Political correctness in Tasmania has over stepped the
mark to the extent that for fear of being called a racist - intolerant -
insensitive - disrespectful or any other derogative term, the broader
community now moves away from all Aboriginal issues, claiming "its
an Aboriginal problem" - "let them sort it out
themselves". Unfortunately this inadvertently gives power to those
who intimidate and use bullying practises.
The early 1990s saw the Gray Government make the TAC the spokes
person for the entire Tasmanian Aboriginal community. And they were
until 1996 when all Tasmanian Aboriginal people were Palawas and the TAC
was our accepted Aboriginal body, hence the problem and confusion for
non Aboriginal people to understand the current dilemma.
In 1996 the TAC decided to release a report compiled by Koorie
Consultancies (in reality a Tasmanian group who are inter-related with
the 5 power brokers of the TAC). This report made a number of
suggestions which were immediately implemented as soon as the report was
made public. Instantly denying more than three quartes of the Tasmanian
Aboriginal community their right to be Aboriginal. The report insisted
that a european genealogy tracing back to a "Tribal Ancestor"
be the only recognition of being Tasmanian Aboriginal. Ensuring that all
future so call Tasmanian Aboriginal people would be descended from the
Bass Strait Islands.
This effectively meant that in excess of 10,000 people were now no
longer recognised as Aboriginal on the whim of less than 10 people.
Their arguments "there are too many Aboriginal people".
"They can get a genealogy to prove their Ancestry". A
situation that any social or family historian well knows is impossible
for a significant amount of Tasmanians Aboriginal or not. Records just
were not kept prior to 1850 for the general public and even institutions
have large gaps in their historical accounts.
Effectively from 1996 the TAC only represented a small number of the
Palawa people, and then not even all of the one blood family. It is
estimated by some that the Palawa community is approximately 250 strong.
The rest are not recognised due to petty grudges and childish vendettas
which see one sister recognised and the other not. Anomonous letters are
accepted by Centerlink and Abstudy can be removed on a whim or because
of spite. These problems of the Palawas have created chaos within the
Aboriginal community and complete confusion in the broader community
with what superficially appeared to be a north south issue of Ancestry.
It is this chaos which the Lia Pootah community is trying to sort out
with its non political information and educational services.