COURT REPORT #4
VID770/2010 Pat Eatock v Andrew Bolt & HWT
Tue 29 March 2011
The case resumed in the Federal Court this morning with Larissa Behrendt (a law professor amongst her other roles) giving her personal evidence.
As per the practice yesterday, Mr Ron Merkel QC for the group members read out Larissa's entire witness statement on behalf of her before she entered the witness box.
Larissa made distinction between what is apparently known as the 3-Part-Test of aboriginality and other personal identification as an aboriginal person.
The 3-Part-Test was said to consist of assessment of a person's (1) ancestry, (2) acceptance in the aboriginal community and (3) self-assessment as an aboriginal person. It is a common assessment, apparently, for various forms of benefits such as special assistance admission programmes to universities, where Larissa said that she was familiar with the practice. Further, Larissa said that she supports the use of this assessment for the practicalities of providing benefits, and also thought it may be appropriate for issues such as treaties.
Larissa was adamant, however, that beyond consideration for membership of a group where that group was being defined for some purpose such as access to benefits, that she felt that questions of identity are a very personal matter for the individual concerned.
This was brought out through 30 minutes or so of cross-examination by Mr Nigel Young QC who is representing Mr Bolt and HWT in the proceedings.
[David Barrow of Melbourne]