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19th January 2015

These sound files contain the voice of a deceased person.

Yesterday the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy hosted speakers to report back on the Freedom Summit that was held late last year and to encourage people to join the protest planned for Canberra on Invasion Day, the 26th January. Mr Jackson from Indigenous Social Justice Association is the MC and gives his thoughts between the speakers.

The first speaker was Aunty Jenny Munro. Listen.

Jeff McMullen talks about genocidal plans to close homeland communities. He makes the point that camps and communities on the edge of rural centres are already overcrowded and underfunded without the extra numbers. He talks about the devastating consequences of white government policy for Aboriginal Australians, such as the continuing stolen children and and over-policing. Listen.


18th February 2014

A week ago Solidarity held a public meeting called "Corporatising Black Australia: The NT Intervention & Abbott's unfinished business" to discuss John Pilger's new film, Utopia. The speakers were Celeste Liddle who is an Arrernte woman, a journalist, a researcher and the National Indigenous Organiser for the NTEU; and Paddy Gibson who is an activist, journalist, researcher and was associate producer on Utopia. Paddy spoke first at Celeste's request.

In the first part of his talk Paddy Gibson talked about the response that Utopia had received. He also spoke about some of the situation for Aboriginal people right now, as portrayed in Utopia.

In the second part of his talk Paddy gave a brief outline of the history of Aboriginal struggle.

In the third part Paddy spoke about the corporatisation of welfare, and how this relates to Prime Minister Abbott's cuts in spending on successful Indigenous programs.

In the first part of her talk Celeste Liddle critiques John Pilger's film Utopia from the perspective of an Indigenous Australian personally affected by these policies.

In the second part she talks about representation of Aboriginal viewpoints in the mainstream media.

These talks remain the property of 3CR.


9th January 2013

On the 11th of December 2012 the Brisbane City Council removed all of the physical structures of the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy. They then doused the sacred fire despite making agreements and publically stating that they would not do this. That night the sacred fire was re-lit and in response the council sent in approximately 10 members of their emergency response team, 60 police officers and a fire crew. 3 people were arrested defending the fire: Wayne Wharton, Boe Spearim and Hamish Chitts.

This past Tuesday Wharton, Spearim and Chitts appeared at the Brisbane Magistrate's court regarding this incident. Representing themselves they argued that the police had acted unlawfully in removing them, as the Embassy is not in Musgrave Park, but on land that is under a Deed of Grant in Trust, and the Embassy had appropriate permission to be there. The defendants were particularly concerned with amending the bail conditions that prevent them from returning to the Embassy.

Their case has been postphoned until this Friday the 11th of January. They ask people to meet on Friday 8:30am outside Brisbane Magistrates Court, corner of George and Turbot Streets for support and to witness the proceedings.

I spoke to Wayne Wharton.


The defendants from left to right: Hamish Chitts, Boe Spearim and Wayne Wharton.
Photo by Brendon Quinn.

Here is a version that is edited for radio.


15th December 2012

Yesterday, members of Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy issued Lord Mayor Graham Quirk with a warrant to appear at the Embassy on January 26 2013, to be tried by local elders in relation to laws broken in the course of Quirk's continuing action to douse the sacred fire and shut down the Embassy.

Ruby Wharton explains the situation.

Protestors marched through the city explaining the offenses to watching crowds of Christmas shoppers.

At the office of Lord Mayor Quirk some people went inside and some stayed on the street. Callum Clayton-Dixon read the charges out.

CHARGE LIST

Details of person:

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk and his accomplices

Details of charge[s]:

1. Desecration of a sacred site

2. Perversion of the truth

3. Collusion with attempt of fraud

4. Causing trauma

5. Persecution on the basis of race

6. Forced remov[al] of First Nations people from a sacred site

7. Incarceration on the grounds of religious practices

8. Unauthorised entry into Aboriginal land

9. Restriction of religious practices on the basis of race

10. Breach of agreement with the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy

After some negotiation the Lord Mayor's chief of staff, Chris Anstey, came down and accepted the warrant.

Afterwards, I spoke to Uncle Judulu Neal from Yarrabah about the events of the day.


13th December 2012

On Wednesday morning at 10am a meeting was called at the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy to discuss its future, and to discuss the incident the previous night where Brisbane City Coucil had repeatedly doused the sacred fire.

Within the original founders of the Embassy there was disagreement about whether the Tent Embassy should continue in its current form, or whether it should be re-established as an office on the site. In negotiations it had been agreed by all parties that the sacred fire would keep burning.

The following views predominantly favour the opinion of those who would have preferred not to have the site cleared, and for negotiations to continue. An advocate for clearing the site, Adrian Burragubba, did turn up for the meeting, but left early without speaking. I interviewed him later, but then he decided that he would not like the interview to be broadcast.

Uncle Paul Spearim gives a speech in support of the Embassy.

Nat Lewis tells her story and explains why the Embassy is important to her.


