As promised, I will put my choice of the top ten, out of Bulletin’s top 100
I think it’s obvious why I would put Faith Bandler in here. I believe the way we treat the owners of this land that we stole has been humiliating and shameful to say the least, then it took to within my lifetime to give them any rights at all…unbelievable.
Black rights campaigner Faith Bandler is best known for the 10 years she devoted to the May 1967 referendum which meant, among other things, that Aboriginal people would be counted in the Australian census for the first time. In 1956 she and Pearl Gibbs formed the Aboriginal Australian Fellowship and during the next decade the “gentle” activist gained the confidence of white Australians, and helped them to understand their discriminatory practices against Aboriginal people. When the federal government finally agreed to hold a referendum on Aboriginal citizenship rights, 90% of votes were in favour. Described by feminist academic Lyndall Ryan as having “the looks of Truganini and the politics of an advanced feminist”, the charismatic Bandler pre-dates runner Cathy Freeman as an icon for reconciliation. But she is not an Aborigine. Bandler’s father was a South Sea Islander, one of at least 30,000 kidnapped by slave traders to work in Queensland’s cane fields. Her mother was of Indian-Scottish descent. She married a Holocaust survivor, Austrian engineer Hans Bandler, who supported her fight against unfair laws. She wrote about her father’s life in the award-winning children’s novel Wacvie (1977).