“One Nation will abolish the failed Aboriginal Land Council system, placing its assets and income stream into a government trust, managed professionally to achieve maximum rates of financial return. Funds from the new NSW Aboriginal Land Trust will be used for the payment of relocation, education, job-training and employment subsidies for Indigenous people who have demonstrated a willingness to lift themselves out of poverty. This is the only practical way by which Aboriginal disadvantage can be overcome.”
New South Wales has the largest Aboriginal population in Australia: 266,000 (one-third of the national total). Yet, despite an intense political and media focus on Indigenous issues, no one ever asks the key question: Is Aboriginal policy in NSW achieving positive results?
By any objective assessment, the answer is No. Thirty-six years after the passage of the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act, Indigenous families are still living in squalor in western districts of the State. The recent Census data shows that in places like Moree, Brewarrina and Bourke, levels of Aboriginal home ownership, personal income, workforce participation and teenage education are 30-50 percent inferior to the non-Aboriginal population.
Rates of street crime, family violence, drug and alcohol abuse, unemployment and welfare dependency are also well above the State average. Far from closing, the gap is getting wider. Decades of land rights and billions of dollars of government spending have achieved little.
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation prides itself on telling the truth about difficult issues. We judge the evidence in front of us and speak frankly about it, ignoring the protests of the PC-outrage industry. Unfortunately in today’s public debate, to challenge the sacred cows of Aboriginal politics (such as ‘Invasion Day’ and ‘colonial genocide’) is to be labeled ‘racist’. Instead of debating issues in detail, using facts and evidence, Left-wing activists have reverted to sloganeering: hoping that derogatory labels can silence opposing points of view.
The Indigenous academic Anthony Dillon has pointed out that no Aboriginal actually suffers for things that happened in 1788. It’s too long ago to have a tangible impact on everyday life. Rather, personal suffering is claimed for reasons of attention-seeking (fake-victimhood) and Green-Left ideology. The Left are using Aborigines as cannon fodder in their attacks on nationalism and Western civilisation.
Meanwhile, Indigenous communities have to live with the consequences of public policy failure. They are not victims of James Cook and Arthur Phillip but rather, divisive identity politics. Leftist hysteria about ‘dispossession’ and ‘genocide’ overlooks a basic statistic: by far the greatest incidence of crimes against Indigenous people is committed by other Indigenous – that is, self-inflicted wounds. The best way of achieving Aboriginal progress is for Aborigines to exercise greater personal responsibility towards each other.
NSW One Nation has consulted many Indigenous leaders, especially from the land rights movement, to develop problem-solving policies. We are not bothered by so-called sensitivities in this debate. We are only concerned with solutions, with finding commonsense remedies for people who have suffered for too long.
From the time of the Whitlam Government, land rights have been the great hope for Indigenous improvement. They were supposed to uplift Aboriginal spiritually and foster economic independence. None of these things have happened.
As a NSW Indigenous leader puts it, “The spiritual side of land rights needs to be questioned. Yes, I feel good when I return to my family’s traditional land but I also feel good when I go to the Gold Coast. Sorry, but anyone who says they genuinely feel connected to land and this defines their existence is having a lend of you.”
NSW Aboriginal Land Councils have billions of dollars in assets, few of which are managed for maximum financial return. Many are prone to tribal and personal disputes, with Land Councils run like closed clubs. They are managed for the benefit of a few, rather than the whole community. Cronyism and graft are common. There is little evidence of NSW land rights fulfilling their promised ‘self-determination’ agenda.
In remote parts of the State, where Indigenous suffering and squalor are concentrated, land rights are particularly problematic. They don’t provide jobs and financial self-sufficiency; instead locking Aborigines into remaining at places that have no hope of future economic development. The location itself is the problem.
In visiting these remote places, it’s apparent that not even Bill Gates could turn a dollar. What hope is there for poor people living in humpies? The land rights movement has encouraged Aboriginal people to remain in uneconomic locations, adding to their misery. It has allowed the Left to believe it has done something positive for ‘social justice’, easing their conscience, when in reality the opposite is true.
Studies have consistently shown that when disadvantaged people are concentrated in disadvantaged places it entrenches the extent of poverty. The level of disadvantage rises exponentially. These communities lack role models for work and enterprise, falling into a cycle of inter-generational welfare. Unfortunately, the chimera of land rights access has added to the problem. It has offered false hope, becoming a shibboleth of Left-wing policy failure.
The best solution is to move remote Indigenous people to places where they at least have a chance of finding educational qualifications and jobs. Unviable communities need to be closed down. Financial returns on land rights assets would be better spent on relocation subsidies, educational scholarships and job-training and employment support.
Sensible Aboriginal leaders recognise this reality. Financial support needs to be sent directly to those in need, rather than funneled through self-serving Land Councils. Relocation subsidies can move people to places where they have a better chance of finding jobs and other life-opportunities. Education scholarships are a direct hand-up, an incentive for academic achievement and good career prospects for Indigenous students who want to study hard.
