Native Title Rights for Fraser Island

For ABC news item Click Here

"Queensland's popular Fraser Island has been returned to its Indigenous people, with the Federal Court today granting native title rights.
The ruling recognised the World Heritage-listed island's Indigenous heritage of the Butchulla people and opened up possible economic opportunities for the future."

Could be some changes ahead.
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Allan

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Reply By: Bigfish - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 10:48

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 10:48
If the federal court has ruled then that's it. Done deal. If the indigenous mob can run a viable business from the ruling so be it..
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Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 11:25

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 11:25
There's probably about four things that will come out of this decision.

1. Public access to some areas of Fraser Island will be removed, due to "cultural reasons". (i.e. sacred ground). The fact that whites have tramped, camped and driven over these areas for 200-300 years won't even come into the equation - you will not be allowed into those areas unless you're a member of the Butchulla people.

2. The size of the administrative bureaucracy operating the indigenous control of the Island will increase enormously.

3. You will be paying a lot more to visit Fraser Island. Permits will be required for virtually everything you want to do.

4. Members of the Butchulla tribe will now be the "honoured guides" of Fraser Island, and their powers to control visitors will be enormous.

I trust that we aren't seeing the stealthy introduction of reverse apartheid within Australia, with ever-increasing areas of Australia being handed back to Aboriginal control, and whites being required to obtain permits to traverse all those lands now controlled by Aboriginals.
The fact we now already have large areas of central Australia where access is denied to people based on the colour of their skin or cultural ancestry - unless they obtain a restrictive permit - is a very disquieting feature of our modern life and government to me.

I await the day when some group appears, and produces anthropological proof to claim THEY were displaced by the Aboriginals, and THEY owned the land before the Aboriginals did. It could get interesting about then, methinks.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Bigfish - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 11:36

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 11:36
I know exactly where you are coming from Ron. 20 years in rural NT has opened my eyes to what is really happening.

However we must also remember that the old white man has dug his own grave in many areas. Any private land you need permission. White man has taught aboriginal people the value of a dollar and how greed is the norm nowadays. I have been ripped off , constantly, by white men. Mechanics, telecom companies, electrical companies, councils, state and federal govts, manipulating grocery supermarkets, etc.etc. Do you know how much land and resources the WA govt has stolen from aboriginal people? Absolutely criminal how it acts. Some areas may be closed to Fraser Island..wonder how many dingos had to be shot 50 years ago? Given enough time white fella will ruin Fraser Island. I see some sneaky, underhanded deals done to continue sand mining for another 20+ years!!
The black fella is only doing what the smart white fella taught him!!!

Don't you just love modern man and his morals?

cheers
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 11:48

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 11:48
Sand mining ceased on Fraser Island in 1976.
Timber logging ceased in 1991.
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Follow Up By: Bigfish - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 13:29

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 13:29
Your right Allan B. My fault for not clarifying. Another area where sand mining has been opposed and where locals were hoping for a finish was sneakily granted a longer term to continue. Just pointing out how business greed over rules community wishes. The aboriginals for decades have been trying to get land rights sorted on Fraser island.
I suspect they will model their business on our models...you wont always get what you pay for but you will pay for everything!!
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 20:17

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 20:17
Helluva lot of supposition there Ron. Fairly blinkered in my opinion - try seeing it from their perspective. Don't hold your breath waiting for Aboriginal claims to country being supplanted by another mysterious forerunner though. Aboriginal history in this country is pretty well established across the land and that's what the Native Title Act recognises. Nothing is black and white in life, and finding fault in any culture is easy. Multinational mining companies anyone?
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Follow Up By: Slow one - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 20:37

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 20:37
Maybe this will tell the story. Eyes wide shut some of you.

