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The Greens Announce First Nations Legal Defence Fund

Media Release
Lidia Thorpe 1 Dec 2021

When First Nations people fight for Country, against dirty mining companies or corporate landowners with deep pockets, they’re often locked in a long, expensive and ultimately unfair legal battle.

The Greens have a plan to balance the scales, by making billionaires and big polluters pay their fair share of tax. Through a ‘billionaires tax’ and a ‘corporate super-profits tax,’ we can put resources towards an environmental and cultural heritage legal defence fund.

“We need better resources so Traditional Owners can fight back and assert their rights to Country.” Said the Greens spokesperson for Justice and First Nations: Gunnai, Gunditjmara and DjabWurrung Senator Lidia Thorpe.

“Right now, there’s no money and no support when we take big corporations to court. In balance of power, The Greens will contribute $51m to establish a First Nations Legal Defence Fund so Traditional Owners can access independent legal advice.”

“We saw at Beetaloo how the Labor and Liberal parties decided to destroy Country, in favour of a company that makes big donations to both of their parties. Too many sacred sites have already been destroyed.”

“We heard evidence in the Senate Inquiry into the Juukan Gorge crisis that mining companies manufacture consent. They talk to corporations who say they represent the Traditional Owners, when they don’t. We need to make sure the right people are making decisions about what happens on their Country.“ Said Thorpe.  

Lines attributable to Yamatji-Noongar Senator for Western Australia Dorinda Cox: the Greens spokesperson for Mining and Resources

“In some state-based legislation, there is no right to appeal. There is no right to veto. First Nations people do not have bags of cash lying around to take mining companies and corporate landowners to the Supreme Court to protect their cultural heritage.”

“The Australian Cultural Heritage Bill and the Senate Inquiry into the destruction of 46,000 year old caves at the Juukan Gorge show that legislation protecting Country is weak. It was written in the interests of mining and development.”

“We need designated resources for First Nations people to assert their rights and fight for Country.”

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