By ERWIN CHLANDA
The meet and greet of Aboriginal people this morning, in town for a two-day national convention on sovereignty, was star-studded and animated.
Controversial former ATSIC chair Geoff Clark was there (at right), and so were Tasmanian activist, lawyer Michael Mansell (at left) and locals Maurie Ryan, former Central Land Council chairman, Rosalie Kunoth Monks and activist Lesley Tickner (all below left).
This is how Member for Namatjira, Alison Anderson (PUP ), saw the purpose of the gathering under the Telegraph Station gumtrees: “The federal and state governments are attacking landrights and our land councils.
“They think they can get the oil and the gas out of our country for free. They create the perception that the land Aboriginal people live on is all empty, just so they can can steal our oil and gas.
“We’re saying, you are not going to do that. We’re going to put up a big fight.”
Under landrights Aborigines can withhold consent for mining. All they need to do is say “no”.
Ms Anderson: “Yes, and we’ll be starting to do that, absolutely. Adam Giles is adamant that he is going to develop the north on land 50% owned by Aboriginal people.
“He doesn’t like to talk to Aboriginal people but we’re going to say, you are going to come and talk to us blackfellas. We’re the owners of this country and if you want to develop the north you are going to start talking to us.
“It’s absolutely fantastic to see Aboriginal people getting together and starting fighting.”
Less well known but equally vocal was Joshua Morley who works as a car washer in Adelaide, addressing his comments to Alice Springs whitefellers living in comfortable suburbs:
“I’m going to make it unbearable for you. Tony Abbott says he’s fighting tooth and nail. I’m fighting tooth and nail against you. As long as there is a breath in my body you are f…ed. [Loud applause and cheering.] The struggle has just started. You’ve got new soldiers, just recruited.”