12th December 2012

Yesterday, in response to internal divisions within the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy, Brisbane City Council took the opportunity to clear the site.

Members of the Embassy who opposed having it cleared were hoping for further negotiations in about a week, as one of the central figures could not make the meeting due to sorry business.

Members who were for clearing the site saw it as the beginning of opening a new Embassy in an office nearby, although they have not yet secured an office for the purpose.

You can read more about the clear-out here. This article states:

"Central to the agreement was Cr Quirk࣯mmitment the sacred fire at the centre of the site would be untouched by the teams of uniformed officers charged with the clean-up."

Yesterday, when I got to the site in Musgrave Park at around 5pm the sacred fire looked liked this:

Word quickly spread and about fifty people turned up to protect the Embassy and keep the fire burning. While the physical structures had been removed the spirit of the Embassy was still alive.

A trailer load of wood arrived at about 9pm and soon the fire was burning strong.


Photo by Max Riethmuller

At around 10pm police arrived with their numbers eventually reaching approximately 60. About 10 council workers also arrived, and a fire engine and fire crew.

Natalie Lewis explained to the people standing around the fire what was going on.

Rick from the Brisbane City Council's rapid response group came to negotiate.


Rick from the Brisbane City Council rapid response group.
Photo by Max Riethmuller.

Uncle Judulu Neal from Yarrabah gave a statement.


Uncle Judulu.
Photo by Max Riethmuller

Activists Wayne 'Coco' Wharton and Hamish Chitts entreated firefighters to consult their union before undertaking an illegal and immoral action, but they were ignored.

Negotiations continued with police and the representatives of the Brisbane City Council.

Uncle Judulu asked the police to remove the council representatives, as they have no jurisdiction over the area of the Embassy either under white Australian or Murri law.

At about 12:30am police moved in and dragged away those who were defending the fire. 4 people including Wayne 'Coco' Wharton, Hamish Chitts, Boe Spearim and a passing traveller named Landen were arrested. Coco, Boe and Hamish were charged with contravening a police direction or requirement and they face court on the 8th January. Conditions of their bail include that they are forbidden from returning to the site until the 9th of January.


Photo by Max Riethmuller

Here is a version of the story edited for radio or podcasting.


16th July 2012

ANTAR held a Q&A on the question of sovereignty. Uncle Tiga Bayles from 98.9 FM was MC and answering his questions were Aunty Lilla Watson and Uncle Sam Watson. Aunty Maroochy Barambah welcomed everyone to Toorbul land with her incredible voice.

Here it is.


6th July 2012

This is various audio I got at the NAIDOC Family Fun Day celebrations.

An interview with Lloyd McDermott, former rugby union player and Australia's first Indigenous barrister.

A fella free styling.


6th July 2012

A day of mourning was held by members of the Brisbane Sovereign Embassy to coincide with NAIDOC as a commemoration of the roots of the NAIDOC celebrations and the need for continuing political struggle.

Karen Coghill gave a passionate introduction.

Uncle Sam Watson gave a history of the Sovereign Tent Embassy movement.

Ruby Wharton (Kooma, Goomeroi) spoke about the meaning of NAIDOC and with her cousins sang a song to welcome the ancestors to be a part of NAIDOC.

After the march over to Musgrave Park Family Fun Day Karen Coghill gave another speech reminding the attendees to remember their elders and remember the struggle. The MC in the background is trying to interrupt her because Karen's speech was a deviation from the original planned speakers for the day.


13th June 2012

Over the weekend I joined members of the Brisbane Sovereign Embassy on a trip out to Moree to do some embassy business, including spreading the message of sovereignty to the township of Toomelah.

Listen here.


February 2012

Indigenous lawyer Michael Anderson (Nyoongar Ghurradjong Murri Ghillar) leader of the Euahlayi tribe, talks about sovereignty law. This is the website of the National Unity Government.


November 19 2011

A rally and march was held at Roma St forum against the continuing issue of black deaths in custody. The 'Deaths in Custody Watch Committee' was launched.

Gomeroi historian Gwenda Stanley gave a speech called "Voice of the Ancestors" which included words taken from historical speeches given by David Unaipon, Neville Bonner, David Mowaljarlaim, Pastor Douglas Nicholls and more.



June 2011

A rally against black deaths in custody was held outside parliament. The speakers were:

Sam Watson part 1
Sam Watson part 2
Coco (Wayne Warton). He spends some time addressing QUT students walking past.
Rev Alex Gater



May 2011

The 'Women from the First Nations' panel at the Feminist Futures conference held down in Melbourne in May this year. The women speaking are Tracey Bunda, Paolo Balla and Rebecca Gerret-McGee.

Part one
Part two
Part three



March 2011

Laura-Jane Phoenix of the First Nations Political Party speaking at the International Womenġy rally in Brisbane.

International Women's Day 2011



November 2010

Interview with Uncle Sam Watson about the issue of black deaths in custody to commemorate the national day of action.

Black deaths in custody



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