Muckaty – message to the Australian Senate

From Senate Hansard, Tuesday, 14 June 2011.

Senator LUDLAM (Western Australia) (13:45):
This debate has been a long time coming …

It is hard to imagine how it must feel to be targeted by a government which has failed to provide the services that most of us take for granted and whose members arrive by aircraft from over the horizon to explain that jobs and educational services will be provided if only you accept guardianship of the nation’s radioactive wastes for all time. We do not have to imagine how it feels, because Dianne Stokes and Mark Chungaloo tell us directly in a letter which I seek leave to have incorporated into the Hansard.

Leave Granted

The document read as follows—

“21 March 2010
Hello from Mark Japaljari Chungaloo and Dianne Nampin Stokes speaking on behalf of our Warramungu/Warlmanpa people.

The information given to us is that our people still do not want the nuclear waste dump to come to the Muckaty Land Trust. We will not stop making noise in Tennant Creek/Muckaty or in our community where we live about 40 kilometres south of where the proposed Muckaty nuclear waste dump would be built.

We will not stop making a noise in Canberra either.

We need our opposition to the nuclear waste dump to be understood and respected by Government and especially Minster Martin Ferguson.

All our tribes in Tennant Creek have been talking to each other and we will all get together to protest by doing traditional dance showing the design that represents the land Karakara in Muckaty Land Trust.

Our message is always: We don’t want the nuclear waste dump anywhere in the Muckaty Land Trust.

These are our concerns:
* We told the government that Karakara is sacred land.
* Only Men talk about the land. No women talk for Karakara in the Muckaty Land Trust
* The site for the proposed nuclear waste dump is in an earthquake tremor zone. What if an earthquake opens the nuclear waste storage and radioactive waste falls into our groundwater basin. We don’t get our water from the city, town or from the coast, it comes from right below us.
* Warlmanpa Elders always said that Karakara is Milway Country. Milway is a Snake Dreaming travelling through Karakara and Muckaty Land Trust to Helen Springs. Milway is the totem for the ancestors’ ground.
* Is the government going to regret everything later, whence disaster—happens like what’s happening in Japan right now?
* Government should rethink about the whole nuclear cycle and leave our traditional cultural spiritual homeland alone.

Mark Japaljari Chungaloo
Dianne Nampin Stokes”

Dianne Stokes and Kylie Sambo are, I think, in the gallery today, and I pay my respects as a much more recent arrival to this country to those who have never ceded sovereignty and who provide leadership to their people and to thousands of supporters right around the country. In the letter which I just tabled, Dianne and Mark are speaking for members of all the family groups of the Muckaty Land Trust, including many Ngapa people.

They asked me in Tennant Creek a month or so ago to bring a document into the chamber for tabling, and I checked with the clerks to make sure that it qualified as a document under standing orders. It is a banner which is covered in handprints and speaks in three different languages the simple message, ‘No waste dump at Muckaty’. It has handprints from all the family groups represented on the land trust. I seek leave to have the document tabled and incorporated into the Hansard.

Leave granted.

Maybe this means absolutely nothing to Prime Minister Gillard or to the Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, but I am here to tell the government and opposition senators, who will in due course file in here and probably vote for this bill, that you should take a moment or two to read the documents I have tabled. They are a sign from a long way from here that this proposal has been fought for six years, that it will be fought into the future and that the government is going to end up backing down as it has before

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