Truth Telling with Lidia Thorpe

Fighting for Country with Jason Briggs

February 28, 2022 Season 1 Episode 4
Fighting for Country with Jason Briggs
Truth Telling with Lidia Thorpe
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Truth Telling with Lidia Thorpe
Fighting for Country with Jason Briggs
Feb 28, 2022 Season 1 Episode 4

In this episode Lidia yarns with Boonwurrung and Wemba Wemba lawyer, Jason Briggs about the complexities and flaws of Native Title laws and highlights the importance of support for First Nations legal defence.

Jason Briggs is of Boonwurrung and Wemba Wemba Ancestry and he Chairs the Boonwurrung Land & Sea Council in Melbourne. Jason is a practising lawyer with over 20 years experience in legal practice and business. Jason has recently launched the Boonwurrung Native Title Claim in the Federal Court and convenes the Victorian Pan Nationalist group known as the Black Friday Resurgence; to raise public awareness and black consciousness about issues affecting First Nations communities in Victoria - especially in relation to our Cultural Heritage and Native Title affairs.

LEARN: Listen to Dr Anne Poelina's work on protecting water on Country

DONATE: To Pay the Rent

These recordings took place on the unceded sovereign lands of  the Wurundjeri  people of the Kulin Nation.

Connect with Senator Lidia Thorpe

Note: These episodes were recorded while Senator Thorpe was a member of the Greens. She now sits of the crossbench as a Independent Senator representing the Blak Sovereign Movement

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode Lidia yarns with Boonwurrung and Wemba Wemba lawyer, Jason Briggs about the complexities and flaws of Native Title laws and highlights the importance of support for First Nations legal defence.

Jason Briggs is of Boonwurrung and Wemba Wemba Ancestry and he Chairs the Boonwurrung Land & Sea Council in Melbourne. Jason is a practising lawyer with over 20 years experience in legal practice and business. Jason has recently launched the Boonwurrung Native Title Claim in the Federal Court and convenes the Victorian Pan Nationalist group known as the Black Friday Resurgence; to raise public awareness and black consciousness about issues affecting First Nations communities in Victoria - especially in relation to our Cultural Heritage and Native Title affairs.

LEARN: Listen to Dr Anne Poelina's work on protecting water on Country

DONATE: To Pay the Rent

These recordings took place on the unceded sovereign lands of  the Wurundjeri  people of the Kulin Nation.

Connect with Senator Lidia Thorpe

Note: These episodes were recorded while Senator Thorpe was a member of the Greens. She now sits of the crossbench as a Independent Senator representing the Blak Sovereign Movement


[Intro Music Playing]

Lidia  0:12  

Before we can move forward, before we can heal, we must tell the truth. This is truth telling, with me Lidia Thorpe. I'm a proud Djab Wurrung, Gunnai Gunditjmara woman. I'm a human rights, climate and forest activist, a mum, a grand-mum and a survivor of family violence. Now, I'm your Greens Senator for Victoria. This is a place to listen, stay open and learn, as I yarn with First Nations Elders, experts and activists about the injustices facing our people and importantly, the solutions and opportunities that can come from self determination through the right policy.

You just heard a song from the deadly Djirri Djirri, Wurundjeri women who dance and sing on Country for Country. This interview and all interviews will take place on Wurundjeri Country, the unceded sovereign lands of Wurundjeri and the Kulin Nation.

Lidia Thorpe  2:00  

Well hello everyone, Lidia Thorpe here again, Gunnai Gunditjmara, Djab Wurrung woman. Today I'm joined here with Jason Briggs, Jason is a Boon Wurrung and Wemba-Wemba deadly brother boy and he chairs the Boon Wurrung land and sea council here in Melbourne or Wurundjeri Country or the Kulin Nation. Jason is a practising lawyer with over 20 years experience in legal practice and business, he is the owner and principal solicitor at Massar Briggs Law and also owns and operates an immigration company known as Australian Visa Hub, with offices in Sri Lanka and India. Wow, that's deadly. 

