Malcolm Fraser joins fight to save ancient Pilbara rock art

The already wealthy cowboys in the west are still clambering over each other to sell off every last gram of the minerals on sacred land, bulldozing and blowing up ancient rock art in the process.

Malcolm Fraser has now backed a global campaign against the destruction of the rock art. He said the WA government had been wrong to allow industrial works there and the mistake will be compounded by allowing a gas plant.

Pilbara elders have called for a campaign to ensure the Murujuga site is placed on the UNESCO Wold Heritage List.

While tinpot WA mining outfits such as FMG Resources typically employ grubby characters such as Burke and Grill to ensure they can build railways through heritage-protected sites, higher up the corporate food chain, companies such as Woodside keep their lobbying in-house by simply hiring former politicians and bureaucrats."

Former PM defends Burrup art

AAP The Age June 4, 2007

Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser has backed a global campaign against the destruction of Aboriginal rock art in the Pilbara.

He said yesterday Australia's reputation as a defender of world heritage would be "severely damaged" if the ancient rock art on Western Australia's Burrup Peninsula was not preserved.

Experts believe the rock art is among the oldest in the world, with some dating back 30,000 years.

But Woodside Petroleum sparked outrage among conservationists and indigenous groups when it moved some of the art while beginning work on a $10 billion liquefied national gas project in the area this year.

Mr Fraser said the WA Government had been wrong to allow industrial works there.

"That mistake should not be compounded by allowing or encouraging Woodside to build its Pluto LNG plant there," he said in a statement.

"The Australian Government was one of the loudest voices protesting the Taliban's destruction (of) the Buddhas in Afghanistan. If Woodside's LNG plant is allowed to proceed, Australia's reputation as a defender of world heritage would be severely damaged."

Federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in April that the Government aimed to have some of the rock art heritage-listed by mid-year.

Stand Up for the Burrup

The Western Australian Department for Indigenous Affairs administers the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 ("AHA")

The AHA allows any Aboriginal cultural heritage to be destroyed.

The Minister simply signs a certificate under section 18.

In 2004-2005, sacred rock art of the Palkyu peoples of the Pilbara was destroyed to allow mining billionaire Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest's Fortescue Mineral Resources ("FMG") to build a rail tack through the middle of the Abydos-Woodstock rock art landscape.

The rail line could have gone around the rock art. It would have cost just a few (tax-deductible) millions of Twiggy's unearned billions of dollars.

In 2006-2007, the WA Corruption and Crime Commission ("CCC") produced transcripts exposing the backdoor deals that led WA Minister "for" Indigenous Affairs to use s.18 to allow FMG to destroy the Palkyu peoples' sacred rock art.

FMG hired lobbyist Brian Burke, disgraced former Western Australian Labor Premier, who had been jailed for fraud some years earlier, and his oily sidekick, former State Development Minister Julian Grill.

Burke and Grill's lobbying company specialised in exploiting their contacts in the WA Labor Government for corporations' benefit. Resource companies in particular.

CCC transcripts record Grill exploiting his contacts in the former Carpenter Labor government to lobby the then Minister "for" Indigenous Affairs, Sheila McHale, to issue an s.18 authorisation to destroy Abydos-Woodstock rock art.

Grill was caught on tape bragging to a client about how he had convinced then Premier Alan Carpenter to tell Minister McHale to issue the s.18 certificate needed by Twiggy and FMG to destroy the Palkyu peoples' sacred art.

Those conversations took place before the advisory body supposed to consider s18 matters - the Aboriginal Cultural Materials Committee - had even met to discuss FMG's application.

This is politics Western Australian style. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap for the benefit of billionaire plutocrats like Andrew "Twgigy" Forrest and FMG.

The genocidal policies of destroying a peoples' spiritual and cultural heritage continue unabated. In 2012, they accelerate as the WA Government proposes to even further water down the innefectual AHA.

Small wonder then that successive Minsters "for" Indigenous Affairs gave the s.18 approvals sought by Woodside to desecrate and destroy ancient sacred rock art at Murujuga (on the "Burrup Peninsula") for Woodside's "Pluto" LNG plant.

On 22.02.2007, Stand Up for the Burrup campaigners took their protest to the front of the DIA building in the financial district of St George's Terrace Perth.

Spokesperson Stephen Bennetts gave interviews criticising the WA government's use of s.18 and demanding that Woodside be prevented from destroying more of Murujuga's sacred art.

In 2012, we can stop the corrupt racist government of Western Australia from destroying any more of Murujuga's ancient sacred art.

To do that, we must convince the Australian Government to over-ride the notoriously development-at-any-cost Western Australian government, and nominate Murujuga/the Dampier Archipelago to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

pdf Environment: The Burrup Gets Burked Stephen Bennett 'New Matilda' 2006

In the foothills of the Himalayas, in Nepal, the birthplace of Buddha, Lumbini