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Monday, November 12, 2007

Aboriginal voters will abandon the Labor Party in droves by Sam Watson


Aboriginal voters will abandon the Labor Party in droves and vote for the minor parties on election day, because of the failure of Kevin Rudd to offer any real alternatives to the dictatorial and racist policies of the Howard government.

Rudd lives and works in Queensland, which has the largest Indigenous population in Australia, yet he has been nowhere near us. He is going to need every vote he can get in this state and yet he has treated Aboriginal voters with complete contempt. He’s no different to “Honest John”.

This year is the 40th anniversary of the 1967 referendum, which was a watershed for the struggle for Aboriginal rights and, I warn the major parties that Aboriginal voters will use our vote to punish them both for neglecting the needs of the Indigenous community.

Our people have really suffered under PM John Howard. Over this past 11 years our living standards have plummeted, unemployment is close to 90% in some of our communities, we have urgent needs in housing and education and health standards are fourth world. Our people are dying of conditions that haven’t even been seen in the white Australian community for five or six decades and yet this Labor Party mob isn’t even interested in sitting down with us and telling us what they’re going to do for us.

The Socialist Alliance has a policy platform that is designed to deliver real and lasting outcomes to Aboriginal people and their families.

There are massive opportunities across this state for our people to connect with government and the private sector, to start community-run businesses and really empower themselves. You look at places like Palm Island and you wonder why the community council hasn’t been resourced to set up low impact, eco-friendly tourism ventures that could employ hundreds of Aboriginal people.

Leaders and elders of Aboriginal communities will be advising our people to turn away from the major parties and talk to the smaller parties.

Our people need to be respected and we need to know what these big-shot leaders are going to do for us. There are pockets of Indigenous voters in most of these marginal seats that the ALP has been working and yet they haven’t even had the courtesy to drop in and have a lousy cup of tea with us. So we’ll be remembering that on election day and we’ll be looking elsewhere. The major parties are two peas in a very crook pod.

Sam Watson

[Sam Watson is the lead Socialist Alliance Senate candidate for Queensland.]

From: Comment & Analysis, Green Left Weekly issue #731 14 November 2007.

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