Pieces of Australia, the company which thought it was good and normal to fang a square metre of Queensland in the 2023 Oscars goodie bag, has essentially run away with its tail between its legs after being accused of using the name of an Indigenous organisation in marketing materials without the group’s consent.
In case you missed it, Pieces of Australia recently made headlines for paying $4,000 to be included in the unnecessarily decadent bullshit that is the Oscars goodie bag, and rub shoulders with items such as a shaman reading and an Italian holiday.
Pieces of Australia essentially sells fufu pieces of land in gift packs, whereby recipients “own a certificate of land licence for a unique piece of land in Australia”.
Its terms and conditions, however, stipulate that “you have purchased a symbolic souvenir … of the land” and if you own the “pack” of land, you can’t “take possession of the parcel; use the parcel; enter upon the parcel and/or the land without the licensor’s express written consent”.
I mean complete disrespect when I say every word which comes out of Pieces of Australia’s metaphorical mouth sounds like an extended fart noise to me. I am not sorry.
As reported by the Guardian, the Indigenous Carbon Industry Network says Pieces of Australia used its name in promotional materials without ICIN’s consent.
“When most non-Indigenous people look at the land, they often see something they can exploit, an asset they can develop and use to create a profit,” a digital handbook issued by Pieces of Australia read, per the Guardian.
“An Aboriginal person, on the other hand, looks at land as something more. They see a living, breathing thing that is deeply connected to their past, present, and future.
“Organisations like the Indigenous Carbon Industry Network (ICIN), who acts as an industry body, provides valuable resources to Indigenous local organisations.”
As if it couldn’t get any worse, ICIN chief executive Anna Boustead said Pieces of Australia published photos of Indigenous ranger groups owned by member organisations of ICIN, which seemed to have been nicked from their websites without permission.
A statement released by Boustead and ICIN co-chair Cissy Gore-Birch said the company “has no connection whatsoever to Pascha Pty Ltd, Envirocean, Distinctive Assets or the brands referred to in connection to the Oscars ‘goodie bag’” which include “‘Pieces of Australia’ or the ‘Aussie Mate Conservation Pack’.”
“ICIN has not granted permission for any of our information, publications or photos to be reproduced to support the Oscars ‘goodie bag’ or ‘Pieces of Australia’,” the statement continued.
“In particular it has not granted permission for any photos on our website or publications featuring Aboriginal people undertaking fire management to be reproduced by a third party to support the Oscars ‘goodie bag’ or ‘Pieces of Australia’ in any way.
“ICIN does not agree with its brand or the hard work of our members being linked to the ‘Pieces of Australia’ scheme. We take our own commitments to the rights of Traditional Owners and Free, Prior and Informed Consent very seriously.”
Per the Guardian, Pieces of Australia founder Niels Chaneliere — whom ICIN claimed has never contacted the company, as far as it’s aware — said “all content that may have been inappropriately used in relation to ICIN or their mention in the member’s handbook has now been removed and is no longer mentioned now that it has been brought to our attention”.
Except for the fact Pieces of Australia’s conduct towards ICIN has been nothing short of abysmal, the company’s complete disregard of First Nations people is appalling. The Guardian reported last week that Pieces of Australia acknowledged “the Aboriginal people of the Barunggam nation as the traditional custodians and owners of the land” it sells — but Chaneliere told the publication he was yet to make contact with the traditional owners.
Pieces of Australia’s mission talks about wanting “to recover the spiritual connection that First Nation [sic] people have had with the Australian land for thousands of years”, yet it has no problem profiting off unceded land and making literally zilch effort to consult with the Barunggam people, as well as using the name and materials of a 100 per cent Indigenous-owned organisation in its marketing. It’s disgraceful.
In its statement, ICIN said it’s seeking legal advice on the matter and “has contacted Envirocean and Distinctive Assets seeking an explanation for their actions linking our work, brand, good reputation and materials to this concept without our knowledge or consent.”
Good. As it should.