17 Feb KAP WILL NOT SUPPORT “SEPARATIST” VOICE
Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) has announced its MPs will not support the Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter said the party could not support the “separatist, tokenist and paternalist” agenda sought by the Voice and some of its supporters and believed Australia’s strength lay only in its unity.
Mr Katter said First Australians were the original custodians of the land and must be considered equal to their fellow countrymen and women in every way.
He said it was to Australia’s shame that it took so long for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to be recognised in the Constitution, having only been provided a national right to vote in 1967.
“The events of our past have seen us, the Australian people, build one of the most successful civilisations the world has ever known,” Mr Katter said.
“We must use an understanding of our past, good and bad, to move forward and continue to build prosperity, security and the Australian way of life for generations to come.
“We are not convinced that the Voice to Parliament – and the ensuing arguments around Treaty, sovereignty and self-determination – are occurring in the spirit of unity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
“Instead, these agendas serve only to divide us and the KAP will not participate in that.”
Mr Katter said the KAP was genuinely committed to assisting First Australians, including the multiple Indigenous communities its MPs were elected to represent.
“The issues facing First Australians, particularly in rural and remote communities, are extreme: intergenerational poverty, welfare dependency, joblessness, high rates of violence and crime and shocking health outcomes and mortality rates – none of these problems require a Voice to Parliament to address,” he said.
“Whilst our politicians and parliaments are imploding over the tokenistic Voice debate – our First Australians are suffering; it is the ultimate distraction.
“This is a national shame, and I would challenge anyone pedalling the Voice as a solution to these crises to visit Doomadgee, Alice Springs or Aurukun to explain just how their lives will be changed should it get through.”
Next week, Mr Katter’s Working with Children (Indigenous Communities) Amendment Bill 2022 – designed to break down unfair barriers to employment in Indigenous communities – will be debated in the Queensland Parliament.
The Traeger MP said he was keenly awaiting to see how far the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s support for First Australians went, and if they dealt in deeds as well as words.
The KAP has long had a five-point policy for urgently addressing quality of life, employment and health outcome issues for Queensland’s Indigenous citizens.
- Addressing title deed issues in Aboriginal communities (at present people cannot own homes in places like Doomadgee due to land use restrictions);
- Breaking down barriers for First Australians accessing work due to Blue Card system over-reach and other systemic issues;
- Immediately acting on youth crime across the state, by circuit breaking the current cycle and amending the Youth Justice Act where needed (including enacting Relocation Sentencing as an alternative option);
- Moving to control the cost of food and groceries in Indigenous communities (where goods are often double the cost of regional centres), including the establishment of community-owned market gardens;
- Analysing, acknowledging, and addressing the failings and issues associated with Alcohol Management Plans (AMPs) which, while an effective tool in a crisis, have in many instances negatively impacted local health outcomes and safety in these communities rather than improve them
Photo caption: KAP MPs in Cairns today – Nick Dametto, Bob Katter, Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth.