Adani’s Carmichael mine, if it proceeds, will cause untold destruction to Wangan and Jagalingou country.
Adani’s Carmichael mine, if it proceeds, will cause untold destruction to Wangan and Jagalingou country.

2 Oct 2018

Adani: A Defining Moment for Indigenous Rights in Australia?

In The Coal Truth: The Fight to Stop Adani, Defeat the Big Polluters and Reclaim Our Future, David Ritter shows us beyond all doubt, there is no safe, livable future that involves digging up more Australian coal. And yet this is exactly what the Queensland and Australian Governments appear hell bent on doing, and sidelining Indigenous rights and environmental protection along the way.

This panel discussion, bringing together some of the country’s leading thinkers and front line campaigners, will examine Australia’s love affair with coal. It will examine the flaws in the current legal and political system that consistently prioritises large scale, highly destructive developments rather than protecting the rights of nature and the rights of communities, and which allows the sidelining and silencing of Indigenous rights and interests. Nowhere is this more evident than in the current governments’ support for opening up the Galilee Basin in central Queensland, including to establish Adani’s mega Carmichael mine project. We are watching this play out despite the reality of dubious coal economics and climate constraint, and the energy transition that is well under way.

Adani’s Carmichael mine, if it proceeds, will cause untold destruction to Wangan and Jagalingou country. With this threat, families from across the Wangan and Jagalingou nations are fighting to defend their internationally recognised rights to oppose the Carmichael mine from proceeding on their homelands. Their legal and political campaign has garnered global attention and exposed the racial discrimination embedded in the Australian settler colonial state. The battle continues, in the courts and on the streets. The future of Adani’s proposed mine and its potential devastation to Wangan and Jagalingou country remains unknown.

This battle against the Adani mine represents a defining moment in Australian history. Whether this moment will be harnessed to progress the cause of Indigenous rights and self determination – including for Wangan and Jagalingou – remains to be seen.

Speakers include

Murrawah Johnson – Youth Spokesperson Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council, Activist of the Year (Ngara Institute) and on the 50 Grist list – acknowledging her place amongst the world’s best and brightest fighting for the planet.

Dr Michelle Maloney – Co-founder and National Convenor, Australian Earth Laws Alliance

David Ritter – Chief Executive Greenpeace Australia Pacific, and author of The Coal Truth: The Fight to Stop Adani, Defeat the Big Polluters and Reclaim Our Democracy

Professor John Quiggin – prominent Australian economist and UQ Vice Chancellors Senior Research Fellow

When: Tuesday, 2 Oct 6.00 – 8.00 pm. (light refreshments from 6.00 pm, with speakers beginning at 6.30 pm).

Where: the UQ Anthropology Museum, Level 1, building 9, Michie Building

See map: 

Hosted by: Brisbane Free University and UQ’s Human Rights Consortium

For more information contact Kristen Lyons or Sally Babidge (,

Download the poster (228 KB)

16 July 2018

The Path of Resistance: First Nations solidarity and the Wangan & Jagalingou Traditional Owners’ fight for their future

This public event was hosted by the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council and the UQ Human Rights Consortium.

This important evening event was held at the State Library was hosted by Tony McAvoy SC, a Wangan & Jagalingou Traditional Owner and Australia's first Indigenous Senior Counsel, and featured:

  • Adrian Burragubba, senior Wangan and Jagalingou leader and Traditional Owners Council spokesperson
  • Murrawah Johnson, Wangan and Jagalingou youth leader and Council spokesperson with special guests
  • Dr Anne Poelina, Nyikina Traditional Custodian of the Mardoowarra, West Kimberley and Director of Madjulla Inc.
  • Dave Archambault, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe leader during the protest to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline 
  • Lisa Wade, Council Member, Nay'dini'aa Na’ Kayax (Chickaloon Village Traditional Council)
  • Walter Echo-Hawk, Pawnee Native American attorney, tribal judge, author, activist, and law professor

More than 170 people gathered to hear from these extraordinary leaders who are on the frontline of Indigenous Peoples’ resistance to mining and resource projects that could destroy ancestral lands and damage the global climate.

Guests spoke of their own movements defending their human rights, their lands and waters, and the solidarity they share with the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners who are trying to halt Adani’s Carmichael Coal mega-mine on their country, alongside other mines of mass destruction that could be built in the Galilee Basin of Central Queensland. 

Wangan and Jagalingou leaders affirmed the rights of First Nations people to assert their claim to their ancestral lands in tangible and meaningful ways, including the right to say ‘no’ to major and dangerous extractive projects on their traditional lands.

A piece in the Guardian reported on Tony McAvoy SC’s talk presented at this event.

The Path of Resistance


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