Bartlett's Blog

Andrew Bartlett has been active in politics for over 20 years, including as a Queensland Senator from 1997-2008. This blog started in 2004 and reflects his own views, independent of any political party or organisation.

Anita Heiss – positive messages in the face of negative attacks

A few weeks ago I interviewed author Anita Heiss about her new book Am I Black Enough For You?  The book is partly a personal memoir and partly explores the issue of Aboriginal identity.  You can listen to the interview at this link.

Anita Heiss was one of a number of people who took columnist Andrew Bolt to court for making a range of false claims which in effect suggested they were manufacturing an identity as Aboriginal people for their own personal gain – a very serious and hurtful accusation to make against someone which at a minimum should be backed up by very solid evidence, rather than unleashed as a casual slur in one of the most widely read publications in the country.

The book touches on this episode, but is also about wider issues. You can read this story to get a bit more about it. Or to get a better idea about her ideas and activities, check out her website and her blog.

In a stark example of his willingness to subvert reality to his propaganda purposes, despite being the guilty party in this episode, Andrew Bolt and his cheer squad regularly portray him as the victim, including perpetrating the ridiculous notion that he and others are not free to express their own opinion or to disagree with Heiss.

I must admit I used to find Andrew Bolt somewhat interesting.  The guy is obviously intelligent and can write well, and understood far better than most mainstream media writers how online interaction with readers can work. In the earlier days of his writing career, I used to find some of his stuff interesting to read, partly on the basis that reading well written arguments putting forward views I disagree with can be a good way to test one’s own views and ensure they are robust.  But somewhere along the way he obviously discovered it was easier just to take on a provocateur role and be controversial and provoke outrage for its own sake – something which is both very destructive socially and very boring (and lazy) intellectually.

The fact that he continues to use his position of influence to deliberately provoke expressions of hate and racism shows the so-called constraints on his freedom of speech are minimal.

Meanwhile, I recommend checking out Anita Heiss’ book, and some of her other material.  She is a passionate and positive person with some valuable ideas and messages.


56 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. And as if to prove my point, the first comment received on this story was an abusive one, involving the word ‘nigger’. (anonymous of course)

    I usually block or delete toxic comments, unless there is some educational or demonstration purpose in publishing them, so I’ve deleted that one.

  2. red crab

    seems to me its more about selling books
    than hate and racism.

  3. Liz

    Great interview. She’s a passionate, articulate woman who talks and writes a lot of sense.

  4. Lorikeet

    My grandchildren have a cousin who is part aboriginal.

    Although her white Aussie father is poor, he has never asked for additional handouts for his daughter because he wants her to grow up as an equal Australian, rather than someone who belongs to a separate or separatist group.

    I sometimes buy her some tribal style jewellery as gifts, and her grandmother has tried to put her in touch with the aboriginal side of her cultural inheritance, but I think she is just as happy to be the average Aussie.

    I think Andrew Bolt copped a helluva hiding for very little reason, with aboriginal activists overreacting due to abuses of the past.

    I personally take offence at being called “homophobic” because I don’t support same sex marriage. Maybe I should consider suing someone over that.

  5. paul walter

    Along with Alan Jones, he is an amoral trouble-causer who makes a rich living regardless of harm done to anyone in the way.
    I’m surprised that a Christian woman like Lorikeet can not see through this ugly parasite, whose main dictum is always to “bear false witness against his neighbour” in the interests of the Pontius Pilate and Caiphus types of this world against battlers.
    He is given huge media access to spread his hate, but where is there equal time or space for views opposite to his?
    That he was eventually shown up in court for what he is from one of the most slandered and disadvantaged groups in society, because of people like him, truly rounded out nicely a modern day parable.
    Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing, Lorikeet.

  6. Thanks Liz

    Paul, I’ve edited your comment a bit. I have to watch out I don’t let myself be what I’ve accused Andrew Bolt of being – which is to facilitate online epxressions of excessive virulence.

  7. Lorikeet

    Paul Walter:

    I don’t read or hear very much of Alan Jones or Andrew Bolt but, like anyone, both of them make some good points across a number of topics.

    Extremism and sensationalism do little to enhance anyone’s credibility.

