Senate debates

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Matters of Public Importance


5:02 pm

Photo of Malarndirri McCarthyMalarndirri McCarthy (NT, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I guess gagging me is something that the government wants to do twice today, unfortunately. Imagine what the government is doing to First Nations people across the country. When we try to have our voices heard, whether it's in our local neighbourhoods, in our local communities or at the highest levels of parliamentary structures and institutions, we're put down. We're told to sit down. 'You can't speak. You can't even speak for one minute. Heaven forbid!' Have a think about that. Now, that is symbolism. That is symbolism in terms of what you as a government are doing—and how you could be working better with First Nations people in this country.

Use that photo opportunity of sincerity, of genuine engagement, of reaching out. Reduce the high incarceration rates of First Nations people using your national cabinet, which you have so successfully done over many months to eliminate COVID in our country—or, at least, to the best of our ability. Use the national cabinet to talk about how we can reduce the high incarceration rates of First Nations people in Australia, because you've shown you can use it. So don't dismiss us, don't gag us, don't tell us we can't speak. Please, make NAIDOC 2020 something else to remember as for the betterment of all Australians.


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