Indigenous leaders say that the father of AFL superstar Dustin Martin has no Aboriginal heritage, but may still have a case to return to Australia.
Shane Martin, 52, was deported to New Zealand in 2016 with authorities citing his criminal record and former links to the Rebels bikie club.
He returned to his native country, where he had stayed until Sunday evening, when he tried to slip back quietly with a lawyer in tow.
He claimed that he had a native grandmother and that, therefore, a recent Supreme Court ruling meant that he had been deported incorrectly.
Shane Martin (right), the father of AFL star Dustin (left) has claimed to be native, which is a big win in his attempt to be admitted back to Australia
Michael Mansell, president of the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania, said he did not believe that Mr. Martin was a Tasmanian Aborigine
The Age reported Tuesday that Mr. Martin and his three sons, including Dustin, received certificates in December 2016 that confirm their Aboriginal status by the Aboriginal Corporation in Tasmania.
But that organization was canceled two years ago, according to Michael Mansell, president of the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania, who said he had never heard of the body.
Mr. Mansell said he did not believe that Mr. Martin was a Tasmanian native.
“No, of course not,” Mr. Mansell said The Australian on Tuesday.
But he said that Mr. Martin could still have a lawsuit because of the Supreme Court ruling and the government’s previous willingness to accept people like Aboriginals based on their own testimony.
“The effect is that if someone like Shane Martin says” well, I’m an Aboriginal “and the federal government accepts it, the Supreme Court says you can’t kick them out of the country,” Mr. Mansell said.
The former rebel boss flew from New Caledonia to Sydney on Sunday (photo), claiming that he had an indigenous grandmother and that he was therefore wrongly deported in 2016
Martin and his three sons – including Richmond star Dustin (left) – received certificates in 2016 that showed that they had Aboriginal heritage
Another indigenous leader Heather Sculthorpe, chief executive of Tasmanian Aboriginal Center Task Force, said there is no evidence that Mr. Martin has Aboriginal heritage.
“We would never have certified Shane Martin as Aboriginal, we have never seen any evidence that he is Aboriginal,” she said.
“No one in Tasmania has ever heard that he is Aboriginal.”
Interior Minister Peter Dutton slammed the door for Martin after his failed attempt to return to Australia on Sunday.
“Part of the reason we kick out people with serious criminal history, like Mr. Martin, is that we want to make sure that people don’t commit crimes again in our country,” Dutton told the Nine Network on Tuesday.
“I think he has a false claim, but that’s a claim for him,” he said.
Dutton is convinced that the court’s decision will not pave the way for the father of the Brownlow medalist from Richmond to return.
“We have now canceled the visas of about 5,000 people, many of them involved in illegal motorcycle gangs, who are the largest distributors of amphetamine, ice in our country, destroying lives,” the minister said.
“It is a very clear message that if you come to our country as a Kiwi, an American citizen, as a citizen from anywhere in the world and you commit crimes in our country, you can expect to be deported.”
Shane ‘Kiwi’ Martin embraces Australian actress Rachel Griffiths reacts after Richmond victory in the AFL Grand Final 2019
For the second time in three years, Dustin won a premiership medal and the Norm Smith medal for the best on the ground in the Grand Final
KICKED OVER THE SWITCH AND THE BACK
2016: March – Shane Martin is deported from Australia because of links to bikie and criminal groups
December – Martin and his three sons receive certificates that confirm that they have Aboriginal heritage
2017: September – His son Dustin wins the Brownlow medal, the highest individual prize in the AFL
– Just a few days later, he leads his Richmond team to victory in the Grand Final and receives the Norm Smith medal as the best on the ground
2018: July – The High Court annulled an appeal by Martin Snr for his decision to cancel his visa
2019: September – Richmond wins a second premiership in three years and Martin is again named best on the ground
2020: February – An important Supreme Court ruling states that people of Aboriginal descent cannot be deported
– Martin Snr returns to Australia, but is restarted to NZ, despite claiming to have indigenous heritage
Mr. Martin was sent back to New Zealand on Monday morning for the first available Qantas.
At no stage did he provide any evidence of his native heritage, officials said.
The High Court accepts biological descent, self-identification and whether or not a person has been accepted by an indigenous community in Australia as proof of indigenous status.
Martin Snr was born in New Zealand, but considered Australia to be home after he moved to New South Wales at the age of 20.
He joined the infamous rebel motorcycle gang, eventually ascending to club president, and had three children in Australia, including superstar Dustin.
In 2016, he was kicked out by the then Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and was forced to build a new life for himself in Auckland.
At the time, his superstar son won two premierships with Richmond, the highest individual honor in the AFL – the Brownlow Medal – and two Norm Smith medals for the best on the ground in the grand finale.
At the time his father is overseas, Dustin has won two premierships with Richmond and the highest individual honor in the AFL – the Brownlow Medal