    I think Andrew Bolt is more widely supported than Alan Jones. All kinds of views are expressed in the media.

    I particularly enjoyed this comment (words may not be exact) from Cardinal Pell when he debated Richard Dawkins on Q&A last week in relation to The Big Bang Theory vs Creationism:

    “You dumb down God, while souping up nothing.”

    The world would be a better place if there was less name calling and fewer accusations of “hate speech” for merely expressing a conflicting opinion.

    To call someone an “ugly parasite” is very demeaning.

  8. paul walter

    As Isaid above, Lorikeet, I am very disappointed that someone of you intelligence cant see these creatures.

  9. Lorikeet

    I had a good read of Andrew Bolt’s article again. While it comes across as a bit aggressive in tone in some places, many of the points he has made are quite valid.

    We also need to consider whether these types of court cases could result in a diminution of Freedom of Speech.

  10. Jolly

    The sentiments of Lorikeet are only partially true about ‘freedom of speech’. What is sadly lacking is the responsibility that goes with it. Most people want to improve and continue to develop mentally, over their lifespan. This can only happen if we improve the quality of our thoughts, ideals, actions and the conditions that are the results of those thoughts. Well, Lorikeet, looks like your “I sometimes buy her some tribal style jewellery as gifts” in itself is a little misguided. And I am certainly not in the least surprised with your admiration of Bolt; the ‘publicity at all cost’ kind of guy. My sympathies to both Bolt and Lorikeet.

  11. Tasiturn

    I’m one person who’s at least skim-read the “Bromberg Judgement” and could never agree that Andrew Bolt is the “guilty party”.

    In each case, the evidence of the 6 “prosecution” witnesses was accepted by Bromberg without question on the (identically phrased) basis that he had “no reason to not accept it as truthful.”

    From my own court experience as an Honorary Justice, it would be a rather frightening world if the evidence of all prosecution witnesses was accepted so readily.

  12. Lorikeet


    My gifts are enjoyed and appreciated by the young lady who receives them.

    I didn’t say I admired Andrew Bolt, but I think he makes some excellent points in relation to some issues.

    I do not need your sympathies, since I am entitled to my own opinion without belittlement coming from those with other views.

  13. Lorikeet

    That’s right, Tasiturn.

    I sat on a jury where all of the prosecution witnesses were friends of the victim, with nobody to ask from the other side at all.

    Too many jurors do not seem to be able to weigh up the evidence and the scenario, and some judges are also biased and/or manipulative.

  14. David Wright

    The point of the case against Bolt is that he was racist. He attributed to Anita Heiss and others motives to exploit their aboriginal origins for personal gain. He was wrong. Free speech is vital but free to express opinions not make false claims about people. The damage done by Bolt is manifested in that still comments are about handouts, and by inference here to Anita Heiss who gives her all to helping indigenous children to read and write. It makes me sick to see the harm this man has done and is still doing.

  15. red crab

    i just wonder how many more books she has sold
    i bet there is at least one person who has posted here has had a peek at or maybe even bought one of her books .

    its about selling books !!!

    david wright
    explain racist if you can then show us where its relivent to this case.

  16. red crab

    well done david
    i thought you would have at least tried

    my point is proven the word racist has lost its power because of over use by some people .

    interesting thing is that when a person calls another person a racist they are never asked to prove there accusation i wonder why!!!

  17. gzg

    Andrew Bartlett
    Thanks Liz
    Paul, I’ve edited your comment a bit. I have to watch out I don’t let myself be what I’ve accused Andrew Bolt of being – which is to facilitate online epxressions of excessive virulence.

    C’mon Andrew! Let free speech prevail. The bolta has never deliberately “facilitated online epxressions of excessive virulence”.

    Let the more rabid left and right have their say.

    I suggest that most readers can discard wanton vitriolic abuse (be it racist, homophobic, radical Green or whatever) for what it’s worth.

  18. TerjeP

    Andrew Bolt made some unfortunate technical errors but his overall message is timely and needed. The errors may have offended some people, and it is fair enough to ask that they be corrected, however even after correcting the errors the point of the Bolt article still stands. It is quite reasonable to question people’s motives. Anita Heiss on the other hand has shown contempt for public debate. The title of her book poses a provocative question which she has sued people for answering. She clearly wants a one sided debate.

