Dear Minister Dutton,
Re: Aboriginal Identity Fraud
Thank you for your valuable community service before you entered politics. As a former criminal prosecutor, I understand the vital service the police offer communities. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for defending Australian values. I know it is not always popular. I want you to know many Australians value your brave contribution and appreciate your commitment. I have always been impressed by your courage and determination to serve The Australian people. You are inspiring.
Do you remember the time I spoke to you in Arnhem Land when I accompanied Prime Minister, Tony Abbott on a visit as a member of the Indigenous Advisory Council which uncle Warren Mundine chaired? I remember your moving address. My name is Josephine Cashman. I am a Warrimay woman whose traditional land stretches from Port Stephens to the New South Wales mid north coast. I married into a south coast Yuin family whose traditional land stretches from below Sydney to the Victorian border. My son, Joseph is a Yuin man and my ex partner is a Yuin traditional owner. I am also proud of my colonial heritage and wish to emphasise the fact most Aboriginal people are proud of our hunter gather heritage together with our creation stories and our ceremonial ancient culture. Our people lived in harmony with nature for thousands of years which is something worthy of celebration and admiration.
I recommend you watch the Bolt Report interviews with eminent Professor Geoffrey Blainey, Peter O’Neil and others who have criticised the historical incorrectness of Pascoe’s false claims (including plagiarism). I also recommend you watch the two separate Bolt interviews with Jacinta Price and myself. For context I also refer you to relevant documents I will send under separate cover. I assure you there are many Aboriginal community people who have been upset by Pascoe and they have had enough of him and others like him. I am writing on behalf of my Aboriginal communities calling for urgent reform so this outrageous circumstance can never happen again.
I recently had the privilege to meet the Hon Pat Conaghan, the Member for Cowper. He is also a former police officer and he understands the community complexities embedded in our region. I am committed to resolving it. I am writing to you in your capacity as the Minister responsible for the AFP. I request immediate assistance and the referral of a matter which is politically contentious for the government and/or the Operations Monitoring Centre (OMC). I am calling for an investigation into dishonesty offences pursuant of Section 29, 134-5, Criminal Code Commonwealth (1995). This section relates to a significant matter of public interest and it is relevant to the Aboriginality claims of Bruce Pascoe as it relates to the financial benefit he has derived as a result of his false identity claims.
Bruce Pascoe is not an Aboriginal person which has been established by a comprehensive genealogy search and the three Aboriginal groups Pascoe claims to belong. All three Aboriginal groups have rejected his Aboriginal heritage. A Yuin letter has been acquired rejecting Pascoe (attached separately). Jason Briggs, a Victorian traditional owner has also rejected Pascoe's Aboriginal heritage claim (attached separately). His mother has been fighting to stop Pascoe for a long time and she has suffered. Tasmanian traditional owners have rejected Pascoe's claim in writing (Andrew Bolt can verify). Briggs is in dispute with the Andrew's government concerning money being given to organisations without checking Aboriginality claims (see attached Briggs email).
Financial AdvantagePascoe has been appointed as an Aboriginal professor at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). The university receives federal funding to support Pascoe's appointment and his associated affairs. UTS has rejected my request for an investigation into Pascoe's false identity claims and his attempts to alter Australian explorer history records and Aboriginal cultural heritage. I have threatened to burn my 2018 Alumni Law Award during a ceremony out the front of the building if nothing is done about it. Morry Swartz, owner of the Saturday Paper and Black Books Inc has recently published Pascoe's new book, Salt. I believe the Saturday Paper may have won a government grant recently which makes the recent non factual article about Pascoe more distasteful.
Pascoe's relative lives in Kempsey and runs a bush food business which has appropriated a Yuin sacred totem the Umbarra or black duck for its logo. My Kempsey relatives do not know of this Pascoe relative and we know who we belong to in our communities. The Dark Emu Exposed group has been tracking Pascoe's financial links and more (attached separately).
The ABC receives federal funding for Aboriginal programs and this includes the production company for the planned Pascoe documentary. Despite Aboriginal community objections and the outcry from Aboriginal representatives like myself and Jacinta Price, I believe the ABC intends to go ahead and produce and screen the Pascoe documentary which promotes inaccurate Australian historical facts and misrepresenting Aboriginal culture. Many ABC journalists have publicly supported Pascoe's false claims and I believe everyone who have supported this fraudulent behaviour deserve to be reprimanded.
Commonwealth fraud is a serious matter. Not only can it constitute a criminal offence, it also reduces desperately needed funds in Aboriginal communities for delivering housing and other valuable community services. It also undermines the integrity of the government because communities tend to blame the federal government for its lack of action. The Australian community rightly expects entities and officials to acknowledge and fulfil their responsibilities as stewards of public funds to make every effort possible to protect valuable public resources.
