April 21, 2011
In May, Quadrant magazine will publish an important article by Keith Windschuttle on Larissa Behrendt. Below is a news item from the Australian and an exclusive preview of the Windschuttle article.
Keith Windschuttle questions indigenous law professor's background
CONSERVATIVE historian Keith Windschuttle has challenged indigenous law professor Larissa Behrendt's credentials to represent Aboriginal Australia and questioned whether her grandmother was really a member of the Stolen Generations.
The controversial editor of Quadrant magazine has penned a piece for next month's edition -- extracts of which appear in The Australian today -- suggesting Professor Behrendt has overplayed her Aboriginal background.
"Larissa and her father, Paul, have long played up the claim that his mother, Lavinia Boney, was a member of the Stolen Generations. The archival evidence, however, reveals this is quite incorrect," Professor Windschuttle writes.
Professor Windschuttle -- whose 2002 book The Fabrication of Aboriginal History represented a defining point in the so-called "history wars" in Australia -- also claims Professor Behrendt was not an appropriate recipient of her Harvard scholarship, having earned the prize ahead of more academically gifted students because she was indigenous.
Source: The Australian
Questioning credentials of an Aboriginal elite
IF you get your news only from the Fairfax press, you would have missed one of the most damaging scandals yet to have rocked Aboriginal affairs.
The story received front-page treatment in News Limited newspapers, especially The Australian, when it broke on April 14, and for the following five days. Several television and online forums canvassed its consequences. But Fairfax editors regarded it as such a threat to their world view they imposed a nationwide ban on the story. Not a word about it appeared in the pages of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian Financial Review or The Sun-Herald.
The incident began after the chairwoman of the Northern Territory's Indigenous Affairs Advisory Council, Bess Nungarrayi Price, appearing on ABC1's Q&A, spoke favourably about the Howard government's 2007 intervention into Territory communities. In response, Aboriginal academic Larissa Behrendt sent a Twitter message to ABC radio presenter Rhianna Patrick, saying: "I watched a show where a guy had sex with a horse and I'm sure it was less offensive than Bess Price."
Behrendt's tweets, which have revealed her distaste for Aborigines with different political views, may well generate a revival of sentiments I recorded in Quadrant last year when discussing author Sally Morgan's claim to Aboriginal identity. Activist Jackie Huggins had said that, even though people might have some Aboriginal ancestors, they could not be genuine Aborigines if they had been brought up in white suburbs without any engagement with an Aboriginal community.
For saying much the same thing, it should be remembered, Andrew Bolt went on trial last month under the Racial Hatred Act. Hence, whatever the outcome of the Bolt trial, Behrendt's Twitter outburst has ensured there will be more people in the future prepared to make the same point about the members of the Aboriginal political class who are enjoying a life as privileged as hers.
Source: The Australian
Read the complete text by Keith Windschuttle in May Quadrant here...
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