14 Dec 2018

Aboriginal elder disappointed with deportation order

11:02 am on 14 December 2018

An influential Aboriginal elder says a young man of her tribe will be cut off from his land and spirits if he's deported to New Zealand.

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Brendan Thoms, the 30-year-old father of one, is in immigration detention in Brisbane after his criminal conviction for domestic violence cost him his visa. Photo: RNZ/Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Brendan Thoms, the 30-year-old father of one, is in immigration detention in Brisbane after his criminal conviction for domestic violence cost him his visa.

Thoms' father is a New Zealander and his mother Jenny is a member of the Gunggari people of southwest Queensland.

Lynette Nixon, who was recently named Australian female elder of the year, said her people will do everything they can to stop Brendan Thoms being sent to New Zealand.

"His mother would probably be my third cousin," Ms Nixon said.

"And we actually have native title over our land, so he is actually a native title holder.

"I understand he was born in New Zealand, but your roots are your roots and he belongs to this country and that's it."

Ms Nixon said Thoms had served his prison time so should not be penalised this way, adding no Aboriginal should ever be deported.

Thoms "belonged" to his people's land, and would never properly belong in New Zealand.

"This is where his spirits are, this is where his home is - here," she said.

Ms Nixon' tribal committee will approach the Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs - Nigel Scullion - to intervene, said the 69-year-old grandmother, who has founded 15 organisations including the the Aboriginal Housing Company.

"We'll do whatever we can.

"I'll have a yarn with some of our mob, see if ... someone can go down and see him ... he's one of the mob."

Thoms' lawyer has filed a High Court writ seeking a declaration that it is unconstitutional to deport any Aboriginal person.

Australia's Home Affairs Department which oversees immigration did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.