Matter of Urgency: Progressing Treaty and Truth

Jacinta opposes Senator Thorpe's a Matter of Urgency to progress Treaty and Truth-telling in the Senate on 27 November, 2023

On 14 October, 60.3 per cent of Territorians said No.

Much has been said by the Labor government, who have tried to claim that the majority of Indigenous Territorians voted yes in the Northern Territory. In actual fact in Lingiari, where this claim has been made, 56 per cent of registered voters turned out. So 35,000 registered voters out of a total of 80,000 registered voters turned out to vote.

This tells me, as a senator of the Northern Territory, that the vast majority of Indigenous voters in remote communities chose not to vote at all because they didn't believe in the proposal that was put before them.

In South Australia, 64.17 per cent said no; in Western Australia, 63.27 per cent said no; in New South Wales, 58.96 per cent said no; down in Tasmania, 58.94 per cent said no; in Queensland, 68.21 per cent—about seven of every 10 people—said no; and even in Victoria, 54.15 per cent said no.

A total of 60.06 per cent of Australians said no. They said no to division. They said no to separatism. They said no to the Voice. And they said no to the Uluru statement - in full.

Yet there seem to be some in this building who think that result was somehow unclear. Even worse, there seem to be people in this building who think we don't need to listen to the result.

There are people here who still treat Indigenous Australians as if we all think the same and want the same. We do not. Yet this Albanese government seems intent on continuing its activist agenda with complete disregard for the will of the people it is meant to represent. It is moving forward in complete indifference to the real and urgent needs of Indigenous Australians living in remote and rural Australia.

Practical examples have been provided, like a royal commission into the sexual abuse of Indigenous children. We hear about a royal commission conducted by the Yoorrook commission. Why then does this government fail to acknowledge that Indigenous children experience the highest rates of sexual abuse in the country? Why does this government not want to know a thing about it? It talks about listening to Indigenous Australians, and yet we have the member for Lingiari having to apologise to the principal of Yipirinya School who looks after the most marginalised children within the community. The elders of that school have been screaming out for support, and yet we hear platitudes about listening and working with Indigenous Australians. It's all lip service.

There still is no plan.

We've wasted 18 months through a referendum and no action on the ground for our most marginalised. We can't continue to waste time with talks of treaties and truth-telling when the truth is that there are people—children, women, men—suffering right now. They're suffering because we have the highest rates of black-on-black violence in this country, but let's not address the elephant in the room. Let's pretend it's something else.

Well Australians, including Indigenous Australians, have had enough of the talk. They've had enough of the division. They've had enough of the virtue signalling, the grand gestures that offer little in way of practical outcomes. They want us, those of us who have been elected, to improve the lives of everybody in this country. They want those of us in this building to come together to work on real and practical solutions to improve the lives of our most marginalised.

We know how to fix these issues, so can we stop this nonsense and just crack on with it please.