FMG’s Native Title “Racism” Unravels
6 February 2013
Gerry Georgatos of the National Indigenous Times writes “abuse and trampling of inalienable rights” in FMG’s native title dealings with the Yindjibarndi People is racist, and calls for a Royal Commission. This week he reports new evidence of intermeddling involving former FMG staffer, Michael Gallagher.
DOWNLOAD FULL REPORT Native Title bombshell – racism at its worst
Last November, whistleblower, Chairman and most senior Elder of the Wirlu-Murra Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (WYMAC) Board, Mr Bruce Woodley, complained about FMG’s interference in the affairs of WMYAC on ABC’s 7.30, and said that he was frustrated by former FMG Land Access Division manager, Michael Gallagher, “because he manipulates our Board”, and that it was “time for him to move on – to hit the road Jack, FMG too.”
Yesterday, WMYAC office manager Michelle Adams, released to the media a statutory declaration signed by Bruce Woodley in which he states, “I was encouraged to make those statements by Kerry Savas [and] was also encouraged by a journalist from the National Indigenous Times, Gerry Georgatos, to make statements and appear on national television.”
In response, Mr Georgatos writes:
EXTRACTS: At 6pm on the Tuesday Wendy Hubert, Mr Woodley’s wife and Mr Woodley himself phoned me from Roebourne to tell me they did not understand what Mr Woodley “had been forced to sign”.
They swore to me they had not contributed to any of the statements within the Declaration and they had no knowledge of what 60 year old Mr Woodley was signing.
“We don’t have any idea about what was in the papers they had Bruce sign. They took him to Gary (the local Justice of the Peace) and he signed them,” Ms Hubert said.
“Because I am Chairman of the Board they tell me I have to sign this and that and they bring papers to me all the time,” Mr Woodley said.
Mr Bailey said Mr Woodley was accompanied by a young lady who appeared to be a lawyer. Mr Woodley said the contents of the Statutory Declaration are the work of the WYMAC manager, Michael Gallagher.
I emailed Mr Gallagher to explain his role in the manufacture of the Statutory Declaration. I have asked Mrs Adams, the WYMAC Office Manager, to identify who wrote its contents and who contributed to them. There have been no responses.
Mr Woodley and Ms Hubert restated to the National Indigenous Times they continue to stand by Mr Woodley’s original testimony to the National Indigenous Times which was audio-visually recorded.
“I said the truth and I just want the best for my people,” he said. “Little has been done for us. They need to let us speak for ourselves. For us to be the boss, not Michael (Gallahger) or anyone else who is not us.”
Mr Gallagher’s wife, Lillian Maher was a former senior executive with the NNTT and at one time a West Australian State Manager of the NNTT, however she is currently the subject of an NNTT external inquiry relating to claims of undeclared conflicts of interests with companies she and her husband own […]
I can let you know Professor Marcia Langton and former Eddie Mabo barrister, Greg McIntyre looked at the land use agreements offered to the Wirlu-murra by Fortescue. Mr McIntyre said to the Wirlu-murra, “You can do better.” Professor Langton said “It’s shit.”
[…] what we have before us in the Pilbara are evident sleazy practices which steamroll Native Title claimants and their communities and that indeed the mining companies have carte blanche to do what they want while all the major Native Title and Government agencies either sit idly by […] It’s not just immoral, I believe it is illegal. What cuts to the bone with me is the racism and how ugly it is.
Inter-generational poverty and lack of education among many of the claimants should not have any opportunity to be manipulated. This abuse and trampling of inalienable rights is racism.
In other developments during this last week, the only non-Aboriginal voice of reason within the Wirlu-murra, their former Business Manager, Bruce Thomas, who expended considerable energy in trying to right wrongs within the organisation and pointing out one impropriety after another […] has been effectively run out of town.
It is indeed time for the Federal Government to launch a Royal Commission into Native Title and one Aboriginal corporation CEO after another backs this call.
END OF EXTRACTS
LINK to on-line story at National Indigenous Times