PARLIAMENTARY REPRESENTATION - Qualifications of Senators
Posted in Pat's Speeches | November 14, 2017
We don't have a word for 'goodbye' in my language. But we have the word 'kaliya', which means 'we'll see you when we see you'. This side of Jacqui's heritage, the Indigenous side, is what I'm most aggrieved to see go. Yes, there is Scottish and Irish—everyone else around here has all of those things—but the history of the first nations peoples, the Indigenous peoples, which is caught up with Jacqui's history, is simply put to one side because we have a Constitution that refuses to recognise the first peoples. And on the crossbench we have stubborn opposition to that recognition. We have a senator who has come from a terrible history of genocide and denial on the one side—and on the Scottish side, no doubt, has links to Braveheart and other people.
It's an absolute tragedy that our Constitution was written by all these white folks who never bothered to consider and incorporate the first peoples in it. We have this legacy that we are going to have to fix. Jacqui's leaving means the rest of you bear this responsibility—along with me and Senator McCarthy, from the Northern Territory. This is not only a moment to recognise and praise you, Jacqui, as people have done today, and acknowledge the great work you have done for veterans and others and the privilege of being in your company; it is also a day for us to think about our Constitution, let alone recognition of the first peoples. For so many conservatives in this part of the world, it is a case of 'if it isn't broken, don't fix it'. Well, friends, we've got some issues here! Today is a reminder that that side of Jacqui's heritage is also being denied, as well as her rights as an Australian who fought for this country.
Question agreed to.