    Personally I don’t care how black she is. Awards, grants and tributes should be given on the basis of merit or achievement. Not racial category. People fought and died to end racial separatism and it is a mockery that others seek to toy with the concept on the pretext of human advancement. By all means engage in mockery but don’t be surprised if people criticise it.

  19. Lorikeet

    Yes, let’s have equality for people of all racial backgrounds, with no special rules for anybody, and no discrimination being dished up either.

  20. red crab

    sorry lorikeet
    i think that’s being a little too racist don’t you think.
    really equality for every one what a novel idea.

    is correct i think and as i have stated
    its about selling books and money and that’s all.

  21. togret

    Lorikeet – equality .. in what way? Equality of educational outcomes? In health outcomes? In length of life? In imprisonment rates? We are a long way from any of those things.

  22. Lorikeet

    Yes, in all ways, Togret.

    Even people on juries who come from various ethnic backgrounds are fairly keen to discriminate against anyone not exactly like them. Some even discriminate against those of the same ethnicity, purely because the opportunity to jail exists.

    Dealing with some of the issues you mentioned would mitigate towards the elimination of problems with others e.g. health:longevity, education:imprisonment, and education:income:health, to name just a few.

    I think longevity is a tricky one, since lifespan is sometimes partly the result of genetic inheritance factors.

  23. togret

    Lorikeet – how do you achieve equality of health or educational outcomes without special measures for the sections of the community who lag far behind? How do you close the gap in Aboriginal life expectancy (on average 20 years less than European-type people here) without special measures? Not due in most part to genetic factors.

    You meantion regrettable tendencies in SOME people to pre-judge or to discriminate – because some people are like that, do we say there is nothign to be done about it?

    I don’t think so.

  24. Lorikeet


    I am not disputing that special measures need to be taken on a holistic basis to correct various problems.

    I didn’t say that we should do nothing about prejudices and discrimination. I thought I made it clear that I was opposed to these things.

    At the National Press Club yesterday, Andrew Forrest outlined his VTEC program to get aboriginal peoples into work.

    Most of what he said seemed very good (including slamming Wayne Swan’s many anti-Australian policy deficits), but I hope Forrest doesn’t want to employ aboriginal Australians in a Slave Labour Trade as an alternative to abusing migrants.

    I support pay equity for all workers, regardless of their citizenship status or ethnicity. Inequities promote racial and religious tensions, and do not provide everyone with a living wage.

  25. Seahorse

    I think negative judgement is an evil in our society/world. We need to be able to judge dangers and ethical/moral rights and wrongs but that is a positive use of judgement. Unfortunately much (probably most) judgement is based on surface things like skin colour, sexuality or style of a person. It prevents people from connecting compassionately and equally with others and creates so much insecurity in our world. Shock jocks like Bolt feed off and perpetuate this evil. What is the point of their rantings?

  26. TerjeP

    Seahorse – if you don’t get the point then try listening.

  27. red crab

    i think what bolt was trying to say is that some people who are able because of there appearance could and sometimes do use this to gain advantage .
    its like being able to live on either side of the fence whenever they want depending on the advantage they may get from it at the time .

    i suppose that is ok i don’t have a problem with that .

    i do have a problem when they cry foul when someone exposes it for what it is and then to claim racism is an insult to my limited intelligence

    the only reason that it was not seen for what it was is the fact that the judges on these types of cases do not have any idea at all what its like to live in the real world therefore there judgement is questionable at the least.
    the title of the book alone is enough to trigger a response as i think it was intended to do in the beginning .

    so why cry foul

    it was only about book sales and money it always is !!!


  28. togret

    Red Crab – aparently you were not able to take the time to understand the actualy case. As I understand it, the “point” Bolt was making was that he believes people like Ms Weiss, who has indigenous folk in her family tree, who is not of particularly strinking ” Indigenous appearance”, (I’ll come back to that) are behaving wrongly when they take advantage of special provisions for the use of particular services, programs etc, by indigenous people. I think his main complaint about Ms Weiss was that she was employed in a job idenfied by the employer as for indigenous people only.

