No more excuses: Lambie calls for action on Indigenous seats


Senator Jacqui Lambie has slammed Prime Minister Tony Abbott over calls to delay a proposal for dedicated indigenous seats in federal parliament.

Related: Scullion open to discuss dedicated Indigenous seats in parliament

The Palmer United Party senator is calling for indigenous political representation to reflect the population.

Indigenous Australians make up about four per cent of the population, equating to nine of the 226 seats in both houses of parliament.

Senator Lambie, who spoke of her Aboriginal heritage in her maiden speech to parliament, said the call for an agreed upon time frame from Mr Abbott was “absolutely rubbish”.

“I don’t want to hear the prime minister’s excuses,” she said.

“… He’s got enough staff up there to make this happen."

Addressing media on Monday, Senator Lambie also criticised Mr Abbott for the period taken to address constitutional recognition for Australia’s Indigenous people.

“This has been going on for years and years and years,” she said. "I don’t know why he’s stalling on this.”

The Tasmanian senator has previously cited New Zealand's Maori seats in parliament as evidence the policy would work.

'Let’s really hit it from all sides'

New Zealand has Maori electorates, consisting only of Maori voters - however Maori can also choose to vote in general electorates.

Senator Lambie said that under a similar system, Australia could address Indigenous inequity, particularly round mortality rates and social issues.

“I’m looking at seats all around, in the Senate and in the House of Reps,” she said.

“Let’s really hit it from all sides.”

Her comments coincide with the Prime Minister’s visit to Arnhem Land, where he will spend the week meeting with Indigenous communities and representatives.

Speaking from the outskirts of Nhulunbuy on Monday, Mr Abbott said it was “far too soon” to be committing to Senator Lambie’s proposal.

“I think it’s far too soon to be talking about the specifics of the proposal, let alone the government committing,” he said.

“I think the immediate priority is to try to work out a time frame.”

Speaking to ABC television, Mr Abbott said the “worst thing that could happen here is for a proposal to go forward and get defeated”.

I know what's in my blood’

Senator Lambie also addressed allegations that she is fabricating her Indigenous heritage.

Her claims to be linked to the Mannalargenna people have been questioned by Aboriginal elder and direct descendant, Clyde Mansell.

Mr Mansell has challenged Senator Lambie to provide proof, which she says isn't necessary.

Speaking to the media on Monday, Senator Lambie accused Mr Mansell of going into hiding after his challenge.

“I know what's in my blood,” she said.

“If Mansell wants to take me on, then I guess I’ll meet him up at the hospital and we’ll both have a DNA test.”

- with AAP.

Source World News Australia

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