May I ask, said the Interlocutor, what is the point of this story?
I know of one blue-eyed, fair-haired man, he replied, who lives on Government charity as an aborigine, but who openly boasts that he can at any time re-enter Australian mainstream society because of his resemblance to a European. His right to welfare has never been questioned. He should, therefore, be encouraged to sever his connection with his aboriginal associates and become an Australian. It would be a good thing if more attention was paid to the congregation of full blood aborigines, while an attempt is made to reunite those of mixed blood such as half-castes, quadroons and octoroons, with the Australian population.
Accordingly, my dear Mr Interlocutor, many miscegenationists have taken to calling themselves aboriginal for the sole purpose of taking underserved benefits from the government. I feel for the purpose of aboriginal entitlements and endowments, individuals should be required to provide documentary evidence addressing his or her aboriginal ancestry, self-identification and community acceptance. To prove ancestry, the person generally, at his own expense, should be required to provide a verifiable family tree, or archival or historical documentation that links the person to a traditional full blood family or person; in other words, determined by lineal descent from a recognized verifiable full blood tribal member, with a minimum blood quantum of ¼ degree for recognition.
Therefore, the above story might define what an aborigine is, form a benchmark so to speak, he replied to the Interlocutor. The identifying characteristic of a wild black man from Australia might be, a man untouched by any form of civilisation, European or Malay/Asian. What might be said of the individual who is of direct lineal decent with no mixed blood. He could not be called uncivilised, he would speak English and he would have some understanding of Australian law, and he would be an Australian citizen, with a passport. All the other indices might seem and in fact be the same but would he be an aborigine or an Australian? This person would have no difficulty in addressing his aboriginal ancestry.
What though of the mixed blood, be he an aborigine or simply an Australian and nothing more, though in some quarters it would be of significant advantage to be called an aborigine? These questions might seem too fine, too unnecessary to ask, although the answers seem self evident, by definition.
But what of a mulatto child, who was removed to an all white Australian upbringing and then had a great grandchild completely europeanised and bleached who called itself aboriginal or First Nation? Is this question too fine or unnecessary now? In a multicultural world, perhaps it is meaningless but what if there were lucrative government grants to be had? Particularly, if the mullatto’s descendants had university degrees, but the full bloods were still semi illiterate and were still tied to their ancestral homeland? Does one deserve more than the other? Everyone is equal but some are more equal than others.
It is probably fair to say that anybody, who is alive today, who voted in the referendum to amend the Constitution to include Aborigines, given how the situation has turned out compared to what it was at the time of the referendum, regrets their affirmative vote. For the Constitution to be amended to legislate with respect to aboriginal people then either aborigines existed and could be identified as such at the time of the referendum or that at least, aboriginal people could be defined in the Australian context. Prior to the referendum the use of the word aborigine to classify or identify someone as an aborigine seems to have caused no concern, lack of rights may have but what Australian is unequal before the law today? Furthermore, laws were based on the everyday use of the word aborigine but they were regulatory, quasi-criminal, discriminatory and restrictive. The laws now bestow entitlements, grants, largess and endowments. Consequently, white Australia has difficulty in determining who is an aborigine.
Yes, said the Interlocutor, I have listened to your discourse much that you say is true but how does it benefit the whole if you introduce a Mischling test? All you do is entrench an ethnic group for ever and a day. There is no future in ethnicity, what unites is more important than what divides. So like all children help must be given in the early stage.
What then is the definition of an aborigine as at today, Mr Interlocutor?
Australian courts have held in the same manner as Humpty Dumpty, a word means just what I choose it to mean. Once again in the dim dark ages, the white man’s rainbow serpent said: At the core of multiculturalism is the idea that people may identify with and express their racial or ethnic heritage free from pressure not to do so. People should be free to fully identify with their race without fear of public disdain or loss of esteem for so identifying. Disparagement directed at the legitimacy of the racial identification of a group of people is likely to be destructive of racial tolerance, just as disparagement directed at the real or imagined practices or traits of those people is also destructive of racial tolerance. As a statement of principle can we object, perhaps not? But as a community are we required to give taxpayer’s money to every Tom, Dick and Harry to express his racial or ethnic heritage as he would see fit? Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, eh or a Hebrew waiting to return to his promised land?
The right to call yourself aboriginal perhaps exists but the real question is should a declaration of aboriginality entitle the individual to public money? So an Australian Aborigine is self defining. The biracial yuppies cling to their mestizo status as if their life depended on it when indeed, perhaps their pockets do.
If entitlements are enacted in law for the benefit of a class or race of people and if one can meet the prescribed criterion which is tick any box, then any grant would seem reasonable and fair on the face of it. The fact that society can not comment on the political value or worth of the legislation because it offends the recipients of the government largess seems inconsistent with the long held view of free speech.
The definition of aboriginality in the long run is irrelevant because the race or class pool that is calling themselves aborigine and taking their legal entitlements will grow to such an extent that the burdens of cost will in turn cause a tightening and restriction of the entitlements−welfare ad infinitum.
An extract from: Deception Bay by Paul Dillon ASIN: B0186GYV9A Kindle Edition, Amazon.