Apr 6, 2011

The video of Twiggy Forrest that everyone’s talking about

A video has been uploaded by the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation expressing their concern over a March meeting with Fortesque Metals Group over a native title dispute in the Pilbara.

Tom Cowie

Crikey journalist

Mining magnate Andrew Forrest has been accused of being "paternalistic" in his attempts to strike a native title deal with a group of traditional owners. The dispute involves a $5 billion iron-ore investment by Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) in the Pilbara, in Western Australia. With a Federal Court judgment on legal action by 700 traditional owners over the claim looming, Forrest has attempted to strike a deal with a breakaway group of 200 Yindjibarndi people. At a public meeting with the breakaway group in March, Forrest's lawyers had a fight over a microphone with one of the senior traditional owners who questioned whether the meeting was legal. A video has been uploaded by the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation expressing their concern over the meeting:

FMG's Great Native Title Swindle from Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corp. on Vimeo.

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11 thoughts on “The video of Twiggy Forrest that everyone’s talking about

  1. shepherdmarilyn

    Forrest’s arrogance is amazing.

  2. klewso

    Does the term “carpetbaggers” spring to mind? Holding this sort of meeting (foreign to the participants with most to lose), because those seeking to profit, can control the preordained outcome?
    An “industry” now with a “voice” on national TV – to control PR and advertise their position, to sod all contradiction? “Bolt’s Advertorials!”

  3. DogsRGr8

    Disgusting. Forrest’s arrogance is sickening. He talks like some colonial conqueror offering glass beads to the natives in return for their land. If I was a member of the Yindjibarndi I would be insulted too. And Ronald Bower is clearly behaving unethically – particularly since, according to the video, not one of his ‘clients’ spoke at the meeting – and they were paid to go there.

  4. jaymez

    If the Aboriginal People in any area want to be treated like they are doing a normal commercial deal, then they will need to change the way they are prepared to operate. Firstly, there should be no-one being paid ‘sitting fees’ as that is not how normal commercial deals are done. Secondly, negotiators should not be expected to negotiate with all the people. Aboriginal people should trust each other enough to entrust the negotiations with a representative few rather than all demand to attend these unwieldy meetings. You can’t expect to be treated with respect but demand paternalistic treatment too.

  5. sparky

    So what you are saying Jaymez is they should become like Ziggy et al instead of Ziggy et al becoming like them.

  6. Cretaceous

    This is all so familiar to us in the Kimberley. There must be a manual somewhere on how to subvert traditional owners and destroy local resistance. Woodside, in its bid to get started on its highly polluting gas hub north of Broome, has used these same tactics. From promoting splinter groups with promises of huge money, to flying in people unconnected to country, to having highly paid whitefellas chairing meetings and setting agendas it’s all from the same song sheet. Throughout these shenanigans the captains of industry, hands on hearts, assure us of their love for the land they are about to destroy. It has got to the stage here where a trip to country often results in being followed, filmed and harassed by Woodsides hired thugs. The disrespect is both breathtaking and heartbreaking. Corporatism has gone too far.

  7. LisaCrago

    good grief now lets nort talk about who has more rights that the other or who is more deserving/aboriginal than who, in each group or we might end up in court!

  8. Tom Jones

    The legal validity of this meeting needs to be questioned. As to Twiggy Forwar’a respect for Aboriginal people the terms of the Agreement where there is a payment of money at a flat rate rather than as a percentage and also the ability to override any objections to a particular aspect of the mining is completely disrespecful. That is even before considering what can only be described as a kangaroo meeting. Because there is video recording it appears that it would be a strong piece of evidence in any appeal. What is going on here is a disgrace.

  9. Jason Quin

    Jaymez, the background to the meeting featured in the video, is that FMG bypassed the representatives – that you consider appopriate to “civil” negotiations – fostering a split in the community. Is this backdoor tactic standard practice? Equally, why not aspire to a society where consensus-building is the norm?

  10. SBH

    It’s said that it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. I think the point of that maxim is not that being rich is bad but that you have to do evil things to become rich.

    Jaymez I don’t disagree with some of what you say but I should point out that very often Aboriginal communities do select representatives to stirke commerical deals. The community at Wonarah used the CLC and the SLc to assist them to negotiate a large mining deal so it does happen. On a broader point though what we see here is an imposition of one way of doing things – Forrest’s way – which is inimicable to the way many communities operate.

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