Lidia Thorpe  2:45  

While at university, the High Court delivered the groundbreaking judgement in Mabo, 18 months later Jason led a group of Blak law students to Murray Island in the Torres Strait to see firsthand the effects of native title on an indigenous community. Jason has recently launched the Boon Wurrung Native Title Claim in the Federal Court and convenes the Victorian pan-nationalist group, known as the Black Friday Resurgence, to raise public awareness and Blak consciousness about issues affecting First Nations communities in Victoria, especially in relation to our cultural heritage and Native Title affairs. Wow, that's deadly. Thank you, Jason, brother boy for joining me today. 

Lidia Thorpe  3:32  

Let's start off with talking a bit about your story hey and how you come to do what you do today. 

Jason Briggs  3:38  

Yeah, sure. It's, as you mentioned, I have over 20 years experience in law and business, and also my whole life in communities from Melbourne, to Mildura, Swan Hill in Bendigo. So, I eventually landed back in Melbourne through law at the University of Melbourne. And I always had a passion in community politics and especially helping young Blak women and men reach their dreams and aspirations and I love to see as the communities do well and I'm all for the empowerment of communities to realise their full potential and so I always look for ways to realise that goal and a number of ways is through our cultural heritage and Native Title, aspirations that many First Nations communities have in Victoria. So, I see that as a benchmark for communities to establish, a social, economic and political foundation to communities aspirations wherever they are in Victoria. So, I've been heavily involved in Native Title for many years and as you mentioned, I went up to Murray Island and saw it firsthand. We're given a guided tour by the co-plaintiffs in the Mabo decision, Corky and Mabo had passed away before then, but James Reisen, Father David Passi showed us around and we got to see firsthand Native Title and I've been thrilled ever since, from way back then that was nearly 30 years ago. Yeah, my God, nearly 30 years ago! You know, the question for our communities is, is Native Title living up to our community expectations. Okay, in some areas, I think Native Title has not met the community expectations. Now, I would hasten to add that it's not so much Native Title as a product of the law, it's more the administration and Native Title. And that's where we have problems here in the state of Victoria. Many of our Native Title and cultural heritage affairs, matters and organisations are not in community control and are not community owned. So, there's no sense of ownership over these community organisations and I think the way it's corporatised and set up and structured, it's actually acting predominantly against the First Nations interests of Victorians. So, I actually see it as a hopelessly compromised structure and system, that doesn't realise the full potential of what communities expecting from their lawyers and their cultural heritage matters. So, I think what we've got here in Victoria is our First Nation's Legal Research Services Provider is actually the Native Title Services Provider, they're not in a position where they're acting in the best interests of communities. So, I would say they're compromised, I would say that they're funding their structure arrangement, they're not a community organisation. 

Lidia Thorpe  6:18  

Why do you say that? 

Jason Briggs  6:20  

I would say that because First Nations Legal, they're not a community organisation. They're actually a company, limited by guarantee and they're a subsidiary of another company that owns them, that company is Federation and Traditional Owners of Victoria. Half of their budget actually comes from the State Government. So, in Native Title, governments would prefer that there would be certainty of title and their best way to get certainty of title is to extinguish Native Title. Okay, and what we have in Victoria is the Traditional Owner Settlement Act that allows that to happen with compensation and I believe that these Native Title organisations are actually acting against our interests because of the way they're set up and the way they're funded. So, as a lawyer, you should be able to act without coercion or compromise, but what we have here is our so called Native Title lawyers are actually acting against our interests because they're predominantly working for the State Government. The State Government funds them, the State Government sets it up, the State Government is actually having an iinput in control over who sits on their parent company and that goes against the interests of the community organisation. Victoria has led the way in the establishment of community organisations. And I think it would be a shock to many First Nations communities across Victoria to know that their so-called community organisations are not community controlled and not acting in their best interests, in fact, I would argue their acting in contrary to their best interests.

