Warlpiri Elder Ned Jampijinpa Hargraves and his Views About Treaty…


What we need to do is hold back and sit down and talk. Well, for yapa we sit on the ground, not on the table with chairs, no way. We sit on the ground and we discuss it properly. These things with treaty and all that other stuff is going to fast.

First of all, let’s ask ourselves:
What is treaty to Aboriginal people today? …
Treaty, we don’t understand. We really fully don’t understand. We need to stop what we’re doing right now, and think about how treaty is going to work. Because, first of all, if we want treaty, where at the culture and kuruwarri (law) it’s going to fit in, because, first of all, culture comes first, kuruwarri comes first, because without that we’re nothing, and we don’t want that to happen, and we’re going to talk more about treaty when we get together. Because something that Warlpiri nation is thinking that treaty is not the right time for us. We’re not ready yet, we don’t know what it is for.

You can’t just make agreement just after one year or two year or three time, you know: “it’s about time we had treaty”, no, it’s not like that. First of all, let’s go back and try sit down and talk. You can’t make treaty for one person, one community and another community and another community, no. That treaty is not for all of us; treaty is not all of us, because I think that it needs to be settled with other community members and what’s in the best interest for us in treaty, what’s the best. But the most important that we can think about is: culture is the oldest one. Been here a long time, and it’s gonna be still here, and last thing that we want is destroy our culture. We don’t want to do that.

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Well said, thank you and I hope all Australians take note of how important Law is for all of us in the sunburnt country. Constitution used to be taught at school until it was removed in 1973 to bring in the legal system at the time of UNIDROIT.

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i’m sorry, what’s UNIDROIT; is it good or bad?

It appears to me that UNIDROIT is a top of chain Admiralty law (international corporations, governments) similar to the UN and is an unelected overseeing body. it takes time to digest how this legal system works.


Ah, I see. From a quick look at the Wikipedia, UNIDROIT appears to be an intergovernmental organisation (IGO) and IGOs are established by a treaty that acts as a charter creating the group. States become members by acceding to its statute. It has 63 members. Essentially they want global uniformity of property law, something they call “common standards” and “harmonization”. So they draft international conventions and also write model laws with that aim.

International treaties can seriously effect a state’s ability to legislate according to the will of its citizens, one of the reasons why I’m so opposed to for example the TPP. Strictly speaking, I don’t think the term “Admiralty law” fits, as this is the body of law that governs what happens on the seas and oceans of the world. However, international conventions and organisations like this should always be closely scrutinized in my opinion as to how much influence the lobbies of international corporations have.

I will try to have a look into further detail with regard to the UNIDROIT conventions/treaties, in particular how they effect Australian property law, mining, agriculture and construction industries.


Thanks Laura for your research. I was also keen to find out if UNIDROIT has any top down laws/rules/regulations in regards to participating nations natural resources.

The above under “Natural Resources” is in French and to me only printable.
This stemmed from my same concerns in regards to Goal 7 of the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Document.

And here

This all came about initially for me due to fracking and water pollution. It just doesn’t make sense that we have one of the world’s largest natural gas resources in the Kimberley Basin and we would be entertaining fracking and risking so much in the process. For the life of me I can’t understand this at all.
Interestingly The Holy See is a member of UNIDROIT.

Yes, that’s what I meant by mining industry. Although I should expand that by saying I am interested how an effect on the industry effects water, air and soil quality. For example, if these treaties open up our resources to international corporations and/or make it easier to expand the amount of natural resource extraction, for example through extremely high risk techniques such as Coal Seam Gas fracking or Shale Gas fracking, I would be concerned for the future of the water quality. Note that natural gas is the product of both conventional and unconventional/fracking extraction techniques. Meaning conventional gas and unconventional gas can both be called natural gas.

Unfortunately my French is less then fluent… But I will see what I can find. Thank you for the links.

