In a speech that left much to be desired, Labor Minister Linda Burney's address to the National Press Club highlighted a critical aspect of addressing indigenous disadvantage: the need for decisive action rather than relying solely on a voice in Parliament advocating for failed policies.
Our leader Senator Pauline Hanson expressed her disappointment, noting that Minister Burney's speech failed to provide compelling evidence that a constitutionally-enshrined voice would bridge the existing gaps and challenges faced by indigenous Australians.
"Minister Burney acknowledged the persistent gaps in crucial areas such as life expectancies, healthy birthweights, educational attainment, and employment opportunities," Senator Hanson stated. "However, she offered no substantial evidence to support the claim that a 'voice' would be the solution. What she failed to acknowledge is that this proposed 'voice' would likely consist of the same indigenous elites, like herself, who have been responsible for designing and implementing ineffective policies for decades. Enshrining more of the same in the Constitution won't lead to any real change."
To truly make a difference, Senator Hanson emphasised the importance of taking decisive action to close these gaps. Initiatives such as cashless welfare and alcohol restrictions have shown positive outcomes, including reduced alcoholism, improved child nutrition, decreased domestic violence, and better overall health. However, Labor abolished cashless welfare and lifted grog bans, resulting in a worsening situation.
The industry that currently receives over $30 billion annually to address indigenous disadvantage lacks the necessary will to enact change. This is because ending the status quo would disrupt the financial benefits it receives, and ministers who possess the power to act are often paralyzed by fear due to the influence of this industry.
While Minister Burney spoke about her expectations and desires for the proposed voice, she also claimed it would be independent. However, if the voice is truly independent, it should not simply echo the minister's wishes. The minister's request for "ideas" from the voice seems to disregard the possibility that those ideas could be flawed and perpetuate the cycle of failure that has persisted for decades.
Unsurprisingly, Minister Burney proceeded to lecture Australian journalists at the Press Club on how to report on the referendum debate, cautioning against allowing the "no" campaign to divide the nation. This comes across as hypocritical, considering the division Labor's own referendum proposal has generated. Furthermore, she implied criticism of the media for not reporting negatively on a radio comment made by Senator Hanson about meeting a "true black" Australian.
One of the reasons Senator Hanson has been advocating for a more objective definition of an indigenous Australian is to prevent individuals from falsely claiming indigenous heritage for personal financial gain. True indigenous Australians have expressed their concerns about identity fraud in this context, and action is needed to address this issue.
It is evident that Minister Burney, as a Labor representative, holds the belief that the media should only convey what aligns with Labor's interests. This mirrors former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's constant complaints about News Ltd's coverage, displaying a profound disregard for the Australian people's intelligence and their ability to discern information from various media sources.
Labor's ongoing attempts to restrict freedom of the press and speech, evident in their communications legislation amendment bill, along with Minister Burney's call for limitations on how the media reports on the referendum debate, demonstrate a lack of trust in the Australian people. Labor's fear of democratic scrutiny is apparent in these actions. It is crucial for Australians to send a strong message to Anthony Albanese by voting "no" to his personal vanity project.
Addressing the gaps and achieving meaningful progress requires more than rhetoric and proposals. It necessitates genuine action, evidence-based policies, and trust in the Australian people to make informed decisions.