Melbourne University ALP Club
The official news blog of the University of Melbourne ALP Club, a progressive left general interest club.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Friday, May 27, 2005
ED CONFERENCE FUNDRAISER
“State of the Union"
A Film by Gary Newman about the 2003 MUSU Elections
6:30pm for a 7:30pm start
$10 Waged, $5 for students
Beer and Wine available
Tickets available on the night
URGENT CAMPAIGN FOR ALL SUPPORTERS OF A HUMANITARIAN ASYLUM SEEKERS POLICY
TELL FEDERAL LABOR: SUPPORT PETRO GEORGIOUS'S PRIVATE MEMBER'S BILL AS A STEP TOWARDS A MORE COMPASSIONATE APPROACH TO ASYLUM SEEKERS
Liberal backbencher Petro Georgiou will introduce two Private Member's Bill
to the Commonwealth Parliament which aim to fundamentally change Australia's
system of processing asylum seekers. These proposals would end indefinite
immigration detention, release children from detention and allow refugees
who have been granted temporary protection to live in the community
Clearly this represents a significant step forward, but Labor has so far
refused to offer full support for the Georgiou Private Member's Bill. You
can help! Visit: www.labor4refugees.org/campaign/ to send a message directly
to the Federal ALP: Labor should support these Bills as a step towards a
more compassionate policy for asylum seekers!
All supporters of the campaign for a humanitarian approach to refugees and
asylum seekers should get active in this campaign.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Tom's letter to Gaving Jennings:
The Hon. Gavin Jennings, MLC
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs,
I am writing in regards to the situation which has come about between the Victorian Museum and the Dja Dja Wurrung people. My name is Thomas Arup and I am a Labor party member and one the executive of the Melbourne University ALP club as Campaign’s Officer. I am writing to implore you to take action and uphold the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Heritage Protection Act of 1984, which has enabled the Dja Dja Wurrung people to put an emergency declaration upon the bark etchings and the emu figure on loan from the British Museum. I ask that you uphold this legislation and allow these pieces remain in Victoria.
I write with some urgency as I have just heard of the Federal courts decesion. I believe the ruling, that the cycle of emergency declerations cannot be upheld by law, does not override the legislation but rather just stop the declerations. It places you in an incredible important situation in keeping the etchings in Australia and I plead with you to uphold the legislation as quickly and strongly as you can. It is upon you as the minister to uphold good legislation which was implemented for worthy reasons.
Firstly, the Dja Dja Wurrung people have a right to be in possession of their cultural heritage, a heritage which has been stolen by the British museum. This right is the basis for the legislation in which they have claimed the bark etchings. While I understand there is a legal contract between the British museum and the Victorian museum, the law is also geared to protecting the rights of indigenous groups and their history in ways contract law cannot. I am sure you also understand that cultural heritage is not just about the physical manifestation in the form of these etchings, but rather tied into the belief system of indigenous people of this nation. These pieces are a link to their ancestors, a spiritual link, and it is wrong deny them this link.
Secondly the British museum has no right to hold these pieces, which were taken without consent of the Dja Dja Wurrung, and this, in a better world, would constitute theft. The British museum will not place these pieces on exhibition, and in fact didn’t even know that they had possession of them for many decades. Furthermore there has only been two research papers written on the barks since they have been held at the British museum, and this does not constitute a reason to continue to hold them when compared to the importance they have here in Victoria.
Thirdly as an active Victorian citizen I believe they are part of my cultural heritage, not just for the Dja Dja Wurrung people. They represent the past of Victoria, a part of history which is often overlooked, that of the Indigenous people and the occupation of Westerners. It would be incredible if these pieces, unique in their rarity, would be exhibited publicly, and would go some way to broadening the average Victorian’s knowledge about the Aboriginal past of the state.
Furthermore this small symbolic act to the Dja Dja Wurrung, would constitute a symbolic gesture towards the Aboriginal community, something lacking in today’s political environment on both sides of politics. If the Government needs to buy out the contract between the British museum and the Victorian museum (the figure I have been informed is 3.2 million dollars) then it would be a small price to pay to reclaim part of Victorian heritage and many other governments have payed much larger sums for other works. This sum is also little when compared to the enormous benefit it would have for the Dja Dja Wurrung people.
Finally if you were to act in favour of the Dja Dja Wurrung people, it would constitute a political gain for the Labor party in Indigenous affairs, and furthermore a win for the left side of the Labor party. And while this shouldn’t be the primary focus of acting in this case it would be a good off shoot. Publicly you would also be bringing home a piece of Victoria that Victorians have not been able to enjoy. You have an incredible opportunity to provide this for the public.
I write this with the backing of my ALP club colleagues who are strong active Labor party members, and strong active members of the left, and I look forward to your reply. I will continue to take a very personal interest in this case and inform my party colleagues.
Melbourne University ALP Club Campaigns Officer.
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