Lidia Thorpe  7:48  

Okay, thank you, I'm really interested to flesh that out a little bit more, if I may, because y'know we know that there's problems with Native Title but is the Federation, as I understand it, is a collective of Traditional Owners who make decisions, isn't that correct, and they cover the majority of the state?

Jason Briggs  8:10  

Well at least 75% of the state. Now, the only way to sit on the Federation of Traditional Owners of Victoria is if you're a RAP or a Recognised Aboriginal Party status that has been given to you by the Aboriginal Heritage Council. Okay, there's only six founding members on the Federation of Traditional Owners of Victoria, so that shuts out the majority of other claimants, clans and groups in the state of Victoria. So, if you're not a part of the Federation of Traditional Owners, you're not going to get the help and the priority of spending that First Nations Legal, their subsidiary company, is not going to give you the help that you deserve. Now, I've pulled up budgetary figures over the last seven years of what's been spending of First Nations Legal over the last seven years, the priority of all the spending is being given to the community groups that belong to the Federation of Traditional Owners there's eight, get overwhelming majority of the funding, in the last seven years, they've received over $10 million in funding. Now the  groups outside of that which comprise about 10 groups, right.They've only received $2 million funding over that period of time. So, priority is not being equally distributed across the First Nations groups in Victoria. It's set up to be a part of those groups that are favoured by the Federation of Traditional Owners of Victoria. So, if you're not it, you're outside it and if you want to get into it, you can't unless you can apply and they recommend that you be a part of it.

Lidia Thorpe  9:32  

Wow, thank you. That sounds a bit dodgy to me.

Jason Briggs  9:37  

It does, it is dodgy Senator and what we have is that you can't sit on it unless you're a RAP and RAP's are only given to you by the Aboriginal Heritage Council and even that is a closed shop.

Lidia Thorpe  9:48  

Can I ask who then decides who the Heritage Council is?

Jason Briggs  9:53  

The Secretariat that doesn't have any Indigenous people on it. Right, so a secret cabal of lawyers, alright, non-Indigenous lawyers, they decide who gets a RAP, they decide RAP applications and they decide who sits on the Heritage Council and then they make recommendations to the Minister to appoint that person onto the Heritage Council. So, if they don't like you, or they don't agree with you, or they feel threatened by you, or you're critical of them, you will not see the inside of their organisation unless you get a job cleaning it.

Lidia Thorpe  10:21  

What's the solution? What's the alternative? What does that look like?

Jason Briggs  10:25  

I think First Nations communities across Victoria are being controlled by a corporatised system that has been pulled over our eyes, that we've been deceived about what's really in our best interests. I think it needs to be either restructured or at least abolished in some way, First Nations Legal shouldn't be a law firm that is paid by your opponents. Okay, if you had me as your lawyer, you wouldn't want me being paid by the outside, you want me uncompromised, uncoerced, acting in the best interest of your matter, without fear or compromise, right? So, our lawyers, our Native Title lawyers, they're actually acting against the interest because the State Government wants Native Title extinguished, because they don't like the uncertainty of Title. Okay, now  we have in the State of Victoria, a Traditional Owner Settlement Act, which allows for compensation and the permanent extinguishment of Native Title interests. So, that's the direction these corporatised structure is taking us down. And it's misleading communities because they're sitting in Native Title meetings, thinking that they're going to get Native Title and I know full well they're not going to get Native Title, because TOSSA agreements or Traditional Owner Aettlement Act agreements is what the direction these corporatised structures are taking us down. Now, case in point, the Wemba-Wemba people, they've been sitting on their Native Title claim for 22 years. Okay, they've had a turnover of 11 lawyers, it has gone nowhere, they've sat for days in these meetings over a accumulated period of many years and they've got nothing for it, effectively hasn't even started. What they're doing with these groups and they're trying to apply for RAP's with the Heritage Council and they're getting that knocked back as well. Okay, the Secretariat in my view and experience over the last few years, if they don't like it, you don't get any RAP. Because they don't want any people they perceive as critical, troublemaking or anything that goes against their interests. They want to choose who they get to be in there and if they don't play by their rules, they don't last either. 

