It seems the question of whether or not new Indigenous Affairs
Minister Mal Brough has Aboriginal heritage is all a matter of opinion,
conjecture and confusion within the Minister’s own family. Just ask
his sister. Crikey has discovered that Brough’s sister, Carol Stubbs,
who is a prominent member within the Western Australian Aboriginal community,
does identify herself as Aboriginal, but says that her brother shouldn’t have
to.

Stubbs told Crikey this morning that she considers herself to have
Aboriginal ancestry but also admitted that she has no definitive
proof, and that she was relying on word-of-mouth family history.

“I’ve done some research, but I only know what my grandmother has told
me… that her father (my great grandfather) was black,” Stubbs told
Crikey. But she stressed the new Minister was not incorrect in saying
he
didn’t know for sure. “Malcolm is right in saying that there is nothing
definite in our background,” she said. “We couldn’t say definitely.”

Stubbs, who has sat on the board of Western Australia’s Kalgoorlie Bega Garnbirringu
Health Service in recent years, has played a large
part in Western
Australian Aboriginal health services, along with her Aborignal husband Greg Stubbs. In order to sit on the board of
an Aboriginal corporation or company you need to identify as yourself as
Aboriginal; have indigenous heritage; and be accepted by the Aboriginal
community. In other words, you have to be Aboriginal.

Stubbs said she has been accepted by her local Aboriginal community and
that she identified with their culture and heritage. This is something
that Brough has definitely not done – at least up to this point – and
it’s a possible reason why he’s been so reticent to talk about this issue thus far.

The Minister’s office confirmed that Carol Stubbs was indeed Brough’s
sister, but when asked how the Minister could explain the difference
between his sister’s position on their family heritage and his own
position we were told the minister had nothing more to add.

Peter Fray

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