In 1860 the whole of Fraser Island was gazetted as an Aboriginal Reserve but this was soon rescinded in 1863 and shrunk to include only the central section of the island after commercial timber-getting began. When timber getters wanted to log this Reserve in 1905, almost all of the remaining Aborigines were removed from the island.
In 1870 the Sandy Cape light station was erected. There was a significant resident population living near the station when Miss Serena Lovell was teaching there in 1891. In 1872 Rev Fuller established a mission at Ballargan but this was closed down within two years so the government could convert the Mission site to a Quarantine station for ships bringing miners to the goldfield. With the gold rush ended by 1897 the Government briefly revived Ballargan.
On Good Friday 1897 Aborigines drove off a party of Maryborough excursionists who claimed that the beach had been “a favourite resort for pleasure parties for over twenty years” and a popular “watering place since before Queensland got separation”. A public protest meeting in Maryborough drew 300 to 400 people. Within months, parochial pressure caused the mission to be shifted to a less desirable site at Bogimbah Creek.
At Bogimbah Creek Settlement Aborigines lived in conditions comparable with the Jewish concentration camps of World War II. Over a hundred died of malnutrition, dysentery, syphilis, influenza and tuberculosis. Anglican missionaries took over the Mestons’ State control in February 1900 but in 1904 they abandoned the Bogimbah Creek mission. Rather than release remaining inmates, 117 were tricked and taken to Yarrabah near Cairns. Others were sent to Woodford and then to Cherbourg. Out of more than 2,000 Fraser Island Aborigines fifty years earlier, only a handful escaped. This tragedy prompted one Maryborough resident of the time to write an “enraged memorial”. “Isn't this one of the blackest pages in the history of the British Empire?”
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 21:48

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 21:48
Yes these types of events are not a proud moment in our history but just the same we are judging them out of context in today's world
I am all for conciliation but giving land back like this be it right or wrong still polarises the community with the "us and them " underlying tones.
I am not sure how this form of compensation brings the community together so we can move forward together
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Reply By: Gronk - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 12:03

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 12:03
What I find wrong about some of these decisions to grant native title ( and I'm not talking about Fraser as I don't know ) is the original inhabitants aren't the only ones who can apply.

Say the xxxx tribe no longer exists or can't be traced, then YYYY tribe can claim, even though they may never have lived in that area.

It has happened down this way on the central coast, and the recipients recieved 50 million from developers only a very short time later.......and as a side note, there has been talks of an enquiry as to where all the 50 million has gone ??

I don't believe we should give them back the land, but I do agree that if they want, they can return to their ancestral land and live, but of course , there would be no money to make out of that so that idea wouldn't happen ..

Another scenario........say Joe Blogs has some or all of his land resumed for say an airport (like the Castle !! ) and yrs later wants to put in a claim for ownership title.....won't happen will it ??

Some will say Joe was paid money for it ( probably way undervalued ), but in the same way, maybe we should pay a small amount to the indigenous owners ( if they can prove it ) for resuming their land yrs ago, but NOT hand the land back .

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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 20:28

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 20:28
Have you got a reference to that Central Coast deal Gronk? Not suggesting it's not true but I'd like to read more about it. Almost always FAR more to most stories than you'll read in a paper - especially a Murdoch rag as most seem to be.
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Follow Up By: Gronk - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 21:30

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 21:30
Do some research on the native title claim for North Entrance....since sold and now known as Magenta Shores.
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 21:34

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 21:34
Garanganda Land council have done a similar thing in southern Sydney
They put in native land claims on selected tracks of land and then subdivide and sell off as residential home sites to the general public
I have witnessed this first hand
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 22:00

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 22:00
Thanks, Ill do that.
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Reply By: Dennis Ellery - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 15:07

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 15:07
Last year we went to Cape Leveque ((North West WA)) – a very professionally run aboriginal holiday resort and camping ground. Nearby is Hunters Creek, a good fishing spot a couple a few ks along the beach. Previously unrestricted entry but a few years ago it was sign posted No Entry Sacred Ground. If you want go there with your 4WD now, it will cost you $75 for half a day (3 or 4 hours with a local guide).

But if you leave the holiday resort, go back to the highway and approach the Creek from the other side you will go through non aboriginal private property and it will cost you $5.00 entry fee for a whole day and night

A few years ago I was fishing in a water hole at Pt Smith (North West WA) and was approached by an aboriginal elder driving a brand new V8 Troopy with four young men in the back.

He turned out to be a friendly enough and sat down in the water hole, where I was filleting a fish, and told me that they were going to declare the area sacred in the future.

You can bet your life entry wouldn’t be free then.

Welcome to the real world – It’s a sad fact but previously free access to these wilderness areas is going to change.
AnswerID: 540882

Follow Up By: get outmore - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 15:16

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 15:16
NOW its profesionally run - it couldnt make money until management was outsourced
its managed by whitefellas and run by backpackers now.
and when that local guide stops doing the tours theres no one to take his spot - none of the youngfellas think its worthwhile making money for him to train
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Reply By: Member - Baz - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 15:12

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 15:12
Interesting. Have been going to Fraser fishing since the mid 80's and yet to see an Aboriginal.
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Follow Up By: rumpig - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 18:50

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 18:50
Hey Baz,
If you take the track to Lake Allom that leaves the beach roughly near The Maheno Wreck somewhere from memory, there's been an aboriginal community living there for years.
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Follow Up By: George_M - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 18:59

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 18:59
I first travelled that track in1979, rumpig, using a forestry map.