Lidia Thorpe  12:28  

Just getting back to your point about the options, hey, so abolish or fix it?

Jason Briggs  12:35  

Y'know, the Secretariat should not be saying who gets to sit in the Heritage Council, that is a given. They have no right to do that, they have no right to pick candidates or applicants. Okay, the community should put forward people to sit on the Heritage Council, not this secretive cabal known as the Secretariat of the Aboriginal Heritage Council and that's one reform that needs to be done. First Nations Legal should not be a subsidiary of any parent company, it should be an organisation that's community controlled and is acting in the best interests of the community and acting in accord with community expectations. That's the most important thing. Because Victoria has led the way in establishing community controlled organisations and I would argue across Australia, that they actually are not acting in that principle. These are organisations that A: are not community controlled, they're not even community owned and the amount of Blak people that work inside them, The Aboriginal Heritage Council and Federation of Traditional Owners of Victoria and First Nations Legal, I can count on one hand. Okay and their combined budget is over $11 million. So, what are we getting for it? The only beneficiaries of Native Title in the state of Victoria are the employees of these organisations. There is no community benefit or value to First Nations communities from these organisational structures that only serve the interests and purposes of senior bureaucrats acting out of the department of Premier and Cabinet.

Lidia Thorpe  13:57  

Well, I have to admit that I've been subjected to this in my own Native Title experience. So, you know, I've been locked out of AGM's, I've seen the poverty in my communities, particularly Gunnai Country and yes, it is true, I've seen that people employed within the corporation are okay, but if you're outside of that, well, it's kind of us and them. And our people who need it most, don't get a seat at the table.

Jason Briggs  14:30  

They actually get paid really high salary packages and they're also got hired superannuation package arrangements and they get paid whether you get a Native Title outcome or not. So, there's no incentive to pursue no incentive to go after with a determination a sense of urgency that is in accord with community expectations. That's the disappointing thing. And in the meantime, like mission management model, they're actually using a carrot and stick model, they're actually punishing groups, or they're dividing groups, or they're setting family against family, clan against clan and shutting people out they don't particularly like and not only in your situation in the Taungurung matter, that is a matter where they've sought to have an indigenous land use agreement and the Taungurung community to be compensated with a Traditional Owner Settlement Agreement to the amount of about $34 million, where they get to extinguish their Native Title. There are accusations they shut out communities and they've actually encompassed other people's Countries and they're going to extinguish their Native Title rights forever. So, that's been turned on its head by the Federal Court and it's also being backed up by the National Native Title Tribunal and turned on its head, but First Nations in their wisdom is going for a third bite of the cherry and taking it back to federal court. So, it's just a waste of time, money and energy there's no one in there controlling it that they're acting in the community's best interests, in fact, that targetting against the community's best interest. To haul community leaders back into court and actually subject them to that type of behaviour and actually threaten to cross examine them and about their identity is just disgusting and outrageous. So, we got this little clique and little cabal that's acting in its own self serving interests and not acting in accordance with community interests. Y'know and they even boasted to me a couple of years ago Senator that they don't even listen to their board of directors. So, they just act willy nilly, got carte blanche power, do what they want. If you don't like the decisions of the Aboriginal Heritage Council, you have to challenge it in the Supreme Court of Victoria. I mean, how lengthy and expensive is that? What an ordeal that has to be.

And who has time for that, hey? 

And who has time for that right? So, they know they have the control and they pick, obviously saccharine Blaks that they want to put in there to make sure that they get the way that they want to. A lot of the people that are in these organisations, the community hasn't heard off. So, we get in this problem that y'know who's in control here? It's got a front, it's got the right names like First Nations and Traditional Owners and Cultural Heritage Council, but y'know, when you pierce the curtain or look behind the curtain you actually see that it's not run by communities and that's what's deceptive about it.

Lidia Thorpe  17:05  

That's where that old narrative comes from and you see a lot of politicians using it, is aw y'know, they never agree...

