Australians will be going back to the polls in the next 18 months or so, perhaps, possibly, maybe, to vote on the Recognition referendum and if some activists get their way, a treaty. Just how a treaty works out of a war time situation or with educated, some highly, city based Aboriginals who have had much of the same opportunity as everyone else, no one has really explained.
How does a nation have a treaty with itself without creating division and a form of apartheid? And just how legitimate are some of these claims to Aboriginality in the first place, and just whom are we supposed to recognise and have a treaty with? As you can see from the following, the claims to aboriginality can be very, very tenuous indeed. I’m sure many Australians will be asking at what point your inheritance can be said to have run it’s course. Their answer will come at the ballot box.
The link at Quadrant Online, to which Gary Johns refers in the body of his column is here, The Family Stories of the Behrendts
“…..Take prominent Aboriginal activist Larissa Behrendt. Her father Paul’s father was Australian of German origin and his mother was part-Aboriginal. Paul’s maternal grandparents were of English descent and Aboriginal. His paternal grandparents were English and German. Larissa’s mother was non-Aboriginal, and there is no suggestion of Aboriginal heritage on that side (see Michael Connor, The Family Stories of the Behrendts, Quadrant).
Larissa Behrendt has to reach back to her great-grandparents before she has a wholly Aboriginal origin defined by race or arrival (first people). My children would have to reach back to their great-great-great-grandparents to find couples who were “later” arrivals to Australia.
On what basis should I be seeking a treaty with Behrendt? Most of our forebears were from somewhere else. We have too much in common to divide over a treaty….” Australians have far too much in common to divide over a treaty