• Michael Mansell on Cape Barren Island (AAP)Source: AAP
Tasmanian lawyer Michael Mansell has rejected a nomination for an Australia Day Award on moral grounds.
By
Natalie Ahmat

Source:
NITV News
28 Oct 2013 - 5:21 PM  UPDATED 29 Jun 2015 - 3:26 PM

Tasmanian lawyer Michael Mansell has rejected a nomination for an Australia Day Award on moral grounds.

“How can someone on principle say they will accept an award when that award is part and parcel of the celebration of the victory of one race against the demise of my people,” says Mr Mansell.

Mr Mansell is in the running to be named Tasmania's Senior Australian of the Year, for his work in improving the lives of Palawa people.

But he says to accept the nomination would be hypocritical.

“The only significance of January 26, the day of the celebrations, is it's the day that the white people came from England and invaded the lands of Aboriginal people.

"If I take part in the celebrations of Australia Day by accepting that award then I can be criticised as joining in with the celebrations," says Mr Mansell.

"They’re making me an offer I can’t possibly accept."

The Tasmanian lawyer also opposes the new heritage legislation recently released but the Tasmanian Government.

“The government is saying it’s for the benefit of Aboriginal heritage. Everybody in Tasmania knows that that’s false,” says Mr Mansell.