Bennelong Papers

Lawyers vs. Bolt

Ron Merkel reveals some of the background to the Bolt trial:


Ron Merkel

So it should be no surprise the the Racial Discrimination Act proceedings came about because of the distress caused by the articles to young Aboriginal law students and lawyers, members of Tarwirri, a Victorian association representing their interests.

Source: The Australian, November 21, 2011 (behind paywall)

From the Tarwirri newsletter:


On September 28 in the Federal Court in Melbourne, Judge Mordecai Bromberg delivered his judgement on Pat Eatock V Andrew Bolt and the Herald and Weekly Times. Mr Bolt and the Herald and Weekly Times were found to have breached the Racial Discrimination Act.

Tarwirri would like to thank the brave claimants, Joel Zyngier and Natalie Delpethado from Holding Redlich, Ron Merkel QC, Herman Borenstein SC, Phoebe Knowles, Claire Harris, the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service and members of the community who supported the case. Upon hearing of the win, past Tarwirri President Abbie Burchill said that “skin colour is not the only determinant of Aboriginality – it is about culture and the community in which you were brought up.” “This is an important win for Aboriginal people across the nation.”

Dear members and supporters,

There are a lot of people and businesses to thank this month, with the success of both the Deadly Trivia Night and the Federal Court racial vilification case.

Source: Tarwirri newsletter, September 2011, (pdf) here…


Tarwirri is the Indigenous Law Students and Lawyers Association of Victoria. The Tarwirri website is here…

Though it is not clear what part they played in the Bolt trial the website for the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service is here…

Quadrant articles dealing with the White Aborigines Trial are listed here…


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