Aboriginal leaders sue Andrew Bolt

Pat Eatock

Nine Aboriginal people have sued Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt in Melbourne over four articles he wrote in 2009.

The court has heard the articles questioned the motives of “light” or “white-skinned” people who identified as Aboriginal.

The people taking the action under the Racial Vilification Act include activist Pat Eatock, former ATSIC chairperson Geoff Clark, artist Bindi Cole, academic Larissa Behrendt, author Anita Heiss, health worker Leeanne Enoch, native title expert Graham Atkinson, academic Wayne Atkinson and lawyer Mark McMillan.

In Bolt’s 2009 article, “White is the new Black”, he said identifying as Indigenous was “divisive, feeding a new movement to stress pointless or even invented racial differences we once swore to overcome. What happened to wanting us all to become colour blind?”
He accused those mentioned in articles of being “Aboriginal bureaucrats”, “professional Aborigines” and argued that they referred to themselves as Aboriginal despite “not looking Aboriginal”. Bolt further implied they did this for personal gain, at the expense of “darker skinned” Aboriginal people.
Ron Merkel, QC, told the court that Bolt relied on outdated notions of racial identity, dating to the eugenics movement of the 1930s the March 29 Age reported.
Defending herself in The Age, Eatock said: “From when I was eight, and I started skipping school because of the taunting until I was 14, when I left school, [my Aboriginal heritage] became a concrete aspect of my view of myself.”
From the age of 14, she said, she publicly identified as Aboriginal

According to The Age: “Her time in the workforce was marked, she said, by short-term jobs and long periods of ill health and joblessness. 'I would say in fact a reasonable person looking at [my CV] would say it's a failed career, six years' employment in 34 years or something. That's a lot of unemployment. Where's my mansion? Where's my car? I live in a one-bedroom flat, Department of Housing. That's not a significant achievement.’ “

According to The Age: “Larissa Behrendt Behrendt said she was stunned that Bolt referred to her as a “a professional Aborigine “, referred to her as ‘mein liebchen’, highlighted an unknown German background and that a photo was used with the column where she had dyed blond hair.”

This is not new territory for Bolt, who claimed in a February 2004 Herald Sun article: “The stolen generations was a dangerous myth.”
The Stolen Generations (also known as Stolen children) is a term used to describe children of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who were removed from their families by Australian government agencies and church missions. The removals continued until the 1970s.
Bolt’s articles also ignore the real causes of Aboriginal disadvantage — the dispossession of their lands.

Despite common racist myths, there is no extra benefit — financial or social incentives — to be gained from identifying as Aboriginal. In reality, federal government funding for Aboriginal programs are greatly under funded in comparison with non-Aboriginal programs.

The only serious way to end disadvantage for Aboriginal people is for the government to redress the historical injustices: pay the rent, pay the stolen wages and compensate Indigenous people for unfair policies of genocide and assimilation since colonisation.

[For more information visit stolengenerationsvictoria.org.au.]

Comments

"The Stolen Generations (also known as Stolen children) is a term used to describe children of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who were removed from their families by Australian government agencies and church missions. The removals continued until the 1970s".

You forgot to include the rationale behind their removal Chris. To protect them from abuse.

I hope there's still some "stealing" & "removal" going on.

"When the child's mother went to ring police the stepfather picked the girl up from the road and threw her into the air, allowing her to fall on to the bitumen again. He then allegedly grabbed her by the wrists and threw her into a stroller.".

http://bit.ly/eptoOA

Said Northern Territory Chief Justice Brian Martin:

"He said generational change "starts with getting the very young children out of the dysfunctional lifestyle and circumstances and get them into the right lifestyle and break the vicious cycle that has been set up".

- gzg

I would comment, but am terrified of getting sued for saying what I see!

So when did Australia turn into a political correctness tyranny, like the old USSR?

When did it become heresy for people to say what they see?

I must have been asleep when it happened. Time to wake up!

If someone has Aboriginal blood in their background,but looks white,this does not make them any less a person of Native Australian descent.I know how that school-yard taunting goes.I had a white mother and a Blackfella dad,who also was a victim of rascism.We are not kidding ourselves about gaining any so-called benefits or handouts at anyone's expense.As a young girl I worked from the time I left school aged 14.All Australians can hold up their heads if they can make a 'go' of it in
this life.Black and white Ozzies make your mark. Maggie Fox

gee alot of uneducated people showing how ignorant they are, dominance means nothing,just look at the cane toad or carp, they are dominant but are ugly and useless, reminds me of these people who think they are civil, white Australia has done things there way since the invasion and what a bunch of failures, the removal of children was to try and breed us out and that is genocide, they tried to make us slaves, Australia is the last of a long line of invaded countrys and they understood what they were doing. If my people raped and murded innocent people I would claim it didnt happen aswell. I have alot of family members stolen off their parents for no reason, the safest places I know, Your government has failed over and over, hardly smart capable people, with all the wasted money directed at programs that dont include aboriginal people in the planning or address the issues they could of payed all Aboriginal people compensation and their would be no Aboriginal disadvantage. Your people have failed to do the basic things and I see it as a sign of weak,low intelegence. I guess the real issue is who can replace the Aboriginal people at the bottom to hold up society once we have equality, The comments above are a good example of the mindstate the Aussie sheep

I like how the top comment points the finger at all whites. Usually the first people to shout racism are the most racist. You realise the people that did those awful things are dead and gone and the rest of us have to have the guilt forced down our throats by the government every day. Sorry. The thing about an apology, is that it only works with forgiveness.

I wish people would stop focusing on the differences between other races and whites and instead just accept that we are all Australians. Give awards to the disadvantaged people that need it or those that earned it and stop giving special treatments based on racial backgrounds.

There is a political correctness in Australia that practically bans tellling the truth. Those who tell the historical facts as they are, that White Australia is the result of the worst genocide in human history, are derided for holding the heretical "Black Armband" view of history. Just recently there was a furore when Sydney City Council described the invasion in 1788 as an invasion. "Settlement" is the politically correct, holocaust-denying term the Australian establishment prefers.

This why the victory of Pat and the others over Murdoch's racist hack, Andrew Bolt, is worth celebrating.

If you were sincere about wanting to "stop giving special treatments based on racial backgrounds" you would be part of the struggle against the racism that non-Whites are subjected to in Australia.

The ethnic cleansing of Aboriginal Australia was not all in the past. It continues, evidenced by such things as the NT intervention, the use of police and the "criminal justice" system to make Indigenous Australians the world's most imprisoned people, and Andrew Bolt's eugencist politics.

Holocaust denial is ugly — learn your country's history.

Whites in aus account for all mass murders and most rapists in the prison system, dont know where you get your history from, all the child abuse networks are in white communitys not in real australian (Aboriginal) communitys. I suggest you get prepared for the changes in this country as we are still got alot of justice to come. Or go back to your own country?

If you like our work, become a supporter

Green Left is a vital social-change project and aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. With no corporate sponsors or advertising, we rely on support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get the Green Left digital edition in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the above and the print edition delivered to your door. You can also add a donation to your support by choosing the solidarity option of $20 per month.

Freecall now on 1800 634 206 or follow the support link below to make a secure supporter payment or donation online.