To the Editor,

Impending SA State Legislation will see entry to Mintabie (an existing community settled prior to land grants), by ordinary Australians drastically restricted, if not totally closed off!!

The draconian Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (Mintabie) Amendment Bill 2008 (and related Amendments to the Opal Mining Act 1995) is supposedly designed to put a simple town lease into State Legislation. WHY?


This legislation has the potential to erode the civil rights of every Australian.

Forbidding Mintabie residents the right to drink at home, this State Legislation will also cause the Presumption of Guilt by enforcing EVERY visitor and resident to undergo Compulsory Police Checks.

And this State Legislation will add extra layers of bureaucracy (cost?) for nomads, tourists, rock-hounds and adventurers, all visitors who may be refused entry to the Mintabie Precious Stones Field in future.

The International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights states:-

Articles 12 – 1; Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence.
Article 12 – 4; No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.
Article 14 – 7; No one shall be liable to be tried or punished again for an offence for which he has already been finally convicted or acquitted in accordance with the law and penal procedure of each country.
Article 17 – 1; No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation.
Current laws are sufficient, current police numbers to enforce those laws are not sufficient.

Mr. Weatherill seems to infer that the small township of Mintabie (approx 80) is the ultimate source of the troubles on APY lands.  As a resident I find this very hard to believe.
Does this mean that if the draconian and anti-civil rights draft APY-Mintabie bill {the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (Mintabie) Amendment Bill 2008 (and related Amendments to the Opal Mining Act 1995)} is passed, and it is then found that the troubles with alcohol and drugs continue unabated, will this legislation be repealed?  
Who will be blamed next, with the foreseeable, automatic consequence of removing further civil liberties?  Watch out Marla and Coober Pedy!  The precedent has now been set by this government, civil liberties apparently mean nothing to them. 
Will our Opposition be strong and show South Australian voters that they, at least, stand up for civil liberties? 
If funding can be found to police this planned, divisive permit system (please bear in mind how a similar permit system was deemed to be totally unfair and unAustralian in earlier generations), why can’t funding be found to enforce existing laws regarding illegal activities on APY Lands?  Allow our police to work over-time.
And I utterly deplore the Minister’s recent irresponsible comments which impugned and besmirched, wholesale, the reputation of an entire community over 3 states and 1 territory. 
As an Australian citizen I demand my right to be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.  Not to have my reputation tainted and trashed by ill-judged comments to the media about the town in which I choose to live.

Are people in fact aware one cannot currently buy takeaway alcohol from the Mintabie Hotel?
Also one cannot drink alcohol in public place in Mintabie township? As it should be.
Mintabie is the main thoroughfare between Anangu communities and Marla and Coober Pedy and Alice Springs. Fuel is needed to travel the distances. It is easy for the perhaps hung-over young rascals, after visiting the larger town centres, to respond to the tedious elders queries with “Oh I been to Mintabie”. True in part, but not the whole truth.
And travel to other town centres will continue into the future. Will the removal of civil liberties also travel? Will Anangu also have to undergo police checks? Anything less will be seen as racially divisive and discriminatory.
Fund the Police and Education sectors to remedy any breaches of existing laws and regulations. Allow them to work over-time.
Do not remove civil liberties as an ineffective short-cut. That is un-Australian.
Yours cordially,  
E. Hooper

Related Post: Government Threaten To Change Opal Mining Act

8 replies »

  1. What happens here if you have a little nip, are you tried by tribal law or state law?
    Can you apply for an exemption for things like brandy sauce on your Christmas Pudding?

    No doubt a small fee will fix these little oddities that those of us over in Australia are enjoying.

  2. “We must remember that this is aboriginal land we are talking about”, came across our radio.

    Does that apply to the majority of Adelaide’s illegal land sales? My hearing’s not the best, but I’ve never heard that one responded to, despite it’s frequent references. Sounds like selective respect. Be interesting to see this one backfire up the proverbial track.

  3. The bikers are doing pretty well with their civil rights case. Looks like they’ll get decent compensation. It makes you wonder if there’s some hope for the justice system after all.

