Katter labels Voice ‘Paternalistic, Tokenistic, Divisive’

May 31, 2023

Katter’s Australian Party MP Bob Katter said the Voice to Parliament, which passed the lower house on Wednesday “made him uncomfortable,” as he didn’t believe it would address the needs of the “fair dinkum First Australians” in the community areas he represents.

Mr Katter said: “After weeks of hearing from my community on the issue it’s ironic that I cop a bad bout of the flu when the vote is up in Canberra. However, what I’m hearing loud and clear from my community is that the whole idea is tokenism, paternalism and divisive to it’s core.”

Mr Katter has for decades advocated and tried to provide a “voice” for First Australians, with his calls for improved health and nutrition to increase the life expectancy from 56, and access to freehold land for those in community areas falling on deaf ears.

“Has anyone asked the people in Doomadgee what they want, or the people in Mornington Island what they want? And if they did, they’d probably say – a decent feed, with their life expectancy at 56.

“When I went out and asked them what they wanted – they said freehold title, private individual, freehold title. Yet the governments of Australia have imposed tribalism upon them.

“When I asked them what they want, and I went through every community and held public meetings with two or three hundred people, they wanted their market gardens back.”

Mr Katter has previously labelled the Voice as “paternalistic, separatist and tokenistic.”

“This is so the ‘we’ll look after you brigade’ can feel good about themselves. Well, we don’t want you looking after us. Give us the right to self-managed communities.”

In November last year, Mr Katter invited to parliament, two First Australian women from Aurukun to share their voice and then in March, he invited Doomadgee Aboriginal Shire Council chief executive Troy Fraser and members from his neighbouring Gulf shires to parliament. They presented to government a series of basic improvements their communities required such as disaster evacuation centres.

“Did anyone listen to their voice?” Mr Katter asked.