GOVERNMENT APPROVED ETHNIC CLEANSING IN TASMANIA
By Tereetee Lore (Kaye McPherson)
Spokesperson for the Wallantanalinany Lydidder Southern
Traditional Aboriginal Elders Council
Note: This is a large document which carries
an amazing story. It contains a
lot of information and links to documentary evidence.
Some of these are scanned
as graphic files, and others are in PDF format. You will need the Acrobat PDF
reader to view these.
BACKGROUND ON WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Not all deaths are violent. In Tasmania we are being "killed off"
by denial of existence and denial of heritage. We are being destroyed as a
people because a small select few have gained the ear of the government and
through a policy of enforced ignorance, have manipulated the government into
bowing to their wishes. Political correctness where the fear of being labeled
racist is the weapon of choice, and does as much damage to a society as
deliberate violence. As strange as it may sound wounds give a visibility, while
cries for help become "lies of the wannabees". Even when the truth is
accepted about our existence it is a problem that is too political, and
therefore best ignored.
We have been fighting and lobbying now for four years since the TAC
(Tasmanian Aboriginal Center) performed the Coup, which denied us our heritage.
We have won in the federal courts and through federal ministers the right to
claim our heritage. In our own state the bureaucratic structure dealing with the
Aboriginal issue was implemented with great secrecy and stealth with the
manipulation through government departments and ministers, by the TAC and their
policy maker, when we thought we were a united community.
It is important for many non Aboriginal Tasmanians to say "sorry"
for the bloodletting of the past. By apologising they have played into the hands
of the radical racists of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community who want to be the
only survivors of the nineteenth century genocide.
In being "the sole survivors" they claim heritage and land that is not their
They are claiming a culture they have never had, and denying, and
making up a history and for Tasmania that is a "white mans theory"
with no basis in historical fact.
The land council election and now to be the ATSIC elections for Tasmania are
being based in law where the sole criteria is that you must have a Bass Strait
Island descent to be eligible.
To the powers that be it is irrelevant that this is a lie and ethnically
cleanses the majority of the Tasmanian Aboriginal people. To the government it
is unimportant that the eligibility requirements to be Aboriginal in Tasmania do
not exist for any of us.
Not even the Bass Strait Islanders have the required documentation they claim
is available within the historical or archival data of Tasmania. It is
unimportant that their criteria is based on a documented historical lie, that
they do not have to make any information accessible for scrutiny.
We applied for proof of their Aboriginality and received back
a government sanctioned denial for information (
FOI # 1 and FOI #2 )
The government and the Tasmanian electoral office take the Bass Strait
Islanders word for their Aboriginal heritage and expect the rest of us to have
the same heritage specified by the TAC definition. This is while knowing that
our heritage is archivally documented as completely different. The Tasmanian
Aboriginal community knew that the TAC would again try and manipulate the
government when we won the first round when the Select Committee denied them the
land hand back, after we proved our Aboriginal heritage was a documented fact.
So it was no surprise when the Lands Council Electoral Package was released
to the public by the State Electoral Office of Tasmania, and called for names of
those who those who wanted to register to vote in the up coming election to be
part of a black electoral role.
The community knew that there would be problems when it came to voting as the
high profile policy maker of the TAC, had just left the Department of Aboriginal
Affairs to move to ATSIC to change the ATSIC policies for voting in Tasmania,
for the ATSIC election in 2002.
It was immediately apparent that the definition of Aboriginality was only
applicable to the three accepted lines of ancestry, Bass Strait Islands, Dolly
Dalrymple and Fanny Cochran Smith, all of whom have an Aboriginal multiracial
ancestral islander heritage, and a specific islander culture that only
represents these descendants.
