Call to weed out ‘fake’ Aboriginals
by Sean Burke
Photo: Chairman of the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania, Mr Michael Mansell
Internal bickering has broken out among senior Tasmanian Aboriginals as they scramble to rescue a treaty with the island’s State government.
The treaty, which aims to recognise some harsh treatment of Aboriginals during early settlement, risks being derailed by racial confusion.
There is growing “resentment” the treaty will recognise people who have no historical claim to indigenous status.
The number of Tasmanians who self-identify as Aboriginal has increased by 65,000 per cent since the mid-1960s. (From 36 in 1966 to 23,572 in 2016).
This has resulted in “palpable resentment, anger and frustration among many Aboriginals”, according to a State government report.
According to the report, written by former State governor Kate Warner and war crimes advisor Tim McCormack, the first step towards a treaty must be determining who is “eligible” as Aboriginal for treaty purposes.
Chairman of the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania, Mr Michael Mansell, said there was a danger the treaty could be sidetracked.
“We can’t have one treaty for the past 230 years and say ‘that’s fixed it and it’s all okay”.
Premier Peter Gutwein, who supports a treaty, has side-stepped the division saying he would reveal his government’s next steps when parliament resumes in March.
The government is currently considering the report and engaging with stakeholders.
Blood test the lot
There is an urgent need for governments to stop funding people based on aboriginality, especially funding without means-testing. The definition of aboriginality needs to be updated to eliminate people of mixed race and all government funding and benefits should be based on need and not race.
We have some of the most racist policies and programs in the Western world and continuing to fund people on race instead of on need is divisive, a waste of resources, and creates resentment and anger among those taxpayers who are providing the government with funding for people who aren’t in need of it.
Also, the duplication of services for people based on race is unreasonable. Having separate services like Congress Medical Centre at Alice Springs should be unacceptable in modern day Australia.
While we spend millions trying to “Reconcile” our people, we spend billions creating an apartheid system that is anachronistic and unsuitable and divides people rather than bringing us together.
As Sir Paul Hasluck said, “We have homogenised the milk, but not the people”
Interesting story. Recently I was in the US of A and stayed with a friend of mine who is American Indian. He was telling me that to be recognised as such he was required to have a DNA test. I often wonder how many Aboriginal Australians would lose entitlements if DNA testing was brought into Australia? No doubt the hand wringing brigade would say that it would be racist to do so