Given the number of grants received by Pascoe and his associates, I believe a referral to the AFP is appropriate as a matter of urgency in the public interest. As this fraudulent scheme appears to involve instances of obtaining property by deception, I also believe his franchise is worthy of scrutiny. Certainly selling books on false pretences is fraudulent and Dark Emu book sale proceeds have been significant. The fact the childrens book version, Young Dark Emu has been published and is being distributed to Australian infant and primary schools is profoundly disturbing to many Australians.
In tandem I also seek your support on the question of government reforms concerning Aboriginal identity. 'Do you identify as an ATSI person?' is failing Aboriginal communities. I invite you to assist me in collaboration with the Attorney General and the Prime Minister to develop a national strategy for establishing a register for Aboriginal people. I suggest a panel composed of traditional owners, on the ground elders, government experts and others to examine the most efficient manner to achieve identifying Aboriginal people. We are fed up with fake claims. Once the procedure has been designed and agreed upon, it should be easy to register an Aboriginal birth because it could be linked to existing Australian birth registration and native title genealogical records. It is doable.
Following my letter, please see the documents:
Please note, Genealogist Jan Holland (from the Dark Emu Exposed website) confirmed he is not of Aboriginal descent. This has been verified by another expert.
Dear Minister Dutton,
I appreciate the fact your office forwarded my request for an investigation to the AFP, concerning Bruce Pascoe and his Aboriginal ancestry claims. Unfortunately the AFP has closed the possibility of an investigation which is disappointing, especially for the voiceless Aboriginal people on the ground. The AFP says it cannot determine the fact Pascoe has broken federal laws: 'no Commonwealth offences have been identified'. This is odd because Pascoe has been unable to prove his Aboriginal ancestry which is a legal requirement. In fact, this means inventing Aboriginal ancestors is acceptable to the Commonwealth government. It is worrying because there is a link between false identity claims and Aboriginal community dysfunction. This fact might help explain the reason why nothing ever changes. False identity claims dwell in all realms of society.
Pascoe has benefited financially from claiming Aboriginal ancestry he has been unable to prove. This is despite the fact:
-Comprehensive genealogical records have traced his family on both sides and can be forwarded to you. They have been compiled by a professional genealogist who conducted a thorough investigation. The report proves all of Pascoe's ancestors were of English descent. If there had been a scandal as Pascoe infers, it would have been impossible to cover up in the community;
he claims to be descended from Boonwurrung in Victoria, Yuin in NSW and tribes in Tasmania. His claims have been rejected by the Boonwurrung Land and Sea Council in Victoria, Yuin representatives on the south coast of NSW and the Tasmanian Aboriginal Land Council;
-he has not been able to name his Aboriginal ancestors which is disturbing and/or provide proof of his Aboriginal identity;
he claims his Aboriginal ancestry comes from one of his two maternal great grandmothers, who he says was a Boonwurrung woman, only to admit later, 'she was in fact, born in England'. She was born in England according to genealogy records;
-he has claimed to be descended from five Aboriginal tribes or groups in five States, including ancestors on the Lockhart River he had previously described as white;
he says the five different groups of ancestors would, 'fall below the line' of some 'blood quantum' testing. I do not know what that means!
I am confident experts would be able to unravel the complexities, if required. After all, this is the 21st century. Why is Pascoe's Aboriginal identity claim acceptable legally? I do not accept he is an Aboriginal person and his books Dark Emu and Young Dark Emu are disturbing for Aboriginal people, especially the voiceless people living in communities on the ground. You know these people are suffering. I argue a false identity claim is one reason why nothing has changed on the ground, despite huge amounts of government money being thrown at it!
The AFP obviously had a narrow brief. It would appear it accepts Pascoe's Aboriginal ancestry claim, despite the evidence not upholding the possibility. This is not to mention his claim Aboriginal people were not hunter and gatherers (with no evidence and worse). Please read the ABC letter. Pascoe makes absurd false history claims, without evidence and he distorts the facts. Unfortunately, distorting facts and attempting to change history are probably legal! Misrepresenting Aboriginal cultural heritage is unacceptable and the children's book is being distributed to pre school and primary school children, while the ABC continues to promote his books.
Is it not a breach of federal law to make a false claim to the government to gain financial benefit? Why is the government doing nothing to help Aboriginal people protect against false identity claims? While it is not a new problem, it is a growing problem in urban, regional and remote communities and Aboriginal people are fed up with it.
I need more information so I can refer this to the Attorney General and request a tightening of federal laws to protect Aboriginal people, so it can never happen again. It is a sad fact this Pascoe affair has been allowed to go so far.
I will be in Canberra the first week Parliament returns in early February, accompanied by Jacinta Price. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you please.