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Hypocrisy from Premier on Aboriginal Heritage

26 May 2016

Thursday 26 May 2016

Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr HODGMAN

[10.12 a.m.]

You have rightly condemned the vandalism of priceless Aboriginal rock art at Nirmena Nala cave site, saying it is difficult to imagine what could motivate someone to undertake such a senseless act.  Community attitudes are so often formed by community leaders and governments.  You came into government promising to reset the relationship with Aboriginal Tasmanians.  How can you condemn this vandalism when you and your Cabinet colleagues have not only cheered on the destruction of Aboriginal heritage in the Tarkine by irresponsible off-road vehicle users but are also using taxpayer funds to keep fighting in the courts for the vandalism to continue.

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for the question and appreciate the opportunity to speak a little more about this issue, but not before refuting the assertions made by the member for Denison.  It is entirely unfounded to suggest such a thing.  The latest incident is utterly unacceptable, the result of mindless, thoughtless, senseless vandalism, something that we as a government, and I am sure the broader community, do not want to see occur.  We are very serious and sincere in our desire to reset the relationship of the Tasmanian Government with the Aboriginal people of Tasmania.  They are advancing a number of reforms and initiatives in that regard and will continue to do so.

In relation to the protection of Aboriginal relics, Minister Groom is actively working, as I hope the former government did, through reforms and improvements to that legislation on a number of fronts.

Ms O'Connor - We were going to ditch the Relics Act and you want to tart it up.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  The member has asked a question and the Premier is trying to answer.

Mr HODGMAN - You did not.

Ms O'Connor interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  I warn the member for Denison, Ms O'Connor.  I am not going to stand for constant interjections.

Mr HODGMAN - The record shows you did not do what you said you wanted to do in government. 

Ms O'Connor interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  I have just warned the member.

Mr HODGMAN - You were unable to.  We are determined to progress important reforms across a numbers of areas and that includes.

Ms Woodruff - Do something about the Tarkine.

Mr HODGMAN - We are doing a lot.

Madam SPEAKER - Order, This is not a time for debate.  I do not want to have to start evicting members again.

Mr HODGMAN - If you want me to articular our agenda, I will do so.  We are attacking issues that former governments were afraid or unable to advance. 

What has occurred is entirely unacceptable.  It is a terrible act of wanton vandalism against the very important values that are very close to the Aboriginal people of Tasmania.  I am sure  it is one that all Tasmanians would rightfully condemn.