Ethnic Cleansing in the making
The lia Pootah community has been lobbying for four years to change and widen
the government view on Aboriginality. When the Lands Council Election was to
become a fact, representatives of our community began making appointments and
writing letters to a significant number of government ministers etc for
appointments to discuss the foreseeable problem, based on the discriminatory
electoral role criteria. An appointment was made with the Chief Electoral
Officer, Mr David Farrell, where he was advised of our concerns dealing with the
bias of the election criteria. At this time Mr Farrell was shown extensive
documentation defining and verifying our claims. At that meeting Mr Farrell was
notified and given a document showing that the Lia Pootah definition of
Aboriginality was different to that of the Department of Premier
and Cabinet; Department of Aboriginal Affairs, which devised the definition in
the electoral package based on the TAC requirements of 1996.
were deliberately constructed as part of a report recommendation on the intended
definition of Aboriginality, which became public in 1996, and was the basis for
the propaganda and ethnic cleansing policies now in place.
At the same meeting
we gave Mr Farrell documentation which told him about our heritage and Ancestry. This data concerning the two Aboriginal communities, and that he had
been appraised of the different communities, was later denied by Mr Farrell when
he faxed a statutory declaration to our community
The TAC definition of Aboriginality, defines Bass Strait islander heritage to
predetermined specifications, simultaneously excluding approximately 12,000
Tasmanian Aboriginal people from their Tasmanian Aboriginal heritage and from
being eligible to vote. After the initial meeting with the Chief Electoral
Officer, where he told us:
- he was unbiased,
- that fairness for the election was his responsibility
- that as he was appointed by the governor
- and "the buck stopped with him".
Some members of the community had had dealings with the State Electoral
office in the past and had found the policies and attitude of the office
problematic to say the least.
It was because of the previous dealings with Mr
Farrell and his office that it was decided at a community meeting to try and
have our dilemma rectified if possible prior to the role of eligible voters
being established for the election.
On Mr Farrell’s advice we put forward
names of people we considered would benefit his panel, and who we were led to
believe would be considered for the panel.
Within days upon Mr Farrell receiving
our list of names one of our members Bruce Patmore, received a letter from the
Department of Aboriginal Affairs stating
that he was not Aboriginal.
(See an article from Bruce, together with links to
additional documentary evidence).
It was thought by the Community and the Elders Council (Wallantyannana
Lydidder Southern Traditional Aboriginal Elders Council) that the Governor of
Tasmania Sir Guy Green would be able to assist us if we could have an
appointment with him.
A letter was hand delivered to Government House, advising
the Governor of Tasmania of our dilemma.
The governor's response offered us a chance at a ministerial meeting to discuss the
problems with the election.
We responded and were told that the
appropriate minister was informed of our request
Imagine our dismay when our request for an appointment was rudely ignored by the
Premier Mr Jim Bacon
When the objections to those who enrolled to vote arrived, the
community found that they were in reality a form letter.
letter had the paragraph known to the TAC, some had two or even three additional
objections. None were backed up with any form of data so a reply could be made,
or who made the objection.
In my case where did the person live? I have been
known as an Aboriginal woman for over twenty years in a community that I have
lived in since I was at school.
All of the objections to candidates for the role did not apply to the Lia
Pootah community. Many who applied to vote and were rejected had won court cases
and had Federal recognition of their Aboriginal heritage and Ancestry. For many
who were rejected it was just another battle line in the quest for recognition
of heritage and historical fact, not all of our Ancestors were removed by
Robinson in the 1830s. Correspondence with the Chief Electoral Officer Mr David
Farrell was less than satisfactory to say the least.
Being refused to vote due to insufficient data to determine Aboriginality is
problematic when further information was not requested,
and I sent in a resume detailing recognition of my Aboriginality from a wide
variety of sources.
The predetermined prejudicial and biased behaviour of the State
Electoral Office is determined by the form letters of rejection they sent out to
The letter I received as my rejection is identical to that received by
an Elder within the community four years previously
Auntie Dot Bishop produced a genealogy, which was accepted by the Federal court
in the Justice Merkle case, and she sent in as defining her Aboriginality and
was denied the right to vote.
I, on the other hand, did not offer any family
history. So why did we receive identical letters when we tendered such different
documentation if the election was fair and above board?
Then there is the other problem of the correspondence from the Chief
Why did I receive three letters all with the same date
referring to different aspects of information that had been requested by the
community. I am told in one letter that I will be informed of
a decision later in the month concerning my response to the objection.
