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She Can’t Help Being Deadly…

… She was born that way!

It comes as no surprise that Andrew Bolt has found himself involved in yet another controversy surrounding race.  We all know Bolt lost a high profile case and like the guy who doesn’t accept the umpires decision in a game of street cricket he’s taking his bat and ball and going home. But first he is going to throw around a few names and smash some bins as he marches off down the street.

But Bolt doesn’t simply play with a bat and ball, he plays with peoples lives, with the identity of an entire race and as the most read journalist in Australia, with how we shape public discussion on such issues for generations to come. Bolt and his supporters would have you believe that he lost a free speech case and that he has been silenced. This is a lie!

He breached the Racial Discrimination Act and returned to work as Australia’s most read columnist & blogger who also has a TV show and a radio program. Silenced? And how much did the applicants ask for in damages, landmark case like that would have to get you a few million each surely? Not a cent! No victims here, just folk wanting the record set straight and for Bolt to tell the truth and not abuse them racially. This does not seem like too much to ask, In fact as someone who knows a thing or two about handling high profile court cases I would say the nine individuals who took the case against Bolt are brave for what they did. Brave because going through any legal battle is awful, especially one where you have been wronged and it is played out in the media.

Six months later and we arrive back at the present time and Bolt having come to terms with his error has had the chance to meet with Indigenous leaders, think about the importance of his own Dutch culture to him and apologise to each and all…

Or that is what would have happened if he was indeed sorry, a decent individual or employed by a media company that respected the law. One of the applicants to the case, Dr Anita Heiss, has written a new booked entitled Am I Black Enough For You? and Bolt & co. are fuming. From reading his column and their ranting it seems they don’t believe Dr Heiss should have written the book, it shouldn’t have been published and she shouldn’t be speaking about the case or her identity.

In short, they want Dr Heiss silenced, they don’t believe in free speech and so they’ve taken to Amazon to ridicule a book they haven’t read. All at the direction of Bolt, who in his Column (most read in Australia) spoke about the book and Dr Heiss.

Hold on a moment, who’s free speech is being attacked here?

Let’s get some fact straight. Dr Anita Heiss is an author of considerable standing in Australia. She has been a prolific writer for two decades with successful works across a wide range of genres. A director of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and an author who gives back to the entire community through her promotion of literature and the craft, literacy for all Australian’s and encouraging and assisting up and coming writers with their work. Having been seriously misrepresented by Bolt, something a judge found also breached the Racial Discrimination Act it is only a very nasty individual who would seek to deny her the right of reply.

But to suggest that this is all her new book is about is an insult to Dr Heiss and an insult to anyone who cares about true harmony and understanding in the Australian community. The book is about a woman who comes from the oldest living culture in the world but lives in one of the most cosmopolitan cities on the planet. The story of a woman of colour who has become a leader in her field when very few existed and what it is like to be a high profile Aboriginal Woman in a ground breaking legal case.

What Heiss shows us with her book is that your identity is not one that can be written on an ID card, it is not something determined by where you live and despite any obstacles laid in her way she is not a victim but a success and an example to all of us.

Make no mistake, history will judge this period of time in our Nation. It will judge the fact that Indigenous Australian’s still face a 20 year gap in life expectancy compared to their non-Indigenous brothers and sisters. It will judge how a Government sent the army into communities that needed nurses and teachers and it will judge how a few white men in the media tried to tell the oldest living culture on earth how they should determine their identity.

And then History will turn the page on Am I Black Enough For You? And see Dr Anita Heiss, a writer, an activist, a teacher and a leader who stood up so that future generations can live out their identity as they see fit, not have it questioned or belittled.

Dr Anita Heiss is a proud woman of the Wiradjuri nation, an incredible writer and she is more than Black enough! Andrew Bolt is a convicted racist, one found to be a terrible journalist who relies heavily on google for his research and a man who has contributed nothing to the positive  growth of our country. It is only because Bolt lost in court to Heiss that their names ever need be mentioned in the same breath. And with her new book and dignified response to Bolt’s continued attacks she is winning again!

Buy the book here:- http://www.amazon.com/Black-Enough-For-You-ebook/dp/B007C6VAK4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334049266&sr=8-1

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Statement by Dr Anita Heiss: On Eatock vs HWT

Statement by Dr Anita Heiss
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I published my first piece of journalism in 1992. It was a story about the Aboriginal Housing Company in Redfern. In the last twenty years, I have used my skills across publishing mediums and literary genres to write positive stories about Aboriginal Australia with the aim of building bridges between black and white communities.
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On April 15, 2009, with a flick of his pen, Andrew Bolt in his article ‘It’s so hip to be black,’ managed to burn down many of those bridges, by writing words about me (and others) that discredited me professionally, while also offending, insulting and humiliating me. People on his blog also made racist remarks, that also offended, insulted and humiliated me.
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I have always identified and lived as an Aboriginal woman, I’m a Williams from Cowra, a proud member of the Wiradjuri nation.
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Mr Bolt’s article suggests I made a ‘decision to be Aboriginal…’ which ‘was lucky, given how it’s helped her career’ and that I had ‘won plum jobs reserved for Aborigines at Koori Radio, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board and Macquarie University’s Warawara Department of Indigenous Studies’.
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What Mr Bolt failed to mention is that I am an established writer and highly qualified with a PhD in Media and Communication, and that in fact none of the jobs he mentioned were actually ‘reserved’ or identified Aboriginal positions, and the Koori Radio role was actually voluntary and unpaid.
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In his witness statement to the court Mr Bolt claimed to have used a photo of my mother on her wedding day as evidence to determine she, therefore I was of mixed-heritage and could not or should not identify as Aboriginal. The photo Bolt submitted was taken directly from my blog and a post I made on February 7, 2011, almost two years after he wrote his article, so his misrepresentations about me continued.
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As former Chair, Deputy Chair and Committee Member of the Australian Society of Authors, I have long advocated and been part of campaigns to protect the rights of Australian authors. At the same time, I have always advocated for responsibility in writing, and an ethical approach to publishing.
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I am pleased (although not surprised) with the judgment handed down today by Justice Bromberg in the Federal Court of Australia. I believe the result means that Australia will have a higher quality and more responsible media, and that to some degree the persecution of Aboriginal people in the press will be lessened. And that was why I chose to be part of this case. Australian readers also deserve better.
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I thank my legal team: barristers Ron Merkel QC, Herman Borenstein SC, Claire Harris, and Phoebe Knowles, my solicitors Joel Zyngier and Nathalie Dalpethado (Holding Redlich) and Aislinn Martin (Tarwirri). I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude for their tireless efforts in seeking justice for not only the named applicants but all those Aboriginal people who were reasonably likely to have been offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated by Mr Bolt’s writings.
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I am continuing to focus on what I love doing most, working with young Aboriginal people around the country and teaching them how to write their own stories, in the hope they too will one day have the position of privilege to publish their own words.
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Finally, in the words of Dr Rosie Scott, award-winning author, former Chair of the ASA and former Vice-President of PEN Sydney – an organisation who fights for the rights of imprisoned writers who don’t have the ‘free speech’ we so readily enjoy:
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‘Free speech is the cornerstone of genuine democracy, but when writers publish    disinformation dressed up as fact, lies as truth, slander as objective evaluation    and call it free speech, they are devaluing its very essence and betraying all those    who’ve fought for it.’
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Dr Anita Heiss (http://www.anitaheiss.com) is the author of adult fiction, historical fiction, children’s fiction, non-fiction and social commentary. Her latest novel is Paris Dreaming (Random House, 2011).
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