House debates

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Statements by Members

Closing the Gap

1:42 pm

Photo of Adam BandtAdam Bandt (Melbourne, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

Today, I want to start by acknowledging the traditional owners of this place and pay respect to, and recognise, elders past, present and emerging. I also want to acknowledge that this place sits on stolen land, that sovereignty was never ceded and that it's time for treaties with our First Nations communities. Today the Prime Minister addressed the House regarding our progress as a nation in closing the gap with our First Nations people. It's deeply saddening that, yet again, we gathered to hear the news that we're not on track and that disadvantage and inequality remain. Simply, in too many respects, we are failing to close the gap.

It's no surprise to see these results today, because, until this government stops discriminating against First Nations people, we cannot close the gap. This is a government that continues to advocate for the discriminatory and punitive cashless debit card, which unfairly targets First Nations communities and restricts their freedom and dignity. You don't address inequality and injustice by removing people's rights. We cannot close the gap until we get serious about acknowledging and addressing the historical injustices upon which our nation is built. The Greens are deeply committed not only to closing the gap but to achieving a voice to parliament, treaties and truth, as First Nations communities have advocated for. This government is failing to close the gap, and every single day that it allows discriminatory and harmful policies to continue to harm First Nations people we'll only get further away from justice and equality in this country.