By Kimberley Basin, I assume you mean the area marked as Canning Basin on this map? Asking to make it easier to search the web and maps. I’m not sure yet, how much of the area’s gas can be extracted conventionally and how much only through fracking, but all up I’m seeing diagrams claiming hundreds of trillions of cubic feet gas reserves in the Canning Basin, so that is certainly a lot.


Hi Laura. Below is the Browse Basin that does not require fracking which I am opposed to in all it’s forms. I have worked in conventional gas for a few decades but now retired.
There is a lot to go into in regards to the different onshore techniques for gas extraction along with the differing environmental concerned attached to said techniques.
Onshore drilling into a large substrata basin in a conventional sense is less detrimental but still has hydrological concerns etc.
Too much to go into for me on a message board but my point is Australia has plenty of far less damaging natural gas resources than fracking so for the life of me i just don’t understand why this Gov. keeps pressuring the States to frack. The whole thing in it’s entirety is non-sensical to me.

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Thank you @Whipplei for your expertise and resources.

To be honest with you I don’t think the quantity of available unconventional gas reserves should even be a factor in assessing whether the risk fracking poses is acceptable or not. The likelihood of something going wrong periodically and the serious nature of the consequences if it does are both too high in my mind.

But your point that there is an abundance of conventional gas reserves is of course important to consider. Why would they still want to pursue fracking, given that fact? I’m not sure of the answer.

I majored in environmental engineering for my bachelor degree, and in my last year took units on environmental and engineering risk assessment.
Risk assessment has two sides to it: the scientific side of facts, consequences, statistics and likelihood, and the human subjective side of values and deciding how much negative risk is too much to accept and what positive outcomes are worth taking how much risk for. These decisions are therefore inherently political even if well informed by solid data.

Assuming that the government is aware of the high risks associated with fracking for gas, I believe their priorities are skewed, meaning their values are not in line with the public interest of clean water.
I suppose the push for fracking has a lot to do with private enterprises wanting to make as much profit as they possibly can, and the governments facilitating this as they do with the coal industry for example.

Also btw, that unidroit study you linked to doesn’t seem to actually be publicly available: I haven’t found anywhere to actually download or read it.

“I majored in environmental engineering for my bachelor degree, and in my last year took units on environmental and engineering risk assessment.”
That sounds very interesting indeed.
The UNIDROIT study only seems to be printable in French.
Given the Queensland outcomes of fracking for all to see, I don’t believe the Gov. have the public interest as priority which then leads me circular to my original post whereby things are largely run from a corporate perspective but I know that can be a touchy subject so I will leave that there.
On a side note I am curious on your perspective/understanding of oil and gas being a fossil fuel or by an abiogenic process. Have you ever come across this?

I think there’s perceived electoral expediency to promoting fracking as well, the promise of jobs being the main component.

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yea no… I clicked the print link. I just goes and prints the 6 lines on the webpage, not the study.

No I have not come across this hypothesis of oil and natural gas being abiogenic. I was under the understanding they are fossil fuels. Anyway it seems to be the scientific consensus that they are fossil fuels.

How the government goes on to market something is a whole other cattle of fish. The promise of jobs is a standard one to sell a bad idea.

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I didn’t try to print seeing as though it is in French.

Interesting perspective. Sounds about right.

Would it make more sense to negotiate treaty arrangements at the local council level, with each tribe separately, over a period of time while openly sharing the state of each local discussion across the nation?

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I am in no position to tell what would make most sense, just putting out different perspectives.

From what I can tell, a lot of First Nations are still in the process of figuring out and negotiating between themselves what they want from Australian governments - kindof like inter-tribal treaties.

There’s been a few complaints, that the bipartisan consultation process by the Referendum Council for “Recognize” funded over the years by the federal government was more like a marketing campaign. Including at the meeting the “Uluru statement” came out of. Also note: the Anangu families of Uluru and the APY Lands would like everyone to know that families did not give permission for the Uluru name to be used by the Referendum Council

This in the BBC the other day: