Maritime Union of Australia Sydney Branch Marks January 26 with call for justice for Aboriginal People


As January 26th approaches, the Maritime Union of Australia Sydney branch celebrates the continuing resistance of Aboriginal people in the face of incredible adversity.

“The Sydney Branch of the MUA was forged on the land and waters of the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation. These lands and waters were never ceded to colonial rule. Our struggle for a just society is inextricable from the Aboriginal struggle for justice, self-determination and sovereignty” said Sydney Branch Secretary Paul Keating.

In additional to marking 234 years of British colonial occupation, this year marks 50 years since the Aboriginal Tent Embassy was established in Canberra.

“The establishment of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in 1972 was a watershed moment that forever placed the struggle for Aboriginal land rights on the international stage” said Mr. Keating.

Aboriginal people are this year honouring that proud history of resistance by retracing the steps of the 1938 Day of Mourning by leading a silent march from Town Hall to Australia Hall on Elizabeth street.

MUA Sydney Branch Ferry Worker and Indigenous Committee Co-Chair Tony Cook said “Generation after generation of Aboriginal people have struggled for justice. The history of Aboriginal struggle and the history of the MUA itself have long been entwined. Leading Aboriginal activists Charles ‘Chicka’ Dixon and Bert Longbottom were both maritime workers and members of the MUA, who led the union in getting behind the Aboriginal struggles of the day.”

“Aboriginal maritime workers right across our industry – from the container terminals to the Sydney Harbour – walk in the footsteps of these elders today. We call upon all people to join the Silent March at Town Hall from 10am” said Mr. Cook.

“Aboriginal people have long considered January 26th to be the day that marks the beginning of British colonial conquest of what is now known as the Australian continent. The legacy of that conquest remains as devastating today as it did 234 years ago” said Paul Keating.

“Aboriginal people still die in custody at rates vastly higher than non-aboriginal people. Mining companies continue to disregard Traditional Owners and push ahead with unnecessary, destructive projects that only accelerate climate change. We simply cannot allow this to continue”

“What we need now more than ever is to recognize the leadership of Aboriginal people, and together forge a future based on justice, environmental sustainability and Aboriginal sovereignty. The MUA Sydney Branch will stand with Aboriginal people and will never rest until they are able to live in peace and dignity on their own land”.

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