    The employer would have had to satisfy anti-discrimination provisions to identify the job as such. Whether or not the colour of skin of Ms Weiss or anyone else is within some range that Mr Bolt would accept as indicating someone is indigenous doesn’t really matter. He is a broadcaster on Australian radio, and may or may not be an Australian citizen, I neither know nor care. But his accent indicates to me that he comes from either Europe or Africa. I don’t care about that either, but some people would say he ought not to be commenting on matters of Australian community values, since he is patently not “one of us”. I don’t say that’s my opinion, I’m just saying he might not be within my definition of “Australian.”

    Mr Bolt denies Ms Weiss the right to define herself as Indigenous, yet she has her family tree and Indigenous community members on her side. She has as much right to claim to be indigenous and whatever benefits might flow from that these days as Mr Bolt has to disagree about the policies surronuding aboriginality. What he doesn’t have the right to do is to say that she is not entitled to any benefits, nor has he the right to publish writings that she is dishonest in doing so. The judge found that. As far as I know, writing books is not a crime, so I’m wondering what your beef is with Ms Weiss, Red Crab.

  29. red crab

    ok togret your commented makes sense and how could i have a beef with some one i do not know ( i dont )
    but i still stand by my comment .

    some people who are able because of there appearance could and sometimes do use this to gain advantage .
    its like being able to live on either side of the fence whenever they want depending on the advantage they may get from it at the time .

    and to ad to that mabe we should ad to that family trees .

    and just how much ( money )did she ask for as compensation.

    ops sorry its not just about money or is it

  30. Lorikeet

    I agree with Red Crab to a significant degree, although there are good points to be made on both sides of the argument.

    Since others have been critical of Andrew Bolt, I have made an effort to watch a couple of sessions of The Bolt Report on TV.

    I agree with Andrew Bartlett that this guy now behaves in a very sensationalist manner and sometimes appears to pay little attention to knowledgeable interviewees, which might improve network ratings but does little for my opinion of him.

    His previous form on political programs was far better than the current journey into immoderation.

  31. TerjeP

    What he doesn’t have the right to do is to say that she is not entitled to any benefits

    Why not? I don’t think she is entitled to taxpayer funded indigeneous grants. Why should I or anybody else be prohibited from saying so? It’s simply ludicrous.

  32. ETS

    It looks rather simple to me. An Indigenous person is entitled to benefit from Government programs set up to help Indigenous people. Having to pass a colour test to access benefits would take us back to the bad old days of other repressive regimes and I hope nobody would want that.

    You are of course entitled to complain about it but your comments should be factual and accurate. That is where I understand Bolt crossed the line and got into trouble. He is not one of my favourite political commentators but that is just my opinion.

    When people do complain I sometimes ask if they would like to swap places with the person or group getting the benefit. So far nobody has said “yes” so it makes me wonder if the recognition of disadvantage is in there somewhere, deeply submerged in the subconscious.

    The sad thing is that Government programs can only do so much and when I look at communities like Wilcannia and similar remote places, I just do not know what the answer is. I don’t even know where to start.

  33. togret

    Sorry terjep – badly worded on my part – Mr Bolt doesn’t have the right to DECIDE whether Ms Weiss is entitled to claim any plusses that go to people of indigenous heritage if they choose to claim them. The employer decided that, probably, from my understanding taking into account recognition of her aboriginality by her community. Don’t know about that, and neither, would be my guess, does Mr Bolt. Not just anyone will be recognised by an aboriginal community, as I understand it. I’m sire there are rorts, just as there are in every other process in human society. The court found Mr Bolt was wrong to claim that she had done so dishonestly. In my day, they called that libel, since he wrote it, I believe. Illegal, as I understand it. So hte judge said.

    Red Crab: see what I said above (bearing in mind I am no expert – Ms Weiss might not look like any particular “race” to you or to me. I have been mistaken for non-European in my day – blame the Irish, the Jewish or mysterious great-grandfather James if you like. When I was going to school, it was possible for a child to be banned from a STATE school for being aboriginal if one parent objected to their presence. It was possible to have your marriage forbidden, your children taken into care, in th teeth of objections from “white” folk even, and you could be barred from living in certain places or going into certain shops or parts of buldings … all because you were aboriginal. Some discrimination of that sort happens today unofficially in this country. Maybe we could put that into family trees as well.

