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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. 


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 own.

 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. 

These requirements 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.

Every 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 nominees. 

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 Electoral Officer. 

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.

 The 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 respond.

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. 

When 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 objections

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 made public. 

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 2
  • 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 rigged. 

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? 

Why 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 community?


· We have never claimed to have islander descent so why deny us the right to vote because we do not have this line of descent?

· Why is one small group allowed to ethnically cleanse the community with government sanction?

· Why are all the federal funds for legal representation going to the TAC legal service, who only represents the islanders and a predetermined ancestry?

  • Why is no funding available to the Lia Pootah Community Legal Service?

· We could access no legal aid money to appeal the decision, why was this federal legal money not available to us?

· Why are the documented TAC policies allowed to dictate to the Chief Electoral Officer?

· Why were representatives of all 8 Aboriginal communities not on the panel devised by the Chief Electoral Officer?

· More importantly why is a white man determining Aboriginality for the Tasmanian Aboriginal people?

· Why are there no community representatives being approached who do not belong to the TAC or their affiliated organisations.



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