Labor and the Greens have refused to stand up for Indigenous land rights or condemn racial vilification by opposing a Coalition motion criticising green groups for calling supporters of the Kimberley gas mine “toxic coconuts”, The Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Senator Nigel Scullion said.
“The shameful attack launched against Indigenous leaders such as WA state MP Carol Martin and former Kimberley Land Council chief executive Wayne Bergmann is nothing short of disgraceful,” Senator Scullion said.
Senator Scullion said the motion moved in the Senate yesterday would have resulted in the Australian Senate registering condemnation for all acts of racial vilification, as well as calling for greens groups such as the WWF, the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Conservation Council of WA to stick a 2007 promise to allow traditional owners to make a deal on the Woodside gas hub, if that was their wish.
“Traditional landowners signed a deal in June with the WA government and Woodside – a great act of self determination for the future of the Indigenous people in the Kimberley region,” Senator Scullion said.
“Instead of praise for owners making a positive move for their future, they instead copped appalling racial slurs.
“How can the ALP and the Greens refuse to single out and condemn such behaviour?
“They have refused to condemn it by opposing today’s motion.
“The ALP and the Greens are all talk – they say they support Indigenous people having self-determination on what happens with their land, but that support quickly vanishes if it is something they disagree with.
“The Greens hatred of mining trumps all other considerations including self determination for Indigenous people.
“The Greens want Aboriginal Australians to continue to live like museum artefacts, preserved solely in traditional wildness, instead of supporting them to pursue economic opportunities to rise out of poverty.
“In a bizarre statement, Labor Senator Joe Ludwig said the government supported the deal done by the traditional owners and condemned racism but said they could not support the motion because it was important everyone respects the right of traditional owners to reach agreements to share in the benefits of major developments on their land.
“That was exactly our motion so Senator Ludwig must have been confused somehow about our motion#, or more likely not wanting to upset the Greens.
“These communities and traditional owners have signed a deal they hope will help find a path for a brighter future and that self determination should be backed and respected by the ALP and the Greens,” Senator Scullion.
Media contact: Russel Guse – 0438 685645
# For reference:
The Coalition motion:
That the Senate—
(a) calls on the Australian Greens and green groups, including the World Wildlife Foundation, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Conservation Council of Western Australia and the Wilderness Society, to honour the promise they made in 2007 with the traditional land owners of the Kimberley, to respect the decision of the Indigenous community in its response to Woodside Gas‘s proposal to process gas at James Price Point in the Kimberley;
(b) recognises the right of the traditional land owners of the Kimberley to use that land to create economic prosperity and employment opportunities for the Indigenous people of that region for generations to come; and
(c) expresses concern that Indigenous people who have exercised this self determination and accepted a single hub at James Price Point have been victimised, unfairly pressured by some green and conservation groups and subjected to racial vilification through being referred to as toxic coconuts‘ in publicly distributed material.
Senator LUDWIG: Native title holders are entitled to share in the prosperity that a major development on their land brings—jobs, economic development opportunities and income streams. Properly invested, it can all flow from mining and other developments. That is why we welcomed the recent native title agreement between the traditional owners, the Western Australian government and the developers of the proposed Browse Basin natural gas development. The government absolutely condemns racism in all its forms. It is important that everyone respects the right of traditional owners to reach agreements to share in the benefits of major developments on their land. For this reason, the government did not support this motion
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Greens and Labor refuse to condemn racial vilification in the Kimberley.pdf