Jason Briggs  17:13  

Yeah that's right! Aw it's a community issue. It's y'know, they can't work it out amongst themselves at all, it's our fault!

Lidia Thorpe  17:22  

Meanwhile, the anthropologists and the lawyers are getting very, very rich in the Native Title industry.

Jason Briggs  17:28  

Absolutely, alright and they go to their dinner parties and they tell everyone what wonderful people they are and y'know, they're saving aborigines and they're not doing a thing, alright. And it's the waste of time and money. For the last 25 years Senator, $100 million has been spent on Native Title in the state of Victoria. $100 million, count 'em, that's a scandal. See, community's expectations is where can you see Native Title as having an outcome? It's a sense of urgency, it's our legacy to our young, right. And it's actually going to set the foundations of a social, political, economic foundation, which can make a community self sufficient, really. So, people's hearts and minds and souls are in this. And they're just continuously getting their hearts broken by a legal team that has no intention of helping them realise their achievements.

Lidia Thorpe  18:15  

And just on that, Jason, I acknowledge and pay my respects to the many elders and young people, younger generations who've passed in the Native Title process, because it has been traumatic and heartbreaking.

Jason Briggs  18:29  

And Elders that have passed away during the whole process, that is a scandal in itself. 

Lidia Thorpe  18:35  


Jason Briggs  18:35  

I mean, Native Title, if it's anything about anything, it's about our elders, because traditional law and custom comes from them. And this could be a scandalous and akin to the tobacco industry and the asbestos court actions that used to go on, with all that where they're just waiting to die out. That is a scandalous, outragous thing. These people are not acting in our best interest, they need to go and it couldn't happen soon enough.

Lidia Thorpe  18:58  

Alright, so let's talk about how you're going to do that and how I can as a Victorian Blak Senator, support the fight of grassroots mob. And this podcast is a result of one of the policy areas that I'll be taking to the next election and that is about having a kind of a land justice fund created so that Blak fellas out there aren't reliant on the Native Title corporations and that there is some independence in a fund where other mobs can access and fight. 

Jason Briggs  19:34  

Great initiative, it is it's grassroots and everything. But the fact that we need an independent legal fund is because we don't trust the organisations that are there in the first place. I think the best way to move forward is that only organisations that are going to last, are the ones that come from the grassroots, the ideas, community driven initiatives that put together a structure and arrangement that is equitable, fair and is something that's going to be effective towards reaching community expectations and not only that, exceeding them. Look, Native Title can set the groundwork for economic foundations, which has been the hope and aspirations. And when I was up there, 28 years ago, at Murray Island, I said, why did you set Native Title up? They said, we wanted to see the empowerment of communities, we didn't want to have to ask for things, we wanted to be in control of our own affairs. That's the spirit of self determination. So, that is something that's a priority in many communities, values and expectations, so we should act in accordance with that. So, that's a community grassroots initiative.

Lidia Thorpe  20:36  

And I just want to say just in terms of the issues that you raised around the framework, I suppose of the Federation of Traditional Owners, and you mentioned that it's not representative. Would it be in terms of fixing something that's broken, I know that Gary Murray talks a lot about 38 Nations, if there were the 38 Nations in Victoria, around the seat that made up the Victorian Federation of Traditional Owners, would that suffice?

Jason Briggs  21:09  

Yeah, I think that's more representative. I think the Treaty Assembly actually passed that motion, much to the chagrin of the Heritage Council who tried to overturn it. They don't want the 38 Clans represented. They don't like it. They just like their RAP model, because they've got control over it. So, there's going to be a bit of a resistance there. But if anything, I think the communities will should prevail and just remember the public servants are our servants and not our masters.

Lidia Thorpe  21:36  

Yes, they need to be reminded of that. Okay, so Federation of Victorian Traditional Owners, represented all the Victorian Traditional Owners and included the 38 Clans and that's something that people could be happy with. Now, what about the First Nations Legal, you talked about that being kind of a government prop?

