Annie Young | Turnbull intent on silencing First Peoples

There is much despair around the nation at the moment concerning the behaviour of the federal government and the leadership of Malcolm Turnbull. Politicians should also have to earn their stripes, and they’re not doing so at present.

Policy suggestions are aired and never heard of again; all we hear is internal bickering and one-upmanship.  We are fast falling behind the world in many critical areas where government should be making decisions, but no one is leading us.

Too many pollies are tied up in inextricable knots with factions of all kinds; bolshies, conservatives, union bosses, lobbyists, party hacks and die-hard one-eyed believers.  

In the latest astonishing turn of events, our smooth-talking PM has firmly renounced that a constitutionally-recognised First Nation’s ‘voice’, as recommended by the Referendum Council at Uluru, be enshrined in the Australian parliament.

Turnbull’s response? ‘That it is neither desirable nor capable of winning acceptance as a referendum’.

Where did Turnbull derive his information to so quickly dismiss this central recommendation of the Aboriginal leaders following their landmark meeting at Uluru.

Another possible policy decision scotched instantly by the PM. 

I felt such despair for our First Peoples at yet another rejection by white people with power over those who have lived here for more than 60,000 years.

Indigenous Australians have been seeking a direct ‘voice’ to Parliament in order to influence, inform and shape legislation and policy as it pertains to Aboriginal affairs.

This has been, up to now, the missing ingredient in the important recognition of indigenous people to represent and speak for their own interests when decisions are made about their people. It is an eminently just and reasonable suggestion. They should be recognised in the Australian Constitution.

There is power in finding your own voice and this abrupt rejection by Turnbull without any consultation with the leaders of this Referendum Council shows an arrogant government, but also one in crisis, not prepared to make decisions or lead this country forward.

Turnbull has evolved into a Nervous Nellie, seemingly incapable any longer of hearing his own voice. He once spoke out so strongly on so many fronts, all of which he has since relinquished, and tragically that includes indigenous rights.

How disappointing for our Aboriginal leaders that they have proposed a legitimate and reasonable way to move Aboriginal rights forward, only to find themselves hamstrung by a weak prime minister.

Prime Minister Turnbull is following the long-standing tradition of silencing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

What on earth does Turnbull mean when he suggests that recognising an indigenous voice and vision in the constitution would somehow undermine ‘equal civic rights’ in this country?

He is drawing a long bow there, considering how many years equal rights never were and continue never to be part of the ‘equal civic rights’ of indigenous peoples.

Can we remind our PM of examples of policy injustices? Think stolen land, stolen children, stolen culture, stolen wages, stolen languages and stolen lives, disempowerment and dispossession, reminding ourselves of our failures as a nation in our treatment of our First Peoples.

Show us some leadership PM. The power to change this is in your hands.

ANNIE YOUNG