    Why would they claim aboriginality in those days? People often tried to hide it, and good luck to them. Now it is possible to claim one’s true identity, some do and some do not, some for financial gain perhaps, some not.

    I claim tax relief for living in a remote area – I choose to live here, would not live in a city for quids. I ought not to claim it perhaps – it’s no hardship posting for me. Would you call me a fool for not claiming it? or a crook for claiming it if I don’t mind living here? Same sort of situation … different judgements for different folks?

  34. Lorikeet

    Perhaps some people commenting on this topic would be happier if the opportunities offered to indigenous people were commensurate with need.

    For example, my grandchildren’s part-aboriginal cousin has grown up in Canberra as part of an equal society, in which she is considered an equal Australian, but could still claim extra benefits offered by the government if she or her father so chose.

    As we know, there are people who will grab extras in the form of money and opportunity from wherever they find them available, regardless of their racial background.

    I think there would be more money to go around for various government programs (indigenous or otherwise) if the criterion of need was appropriately addressed.

    In recent times, The Smith Family has been advertising on national television for support for Australian kids living in poverty. A lot of the kids are white Australians.

  35. red crab

    you have given an example of what should have taken place

    you have stated stiff its there im entitled to claim it so i do

    if i sad you were not because you chose to live there

    would you take me to court and ask me for compensation $$$$$

    if i were the judge i would have made bolt do some piece on his show where the allegations could have been answered by Anita Hess .

    but that did not happen for some reason MONEY was the only objective .

    prove me wrong

    you cant tell me much regarding the treatment of our indigenous people

    i grew up in the south west of w, the 50s and experienced it up close .

    the way i see ti bolt made a mistake the way he worded the comment he made
    then some smart legal eagle or vulture which ever you prefer

    just sat back with glee and thought show me the money!

  36. Seahorse

    Terjep re your comment May 5th.

    I do not listen to Andrew Bolt precisely because there is no point in subjecting myself to his far right wing slant on every utterance.

    I wonder if he has had anything to say about the shady dealings between Mal Brough, Christopher Pyne and possibly (probably) Tony Abbott and James Ashby over the Slipper accusations? I doubt it. Okay to whip up a storm with false claims about dishonest dealings of aboriginal people but not okay to highlight the dishonesty of one’s own political mates. I hope some good journalists will get to the bottom of the whole Slipper affair but Andrew Bolt will not be one of them.

  37. Lorikeet

    Peter Slipper knew he would never gain re-endorsement by the Coalition due to previous “unsuitable behaviour”.

    To my knowledge, Andrew Bolt wants to bring on a fresh election after ensuring both Craig Thomson and Peter Slipper bite the dust. Even Labor politicians are now voicing serious concerns about the activities of Craig Thomson.

    I believe Wayne Swan’s May Budget handout to parents for their children’s education is actually both a sweetener before the Carbon Tax takes effect and a pre-election bribe.

    It would certainly be more sensible to give lump sum handouts for educational purposes at the beginning of November, when parents are able to pre-order books, stationery, uniforms and sometimes schoolbags and other items through local schools.

    A handout in November would also give schools plenty of extra income to work with in planning better educational programs for the following year.

  38. gzg

    Shady dealings? Are you talking about advice given to Ashby by his political colleagues, or about alleged sexual harrassment and fraud by the Speaker?

  39. Seahorse

    In answer to your questions GZG, no and no. The only facts that we can be sure of so far are that Mal Brough and Christopher Pyne have lied about their dealings with James Ashby. There are some curious aspects to this case though are there not? Why did James Ashby, presumably an intelligent man, need to be told by Mal Brough, three times, to go to the police and get legal advice? Why did James Ashby undermine Peter Slipper by campaigning for his opponent on YouTube? Why is Tony Abbott avoiding the issue now that the ball is in their court? He had a lot to say before the truth came out about Mal Brough and Christopher Pyne’s involvement with James Ashby. Why is Joe Hockey suddenly trying to calm the waters and shut everyone up? Hopefully the real truth will come out in time. The Murdoch media appears to be very quick to pounce on the ALP for wrongs and very slow to follow through on intriguing questions which might highlight murkiness flowing within the LNP ranks.