Jason Briggs  21:58  

It's got some substantial amount of budget from the opponent, the State Government of Victoria. Okay, and they put it under a heading of saying it's to help aid the Native Title matters. Well, it's over a million dollars. I think there's more to it than that and I think those arrangements that are going to be called into question actually compromise the quality of legal representation in community affairs in relation to pursuing their Native Title claims. Okay, you got this problem with First Nations Legal, its lawyers in there and anthropologists in there and researchers in there and only some groups are getting the amount of money, time and attention and priority of resources over other groups. So, they're saying that there's walls in there where everyone's getting equal and fair representation, but when you look at the budgetary figures, it's not one group is getting more resources and help and assistance and funding than the other groups. So, that's going to compromise the quality of legal representation right there. So, it's just filled with conflicts, it's filled with compromise and it's just the worst position ever. With that situation with the Taungurung, I mean, that's just an example, there are questions there that they had boys representing certain interests and chopping and changing, the research was supposedly chopping and changing and going from one to the other. I mean, there's a lot of pressure in there to get a political outcome.

Lidia Thorpe  23:21  

This is happening around the country, hey, it's not just happening in Victoria.

Jason Briggs  23:25  

Yep. So, Victoria we have what's called the Traditional Owner Settlement Act, which is unique in Australia. It came out as a result of the failed Yorta Yorta claim back in 2000. And it was designed to provide a lower threshold for proving your connection to country. But the government's love it because it actually provides for the extinguishment clause. Okay, compensation extinguishment, which provides for a Certainty of Title and that's unusual in Australia. So, in Victoria, if you've got a choice between the pursuing a native title claim or pursuing a Traditional Owner Settlement Agreement, compensation and extinguishment of Native Title, you know which one, they're going to go for the path of least resistance and they're going to always be tempted to go down the TOSAA path. And Federal Court judges have been very critical of that arrangement in the State of Victoria. 

Lidia Thorpe  24:17  

I remember when the Settlement Act came into Parliament, I was living at Lake Tyers and we came down in a old beaten up bus where we had to hold the door closed, all the way down the Princess Highway and we rocked up to Parliament, there was about 50 Blak fellas from all around the state and we protested that bill.

Jason Briggs  24:38  

You could see the problems gonna come ahead. 

Lidia Thorpe  24:40  

That's right. So, what I'm hearing is independence and self determination from the grassroots level to be able to make decisions on what affects people's own country.

Jason Briggs  24:52  

That's right. If the choice of the community comes down to one thing, it's about choosing independent legal representatives, choosing independent anthropologist and researcher that act according to timelines and deadlines and actually meet community expectations, so that puts more power back into control of communities. So, that's a far more equitable and fairer system to what we have now where it's all centralised, it's all controlled from the nameless bureaucrats from the Department of Premier and Cabinet. Who are actually acting in their best interests of their political masters, rather than the Blak community's masters. So, it's a compromised system, it's frustrating, it's difficult, it's obstructionist and it should be gone.

Lidia Thorpe  25:32  

Why do we even need to fight for country and our heritage protection in the first place? Why do we have to do that?

Jason Briggs  25:39  

Well, our traditional law and custom is our culture and to the basis of our fundamental power in our distinction as a First Nations people, so it's always going to serve as the foundations of who we are as people. But it's nothing without the economic and political foundations, the leverage that goes with it, okay, so if we're going to continue to have a say, in this world, we're going to have to have the political leverage and economic foundations to back it up. Or it's just words in the wind. So, it's something we need to protect, but it needs to be controlled in a fair and equitable way that actually is effective and meets community expectations rather than what we have now where it's not acting in our best interest. So, I would say that it's a debate the communities have to have and anything that's grassroots and community driven initiatives is something that we need to listen to carefully. I think that's probably the challenge that as First Nations communities, we're all going to have to engage with our own communities and families and platforms like this Senator, I mean, that's just an opportunity that's just wonderful for communities to have that, because without these things, they're not going to get realised they're not going to be publicised and that's what these bureaucrats rely on. They rely on divided communities and they rely on silence and they rely on the fact that no one knows what's going on. So, if you don't know you can't question y'know we need to talk more, network more, meet on platforms like this more and actually get a dialogue going, get a conversation going and actually tap into the thoughts and feelings of our community members. And one thing that's also is happening in the Native Title community is the High Court has come down with a judgement called the Timber Creek Decision. All governments across Australia are very fearful of it because it actually puts an economic dollar value on claims, that if they obstruct or delay claims, like I'm complaining about and like many people across Australia are complaining, is that they can suffer compensation from the government. So that can end up in the millions of millions of dollars bill range. So, they want that keep quiet and they're going to work towards what's in their best interest to work towards extinction.