Then the letter with the same date informs me that the panel has been
selected while a third letter, again with the same date,
responds to the letter initially requesting information.
most disquieting aspect of this letter is that the advisory committee did not
have to provide documentation of Aboriginality, and they sat in judgement of the
rest of us who were required to prove Aboriginality. Then there are his to
experts from the archives who have been documented as providing incorrect
information on Aboriginal issues, neither of whom had to show qualifications.
Yet any potential advisor had to submit a documentation of expertise to even be
considered. We wrote a letter of complaint to Mr Farrell, to which he failed to
Other aspects came into the problems the Lia Pootah Community had with the
electoral office. It is interesting to see both sides of the electoral role from
both the nominee who is objected to, and the perspective of the objector.
another Elder within our community Uncle Roy Maynard objected to several names
which were on the electoral role he had evidence of incorrect and what he
believed to be falsified genealogical information.
After a period of no response
from the electoral office Uncle Roy faxed them requesting information about his
Mr Farrell’s response failed to answer
Uncle Roy’s questions so Uncle Roy sent another
fax and made notes from the follow up phone call on the fax as a reference.
Mr Farrells response was contradictory to say the least.
He wrote to me and said they did not have to show genealogy information, and he
is telling Uncle Roy he has sighted it.
If there is documentation, which
specifically notes the falsification of genealogical information, historical
proof of not being Aboriginal for any Aboriginal people then surely it should be
Since 1996 many family historians have extensive records dealing
with Aboriginality of many who claim Kinship. In some cases there is evidence to
show a mixed heritage that is not Aboriginal, this is made public why is an
objection to entrenched TAC members shrouded in secrecy.
Mr Farrell objected to
Uncle Roy’s challenge in the same off handed
way we were struck from the roll.
To challenge the objections we had to go to the Supreme Court. I applied on
behalf of 14 members of the Lia Pootah Community.
From the 26 May 2001 I tried
to get legal advice on how to lodge a claim in the Supreme Court, in the seven
day allowed time.
Mr Michael Hodgeman QC gave me advice over the phone which
while accurate I failed to realise the importance in explaining how I was to
address the claim.
For the next month I attempted to obtain legal aid to tell me
what was involved in a challenge. I was eligible for "in the public
interest funding" but the legal aid commission delayed in getting back to
me even though I lobbied them for a response, until the day before I was to
appear in court.
I saw a lawyer who told me the claim was ineligible because of
a technicality but to apply for an amendment out of time. With no legal
representation I faced the Supreme Court only to be told my claim was
incompetent and I was "thrown out of court", the judge never heard my
appeal. As any appeals were heard in Chambers total secrecy was
guaranteed allowing discrimination and ethnic cleansing to reign supreme.
Documentation shows that the TAC had a long term plan when they boasted
government placement for TAC members
The aspects of justice in Tasmania are a joke if you are Aboriginal and not
from the Bass Strait Islands.
The prejudicial behavior of Mr Farrell was collated. Under a covering
letter a package of the correspondence which is detailed in
this article (and now online) relating to the election was assembled and sent to
the following ministers
- Tasmania’s Attorney General, who responded
- Tasmania’s Solicitor General, who responded
- Mr Ruddock Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Canberra
- Mr Aiden Ridgeway Aboriginal minister in the Democrate Party Canberra
- Mr Jim Bacon Premier of Tasmania
- Ms Sue Napier, then Leader of the Opposition in Tasmania. The Liberal Party
responded with a press release (Page 1 and Page
- Ms Pegg Putt Tasmanian Greens representative in parliament
- Mr John Howard Prime Minister
- Mr Kim Beasley Leader of the Opposition
Many of the aspects of the election screamed biased, discriminatory, and
Why is the lie of the "round-up" and the fantasy of the Palawa
accepted at face value when there is documentary evidence to the contrary?
is the Aboriginal issue considered too difficult in Tasmania?
Why do the
Aboriginal community have to solve their own problems when ethnic cleansing is
sanctioned at every turn by the government of Tasmania?
Why is the politically
racist few allowed to dictate to the many with apparent government approval?
Where is the justice and democratic society, which is offered to the mainstream