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Aussie homeowners urged to start paying Indigenous rent for living on stolen land

Rachel Lang

Published 
| Last updated 

Aussie homeowners urged to start paying Indigenous rent for living on stolen land

An Australian campaign group is lobbying to see non-Indigenous residents pay rent to traditional landowners, in a scheme gaining momentum this Australia Day.

January 26 is the day Australians celebrate being one nation Down Under, however it is seen by many as 'Invasion Day', as it marks the day British settlers took the land from the First Nations people.

A scheme is being put forward in an attempt to right the wrongs of Australia's colonial past, with those behind the initiative calling for rent to be paid.

"Decisions about the distribution of money paid into this fund will be made exclusively by a Sovereign Body, composed of Aboriginal people from a range of clans and nations," the Pay The Rent website reads.

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A protest against Australia Day in Sydney. Credit: Holli / Alamy
A protest against Australia Day in Sydney. Credit: Holli / Alamy

"That is, the money always and only belongs to Aboriginal people."

Greens senator Lidia Thorpe and prolific feminist Clementine Ford are two of the high-profile people who have already thrown their support behind the idea.

Ford said: "We need to stop paying lip service to decolonisation and start paying the rent to the first nations people."

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Thorpe added: "Pay the rent from grassroots for grassroots. No strings attached to the government’s agenda. It assists sovereign grassroots fight the many campaigns and struggles we face everyday."

The scheme would be run by a corporate arm of non-Indigenous volunteers in order to support the movement and to execute any motions put forward.

Aboriginal dance group Gomeroi Mirii Yulugi from the Gomeroi tribe in New South Wales. Credit: Mike Robinson / Alamy
Aboriginal dance group Gomeroi Mirii Yulugi from the Gomeroi tribe in New South Wales. Credit: Mike Robinson / Alamy

The movement's website states: "Paying the Rent is about non-Indigenous people honouring the Sovereignty of Aboriginal people; it is a somewhat more just way of living on this stolen land.

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"This model for Paying the Rent transfers money/wealth on a grassroots to grassroots basis; it doesn’t involve governments or big business."

The idea has been met with mixed responses on social media, with opinions strong for both for and against.

One Twitter user said: "If we pay the Indigenous rent, will they pay us for the patent for the wheel?"

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Another commented: "You can throw me in prison, but I am NEVER going to pay a tax based upon my race. 'Pay The Rent' is the height of racism. It has no place in the civilised world. Take your ideological garbage, and park it in whatever century it crawled out of."

On the other side of the argument, commenters showed support.

One Twitter user said: "Listen: friends, fam, foes... Just don't with me tomorrow. Just f**king DON'T with me on Invasion Day. No pride in genocide. Pay your rent. Acknowledge your local blakfellas. Get up, stand up, show up to the marches in the state capitals."

Featured Image Credit: Michael Willis / Alamy. imageBROKER / Alamy.

Topics: News, Australia, Politics

Rachel Lang
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