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3 Nov 2015

Aboriginal Tribal Group Renounces Ties To Australia

by Saffron Howden at SMH
A small Aboriginal tribal group that has established its own government and renounced legal ties with Australia aims to make history by entering into the first Indigenous treaty with the Commonwealth.

The Sovereign Yidindji Government, whose lands stretch south of Port Douglas, through Cairns, inland across the Atherton Tablelands and 80km out to sea, says it wants to help Australia overcome the legal conundrum of operating on Yidindji territory without consent.

Murrumu Walubara Yidindji, the foreign affairs minister, said his government was similar to the Vatican City State – with its own laws, language and institutions.
To the Yidindji people, Australia is a "foreign entity".

"The Commonwealth of Australia does not have consent or a treaty to enter Yidindji territory, so we had to show the leadership to create our own institutions of government," Murrumu told Fairfax Media on a visit to Sydney.

"It doesn't have any validity in law."

Formerly a journalist known as Jeremy Geia, Murrumu has renounced his Australian citizenship, relinquished his passport and bank accounts, and eschews Australian currency.

"Australia, we can see the injury you've got," he said.

"We can cure it and we're not going to send you a bill for it. It's a hearts and minds game and all we're saying is we have our own jurisdiction."

On Sunday, he sent his condolences as Yidindji foreign affairs minister to the people of Russia after an horrific plane crash in which all 224 passengers on board perished.

"Today I conveyed our condolences to Russian Foreign Ministry agents & our thoughts and prayers to loved ones of the crash victims #7K9268", Murrumu Walubara Yidindji tweeted on Sunday.

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