EVICTED FOR BEING WHITE
By ANDY PARKS firstname.lastname@example.org TERRI FRANKS was still mourning the death of her husband when she was given notice she and her five children were to be evicted because of the colour of her skin.
Terri and her family have lived in their Goonellabah home for 10 years, a house which is owned by the Bundjalung Tribal Society. Terri’s husband Barry Franks was a Kamilaroi man who met all the criteria for subsidised housing through the society. He died unexpectedly on November 21 and two weeks later Terri was told she would have to attend a meeting to discuss what was going to happen to the house.
“I was told that because I was not Aboriginal, I might not be able to stay,” she told The Northern Star.
“I went to the meeting and was told we would have to move out by May 4.”
Mrs Franks took her friends Norton and Mim Bolt along to the meeting for support, as well as her children, but they were told they weren’t welcome. Eventually Norton was allowed to stay.
Mrs Franks appealed to the society to reconsider. She asked if there was a way to put the lease in her eldest son’s name because he satisfies three of the four criteria in the housing policy.
But she was told it was an old policy and her son didn’t fit all the criteria in the new policy.
“They didn’t want to listen. They wouldn’t reason,” she said. “When I asked for a copy of the new policy they said ‘no’ because I was white.”
Norton Bolt was able to get a copy of the housing policy on her behalf and he later pointed out several points in the rules which appeared to leave the way open for the family to be allowed to stay.
But Mrs Franks has since received a letter from the%society confirming they are to be evicted.
“They could have at least%given us six months’ time for healing and then tell us what they’re going to do. I can’t%believe they’ve done this.”
A letter from the Bundjalung Tribal Society to Mrs Franks states: “Unfortunately we are dealing with a very sensitive issue and after careful consideration and discussions for the past two months, Bundjalung Tribal Society Housing Corporation Ltd Board of Directors has had to make this delicate decision.”
Mrs Franks has decided to continue her opposition to the eviction demand.
The Northern Star made numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact the Bundjalung Tribal Society over a number of days to discuss the issue.