They weren't there then.

Come any closer and I'll rip your throat out!

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Follow Up By: Member - Baz - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 19:13

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 19:13
Thanks Rumpig. Was out that way late July did not see any evidence of a community then. Makes me wonder what they live on. Have not seen any fishing on the east or west. Hopefully they're eating dingoes
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Follow Up By: rumpig - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 19:37

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 19:37
I have no idea when they moved into that location George_M but it would be interesting to know out of curiosity if anyone else has that information in their memory banks. Baz mentioned he'd never seen any on the island, yet they've been there for a short while atleast that i know of. It's not something that's happened in the last year or 2 either, they were there 5 or 6 years back from my memory and likely much earlier then that. I vaguely recall relatives mentioning something about aboriginals living at the old Orchid Beach Resort on the island for a while also, i don't have first hand knowledge of that, just i have heard it mentioned a few times by relatives and friends over the years.
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Follow Up By: George_M - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 19:58

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 19:58
Apologies rumpig, a typo in my first post. My first trip to Lake Allom was in 1969, not 1979. No aboriginal people living there then. None at the timber camp at Central Station, and none at the sand mining operations a bit further south of Eurong.

The "old" resort at Orchid Rocks was in operation at that time. No aboriginal people in that area either.

George_M

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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 20:34

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 20:34
Don't like the subtext of the posts but it could have something to do with the "forced removal" mentioned in the ABC report perhaps? I'm sure the Fed Court looked at the claims in detail and I can't speak for others but I'd put their investigations and determinations a long way in front of some anecdotal observations by occasional visitors.
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Follow Up By: Slow one - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 20:39

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 20:39
I will add it to this discussion as well.

Maybe this will tell the story. Eyes wide shut some of you.

In 1860 the whole of Fraser Island was gazetted as an Aboriginal Reserve but this was soon rescinded in 1863 and shrunk to include only the central section of the island after commercial timber-getting began. When timber getters wanted to log this Reserve in 1905, almost all of the remaining Aborigines were removed from the island.
In 1870 the Sandy Cape light station was erected. There was a significant resident population living near the station when Miss Serena Lovell was teaching there in 1891. In 1872 Rev Fuller established a mission at Ballargan but this was closed down within two years so the government could convert the Mission site to a Quarantine station for ships bringing miners to the goldfield. With the gold rush ended by 1897 the Government briefly revived Ballargan.
On Good Friday 1897 Aborigines drove off a party of Maryborough excursionists who claimed that the beach had been “a favourite resort for pleasure parties for over twenty years” and a popular “watering place since before Queensland got separation”. A public protest meeting in Maryborough drew 300 to 400 people. Within months, parochial pressure caused the mission to be shifted to a less desirable site at Bogimbah Creek.
At Bogimbah Creek Settlement Aborigines lived in conditions comparable with the Jewish concentration camps of World War II. Over a hundred died of malnutrition, dysentery, syphilis, influenza and tuberculosis. Anglican missionaries took over the Mestons’ State control in February 1900 but in 1904 they abandoned the Bogimbah Creek mission. Rather than release remaining inmates, 117 were tricked and taken to Yarrabah near Cairns. Others were sent to Woodford and then to Cherbourg. Out of more than 2,000 Fraser Island Aborigines fifty years earlier, only a handful escaped. This tragedy prompted one Maryborough resident of the time to write an “enraged memorial”. “Isn't this one of the blackest pages in the history of the British Empire?”
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 21:06

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 21:06
Here's part of the judgement dealing with that issue broadly:

51 Second, Dr Sackett had earlier observed in his report that descendants of a number of apical ancestors had maintained little or no physical connection with the area of the claims, whereas descendants of other apicals had maintained relatively solid physical connection to the area of claims (in particular the descendants of Garry Owens and Willy Wondunna). The dislocation of some Butchulla people from their country resulted from a number of causes including:

the settlement of non-Aborigines in the area beginning in the 1840s, accompanied by increasing competition for resources and violence between indigenous and non-indigenous people;

the gradual incorporation of the local population into the pastoral and timber industries as unskilled labour;

the establishment of a mission on Fraser Island in 1897;

the removal of many local indigenous people to Yarrabah in 1904 as well as other removals (paragraph 996).

