Thursday, 8 November 2018

Yet another minister compromises the Morrison Coalition Government

On becoming Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, employing the Trump doctrine of appointing foxes to guard hen houses, retained Northern Territory Nationals Senator Nigel Scullion as Minister for Indigenous Affairs.

A politician with a long history of voting for the oppressive Intervention in the Northern Territory and the introduction of cashless welfare cards into Aboriginal communities, as well as unsuccessfully voting to weaken protections in the Racial Discrimination Act and voting against changing the date of Australia Day.

As far back as 2006 he voted for the the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment Bill which was seen as making significant changes to the existing land rights legislation which has the potential to compromise the rights and interests of Indigenous people living inthe Northern Territory.

This is the result.....

The Guardian, 2 November 2018:

The Indigenous affairs minister, Nigel Scullion, has used money earmarked for alleviating Indigenous disadvantage to fund a fishing industry lobby group he used to chair.

He approved a grant of $150,000 to the Northern Territory Seafood Council so it could argue how it would be negatively affected by land claims – claims he opposed during his time in the role.

Under the NT Land Rights Act, those who consider a land claim would have a negative impact on their business or personal interests can argue a “detriment” case about how their future access to income, land or water would suffer if the claim were approved.

A group of six land claims in the NT have been held up – some by almost 30 years – by unresolved detriment issues.

Scullion chaired the NTSC from 1994 to 2001, and gave statements or appeared in person to argue detriment in at least two of the claims.

As minister he approved grants of $150,000 to the NTSC, $170,000 to the NT Amateur Fishermen’s Association, and $165,000 to the NT Cattlemen’s Association for “legal fees, effectively … to put forward a case of detriment to the land commissioner”, as he told a Senate hearing last week.

The money was taken from the $4.9bn Indigenous advancement strategy, which is supposed to “improve the way the government does business with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to ensure funding actually achieves outcomes” – according to the government’s website.

Parties who wish to lodge detriment claims are able to seek financial support from the Attorney General’s Department.......

This latest revelation follows close on the heels of this disastrous vote in the Senate.

NT News, 22 October 2018:

CALLS for Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion to resign have been graffitied on his Darwin office.

It comes after the Territory Senator voted for a widely-condemned One Nation motion last week declaring “It’s OK to be white”.

The motion, brought forward by Pauline Hanson, also claimed “anti-white” racism was on the rise in Australia.

The phrases have been used by far-right groups to stoke racial division.

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