Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 November 2022) . . Page.. 3740 ..
Statement from the Heart. My motion calls on members to endorse the Uluru Statement from the Heart. We all know that the Canberra Liberals are so directed by their federal counterparts that they cannot have their own views on these things. I note that Mrs Kikkert spoke to Peter Dutton’s rule book on this and has not acknowledged any aspect of these parts of the motion.
With respect to what my motion calls on the ACT government to do, both the “calls on” are for the government to explore and work with our local Aboriginal community, to build grassroots momentum. People are not being called on to vote either way; it is a referendum. It is up to individuals as to how they vote. Mrs Kikkert used particular voices in our community and acknowledged their different views. Absolutely; everyone has different views. That is why a referendum is very important. But the thing about this place is that our roles here are to be leaders and to support this Uluru Statement from the Heart, and what has been years of work, after decades and decades of dispossession and colonisation.
The motion could have been amended in many ways; instead the Canberra Liberals are seeking to remove the entire motion. I think this is a sad day for our Assembly, when we cannot get tripartisan support on this.
I will make one more point. It is important for the Hansard to reflect, and important for the community to know, that I gave the Canberra Liberals this motion early last week. I gave the Greens this motion. I thought I should give everyone as much chance and opportunity to come at this fairly and squarely, to think about it, to think about it in their party rooms, and to think about it as individual MLAs. This amendment is a week’s worth of work for the Canberra Liberals. They have come up with this—to completely oppose and disregard it.
MR PARTON (Brindabella) (5.17): In speaking to this motion and the amendment, I want to say that I stand here as a descendant of the Noongar people of Western Australia. It is my understanding that I am the only member of this parliament who is a descendant of First Nations people. I would acknowledge that I do not identify as being Aboriginal, but I am extremely mindful of my Aboriginal heritage and in recent times I have connected much more deeply with the Noongar community in Western Australia.
Dr Paterson’s motion is extremely—dare I say it—black and white, in that it assumes that there is only one way forward, that being the proposed path from the Albanese government. It also assumes that the homogenous group classified as “Aboriginal Australians” are all on the same page with this push, and they are not. They just are not.
Mrs Kikkert spoke about a variety of views in various Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. I have had many conversations with people from my mob about the Uluru statement, about the voice to parliament. I have had deep conversations around campfires, and I can tell you that there are a number of Noongar elders—I can name some of them: David and Jack Collard, and even Kevin Fitzgerald to some extent—who absolutely endorse the vision of the voice to parliament, and they will be strongly campaigning for a yes vote in any referendum.