Keith Windschuttle on the Break-Up of Australia by Ian Wilson LL.B.
Following on from my previous article in On Target on the Aboriginal recognition agenda and the break-up of Australia, I will offer some remarks in review of Keith Windschuttle’s The Break-Up of Australia: The Real Agenda Behind Aboriginal Recognition, (Quadrant Books, Sydney, 2016). This is a long, scholarly book of 470 pages (including the index), so many readers are not going to have the time to read it. Nevertheless, there are people who should be given copies, such as One Nation members, and other independent members of parliament, for even if they do not read it themselves, they often have young, eager staff who can. I would therefore highly recommend people consider getting copies of this book to circulate ready for the coming battle of this century. Sooner, rather than later.
Windschuttle’s thesis is that the agenda behind Aboriginal recognition, is problematic from the start, because it is based on the false claim that the Australian Constitution was drafted to exclude Aboriginal people, where it was nothing of the sort. Windschuttle demolishes these arguments in the early part of his book, especially in the preface, which gives a concise “No” case. Aborigines voted to approve the delegates to the Constitutional Conventions and to approve the 1899 Constitution before being put to the people. They were not excluded and nor was there any desire to attempt in any way to give any history of Australia, because this enabling document is a charter for the creation of a federal government. Windschuttle points out that the “Yes” side confuse, perhaps deliberately, the history of a continent or land mass, with the history of a nation, one which only came into existence in 1788.
Aboriginal people had full citizenship in 1901, as “British subjects” and became Australian citizens, as did the rest of the population with the passage of the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948. These legal movements created a modern state, and it was simply not relevant to the operation of this state to incorporate traditional Aboriginal laws. Hence, such laws were not part of the legal framework of Australia.
Windschuttle also argues that the sections of the Constitution dealing with race powers are not “racist,” and indeed if such sections were removed there would be no federal power to make positive laws favouring Aborigines. That is why many Aboriginalists hope to replace the race clauses with an anti-discrimination clause, and a positive affirmative action clause. They hope that the politically correct courts will give them a “generous hearing.” Windschuttle goes through these arguments in chapter 5, detailing again the political agenda operating there.
There are many issues that are relevant to this debate, and Windschuttle tackles them all, including the vexed question of Aboriginal identity, in chapter 4 of his book, “The Unresolvable Issues of Aboriginal Identity.”
The Constitutional changes, if successful, would bestow special rights and benefits, and this would give a vast incentive for many to make fraudulent claims about their Aboriginality. Windschuttle says that at present, regarding applications for federal grants for indigenous people, “Claims of Aboriginality are now widely taken at face value and the onus of responsibility is on those who are suspicious of such claims to challenge them, obviously at considerable risk to themselves.” (p.113)
The Andrew Bolt case well illustrated that point, and section 18C is ever ready to be used as a political weapon.
Further, courts have moved away from the three-part test for eligibility outlined in Mabo (1992), of “biological descent from the indigenous people… mutual recognition of a particular person’s membership by that person and by the elders or other persons enjoying traditional authority among those people.” (p. 70, Mabo). More recent cases have led to the situation where “anyone who claims to be an Aboriginal and can muster some friends in support, will be accepted” by the courts as an Aboriginal. There have been cases of fraudulent identity exposed, but only after millions of dollars of benefit has been taken, and where there were well-informed whistle-blowers.
Windschuttle devotes pages to outlining the various scams which have been exposed, and we assume that those cases of fraud not exposed far out-number the cases of fraud that we know about. This is a powerful argument for the “No” case because a successful “Yes” case is going to generate special rights which the politically correct courts will multiple.
We should note with concern that native title alone has led to 32 percent of the Australian land mass falling to native title claims as of March 2016, and another 31.7 percent of Australia is subjected to further claims. Mabo, and Keating’s Native Title Act, opened a gateway to a monster that set out to swallow the continent. Who know where a successful Constitutional reform could lead.
Well, we do know:
Windschuttle’s case is that the goal is nothing short of creating a sovereign Aboriginal state, which will encompass the soon-to-be 60 percent of Australia, plus much more.
Windschuttle attacks every argument used by the “Yes” case with clear and convincing logic. If we recognise Aboriginal customary law, we will be moving down a path which would endanger Aboriginal women’s rights. He is not afraid to discuss the issue of violence against women, and he takes on the cultural elites who have said that even raising this topic is “racist,” the superficial response. Windschuttle cites the work of Aboriginal women against the new class elites, who have their own agenda in this debate, and he also cites historical works documenting violence against women. (See pp. 97-103) He notes that most Aborigines would prefer assimilation to a return to “their” traditional culture, if they even knew what it was.
Nor are Aborigines the nation’s “first people.” Windschuttle accepts that they are the first people on the continent (something that has been contested in the pages of this site, especially by Brian Simpson), but they are not the “first people” of the nation. “The nation was produced by the federation of the six colonies established on the continent by Britain in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and cemented by the Constitution adopted on 1 January 1901. Its institutional glue was an amalgam of Westminster politics, English rule of law, American federalism, Christian religion, and the almost complete acceptance by the population of the principles of English traditions of liberal democracy and commerce.”
“None of the institutions of the continent’s Aboriginal society went into this mix. The new nation did not incorporate any aspects of Aboriginal religion or Aboriginal social relations into its institutional structure.” (p. 129)
This is probably the master argument in the book. There is simply no valid reason for the Constitution to change, because there is no need to recognise anyone. That is the very point of the Constitution. Hence, there is an agenda at work, and we have all seen this exposed with the increasingly radical demands made by the lobby for what is now, an Aboriginal state. This is the most important points for our purposes. Windschuttle goes into great detail about many other debates, engaging in a critique of leading academics. This is important work for students, who can finally seek an alternative to the “brainwashed” black arm band history that is forced fed to them at primary, high school, and university.
Windschuttle in chapter 13 of his book, discusses whether Australia was settled or invaded. Radical academics dispute the traditional view that Australia was settled, with the Aborigines at the time not having anything which the British recognised as statehood. He argues that this was not a concept of terra nullius, which the High court in Mabo though was the foundation of Australian property law, and which they had overturned, because the expression was only first used in 1975 in the International court of Justice, and was not used previous to that. (p.378)
Nevertheless, Windschuttle notes that international law had a long-established convention that all granted, that colonies that had been conquered by force of arms would only have traditional laws continue if there was a well-established system of law throughout the land and it was not changed by the new sovereign. Clearly, even this condition is not met in Australia. No doubt those arguing for the invasion thesis don’t embrace its full conclusions, but just want to bathe in the guilt that might come from throwing about the word “invasion.”
In conclusion, Windschuttle’s The Break-up of Australia, is THE book for the battle ahead. All the independents need to have a copy sent to their offices. Hopefully a cheaper paper version will be forthcoming.