The Guardian January 23, 2002


Tent embassy 30th anniversary

January 26 is Australia Day. Once again it will be approached from two 
perspectives: the colonisers the colonised.

One of those perspectives is being offered by Koori Mail from the 
Aboriginal Tent Embassy. Wadjularbinna, Gungalidda Elder and member of the 
Aboriginal Tent Embassy calls on all people of conscience to stand in 
solidarity with the Aboriginal people at the Tent Embassy on January 27, on 
its 30th anniversary. 

Recently there has been debate on radio and television about the Tent 
Embassy being an eyesore. Let us set the record straight in more ways than 
one. 

"The Commonwealth Government, through its agency the National Capital 
Authority, is constantly trying to remove the Aboriginal Embassy, even 
though it is on the register on the National Estate.

This would complete the heritage-listed colonial view from the steps of old 
Parliament House, by removing all traces of our lifestyle and our presence.

What many see as an eyesore is our right to be different.

What the Government sees as its heritage, we see as asphalt and buildings 
that don't blend in with nature, smothering our poor land and destroying 
natural habitats.

The Commonwealth and its servant parliamentarians need an education in 
accepting and respecting difference. These people do not have the God-given 
right to destroy this land and our unique humanitarian system, which has 
within it answers to Australia's problems and global survival.

Life is very sacred in our system and by denying us our right to life, 
sovereignty and self-determination, the Commonwealth Government is guilty 
of terrorism, racism and genocide against us.

We call on everyone in a special way this year, like we have never done 
before, to open your mind's eye and face reality. There is such a thing as 
people power and together we have to stop what is happening right before 
our eyes.

Aboriginal peoples are still under as big a threat as we have ever been. 
Are Australians, as privileged people in this land, going to stand by 
knowing our lands, our cultures, our languages and our peoples are being 
destroyed?

"We are being treated worse than refugees. We cannot flee persecution to 
another country because we are spiritually connected to our own ancestral 
lands. So jails and mental institutions are full of our people.

The Aboriginal Tent Embassy is one place where our people can voice their 
opinions and take their plight to government, which wants to take even this 
final platform from us.

A monumental public lie is being erected adjacent to the Tent Embassy at 
taxpayers' expense of $5.5 million. It is called Reconciliation Place and 
echoes the resounding lie: 'All is well with Blacks today'.

The intent behind it is to replace the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and to act 
as a substitute for reparation and compensation, as Minister Ruddock 
informed the Commonwealth Government.

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