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Pauline Hanson says Northern Land Council is receiving advice from Canadian on how to establish an independent race-based State similar to the Nunavut model; academic explains the model; denies advising NLC.



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JOHN HIGHFIELD: Well, let's have a listen to one of those things that's drawn today's condemnation of Pauline Hanson and her party.  As we heard in Sally Sara's report, in the House of Representatives last night, Ms Hanson said that One Nation had evidence that native title legislation was merely the precursor to the establishment of separate Aboriginal States - new Australian States to be based on a Canadian model.

 

PAULINE HANSON:  The fact is native title is just a precursor to the establishment of a taxpayer-funded Aboriginal State.  The Canadian Parliament have just agreed to divide up their country and create a new indigenous State called Nunavut, owned and governed by the Innuit or Eskimos.  This race-based State will be funded by the Canadian taxpayer for the next 20 years.  The architect of Nunavut, Peter Jull, is in Brisbane advising the Northern Land Council on how to establish independent race-based States in Australia.

 

PETER RAPP: Pauline Hanson.  Well, the Canadian that Pauline Hanson believes is advising the Northern Land Council - that she mentioned there on breakaway Aboriginal States - says Ms Hanson doesn't know what she's talking about and has misrepresented his work.

 

Peter Jull works with Innuit native people in the Arctic area of Canada.  He says he's certainly not the architect of the Canadian Innuit State, Nunavut, although he had worked to develop the concept of self-government by a regional majority - a lot different to the situation in Australia.

 

PETER JULL:  Well, the Innuit are the overwhelming majority of the population in the Canadian Arctic.  The Arctic makes up one third of Canada and in that area the Innuit, even though there's only about 40,000 of them, are an absolute majority, so if anyone's going to govern the place it pretty well has to be the Innuit because no-one else lives there.  There's some white school teachers and other people who come and go, but it's an Innuit area so naturally they're the ones who make up the government.

 

PETER RAPP: She says this race-based State will be funded by the Canadian taxpayer for the next 20 years?

 

PETER JULL:    Yes, I don't know what that means.  In Canada all the States and - well, we call them provinces - the provinces and territories, like the Federal Government are funded, of course, from taxes and there's equalisation programs so that the provinces that are having a bad time at any given time get help from the larger ones, so I mean, the question of equalisation back and forth is very complex. 

 

Actually, the incomes in Nunavut itself, the people who are in paid work are probably higher than the averages elsewhere in Canada, for which reason the normal equalisation system wouldn't work because they'd be deprived, but of course this very high cost in maintaining modern towns and so on in the Arctic because of the climate, for one reason.

 

PETER RAPP: So you are really confirming the establishment of a race-based State funded by the taxpayer in Canada?

 

PETER JULL: Well, what I am really saying is that there is a State with an Innuit name, just as there are provinces with Indian names, and the people who live there are Innuits so naturally, you know … I mean, to that extent it's race-based just like saying that Sydney is race-based for white people because they are the majority.  But in that sense, if that's what she means, then I suppose she's right.

 

PETER RAPP: Despite your interest, can you tell me what the Canadian people think of this?

 

PETER JULL:   There isn't any controversy.  It's seen as a normal and natural thing.  I mean, this idea that people have a right to govern themselves is not a big deal in Canada, and indigenous self-government has been developing for 20 or 30 years.  I mean, you can say it goes back a couple of hundred years in the sense that Indian reserve communities had certain self-governing powers.  It's not an issue.  I  mean, Canadians are proud of it and the Canadian Government is proud of it.  If you go to any embassy in any country in the world they've got videos about it and everybody is happy.

 

PETER RAPP: So is Pauline Hanson putting the wrong spin on it?

 

PETER JULL:   Oh, very much so, absolutely.  I mean, she is trying to present it as somehow the Innuit are taking something that isn't theirs from someone else - they're not.  All they're doing is living in the area where they've lived for thousands of years.  They are now saying, 'Great, it's fine to live here but we wanted more control over things like education and to get the kind of services we need.'  So they are organising into a proper government in which their language, as well as English, can be used.  And, I mean, all this stuff is old hat in Canada.  I mean, it's not news at all.

 

PETER RAPP: But are you now advising the Northern Land Council, here in  Australia, on how to establish independent race-based States here?

 

PETER JULL:   No, I am not.  When I lived in Darwin I had friends who worked for the Northern Land Council whom I sometimes saw.  As I recall I've never advised them on anything.  I've been at meetings in Alice Springs some years ago where there were Northern Land Council representatives but, you know, that's the extent of it.

 

JOHN HIGHFIELD: Peter Jull, a Canadian who advises native Canadians on community affairs.  He was speaking to Peter Rapp.