52 In light of this dislocation Dr Sackett opined that it was not surprising that relatively few members of the Butchulla People had been able to maintain ongoing physical connection with their country.

53 Overall, however, Dr Sackett was satisfied that fundamental laws and customs continued to be acknowledged by Butchulla claimants, which meant that crucial aspects of Butchulla society were transmitted from generation to generation.
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Follow Up By: Bigfish - Monday, Oct 27, 2014 at 07:11

Monday, Oct 27, 2014 at 07:11
Good read Slow one. Typical of many areas that the white man wanted. He arrogantly went ahead and grabbed what he needed to make him a quid. Still occurs nowadays with mining and gas reserves.
A good read is 'Blood on the Wattle"......may open your eyes a little to just what an ar$#*&@" the white man can be. It gives a glimpse of how we treated (and still do) aboriginals. Could have been a lot better book with actual interviews and some more info. However it gets its point across.
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Follow Up By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Monday, Oct 27, 2014 at 09:54

Monday, Oct 27, 2014 at 09:54
rumpig, I have stayed at Orchid beach resort for a lot of the 1970's & been on FI a lot since & still havn't noticed any aboriginals there at any time although now you can't only tell by the colour of their skin. I hope it won't change from the way it is today as most? people seem happy with sharing the way it is. I have also water skiid on the freshwater lakes as there were commercial operators then, very few cars on the island, we used to fly in & land on the crude golf course next to the resort, we used to hire fergy tractors to get around the island, the resort would pack a beaut bbq for us to take with us on the back of the tractors, one was called the "tucked fractor" & there was a cartoon drawing & story on the wall in the resort explaining the how the tractor got it's name! The pool was broken then. I have boxes of photo's & home movies of Fraser Island in the early day's, hoo roo
"the only thing constant in my life is change"




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Reply By: olcoolone - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 16:43

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 16:43
For some strange reason everyone else who lives in Australia has no rights....... Until they put the Australian aboriginals and all other Australian citizens on a level playing field there will always be a rift and us so called white people do gooders are to blame.

Why can't every one here in Australia live as one and be one with mutual respect and understanding.

We get told to respect this person and that persons rights....yeah great what about ours.

It bugs me when I go to government meeting or where a government official is opening a function and they have to pay respect to the original custodians of the land....... one day I'm going to stand up and ask why and do they think it is helping and do they feel better for saying that.

I am not against any nationality or aboriginal person or group and respect their views and beliefs but it seems if we do something wrong against them and restrict access or apply conditions we are called all names and get accused of having no respect....... but when one of these groups does it to us it's called getting on with life and we should respect and accept their wishes.

Yes it is sad when one born here can not travel freely in their own country.

I would love to know how many of their claims are fact and how many are fiction..... whats that story told to one person and by the time it gets to the 100th person it resembles nothing of the original story.

But then again if us dumb white people didn't build on significant sites non of this would of happened......... maybe we should build on non significant sites....... is there any non significant sites?

Wait until they say all of Canberra is a site of specific interest.....


AnswerID: 540884

Follow Up By: Bazooka - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 20:57

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 20:57
I'm sure if anyone is really interested/keen they could track down the detailed rulings and submissions on every native title grant ever made in this country. Be a pita to wade through it all but it would answer your question to some degree Olcoolone. There's always some debate about the connections and descendencies and there might be some myths and errors involved - perhaps some leaps of faith even - but if there's a better way to resolve claims I'm sure many people would be interested in pursuing it.

A lot of Federal Court judgements (not the full evidence altough that would be published somewhere - austlii maybe?) are online. This one is here: Fraser Island/K'gari
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Monday, Oct 27, 2014 at 08:09

Monday, Oct 27, 2014 at 08:09
"Yes it is sad when one born here can not travel freely in their own country."

Wind the statement back 200 years and it takes on a completely different context.

For the most part, Australian's from all backgrounds get to travel relatively freely in this great country...



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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Monday, Oct 27, 2014 at 08:35

Monday, Oct 27, 2014 at 08:35
"Wind the statement back 200 years and it takes on a completely different context."