Lidia Thorpe  27:44  

Yes, that's a very successful case. They'll change laws to counteract it too.

Jason Briggs  27:50  

That's right. And that's probably what we as a community need to know. amongst ourselves, that we have those common law rights, because government's not going to tell us about them and lawyers that are fair and equitable are not going to get to these communities because the Heritage Council Federation and First Nations Legal, they're not going to share that information. They have opposed Native Title claims in the state of Victoria, they have opposed, especially in the Boon Wurrung Native Title claim, they've opposed at every step of the way, for no good reason other than their own self interest. They've opposed to other groups, there's allegations of corruption with our confected groups, they've created groups and they said to him, look, we'll put you together in a group and you do as you're told and you will get government funding, travel allowance and we will pay for your corporatisation of your organisation and you'll get free legal assistance. But the code is the unspoken negotiation bargain is that you just do as you're told.

Lidia Thorpe  29:52  

This particular initiative isn't going to cover off all of the things that we want to in this podcast, but I'll continue to keep my ear on the ground to make sure that I'm across those things and stand up for grassroots and ask some of those hard questions. And can I just say, speaking of questions, this is the last question. We have to remember that we've not only got Blak fellas listening to this podcast, it's open to everybody. So what can listeners do, who want to support First Nations Legal defence efforts?

Jason Briggs  29:25  

Well, each community has its own direction and wants to take down the path of a Native Title or protecting of their cultural heritage. I think getting in touch with the land councils and especially the 38 Clan model, supporting that, letting people know that that's the direction that's more fair and equitable and that will be effective towards reaching that goal of really self determination. And having those community expectations where we prolong and protect our community's best interests and protect our Native Title rights and our cultural heritage affairs. Some communities will want some funding and the conversations about that independent legal defence fund, that might be one of many. So, I think that's something that's going to have to come up from the grassroots and I think this is one of the platforms where that can be raised.

Lidia Thorpe  30:14  

Deadly! Alright. Well, that concludes my questions. But I just wanted to ask you, do you have any last words that you'd like to contribute?

Jason Briggs  30:25  

Y'know, at the end of the day, I think, we're acting in the best interests of our communities, our young people, our elders. And if we can't control our own matters, there'll be other people who will and that's a recipe for disaster frustration and aggravation that has caused most of the problems that exist in our communities, bureaucratic decisions that don't take heed of community interests. And we're only going to take control and be as proud a people as we are when we have the economic and political leverage to back that up and that's going to come through on Native Title interest and our cultural heritage affairs matters. So, I just think it's an integrity issue. It's a community integrity issue and I think that's something that's worth saving and worth protecting and worth pursuing. There's no shortage of interest in the communities, there's overwhelming passion and drive and energy and we need to harness that energy and not let our young people down and know that there is hope for the future. These community organisations are ours, and they're meant for them! And it's not meant for other people, they were set up in part to empower young Blak women and men. So we want to harness that energy.

Lidia Thorpe  31:34  

Well it's our time. 

Jason Briggs  31:35  

Yeah absolutely.

Lidia Thorpe  31:37  

It's our time and it's time to take it back. 

Jason Briggs  31:40  

And taking back control, that's right. That's what we said in the Black Friday Resurgence, taking back control and raising awareness about those issues.

Lidia Thorpe  31:48  

Love it. Thank you, brother! Take care!

Jason Briggs  31:50  

You take care too.