Indigenous campaigners re-enter Australia on Aboriginal passports

0:00

Two Indigenous sovereignty campaigners have re-entered Australia from Canada using Aboriginal Provisional Government passports, with a warning from authorities not to do it again.

Brisbane sovereignty campaigners Boe Spearim and Callum Clayton-Dixon have re-entered Australia from Canada using Aboriginal Provisional Government passports.

The pair refused to show any Australian documentation and were given a warning by customs authorities not to do it again.

Boe Spearim carried out a month-long study tour of First Nations in Canada.

He told NITV News it was not easy to use the passports, but they were determined.

"[Immigration officials] kept asking for other documents," he said. "They tried to trick us into pulling out identification: drivers' licences, other IDs, so they could trick us into revealing Australian documents and pushing more towards denying the Aboriginal passports."

He was one of four sovereignty campaigners re-entering Australia with Aboriginal Provisional Government passports; two arrived in Brisbane and two in Melbourne.

"Every chance we get to go to travel around the world we're going to use our Aboriginal passports and every time we come back into our country we're going to use our Aboriginal passports."

Immigration officers refused to stamp the Aboriginal passports but after 20 minutes of questioning, and once the pair had been identified, they were released.

The passports were first issued in the 1980s and the pair were briefed by members of the Aboriginal Provision Government, including lawyer Michael Mansell, before they went overseas.

"Prior to leaving Australia to go into Vancouver Michael sent us a letter instructing us on what to do in different circumstances," Mr Clayton-Dixon said.

"So if they say 'You've got to hand over an Australian passport,' just keep repeating the same thing: We are Aboriginal people returning to our country on Aboriginal passports."

"He suggested there would be a delay and there would be some form of harassment from customs officers, and that did happen."

Immigration officers warned the pair not to do the same thing in future, a warning that Mr Spearim said had fallen on deaf ears.

"Every chance we get to go to travel around the world we're going to use our Aboriginal passports and everytime we come back into our country we're going to use our Aboriginal passports," he said.

The Sovereignty campaigners are now planning trips to South America and New Zealand, travelling on Aboriginal passports.

Source NITV News

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch