Tuesday, 17 October 2023
Questions without Notice
First Nations Australians
on indulgence—We offer our best wishes to the Attorney-General.
My question is to the Prime Minister. In committing to implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full, the Prime Minister has previously claimed:
There can be no real progress on Closing the Gap and there can be no Reconciliation without Treaty and Truth-Telling.
Will the Prime Minister be honest and upfront with Australians and inform the House whether or not he remains committed to a treaty and truth-telling process?
ESE (—) (): I've got a question about the Uluru Statement from the Heart from the Leader of the Opposition. What I have said very clearly is that I will give respect to Indigenous Australians, who have asked for a week to consider their position—I think that is pretty reasonable—and that we then have a process of consultation.
One of the things that I've been committed to is the agency of First Australians, not making them just disappear from the process, and that's why I've found some of the rhetoric that was used during the referendum so concerning. The idea that the Uluru Statement from the Heart was created by the Labor Party or by any individual there wipes out from history the work that Indigenous Australians did themselves. They were asked by Prime Minister Abbott to work on the form of recognition that they wanted, and that is what they did in 2017, and my position is clear about that.
It stands in stark contrast with the Leader of the Opposition. Now, it's not clear to me what his position is. It changes all the time. It changed between yesterday and today. In fact, it changed between Sunrise and today—more flip-flop than a thong factory, this bloke. After saying yesterday that the second referendum was off, this morning he said this:
… I know that there's a lot of interpretation on this, but the Liberal Party's gone to elections—every election since John Howard was leader—with the same policy—
they just never did it—
I think it is a respectful thing to do, it remains our policy …
That's what he had to say. And then he went on to say you could only do it when you've got support from Indigenous leaders. He just asked a question saying, 'Ignore Indigenous leaders; don't speak to them about what you're going to do.'
More anger from the Leader of the Opposition! But he went on. He didn't just say it once; he said, 'And that remains our policy.' He went on to say, 'There's nothing new or tricky or changed here,' and then he changed it when he went on the Today show. He can't keep a straight line between Channel 7 and Channel 9. You flick the dial and you get a different answer. On one, you get two referendums; on the other one, you get just one. (Time expired)