  40. togret

    red crab – putting Ms Weiss in Bolt’s show where he is comfortable snd she is the one out of their territory, plus adding to his comany’s ratings – where is hte punishment in that?

    If all the court has in its power to do is fine him, then that is at least a visible sign that he did the wrong thing.

    And if you claimed on your radio show that I’d done something that is wrong, and this could be shown to have damaged my standing in the commuity, you’d possibly be be taken to court as well.

    Your reaction really does show that for some people money is everything. Yo might be right about Ms Weiss’s motives – I don’t know her. I don’t imagine too many people will slander her now, though.

  41. red crab


    well we do agree on one thing for some people its all about the money .

    in this case untill some one can show me otherwise its the only view i have .

    do you really think a few dollars possibly payed by bolts employers has made
    any difference at all .

    and there’s a possibility it could be claimed as a tax deduction being costs associated with someone’s profession .

    if this is anyway close you i and every other tax payer picked up the bill including all legal costs for everything including any fines .

  42. togret

    red crab – you misunderstood me – I was commenting that for YOU it seems to be all about the money.

  43. Free speech never exsited

    Cant believe their are still illogical fools who believe the RDA is against free speech but support bolt and his employers to sue using defamation law, its obvious bolt has an issue with race as the majority of his storys about race out number his posts about climate change and the labour government combined, his a perfect example of racism (boltism) although his sheep will support his defamation cases while denouncing the RDA, he may not look so obvious if he wrote about any race that is considered white, he will even hide his past from his wife and denounce his sisters sexuality for a dollar, his not even honest enough to own his racist standing, if doing wrong to your loved ones is an Aussie trait then I dont want to be Australian, I guess logic and the convicted liar dont go together to well just like his followers (sheep) and Australian law, dont like it leave

  44. red crab

    sorry to disappoint you
    for me its never been about money and it never will.
    my heroes are people like Gandhi, Fred hollows ,aung san suu kyi. and others like them

    the most precious thing a person can give to another is a kind word and five minits of there time

    money can not buy it you can not steal it it can only be given .

  45. togret

    red crab – have a look at your own comments up there.

  46. Seahorse

    Why has the media not pushed to get answers to the questions I stated on 9 May?

    Why is Abbott being allowed to get away with his brainwashing of the public?

    Why is the public falling for his misrepresentations of this current government? That is the most interesting question.

    What the hell is wrong with this country? Why are we so dumb?

  47. red crab

    interesting how things come back to bite.

  48. Sam

    still some obvious education issues here, some still believe in so called Aborignal hand outs, can someone please explain what these “mythical” hand outs are? One thing I do know you get from being Aborignial is abuse from uneducated fools who spill the same crap from twenty years ago, I do wonder what make these people feel qualified to comment (on anything really) all you get being aborignal is racial hatered and abuse, racial profiling, forced to endure dopey fools, racism in employment, pysical violence from police, have your land stolen, and so on and on and on and on………… all with government endorsment, Australia deserve all the criticism we receive and more, with no RDA I have no legal recourse so I will enjoy crushing the skulls of racist trash, you all seem to want no avenue for recourse so put and shut up, you reap what you sow, aussies are sore LOSERS

  49. red crab

    well don sam .
    as the law stands now some one could take (you) to task for being a racist .
    but we all know that when the law levels the field some people get really upset because they lose there advantage .and actually have to prove there point.

    One thing I do know you get from being Aborignial is abuse from uneducated fools who spill the same crap from twenty years ago, I do wonder what make these people feel qualified to comment (on anything

    and you are it would seam.

    so I will enjoy crushing the skulls of racist trash, you all seem to want no avenue for recourse so put and shut up, you reap what you sow, aussies are sore LOSERS

    so violence is the way to go.

    and you live here because???.

    maybe its because we ALL still have just a little freedom of speech to say things like you just have

    do you really want to lose that or maybe that’s just what you do want .


