
Whereas we hold the Law of the Dreaming, as evidence of authority that all people are born equal, and that they were granted by the Creator certain sovereign inalienable rights; among these are the right to life, liberty, the right to maintain the Law of the DREAMING and the pursuit of spiritual wholeness and personal wellbeing;
Whereas to secure these rights in the modern world, governments are instituted among different Nations and Peoples, deriving their just powers from the consent of the people and the spiritual authority of the Dreaming. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive, it is the right of the Peoples to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, ensuring that at the very foundation of this process are principles based upon the rule of Law of the Peoples and organising its powers to ensure the most pleasing of outcomes for peaceful existence, safety of the Peoples’ happiness and wellbeing;
Whereas prudence will dictate that governments long established should, without prejudice, support the objective of the Peoples who choose to exercise their inalienable sovereign right to be governed by their own peers in accordance with their Laws and under their authority;
Whereas all experience has shown that humankind is more disposed to suffer, while the wrongs are sufferable, than to correct them by abolishing the entrenched subjugation. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations derides the rights of Peoples, which reduces them to absolute despotism, it is the right of the oppressed, it is their sacred duty, to reject and throw off such tyrannical governance and to provide new guards for their future security and to pursue their own goals and objectives. Such has been the patient sufferance of First Nations Peoples of this island continent now known as Australia; and such is now the necessity which requires us to dispel the existing destructive systems that oppress us; and to reinforce our own systems of governance, in accordance with our Law of the DREAMING;
We resolve to adopt and adhere to the following Statement of Principles:
- Our Peoples are equal in dignity and rights to all other Peoples, while recognising the rights of all other Peoples to be different and to be respected as such.
- We recognise that the diversity of Nations and other Peoples contributes to cultures and civilisations, which constitute the heritage of all humankind.
- As First Nations and Peoples we assert the right to freely exercise our basic human rights free from discrimination of any kind.
- It is recognised and accepted that we as First Nations Peoples have been deprived of our basic human rights and fundamental freedoms, which resulted from British colonisation and dispossession.
- The colonial usurpation of our lands, waters, and natural resources has prevented us from exercising our right to development in accordance with our sovereign inherent cultural, socio-economic and spiritual interest in these modern times.
- As First Nations and Peoples it is our sovereign inherent right to have control of our lands, including our natural resources, our environment, our waters, which is derived from our ancient political, economic, religious and social structures in accordance with our culture, Law and philosophies.
- It is our inherent sovereign right to declare and advance our interests in all lands, waters, natural resources, subsurface and airspace as decreed by our DREAMINGS and songlines, through our obligation to Mother Earth and Creation.
- We have an ancient inherent obligation to protect our heritage and to control and regulate its use.
- It is recognised and accepted that we have an ancient sovereign inherent right to protect, control and regulate our ancient practices that ensure their sustainability and thereby establishes equity in development and management of our natural environment and ecosystems.
- We recognise and accept that our Nations and Peoples have a sovereign inherent right to freely determine our future and way of life, with each other and with other sovereign nation states, in a spirit of co-existence and co-operation, thereby ensuring mutual benefit and respect.
- Any and all such agreements, arrangements, ‘treaties’ shall be consistent with all international laws that govern human rights and human interaction.
- We have a right to engage all human rights covenants and conventions in order to promote our hopes and aspirations as Nations and Peoples.
- Nothing in this set of principles may be used to deny any Nations or Peoples their sovereign inherent rights to freely pursue their right of self-determination while asserting sovereignty.
- This statement of principles is a step forward for the recognition, promotion and protection of our sovereign inherent rights and freedoms in respect to our future development and wellbeing.
Signed this 24th day of May 2012 at Kuradji Aboriginal Embassy, Sandon Point, New South Wales
“Aboriginal meetings across Australia to build national unity government”
“Call for delegates to Aboriginal unity government assembly in May”
Aboriginal Australians: A History Since 1788, Richard Broome, Australia, Allen & Unwin
Editor’s Note: Below is the media release that accompanied the release of the declaration:
Australian Aborigines launch their own government
by National Unity Government
Thursday May 24th, 2012 9:09 PM
MEDIA RELEASE 25 May 2012
Foundation Meeting of the Sovereign Union – National Unity Government
A meeting of representatives from across the continent gathered to confirm their intent to form a National Unity Government of the Sovereign Union of First Nations Peoples in Australia.
This intent was confirmed with representatives formally signing an Act of Sovereign Union between First Nations Peoples in Australia.
Michael Anderson, spokesperson for the Sovereign Union said from Wollongong today, “The delegates acknowledged that having now stepped up to the plate of taking on this enormous task of nation building, not just at the national level, but at our local and regional levels as well. The most pleasing aspects of this movement is that nation building has now become organic within our communities throughout Australia. The grassroots people are using their own personal resources to bring their people together to rebuild their own nations and governance.
“It is important to acknowledge this effort because the Sovereign Union is a Peoples’ movement and they own it. This is not Australian government inspired nor funded. It was decided that any funds for the further advancement of the Sovereign Union movement is to operate on the basis of goodwill from the people of Australia though donations at bequests (through the Sovereign Union website: http://nationalunitygovernment.org)
“Wayne Coco Wharton said, ‘The time has come now for people not to just put their hands up and say they support, they must also understand they have obligations to commit themselves to working to fulfill our set objectives in nation building. ‘
The gathering concluded that the political significance of our Aboriginal Embassies are vital to our sovereignty movement as they represent a sovereign stand against the invader State and are an assertion of our rightful place in this country. Moreover, these Embassies are not protest sites and we call upon both the domestic and international community to recognize them as valid diplomatic missions, and to be afforded standard diplomatic immunities. It is also important to understand that when these Embassies are assaulted by superior force of the invader State, the people have a right to defend their sovereign independence. The sacred Fire that burns at these Embassies are a sacred spiritual essence uniting our people through our ancient songlines and Dreamings. Our People will defend this spirit life that comes from the Sacred Fire.
“The gathering agreed that what we need now is not just generals, but foot soldiers who go out among the people and provide them with briefs and the objectives.
“Delegations were issued to Fred Hooper of the Murrawarri (at Weilmoringle) to head the establishment of the constitutional framework for the National Unity Government, including regional and local assemblies. He is to be supported by Judulu of the Kunghi (Grubunna) Djunkun (Yarrabah North Queensland). Jululu is also delegated to communicate with tribal ceremonial Elders across the nations to co-ordinate the joining of ancient songlines. Vanessa Colbong of the Wdjuk, Wilmen and Ingarda (southwest WA) is delegated to co-ordinate the unification of the nations in the southern half of Western Australia. Peter Skuthorpe of the Gomeroi nation (NW NSW) is responsible for co-ordinating youth action and education. Roy Dootch Kennedy of the Yuin/Monaro ( Kuradji Sandon Point) is now responsible for the unification of the nations from La Perouse down the south east coast of Australia and Maureen Brennan is to assist Dootch Kennedy in bringing the people together. Michael Anderson, is the national co-ordinator and responsible for all diplomatic relations both domestic and international.