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Wednesday, 6 December 2017
Page: 9925


Senator CHISHOLM (Queensland) (15:59): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator CHISHOLM: Labor will not be supporting this motion. Labor support Australia Day and we have no plans to change it. We understand the importance of a national day and we know that many Australians take pride in Australia Day. But we also understand that for many, including many Indigenous Australians, Australia Day is a day which represents a history of dispossessing and suffering. We cannot ignore that and we will not ignore that. But we will not engage in the silly political games of the Greens, attempting to make a political plaything out of reconciliation.

Labor supports a process of truth telling as part of our nation's healing. It is why the Leader of the Opposition has expressed support for the recommendations of the Referendum Council which call for a Makarrata Commission to oversee the process of truth telling and agreement making. It is why we are focused on closing the gap. It is disappointing that the Greens are so focused on these issues and not on jobs, health care and education. Rather than playing silly games about councils and radio stations, Labor is focusing on the work that needs to be done to progress a meaningful process of engagement with Indigenous Australians.