Retraining and job subsidies can help mature-age Indigenous get their lives in order. As ever, the best welfare policy is work. This subsidies program makes better use of land rights assets. Instead of continuing with the failed policies of the past 30 years, it seeks to break the cycle of Indigenous disadvantage in NSW. In effect, it’s a long overdue Aboriginal Rescue Plan.
Instead of acknowledging the failures of the land rights agenda, the Berejiklian Government is extending them. The Planning Minister, Anthony Roberts, has announced that Land Councils will have special town planning powers over their land. “Custodianship of land means more than possession”, he announced on February 6, “It means stewardship: you need to allow the Land Councils to strategically plan and control the destiny of their land.”
Roberts has opened up a two-tier system of planning approvals: one set of rules for Indigenous, a different set for every other landowner seeking development consent. This is a dangerous precedent, ending the traditional town planning separation between land ownership and the consent authority. It effectively wipes the public interest and public input (consultation and objections) into Land Council development applications. It puts Indigenous interests above the regular law of the land
One Nation takes a different policy approach, overhauling the Land Council system with commonsense changes that break the Indigenous poverty cycle. If elected to NSW Parliament on 23 March, we will:
Abolish the failed Aboriginal Land Council system, placing its assets and income stream into a government trust, managed professionally to achieve maximum rates of financial return. This involves a huge saving in wasteful Land Council administrative costs and cronyism.
Dedicate funds from the new NSW Aboriginal Land Trust to the direct payment of relocation, education, job-training and employment subsidies for Indigenous people who have demonstrated a willingness to lift themselves out of poverty. These payments would be made in cooperation with Federal Government welfare, employment and education agencies. The net impact on the NSW Budget would be zero.
Ensure the new system relies heavily on the principles of Mutual Obligation. That is, to qualify for and keep their funding, Aborigines need to commit to maximum work, training and education effort. Any breach of Mutual Obligation and they will lose funding.
Conduct a thorough audit of all Land Council assets, so that every available resource is dedicated to well-managed Aboriginal advancement. The NSW land rights movement is said to be the third largest landowner in the State. Some estimates have valued Land Council assets at $5 billion. At a standard 8 percent rate of financial return, this would generate $400 million per annum in Aboriginal Rescue Plan scholarships and funding.
Close down non-viable remote Indigenous communities that have no prospects of social normality and economic success. Relocation subsidies will be paid to move people closer to job and service opportunities.
Reinstate a single set of town planning rules in NSW, with no special treatment for any race or ethnic group. This is a core One Nation principle: equality under the law for all Australians.
Tighten the eligibility rules for Aboriginal identity to avoid rorting and false claims by people who clearly are not of recognisable Aboriginal descent. The current system of self-identification is open to abuse. Any waste of taxpayer funds in this area is highly disrespectful to genuine Indigenous. With the rising popularity of DNA-ancestry testing, a more realistic identification system should be developed.
Respecting Australia and Genuinely Assisting First Australians
One of the ugly trends in today’s politics is disrespect and anger directed at Australia and our great unifying national traditions: Australia Day, the Australian National Anthem and the Australian Flag.
Green-Left Australia-haters are spreading the fiction that as a country and a civilisation, we are without virtue and lasting achievements. As they rage against the values of the Enlightenment, with their primitive identity politics, the Left has become anti-West.
It’s quite a contradiction. The people who say they support free public education and programs like Medicare, with its free public hospitals (as per the great achievements of Western civilisation in Australia) also publicly condemn our culture as imperialist and genocidal.
Leftists are trying to turn ‘nationalism’ into a dirty word. Yet for most Australians, love of country is a natural feeling. We have much to be proud of, having post-1788, settled and created one of the world’s most prosperous and tolerant nations.
Yes, there are black marks in Australian history, things that should have been done differently. But overall, we are a wonderful country, proud of our history and confident in our beliefs and values. The Australian colonial story, in settling a tough, inhospitable continent, is one of history’s great examples of human resilience and achievement.
This is not to downgrade the importance of Indigenous culture – far from it. The 300 Indigenous tribes inhabiting Australia in 1788 were fine custodians of land and an enduring nomadic tradition. But each spoke a different language, with different leadership and often fell into fierce tribal conflict.
To become one nation, with advanced education, health, housing, communications and transport services, this could only be achieved through the advent of Western civilisation. We need to celebrate this reality and ensure all Australians – Indigenous and non-Indigenous – have fair opportunities to share in its benefits.
The Leftist tactic of hating and dividing Australia is counter-productive. In a troubled world, if we do not love our country and respect its institutions, who will? If we don’t acknowledge and advance the virtues of Western civilisation, who will?
Unfortunately in modern Australia, the enemy is within: elements in the education system, media, government agencies and political parties who want to denigrate our country with mutant anti-Western ideology. They want to pretend, in their post-modernist headspace, that Australia’s institutions and values are fluid, especially our national borders and national identity.
The tragedy for needy Indigenous people is that Left-wing identity politics does nothing to help them. It has degenerated into an exercise in tokenism, in empty virtue signaling. NSW Labor’s main Aboriginal policy, for instance, is to fly a flag on the Harbour Bridge all-year-round.
