Tasmanian lawyer and activist Michael Mansell claims any Aboriginal person who accepts an Australia Day award is abandoning principle for personal glory.
He has rejected his own nomination for an award on moral grounds.
Michael Mansell has been nominated for Senior Australian of the Year, especifically for work in improving the lives of Tasmania’s indigenous community.
Mr Mansell says he is grateful for the nomination but says it would be hypocritical for him to accept the award.
“Given that they are so inextricably linked to the coming of one race to the expense of of another on January 26,” he said.
He goes further, claiming any Aboriginal person who accepts an Australia Day award lacks a social conscience.
“It’s like asking the Palestinians to accept an ‘Israeli of the Year’ award.”
He says it would be legitimate to accept an award if there were a treaty between indigenous and white Australians.