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John Coe - Invasion Day speech at the Aboriginal Embassy: 2009

John Coe speaks from the Aboriginal Embassy in Canberra on Invasion Day 2009 (January 26th a.k.a ‘Australia Day’). “The Tent Embassy promotes Australian Aboriginal Sovereignty. Their demands included land rights and mineral rights to Aboriginal lands, legal and political control of certain sacred sites, and compensation for land that they claim was stolen. Their demands have been consistently rebuffed by past and current governments. It has also been used as a site for protesting against other issues, such as against uranium mining at Jabiluka in the Northern Territory during the 90s. Currently Elders such as Uncle Neville Williams, from the Aboriginal Tent Embassy are working to protect traditional Wiradjuri land in Western N.S.W at Lake Cowal which is in the process of being mined for gold. On Australia Day 1972, the Tent Embassy was established in response to the McMahon Coalition Government’s refusal to recognise Aboriginal land rights and saw a new general purpose lease for Aborigines which would be conditional upon their intention and ability to make reasonable economic and social use of land and it would exclude all rights they had to mineral and forest rights. The embassy has existed intermittently since then, and continuously since 1992. Some of the people involved in its establishment include Gary Foley, Chicka Dixon, Pearl Gibbs and Paul Coe.”