Liberal policy is just as futile. The NSW Minister for Veterans Affairs, David Elliott, has said he wants a Corroboree Day public holiday. When asked on Radio 2GB why he wasn’t focused on solving current problems for Indigenous people, like the rape of infant children, he said, “They are doing it under our laws”.
Rape, in fact, is against the law and the perpetrators belong in jail. Elliott’s comment and proposal for Corroboree Day is further proof of how the NSW Liberals have morphed into a blue version of Labor and the Greens. Their only answer to serious problems is symbolism.
For the inner-city Left, the most popular Indigenous-related activity is the warm inner glow of Welcome to Country ceremonies in central Sydney. Meanwhile, in places like Coonamble, Brewarrina and Gilgandra, Indigenous communities are alight with crime and other social problems.
This is a pathetic inconsistency. These are people who claim to care about Indigenous needs but never visit the Indigenous communities in greatest need. Our public life should be better than this. We need to find a way of moving beyond virtue signaling and bringing extra, high-powered skills and resources into disadvantaged Aboriginal areas.
The entertainer Ernie Dingo invented the Welcome to Country ceremony when he welcomed Maori artists to Perth in 1976. Today, it is common within major corporations, schools, universities, government agencies, local Councils and on NSW Government land, such as AFL games and test matches at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Since 2004, it has been compulsory for all official NSW Government-sponsored events to include a Welcome to Country ceremony (costing time and money to organise).
Imagine if the resources of these organisations and their staff, with their personal commitment to Aboriginal affairs, could be harnessed in a practical way. Imagine if they met with and helped Indigenous people directly in Western NSW, instead of clearing their consciences through inner-city ceremonies and virtue signaling.
This is the second part of One Nation’s Aboriginal Rescue Plan (ARP). The policy is straightforward, with four elements:
Aboriginal Affairs NSW will compile a list of all Sydney-based organisations and their senior staff who hold Welcome to Country ceremonies.
It will then offer these executives and managers two-week annual secondments to disadvantaged Indigenous communities, working in schools, drug and alcohol prevention, anti-domestic violence and most importantly, employment creation (possibly with their own organisation).
ARP has the potential to harness a small army of volunteers (wealthy and powerful people) to help needy Indigenous communities. It will assist government and philanthropic organisations already working to overcome Aboriginal poverty and educational under-achievement. It will bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together, solving serious social problems.
On the flipside, ARP will also flush out those who are not serious about hands-on assistance for Indigenous people. Each year Aboriginal Affairs NSW will publish a list of those who participated in the scheme and those who did not (the second group representing uncommitted virtue signalers).
Fostering National Pride
Having created the ARP game-changer in Indigenous affairs, One Nation will also ensure the institutions of post-1788 Australian are protected. We should be a country of proud Australians, with a patriotic love of who we are and what we have achieved. This goes to the true meaning of good citizenship, of bringing Australians together as one united people.
NSW Government policy should foster respect and admiration of our wonderful country. One Nation will preserve our unifying national traditions as follows:
Australia Day will remain on 26 January. We are opposed to Prime Minister Morrison’s proposal for an Indigenous holiday version of Australia Day. This is a misunderstanding of the purpose of our national day. Australia Day is for all Australians. We shouldn’t have one day for a certain group of Aussies and a separate day for others of a different racial background. This will only further divide the nation.
We will amend the NSW Local Government Act to ensure all Councils celebrate Australia Day on 26 January. Any Council breaking this law (such as Byron Bay) will be replaced with an administrator.
All NSW school students will learn the words and history of the National Anthem. There will be zero tolerance of students who disrespect the anthem with political-style protests.
One Nation opposes Labor’s proposal to fly the Indigenous flag all-year-round on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Priority on government buildings and key landmarks must be given to the Australian flag.
One Nation believes all Australians should be governed by a single legal system. We will abolish the segregationist ‘Koori Court’ in NSW. We also oppose Labor’s plan for a NSW Indigenous Treaty as divisive and unnecessary. One Nation will only ever support the principle of ‘equality under the law’.
We also oppose Liberal Minister David Elliott’s proposal to create a Corroboree Day public holiday in NSW, replacing the October Labour Day long weekend. The many achievements of the Austraian labour movement, such as the 8-hour day (when unions were relevant to the needs of their members) should always be celebrated.
We expect all education facilities in NSW to be unashamedly pro-Australian and pro-Western civilisation. We will not hesitate to defund institutions and dismiss staff who promote hatred and civil unrest against our country. We expect schools to enthusiastically teach the many achievements of Australian history.
One Nation is concerned by Left-wing American political trends coming to Australia, such as the Colin Kaepernick ‘kneeling’ protest disrespecting the national anthem and flag. Already Anthony Mundine and ABC/Fairfax sports writers have advocated for this practice: athletes kneeling during the Australian anthem. At the Rugby League Indigenous game on 15 February, the captain Cody Walker and other players refused to sing the Australian National Anthem because they felt ‘uncomfortable’. Under our policy, any sporting body that allows these disrespectful stunts to occur publicly at their events will no longer have use of NSW Government facilities.