  50. Sam

    Its called freedom of speech, what your championing, are you for it or not? or are you just argumentative for the sake of it? please tell me where I got my facts wrong like bolt did? thats the reason he got done, you and I know he could write the same story without untruths and its fine, but gee it would be one boring read, bolt would never write for free, his chasing money, thats why his able to lie to his wife about being engaged before they meet, and make his sister feel she must defend herself from her own brother, without all his sensationalism his a boring writer, his not a journalist as they present facts, opinion pieces are as worthy as graffiti or “opinions” written on toilet walls, bolt got done for very sloopy fact checking, something a professional does as standard, he flunked out of journalism school and jumped straight into being a cub reporter, Wheres his training?

  51. rad crab

    after seeing the interview and reply to bolt from Anita Hess.on living black yesterday.
    also after completing a common law course .
    i now understand her stand and totally agree with her .

    we have the right to freedom of speech

    we also have the right not to be vilified ,

    Anita Hess was exersizing her right not to be vilified .

    i also understand her stand was to make it know that under common law everyone has the right not to be vilified no mater who they are .and it was not about money .

    bolt should have known better .

    the govt dose not need to make any new laws on this subject and even if .any Australian govt repeals or waters down racial discrimination laws in Australia it will make no difference at all (they know this ) the laws were written way before even our own constitution or any other laws on this subject by any Australian govt since

    i find if very interesting that none of the well educated ppl on this site had not pointed out these facts in the beginning .

    it is a very simple case of Anita Hess exersizing her right as an Australian citizen under common law the Australian constitution and several other laws that predate even them .

    that we ALL have the right not to be vilified .

    simple .

    question why did you not point this out Andrew.

  52. Amalina

    The judge examining the case wasn’t examining whether Andrew Bolt’s article was an expression of a free opinion. The issue being considered was whether the things he said were true.

    The judge’s key finding was that “in relation to most of the individuals concerned, the facts asserted in the Newspaper Articles that the people dealt with chose to identify as Aboriginal have been substantially proven to be untrue”.

    For example, Bolt wrote that Anita Heiss had won “plum jobs reserved for Aborigines” at Koori Radio, at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board and at Macquarie University. The Koori Radio job was a voluntary unpaid position. Neither the arts board position nor the university job was reserved for indigenous applicants, and the previous person holding the uni job held by Anita was not Indigenous. She won her jobs in her own right.

    Although the judge found that Bolt was telling lies, his newspaper continued to misrepresent the findings as being about freedom of speech. The case was about a journalist who tells lies to provoke untrue views about Indigenous people, and these lies needed to be challenged.

    It’s interesting to note that Anita Heiss was not asked to speak by Andrew Bolt’s lawyer when she arrived at the court. The view held by those there was that she so clearly has Aboriginal features, that Bolt’s lawyer may have advised that it wouldn’t help Bolt’s case at all.

  53. Lost_Wanderings

    I just read the “It’s so hip to be black” article.

    The offensiveness and lack of logical flow is making my head spin.

    Bolt’s article consists essentially of a list of people who he claims are not physically black enough to be aboriginal. He also suggests that they have chosen to identify as aboriginal for career opportunities or financial gain (the offensive part).

    It reminds me from a quote from the Simpsons “The disadvantaged get all the breaks!”

    He also uses the phase “political Aborigine”, as if no proper aborigine would be involved in politics, which of course is the sole province of white Australia (!)

    Bizarrely the comments Bolt makes throughout the article contradict the attacks he makes on those people mentioned

    Bolt-“I think it sad if we keep harping on about differences and rights based on trivial inflections of race.”

    -“It’s also 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?”

    Umm, who was the one that brought this up in the first place?

    In the next sentence he writes “the white Aborigine… is not new.”

    It reads like an article that has had moderate views written buy some-else inserted into it.

    How does someone even write an article like that?!

  54. Lorikeet

    A male friend now has a part-aboriginal woman in her 40s living with him as a boarder. She has a long history of drug abuse, and also living with a succession of abusive aboriginal males. She has 7 children with various fathers, most of whom have been raised in the foster care system.

    Her youngest daughter is 8 years old and looks just as white as my own grandchildren. My friend has helped the woman rescue her daughter from an abusive foster family in the same lower socio-economic area in which I once resided myself. Because this little girl kept pushing her aboriginality with the other school children, she has been treated very badly.

