Labor candidate's claims of aboriginal heritage disputed by her own family

Relative of Lauren O'Dwyer dumbfounded by her indigenous claims

Labor candidate's claims of aboriginal heritage disputed by her own family
Facebook / Lauren O'Dwyer Labor for Richmond
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Dan Andrews has become embroiled in an argument about ethnicity after one of his candidate's claims to be Indigenous was disputed by relatives.

Victoria Labor candidate Lauren O’Dwyer has sold herself to voters in the battleground seat of Richmond as “a proud Yorta Yorta woman”.

The ABC reported that O’Dwyer claimed her Indigenous heritage came from her great-grandfather Graham Berry.

But Berry’s daughter, Joan Keele, has said her father was not Aboriginal and had never claimed to be.

"I was really surprised when I read on Facebook that she was … a proud Yorta Yorta woman," Keele said.

"My father was not … Aboriginal. His father was born in Swan Hill and his mother was born in Richmond.”

She said Yorta Yorta country was located about 100 kilometres from Swan Hill.

"So he's nowhere near Yorta Yorta country. We had a good relationship. We could chat about anything and everything, but (he)never, ever mentioned that."

The ABC reported that O’Dwyer claimed to have documents proving her Aboriginality but declined to provide them.

"I know who I am and am proud of my heritage," she told the ABC.

Premier Daniel Andrews defended his candidate, claiming identity was “complex”.

"I'm not going to speak for her, it's not appropriate,” he said.

“That's a matter of her identity and she's been very, very clear about who she is and where she comes from."

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  • By Avi Yemini

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