When Callum Clayton-Dixon returned to Australia from overseas recently he used a homemade passport.
The Aboriginal man says he was warned on June 30, after returning from the Solomon Islands, that if he made a false declaration he would be fined and prosecuted.
However, all he did was tell the truth, he says.
“I just kept on insisting I’m an Aboriginal person returning to my country on my Aboriginal passport, and this is the travel document I’m choosing to use,” he told SBS.
While the Australian government does not recognise the Aboriginal passport as legal documentation, the immigration department says if a traveller enters Australia without a legitimate passport, “their entry is permissible” if their Australian citizenship is later confirmed.
“Although certain conditions will apply,” an immigration office told SBS.
The department says on its website that “as an Australian citizen you must always leave and enter Australia on an Australian passport.”
The passport Clayton-Dixon carried was issued by the Aboriginal Provisional Government, an organisation established in 1990 to campaign for self-determination and self-government.
While unofficial, the group has run out of the self-made documents “due to high demand”.
According to the APG Aboriginal people can re-enter Australia using its travel document, “but not without some form of harassment from officials”.
“While it is possible to travel overseas with the Aboriginal passport, another passport should still be carried with you for backup. The Aboriginal passport has been used to enter several countries including Libya (1988), Switzerland (1990), Norway (1990), Mohawk nation (2014), and the Solomon Islands (2015).”
Here’s a look at the APG passport, similar to the one Clayton-Dixon used.
Clayton-Dixon is chairperson for the APG.
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