11 May 2023
The vexing but vital issue of genuine Indigenous identity will fester during the Voice referendum period and for a long time after unless – and until – Parliament settles the question of what defines an Indigenous Australian.
This week, a gutless Senate denied the introduction of my legislation providing a clear definition of an Indigenous Australian.
I developed this bill because many Australians, Indigenous and otherwise, are telling me they want this issue settled. They want a definition of Aboriginality.
Many Australians are appalled at non-Indigenous people falsely claiming Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage for personal gain. There is plenty of evidence that this occurs, and a look at census figures provides a revealing snapshot. Since 1971, the number of people identifying as Indigenous has risen 700 per cent – a virtual impossibility. From 2016 to 2021, the national population rose 8 per cent while the number of people identifying as Indigenous rose 25 per cent.
With Anthony Albanese doing everything he can to trick or guilt Australians into supporting his personal vanity project at the coming referendum, many people are rightly asking who will be eligible to be on the Voice, or vote for delegates where voting is required.
Indigenous identity should not be a box-ticking exercise. This is a culture that has endured and survived for thousands of years, and people shouldn’t be able to casually identify as part of it simply by completing a statutory declaration or ticking a box on a form.
By denying the introduction of this bill, by stifling this critical debate, Labor, the Greens, the Coalition, and crossbenchers have effectively said a Senator who represents a state of more than five million people may not introduce legislation or speak on the floor of Parliament.
The only other Senators who had the courage to bring this critical Voice issue to a debate were Malcolm Roberts and Ralph Babet.
The Coalition has been a bitter disappointment. Ahead of the vote, I was assured of their support by senior Liberals, but they fled the chamber … except for those who disgracefully joined with the Left and the crossbench to deny the introduction of this legislation or refer it to a committee for inquiry.
I’ve had it with these cowards. The Coalition always does this – it promises support, then fails to follow through on that support. Later, it takes One Nation’s policies, re-brands them, and puts those policies forward as their own.
From this point on, One Nation is going to show the Coalition the price of lying to my face. I’ve already put Peter Dutton on notice about the behaviour of the Coalition.
Those who denied my legislation are operating as a dictatorship, not a democracy, and are running interference for a predatory and unaccountable Indigenous industry that takes $33 billion a year from the taxpayer while completely failing Aborigines in need, particularly in remote communities where disadvantage is entrenched.
While this might be something the North Koreans would be proud of, the cowards who denied this urgent and necessary debate should hang their heads in utter shame.