Fake Aborigines at Australian Universities


Universities warned on ‘flimsy evidence’ of Aboriginality

The Australian June 11, 2016

Michael McKenna and Stephen Fitzpatrick


A national register of indigenous people has been proposed by academic and activist Stephen Hagan. Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen.

Indigenous-specific enrolments and scholarships at Australian universities are being awarded to students with “flimsy evidence’’ of their heritage, according to one of the nation’s leading Aboriginal academics.

Bob Morgan, head of the University of Newcastle’s indigenous Wollotuka Institute, has joined a push for tougher checks across the community of claims to Aboriginality and benefits, which in some cases are given on the back of a single statutory declaration.

A forum of native title holders, indigenous leaders and regulators in Sydney has been told of suspected rorting at universities, in the public service and in gaining access to government grants.

A national register of indigenous people was proposed by academic and activist Stephen Hagan and backed by the chairman of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council, Warren Mundine. Dr Hagan said the register was needed to stop “the problem of fake Abor­iginals’’, which could include ­people on Federal Court-vetted records of native title claimants.

“A first nations register is needed to eliminate the concerns around the authentication of ­Aboriginality of an individual,’’ he said. “People who cannot provide genealogical proof of an apical (kinship) ancestor that links them to a tribe can have their name ­entered into the register for a ­period of 12 months until they can prove their links to a tribe.’’

The forum heard there had been a “gradual watering-down’’ of the federal test of Aboriginality, requiring proven indigenous descent, self-identification and acceptance by an Aboriginal community. Professor Morgan said the problem had now emerged in the university sector, where student applications for indigenous ­places, scholarships and other support were being accepted with little evidence. In some instances, he said, a statutory declaration of self-identification had been accepted.

“I share a concern within the academic community about the lack of appropriate processes to determine the bona fides of claimants to Aboriginality,” Professor Morgan said. “It has ­become more problematic as both state and federal governments have put in place programs to best serve the interests and ­aspirations of Aboriginal people.”

“There is no doubt people are taking advantage of poor process to get a benefit they are not entitled to, with evidence that could be described as flimsy at best.’’

Indigenous Australians are under-represented in the university system. About 1.4 per cent of enrolments in 2010 were from Aboriginal people, who make up 2.2 per cent of the student population. Professor Morgan, chairman of the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education, said he was in talks with the University of Newcastle to ­develop tighter guidelines that could serve as a model for the sector. “There needs to be a lot of discussions, we are aware of enrolments being ­accepted on the basis of a DNA test report that says a person has some Aboriginal ancestry,’’ he said. “But I have a distant relative who was Welsh; does that make me Welsh?

“There has to be links into the community, but there is also a question about what to do about those of the Stolen Generation who may have grown up without ­Aboriginal connections.’’

He said there was no suggestion any of the 1000 University of Newcastle indigenous students were not entitled to claim ­Aboriginality.

In February, NSW Land Rights Act registrar Stephen Wright disqualified a claim of ­Aboriginality by a public servant who had held the Aboriginal-identified position of regional general manager of the Aboriginal Housing Office. Laurinne Campbell had relied on land council vetting to secure the position in Dubbo, NSW, and later set up an indigenous corporation with her family.


Well, there is one way to end any dispute over who can /cannot claim aboriginality. Politicians should reverse their imposition of apartheid in Australia and treat those claiming aboriginality as Australians i.e., with the same rights and responsibilities as every other Australian. Taxpayer money should be allocated on need – not on actual or assumed ethnicity.

For their own short-term political interests, politicians from Whitlam onwards have destroyed Australia by their slicing and dicing pork barrelling of the electorate. It is well past the time that they work actively towards creating an Australia for Australians regardless of their ethnicity, religious affiliation, socio-economic status, geographic location, age, gender – replacing their failed past and current agenda of division with a better and more optimistic future of cohesion.

Isn’t that amazing. An activist aboriginal leader is annoyed at white people gaming the Aboriginal gravy train in Australian universities and Tafes.Welcome to our world, activist Stephen Hagan, the long suffering taxpayer.

But wait, Andrew Bolt was taken to court for saying the exactly same thing. He was shut down in fact. When you get rid of sect 18 c, your views will be taken seriously.

Why are there even scholarships for Aborigines going to university? Aborigines do have problems with education; there is a very low level of attendance at primary school in remote Aboriginal communities. In other words, the problem is at the lower level of education. Any Aborigine applying for a University position has already beaten the odds. He does not need yet another hand-up.

Am waiting with bated breadth for the good professor, and his colleagues, to apologise to Andrew Bolt . Why is it politically acceptable for these learned bureaucrats to “discover” the obvious,without being ridiculed and slandered like Andrew? Hypocrites, the lot of them.

Why is it that mixed race persons identify as Aboriginal. The only reason that I can see is because of the financial benefits that come with being Aboriginal.

Until the 1970s children were taken away as the “Stolen Generation” pursuant to State legislation in various States on the ground they were mixed race, but only if one of those races was Aboriginal. They were not taken away because they were part Irish or part Italian or part Swedish, only because of the Aboriginal part.

Sorry, but they were “saved” not “stolen”. Yes, they were given away and as a result alive and well. Let’s get the facts correct.

Could you name just 10 of those “1970s children were taken away as the “Stolen Generation” pursuant to State legislation in various States on the ground they were mixed race, but only if one of those races was Aboriginal.” Andrew Bolt has asked for those 10 names for ages now but nobody, and I do mean nobody, has been able to produce the names. What are their names?

It’s all one, great con. Then again – what else do you expect from a program designed by bleeding hearts that chucks the taxpayer money about like confetti?

All my ancestors were white anglo saxon protestants but that is irrelevant because I self identify as an indigenous Australian. That way I can get more government handouts and academic concessions.

Society, like politics, is heading towards more complexity not less. The whole system will have to break down before there is meaningful reform.

Considering  the “Aboriginal Industry” appropriates more than our Defence Budget perhaps it is not too late to weed out the impostors.

Agree. Lets abolish all government departments, agencies, ministries, reference groups, etc. which support some form of apartheid or another – migrants, multiculturalism, women, aborigines, etc. And the human rights commission and all similar nonsense bodies. All equal. Full stop.

So when does Andrew Bolt get his formal apology for his 18C conviction? Ahh, I forgot. He is white so he can’t say these things under the anti-discrimination laws. Silly me.

About time for a level of Aboriginality to be determined….12.5% , 25% whatever but .1% doesn’t cut the mustard. This has been the case in America for some time but we seem to allow anyone to just put up their hand and claim Aboriginality and if anyone questions their claim, they have 18C to fall back on!

How about basing the enrolments and scholarships solely on ability and need?  Or is that too radical?

Any number of young Australians – of all ethnic backgrounds – could make enormous contributions in the future but are lost to it because they are not offered the same opportunities.

Without rorting there will be less than 1.4% of aboriginal enrolments in tertiary education. Perhaps if people were asked whether they had aboriginal heritage but did not identify as aboriginal there would be an immediate increase in the proportion of enrolments.

Labor will need to borrow more and spend more to reverse the decline from 1.4% because that would be seen as a failure.

This rorting has been going on for years. I know of a girl who missed out on getting in to medicine so she “became indigenous” and got in. I understand her brother and sister used the same technique and the family has since been outed as non-indigenous.

This whole claiming to be aboriginal is being rorted to death. Many, many years ago I was aware of a Zulu who successfully passed himself off as an aboriginal. He had ’em all fooled.

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