Tuesday, 12 March 2013
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Indigenous Affairs. Is the minister aware of media reports that police armed with guns and tasers literally lined up First Australians and searched them for alcohol and contraband and of a mayor referring to excessive intervention, including flying in a dozen tactical police—and all of this whilst two mayors are under charges and a further was in a confrontation aired on national television? Would the minister not agree that First Australians have been failed, a failure albeit exacerbated by provocation by the Queensland government, a continued position of discriminatory intervention and a refusal to provide perpetual freehold title—a right enjoyed by every Australian, and most people on earth, but not by First Australians? (Time expired)
I thank the member for Kennedy for his question about a very important matter, and yes, I am aware of the issues that he has raised. This is a very serious matter and one that I know the member for Kennedy feels very strongly about, as I do. There is horrific damage being done in Indigenous communities as a result of alcohol abuse—
I withdraw. I state again to the member for Kennedy and to those opposite that the level of violence endured by women and children in Aboriginal communities is the responsibility of each and every one of us. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to make sure that they do not have to suffer in the way they have suffered day after day.
The member for Kennedy has already taken his one point of order; the member will resume his seat. The member has already had his point—
Mr Katter interjecting—
Each question is allowed one point of order on relevance; he has already taken it. The minister is attempting to answer the member's question. If he seriously wants an answer, perhaps he too could listen in silence. The minister has the call.
It is a very important issue and, of course, the Queensland government has recently opened up the question of alcohol management plans. This issue is open to very significant debate in Queensland. In fact, I met with the Queensland Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs just this morning. We talked about these issues and I made the point very clearly to him—and I will make it to the parliament today—that our priority is to make sure we reduce harm. That is what we are on about. That is the priority of this government—to make sure that Aboriginal women and children living in remote communities will no longer be subject to the level of alcohol induced violence that they have been subject to. That is our priority and it will continue to be so.