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Our PETITION to the Tasmanian Government, November 2000.

During November 2000 the Lia Pootah Community had a petition tabled in Parliament (Copy to come). This petition was to get the Tasmanian Parliament to recognise both the Palawa and Lia Pootah people as two separate Tasmanian Aboriginal communities with very different Ancestries and cultural heritages. The petition was requesting that a representation of both Aboriginal communities sit on all Aboriginal bodies and input into all Aboriginal issues. As it is at present only Palawa people represent the Tasmanian Aboriginal community in any capacity.

The petition was sent to various communities all over Tasmania for signatures. It was known that because of the political problems and racist definitions within the Palawa community that not all Aboriginal people would sign it. What was not expected was the bullying tactics by the TAC into intimidating people not to sign it for a variety of reasons, all of which encouraged the present divisions within the Aboriginal community.

The Aboriginal community of the Stanley area, in north west Tasmania, were more than willing to sign the petition and only for time restraints they would have signed many more petitions. This community is tired of the dictates of Aboriginal outsiders causing friction within the broader community and upsetting the present harmony of inter-racial relationships. Those communities in the southern areas were more wary of signing something which could have placed them in a situation which would be stressful when members of the TAC (Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre) found out about the petition and whose names were included. This is understandable because we have all felt the lash of the TAC at one time or another. Thankfully a number of brave people signed the petition.

However, this was not the case in the south eastern part of the state. SETAC (South Eastern Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation) the majority of whom are not recognised by the Palawa community as being Aboriginal, nor by the TAC the figure head of the Palawa. They returned the petition unsigned with an accompanying letter. (copy to come). The saddest part of the letter is that the person who wrote it is not recognised, and never will be, as being Aboriginal by the TAC, nor will any of the others currently denied their Aboriginality in SETAC. The bullying and stand over tactics of the TAC are becoming so ingrained that even people who are Aboriginal and are part of the Lia Pootah community instantly obey a request to respect the TAC for past achievements.

I think every Tasmanian Aboriginal person respected the TAC and all it stood for when we were a united community prior to 1996. After all we all helped put the infrastructure in place which is now being used against us.. We all worked together for the betterment of the whole Aboriginal community. BUT, why should we show any respect to an organization which is ethnically cleansing our community and denying us or heritage because of politics, power and monetary gain.

The TAC and all it stands for is shaming our Ancestors and their heritage to us. It is unfortunate that their particular sealers heritage is dominating and destroying what we have all achieved as a united community during the last thirty years

*** The text of the petition will be posted here soon. ***


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