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Byron Shire
May 7, 2021

Human rights

Latest News

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Marcus O’Mullane, Byron Bay

Thank you Ms Payne for being so quick to indicate to China the strength of our support of the human rights of their indigenous minority, the Uighur.

It is important for Australia and all democratic countries with free elections, and free media to keep the pressure on totalitarian regimes who are disinclined to live up to the lofty moral standards that we here in Australia continue to strive for.

But wait a minute. Should we now consider that, as you said last week, Australia considers itself an example to others (countries) because we recognise the sovereignty of nations? That being the case, it’s clear that any day now the current Australian government will move to sign a treaty with the legal owners of this continent, our own Indigenous minority.

That is wonderful news – because I honestly wasn’t aware that the Australian government currently has, or has ever had, any real interest in the human rights, or the welfare of Indigenous populations here in Australia (or abroad), except when there is some cheap political point scoring to be done…

The history of our ‘concern’ for Indigenous human rights is a woeful one to say the least, beginning with more than 100 years of white ‘Australian’ government-sanctioned and endorsed massacres, rape, torture and general genocide of the ‘Australian’ Indigenous people, their culture, communities, families and entire way of life.

And we don’t really need to include the fact that Indigenous ‘Australians’, the first ‘Australians’, and actually, by rights, the only ‘Australian’ people (the rest of us should be called something else) were not deemed by James Cook to be civilised enough to be considered ‘people’ when he visited in 1770 and declared the continent Terra Nullius, or ‘empty’ / ‘no-one’s land’ and in doing so (falsely) legalised the resulting British invasion.

Today our government’s consistent mistreatment of Indigenous Australians is a permanent and abhorrent stain on our record as a ‘nation’.

Indigenous health statistics are in line with the worst of ‘developing’ nations in terms of infant mortality, and as much as double that for white ‘Australian’ babies. But probably more shocking a statistic is that Indigenous infants are more than two times more likely to die before their fifth birthday than their non-Indigenous preschool friends.

The shocking disparities continue across almost all recorded health and social statistics.

And at the other end of the scale, the life expectancies of Indigenous Australians are currently more than 10 years shorter than for non-Indigenous Australians. Our white ‘Australian’ government offers no productive or pro-active solutions to any of these obvious and inexcusable human rights abuses. But obviously if you don’t think there is a problem, you are not going to do anything about it…

And if you are of the opinion that this land was ‘empty’ when your ancestors arrived, you may hold the belief that those who were here before invasion don’t really exist anymore.

Perhaps China’s government officials think the same way about their indigenous Uighur population…

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