    My friend and I have found that the mother wants to access as many free services as possible when, from our observation, her daughter would be better off just being treated as an ordinary Australian. This is not to say that she shouldn’t also be in touch with aboriginal culture. My friend has changed his hours of work so the mother has some chance of keeping her daughter living with her, as they are both shift workers.

    An update on my grandchildren’s part-aboriginal cousin: At age 15, she left her white father’s care and went to live with her drug addicted mother in the aboriginal community in Canberra, where she finished up on drugs and was found barely alive on the kitchen floor. Her mother also has a long track record of not ensuring her dietary intake was carefully monitored. The girl has recently given birth to her own baby daughter at age 18.

  55. Lorikeet

    Sorry, forgot to add that the second girl has a very serious case of diabetes.

Reply to “Anita Heiss – positive messages in the face of negative attacks”

Mini Posts

  • Rhetoric vs reality

    I’ve had a break from writing for a variety of reasons, but the reckless approach the new Queensland government is taking to their spending decisions – and the straightout nonsensicality of some of their claims – roused me enough to pen a piece for New Matilda. Time will tell whether the Newman government will start trying to ensure their statements have some connection with reality – I suggest the way they respond next year to the findings of the inquiry into child safety which they’ve established will be a significant test.

  • End of LP the end of a blogging era

    Back in October, I wrote here about the decline or re-defining of blogs, at least in the Australian political arena.  The relatively few posts I’ve done on this blog since then shows how much less useful I find it to do my own blog than I used to, and as I mentioned back then, a big reason why I don’t read many of the blogs I used to is because the valuable links to many interesting stories, ideas and pieces of information can be found more easily through Twitter or Facebook, sometimes with comment threads which are also at least as good.

    The recent announcement by the Larvatus Prodeo blog that they are ceasing to operate is quite a significant one. (more…)

  • A final comment on Labor’s leadership laments

    Fundamentally, I don’t greatly care about the outcome of Labor’s leadership travails. As my previous post indicates, the bigger issue is that the ALP is being fundamentally damaged by the toxicity of this brawl, and the fact that the brawl is happening in this way is a sign of some much greater problems within Labor. Whatever the immediate outcome, I think those problems are likely to continue.  The outcome of the leadership contest (including the size of what will surely be a Gillard victory) will shape how those problems play out, but they will still be there.

    Not surprisingly, I see this as presenting an opportunity for the Greens to build some support, but more importantly it presets extra responsibility and obligation for the Greens to be a stronger counter to what is a seriously reactionary Coalition.

    But seeing we’re all pundits now, and despite having little inside knowledge, my prediction is that there will be no ‘third candidate’ in tomorrow’s leadership ballot.  Julia Gillard will win comfortably. The instability will not disappear. It’s quite possible there will be another leadership ballot before the election but Kevin Rudd will not become leader then either. No matter how good Kevin Rudd looks in the polls, that polling lead would disappear very quickly if he was back in the PM’s job.

  • The Ups & Downs of Ups & Downs – interview with Greg Atkinson

    I’ve mentioned before my liking for the 80s Brisbane band Ups and Downs. I got a chance to interview their lead singer Greg Atkinson on 4ZzZ FM a few weeks ago. They’ve released a compilation CD of 20 of their best tunes and played a gig in Brisbane earlier this month to promote and celebrate it.

    It was a fairly long interview, but I found it very interesting to hear the views of someone who has been active in the independent sphere of the music industry for so long about what has changed and what is the same.

    You can listen to the interview at this link.

  • Speeches to refugee rally + SIEV-X exhibition

    A local activist helpfully recorded speeches given by myself and by Julian Burnside at a refugee rights rally held in Brisbane last Saturday.  You can listen to them here and here. The rally was held to mark the tenth anniversary of the sinking of the SIEV-X.  353 refugees drowned when that refugee boat sank on the way to Australia on 19 October 2001.  There is a beautiful exhibition at The Studio on the ground level at the State Library of Qld this week, commemorating that anniversary. It finishes this weekend – I strongly recommend you try to get along for a look if you have a chance. The Library also has a screening of the documentary Hope on Friday October 28 – this film tell the story of Amal Basry, one of the few survivors of that tragedy.