  4. Sounds like the South Australian govenment should be in charge of the whole country . We can all have police checks and drink in pubs, heaps safer, it’s just so dangerous drinking at home these days.

    Quite seriously, our civil liberties are worth fighting for, if this succeeds in Mintabie then any town in Australia could be next.

  5. Selective prohibition?

    Look out smokers, you’re next – if a health problem can be proven. Oh wait, it can.

    Medicine at home? Living on the edge in SA 2010!

  6. This is a big coincidence – Doesn’t PEL 138 lease encompass the whole township of Mintabie? It looks like you guys will be lease sharing.

    It says here that Ahava Energy, who now have a lease over your town, will not undertake any geophysical operations in the “active” Mintabie opal mining area. Does that limit your prospecting? Are they subleasing to you, or is it lease upon lease?

    Where are they setting up their camp? Not near the school hopefully!! Andamooka had this problem when Roxby parked a huge camp full of men just behind their school… Loverly.

    Maybe you’ll become so uncomfortable with the oil industry suffocating you that you’ll decide to breach your own civil rights and leave AHAVA your infrastructure. After all you are very handy to the Darwin railway line.

    No wonder PIRSA have been “building relationships” with the Anangu for the past several years. One would think they had work to do on the salaries they get.

    It’s probably just as well you can’t drink that toxic water (being so close to the Maralinga contaminated (prohibited) area, as it would soon be undrinkable anyway. Oil tastes horrible.

    July 2009 – Operations in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands Region of the Officer Basin (PEL) 138 and Petroleum Exploration Licence Applications (PELAs) 147 and 148.

    Conditions of access have been negotiated between Ahava Energy and Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Executive Board and the “relevant” Traditional Owners regarding petroleum operations on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands. These conditions of access to the Lands are described in the conjunctive land access agreement for petroleum operations in Ahava Energy’s PEL(A)s signed on July 14 2009.

    The land access agreement applies to PEL 138 and PELA 147 and 148.However, section 7 of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Rights Act 1981 requires that Anangu must first obtain consent from the Traditional Owners prior to finalising any agreement in respect of those lands.

    This consultation process has already occurred for PEL 138 but not yet for PELA 147 and 148.

    Consequently the agreement has been drafted so that it applies immediately to PEL 138 and provides for the section 7 process to be undertaken for the areas of PELAs 147 and 148. Once consultation has occurred, and if consent is given, the land access agreement contains a mechanism whereby the areas of PELA 147 and 148 are “brought into” the agreement and its terms apply to those areas.

    PEL 138, PELA 147 and PELA 148 are entirely within the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands (as defined by the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Rights Act 1981), an area of cultural and environmental importance in north-western South Australia. Specific conditions relating to exclusion zones on the basis of indigenous cultural significance are considered of high importance and will be determined through appropriate consultation and clearance surveys.

    This SEO is applicable to geophysical exploration within PEL 138 and PELA 147 and 148 within the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands region of the Officer Basin. Any future exploration in PELAs 147 and 148 (following their granting) would first require consultation with the Traditional Owners of those Lands to gain approval.

    Ahava Energy will not undertake any geophysical operations in the active Mintabie opal mining area. [at the moment]

    The southern portions of PEL 138 and PELA 148 are located within the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA)

    “Plutonium-contaminated dust is the major health risk: if inhaled, it poses a serious lung cancer risk, and if it enters the bloodstream it greatly increases the risk of bone or liver cancer”.

    This means it’s more than likely they won’t be turning over the soil too much. People are running in and out of those “restricted” areas like it’s some sort of holiday resort. 60,000 years to dilute that contamination isn’t up yet is it?

    Do you know of anyone who’s been able to take actual radiation readings of the dust around there, particularly with a scintillation counter rather than a geiger counter? They reckon that missing plutonium was probably scattered over a pretty large area!!

    Good luck Mintabie. Good luck AHAVA!!

  7. Like they say, you can please some of the people all the time and all of the people some of the time.

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