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Monday, 19 September 2011
Page: 10444


Mr KATTER (Kennedy) (11:41): I am very pleased that Dr Leigh spoke before me because I am going to take his speech and distribute it to all of the Aboriginal councillors, first Australian councillors, in my electorate. It demonstrates magnificently towering ignorance and complete nonunderstanding and nonsympathy.

I seldom do this, but I cannot help but mention that all of the advisors to the ALP sitting over there are all what we call 'migaloos', every single one of them. I met 32 senior officers of the department dealing with first Australian affairs, and two of them—only two—were nonmigaloos. So we have the white fellas looking after us again, telling us, as the last gentleman told us, that we all need an education. Let me inform you, Sonny, that I worked in mining; I was a miner before I came into politics. That was one of the three things I did before I came to this place. I tell you what, I did not have a shred of education to tell me how to mine. He thinks it is funny; he is laughing.

Dr Leigh: I am not laughing.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): The member for Kennedy cannot verbal someone.

Mr KATTER: The industries of North Queensland are cattle and mining. I worked in the mining industry and I would say 90 per cent of the people at the lead smelter—and that is a sophisticated operation compared with actual mining where you sort of drive a truck and a two-boom jumbo—I would say that three would have had tertiary education out of about 200. So much for education digging us out of the hole.

Maybe there have been some university graduates riding horses—in fact, the bloke who won the university medal actually does ride a horse, the highest pass ever recorded, and he is a good mate of mine. But he would agree with me that 99.98 per cent of the people riding horses and running the cattle industry have probably not even completed 12th grade. So you are going to tell us that we will all get an education and that will dig us out of the hole? Do you realise the towering ignorance of what you have just said? I would leave the chamber too if I were you.

Tourism is the third aspect. I know a lot of people in tourism. As the honourable member over here said, yes, we will get a bit of tourism out of throwing spears and boomerangs and those sorts of things. But when I went to school they never taught me how to throw a boomerang or a spear. It is not part of the educational curriculum. You might argue that it should be. He then said, 'We're moving forward.' Moving forward? We are back to the bad old days. We have one set of laws for blackfella Australians and another set of laws for whitefella Australians. Apparently it is quite safe for whitefellas to have pornography and alcohol, but it is very unsafe for the blackfellas. They cannot handle it. We had laws which delivered the ownership of every one of the community areas—and I look to my colleague the member for Leichhardt here—to the duly-elected local council with the machinery to devolve that to private ownership, with a title deed just the same as everyone else on planet Earth has. This gentleman over here said that we had gone forward. I will tell you how much we have gone backwards. In 1989, if you lived on Doomadgee or Mornington Island or Palm Island or Aurukun, your council—duly elected by you—owned that area, with no frills, no complications but just absolute freehold title. Now they do not. Now all of those areas are legally owned by appointees at the discretion of the minister—not even the governor and council but a minister of the Queensland government. So the Queensland government now owns the four or five million hectares of North Queensland that were supposedly owned by the first Australians. What a criminal theft! Those are Noel Pearson's words, actually, but he beat me to it; I would have liked to have used that phrase first. It was a criminal theft by the state government of Queensland, and we are trying to get the money together now to yard them and sue them for the theft of that land.

That is not the end of the story. They are not content to take the land back, and they now have a trust arrangement whereby an appointee of the minister is the trustee, the legal owner, and the beneficial owners are the first Australian people. That is a trust. A trust is used for little children who are not capable of running their own affairs. When they grow up and get to age 21, the trust vanishes. As this gentleman said, we need time. How much time do you need, you whitefellas? You have had 200 years; how much time do you need? He has had 200 years and he said he needs time. The children are being taken away. We in this place had the arch hypocrisy. I really felt like spitting or walking out of here or doing something to bring attention to the fact that here we were apologising for the theft of the children. The children in New South Wales and Queensland are being thieved now at twice the rate that they were thieved in the old days. Have we gone forward as far as ownership of land goes? No, we have had the land completely thieved off of us. We have gone backwards as far as anyone can go.

I need to return to the land, because Tommy Geia, a great Australian on Palm Island, got me aside last weekend and he said that every single person in an Aboriginal reserve community had to sign a document saying that they have to agree to pay all the rents—or rates, if you like, because if you are going to live in a house you have to pay some money to somebody. It is not going to be paid to the local council anymore; it is going to be paid to the whitefella administrators in the state government in Cairns and Townsville and Brisbane. So what do we need a council for? We are going to close them down, aren't we? We are going to amalgamate them, as the recommendations of the ALP state government have put forward. We will amalgamate them, which simply means closing them down. And the honourable member for Leichhardt will tell you that up in the Torres Strait it is a farce. Self-management now is a farce. We delivered to those people the self-management on every one of those islands. They had their own self-management. Even little tiny islands like Stephens and little tiny communities like Seisia were given self-management. They were given complete control over their own affairs. They had a lot more power than local government. They had power of the local police, for example. We gave these people the power, and the power has been completely taken off them in the Torres Strait. They are now run by a centralised bureaucracy, manned in the main by whitefellas on Thursday Island. That is how much we have moved forward, my friend.

I return to the ownership of the land. If the federal government is to build a house for you, you have to hand the land over to the state government; otherwise the federal government will not build a house for you. The only way we will build a house for you is if we thieve your land off you. I ask you, please, because you are nodding at me, to check it out. That is the agreement. All of the councils decided unanimously to oppose it—except one dingo mob who were hiding outside because they were taking their running from a whitefella CEO. Except for that dingo mob, I think it was 26 who voted unanimously to reject the proposition. Of course they rejected it! If you people would honour your promise, then the number of houses in Doomadgee, for example, would double—if we take you at your word and you are going to build 2,000 or 3,000 houses throughout Australia. But with the new Doomadgee, half the town will now be owned by the state government outright, completely, for 40 years. And you people agreed to it. You imposed that condition upon these people.

I will give you a sharp contrast with past Labor governments. When I rang up Gerry Hand, when I was minister, and I said, 'This is what we want to do,' he said, 'Mate, that sounds like a real good idea.' (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): I call the member for Parramatta.

Mr Katter: I'd dearly love another 30 minutes.

The SPEAKER: The member for Kennedy will listen in silence, as everyone did during his speech, or I will remove him.