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Politics

Jul 25, 2008

Arnhem land leaders: give our people safe, healthy, lives

This is the full text of a Communique that was sent to the Prime Minister and Cabinet prior to their historic meeting in Yirrkala in Arnhem Land on Wednesday, the first time federal cabinet has in an indigenous community.

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This is the full text of a Communique that was sent to the Prime Minister and Cabinet prior to their historic meeting in Yirrkala in Arnhem Land on Wednesday, the first time federal cabinet has met in an indigenous community.

At the meeting, Cabinet was handed a metre-long bark petition calling for the recognition of indigenous people in the constitution. The ceremony took place on the same ground at Yirrkala where, 45 years earlier, Yolngu people presented the federal government with a now famous bark petition, voicing their opposition to a mine at Gove.

The ‘bark petition’ calling for constitutional recognition was presented by Galarrwuy Yunupingu as part of the bungul. The Comminique (which also called for constitutional recognition) had been provided in advance as part of the process of negotiating the meeting with PM&C and covered a much broader range of concerns.

As the General Manager of Laynhapuy Homelands Association, Ric Norton , told Crikey, “even many bureaucrats in the field can’t believe we still have permanent homelands of 70 or more people who have been living without electricity for the past 30 years. How do you progress nutrition, health, education, training, employment, and business development in that situation? “

To follow are excerpts of the Communique that was sent to the PM&C, which include the Yolngu and Bininj Leaders’ Statement of Intent.

Click on the experts to read the full text.

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