Tuesday, 8 August 2023
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Indigenous Australians. The minister has previously said that the makarrata commission's work is 'really code for treaty without saying it'. Can the minister explain this statement?
Y (—) (): I thank the member for Farrer for her question. What I have to say is difficult to listen to. We support the Uluru Statement from the Heart. We support constitutional recognition through a voice. We support makarrata, and funding has been allocated in line with our election commitment. The reason that we need a voice is that for far too long governments have made policy for Indigenous Australians not with Indigenous Australians, and the Voice can change that. We need a voice because there is a life expectancy gap of eight years between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians—
On relevance, Mr Speaker. The question didn't mention the Voice. The question asked you, with respect, to explain your previous statement that the makarrata commission is really code for treaty. So, with respect, the answer needs—
I remind all that standing orders are not to reflect on the chair. The minister was asked a question to explain her comments and her statements. It's up to her to answer that way if she sees fit. I'm listening carefully to her. She has mentioned makarrata. I'll give her the call, but I will listen carefully to make sure her answer is relevant.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I have certainly mentioned makarrata and funding allocated to makarrata. I was speaking about life expectancy. We need a voice because the suicide rate for our people is twice as high. We need the Voice for people like Kaya, Betty and Adele Sandy, who lived at Doomadgee in north-west Queensland. All three women had been diagnosed and lived with rheumatic heart disease four years. Tragically, all three women died from complications of rheumatic heart disease in 2019 and 2020. It is a disease that has all but disappeared from non-Indigenous communities. Ms Sandy was 37 and the mother of four children. I know their loss is still felt in Doomadgee, and I extend my sympathies to their families and the entire community.