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Leave to Move Motion Forthwith

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 30 March 2023

Tags: No Confidence Motion, Tasmanian Aboriginals

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Speaker, on the seeking of leave, this is an incredibly important motion. The minister has forced this on us today by his actions, his words and his failure to act.

I pay my deep respect to the palawa Tasmanians, to representatives who stand in the Chamber today because of their protest to the words of this minister of the Crown who purports to represent them. The minister has failed to condemn the racist comments of the CHAC and Brumby Hill Aboriginal Corporation, which deny the very existence of the two women who stand behind us. They deny the reality of Tina's family who were driven from Cape Barren. Her father was taken from her grandparents as part of the Stolen Generation. She has been sitting in the Chamber, shaking and crying in that reserve behind us, thinking about the impact of the words of this minister on her children and grandchildren.

What has been said in this Chamber by this minister will echo beyond here. It is a slur on all the Tasmanian Aboriginal people. We have a grave responsibility. We have come so far and worked so hard to get to the point of the pathway to truth-telling and treaty, which this Premier, Jeremy Rockliff, so strongly committed to after Peter Gutwein committed his government to progressing this process.

Yet we now have colonisation in real time. We have a minister who has disgustingly gone into base politics. He has said this is about parties' views. This is about the reality of what happened in Tasmania, the brutal colonisation of this island and it is clearly ongoing. This is about politics. This is about this minister aligning himself with an organisation that says being a Tasmanian Aboriginal person is a false premise, that the very construct of being Tasmanian, a palawa, is a fallacy.

Rodney Gibbins wrote to the same minister telling him of his outrage, on behalf of the palawa community, at the slanderous document he read, submitted by CHAC and Brumby last year, on the question of a model for returning land to Aboriginal people in Tasmania. Rodney told the minister very clearly that it vilifies the palawa community and denies the very existence of Tasmanian Aborigines.

The Premier has never met with tuylupa tunapri, the group which Rodney Gibbins and others were elected to by palawa Tasmanians in a widely consulted process, a strong and widely agreed group of people. Rodney Gibbins, the chair of the group, wrote on 22 March:

I am bitterly disappointed, Minister Jaensch, in your continued disrespect, echoed in your correspondence not only to me but to Cape Barren Island Aboriginal Association. You said you wanted a unity of purpose between palawa and government. It can't be done without resources. You have hand-picked people from an organisational list to participate in your government-led process. The appointment of this group has been created to suit the Government's agenda. Your behaviour has been malevolent and deceitful in the way you conduct yourself at your meetings and with the promises and commitments you have made, only not to carry through with.

The palawa community is being deliberately excluded by you and your Government from current consultations regarding treaty and truth-telling. Any treaty or truth-telling, to be effective, must have consultations that are honest and meaningful, and need to be led and managed and supported by the palawa community.

He finishes by saying:

I can only come to the opinion that you and this Government are not serious about establishing a treaty process and truth-telling process that will give real outcomes to not only the palawa community but the broader community. Because of your actions, we do not trust the Government.

How much clearer does the palawa community in Tasmania have to be? They have no confidence in this minister. We have no confidence in this minister. He has junked the incredibly important and hard-won process of treaty and truth-telling. He has thrown his hat in with a community who only recognises themselves and their own desire. They deny the existence of Tasmanian Aboriginal people and they are just about gaining access to land like sacred takayna, Aboriginal middens that they trash with four-wheel drives. This is about them.