27.08.18 TONY ABBOTT NOT THE ‘ENVOY’ FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE NEED

In the next chapter of divisive chaos in the Liberal party, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has attempted to buy off wrecker Tony Abbott with a special but undefined role as an ‘Indigenous affairs envoy’.
 
Labor is seriously concerned about appointing the ex-self-appointed ‘Prime Minister for Indigenous affairs’ to the role of ‘envoy,’ given his ignorant, hopeless and frankly offensive track record on Indigenous issues.
 
As Prime Minister, he cut over $500 million from Indigenous programs in the 2014 federal budget.
 
And who can forget his profoundly offensive comments in 2015, claiming that people living in remote communities without adequate services were making a “lifestyle choice” while defending his government’s decision to close up to 150 remote communities.
 
Then, there was last year when ex-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull rejected the Uluru Statement, and Tony Abbott backed him saying:
“In my judgment, the government has made the correct decision not to proceed with the establishment of a separate, constitutionally entrenched body to represent indigenous people.”
 
The suggestion that Tony Abbott could act as some kind of messenger or representative for First Nations people is condescending to the overwhelming number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who support the calls for a Voice to Parliament and a Makarrata Commission to oversee truth-telling and agreement-making – both of which Mr Abbott has not supported.
 
This is yet another example of the Liberal National party playing a game with themselves, placating each other’s egos and trivialising First Nations people’s concerns and long ignored calls for justice and recognition.
 
First Nations people deserve better. Labor will deliver better.
 
MONDAY,  27 AUGUST 2018

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