For sure but in another 200 years are we going to be the ones fighting for the use of the land we were born in.....

You have to put the past behind you as like most places on this earth there were conflicts whereby one country would overtake another to rule....... and it is still going on today.

So in another 20 years when all the elders who have an active interest in their culture and heritage have passed and then what..... it gets handed down to a generation who don't give a damn about their culture and heritage unless it involves so coin.

Yes native title was a good idea but now like so many things do gooders do; it starts to erode the original issues, concept and why something is put in place.

Go back 60-100 years and the do gooders at the churches screwed thing up big time with how they thought and dealt with the aboriginal people....... on to find out in the future the damage they actually did...... but like any story in time it's hard to say if it was the right decision s made or not for the time.

As with the churches who made the wrong decisions 60-100 years ago that they thought were right for the time ...... are we going to look back in 60-100 years time and say "what did we do, we got it all wrong..... again"

As I said above I have the up most respect for the aborigines and what was done to them looking back now was wrong but this rift that was around 60-200 years ago is starting all over again and it is getting back to "us" and "them" all over again.

Common rights for all cultures should be the same here in Australia.

Yes I have seen first hand what rights in the wrong hands do for farmers, property owners and developments.

The ones who win are the lawyers.
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Monday, Oct 27, 2014 at 09:09

Monday, Oct 27, 2014 at 09:09
It is a very complex issue without doubt, and one that extends well beyond land rights.

The problem in calling for equality is that for the most part, that is simply code for we want access to your land. What about equality in healthcare, living standards, as a starter.

I’m not intending to provoke, because this is not something that will easily be resolved, but I simply highlight that if we are calling for equality how do we ensure that aboriginal people get that in broader terms?


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Follow Up By: Steve in Kakadu - Monday, Oct 27, 2014 at 09:43

Monday, Oct 27, 2014 at 09:43
olcoolone

"Common rights for all cultures should be the same here in Australia."

This statement is the key here, permits exist on aboriginal land for one purpose, it is to protect their culture and their rights.

You have the right to prevent people onto you property, by means of trespass laws.

Most permits are easily obtained giving you the right to pass through their property with simple rules that apply.

As for Fraser Island, I will never go back because the white people have stuffed it up, rude insolent people that live and work there, the black fellas certainly couldn't do any worse.
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Monday, Oct 27, 2014 at 13:47

Monday, Oct 27, 2014 at 13:47
Yes understand that Steve.....and most are good but I have seen over the years areas that have been handed back turn to junk and I have also seen the infighting that occurs between all stake holders.

Trespassing law is a complecated act and in some instances it does not give the land holder permissin to restrict access.

Time will tell.

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Reply By: SDG - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 17:17

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 17:17
Are the profits from these lands going back to the tribes members in some way, or just lining the pockets of a select few? If helping all tribes members improve their lives is happening, I have no problems with them taking ownership. I have a problem if profits are just lining a few select pockets.
AnswerID: 540886

Reply By: Slow one - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 19:03

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 19:03
You know, most of the people that have a very strong opinion of Aboriginals have never had much or anything to do with them.

Think about it and those who have, look at the good positive side of some of the most wonderful people I have ever known.

Yes there are problems but hell, many just judge without knowing these people.
AnswerID: 540891

Follow Up By: Gronk - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 21:28

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 21:28
And you have highlighted why most white australians have a negative view of aboriginals........we haven't had much to do with them....BUT the ones we have seen and heard about are the ones that tar the rest of them.

Most people only see what you see when you drive through a country town ( try Katherine )....not the decent ones who live and keep to themselves.

This perception is hard to erase if that's all you ever see.
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 22:03

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 22:03
Most? I doubt it Grank but maybe I move in different circles to you. A certain demographic stereotypes everyone different to themselves and knows little more than what headlines and anecdotes - from similarly minded people usually - tell them about many important topics. They will almost always see what they want to see. Lack of time and real interest rather than malice or chosen ignorance colours many Aussies' views but when they get exposed to a different viewpoint, do some research or best of all have a related experience they often mellow. Unsurprising. Knowledge is a powerful thing, as are understanding and empathy.
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Reply By: Kris and Kev - Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 19:53

Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 19:53
I don’t think too much will change on the island, except its name, back to the original name K'gari which means paradise. Hard to argue that one. But I wonder if all persons who identify themselves as aboriginal will now be exempt from paying the fees to visit the island? Same as it operates in other aboriginal lands. Kevin
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