The chairman of the Northern Land Council, Mr Galarrwuy Yunupingu one of Australia's longest-standing Aboriginal leaders was reported in a newspaper as making the following statements.
- Citizenship had been forced on Aborigines and was a big mistake.
- Aborigines were politically superior to white Australians because they were owners of the land.
- The historic 1967 referendum - where Australians voted overwhelmingly to make Aborigines citizens and for federal government powers to legislate on their behalf - had been forced upon the Aboriginal nation.
- Aboriginal people would be much better off today, in the light of the Mabo decision, if that referendum had not happened.
- By being accepted as equal with other Australians we (Aborigines) also accepted we were like other Australians. The reality is, we are not.
- In political terms we are above other Australians because we are the owners of the land.
- Aboriginal people have never wanted to be equal with the white people of Australia.
- The referendum had been inspired by guilt and had never considered the rights we Aboriginal people really had, or who we really were.
- It had resulted in Aboriginal people being bashed around by citizenship and equal rights.
- The 1967 referendum provided a meaningless status for Aborigines under a temporary and foreign common law.
- We were given a place in another State under another law, with no regard for our own law.
- The Mabo decision had proved that Aborigines are the landlords and the sovereign power of Australia, but the opportunity appeared to have been lost for Aborigines and contemporary Australians to live side by side in harmony. Instead of Mabo identifying and acknowledging that we are
truly the owners of this country, the foreign Westminster laws are going to be used to extinguish our laws and our rights.(Yunupingu:1993:1-2)
Aboriginal extremists like Yunupingu, or Michael Mansell , represent a shrinking minority among the Aboriginal community, but Yunupingu's position is logical —special rights, land rights and eventually separate territory. It must be remembered that extremists do have an input into government decisions. What do other Aborigines think?