• Shareena Clanton is an Australian film, television and theatre actress. She currently stars in Wentworth as Doreen Anderson. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Analysis: The verdict is in: Wangkathaa, Yamatji, Noongar and Gitja woman Shareena Clanton killed it on last night's ABC Q&A.
Madeline Hayman-Reber

20 Feb 2018 - 4:46 PM  UPDATED 20 Feb 2018 - 5:16 PM

I, like many other journalists, have enjoyed this ‘Barn-a-baby’ political kerfuffle, mostly because memes.

But now it’s kind of turning into a nightmare we can’t escape, and with Mr Joyce on leave for a week there’s nothing new except for a lot of discussion, speculation and angles.


So when I turned on Q&A I knew that we were going to examine the whole bloody thing for the 1000th time! Yay!

But although last night’s episode spent a good three quarters talking about the ‘Bundle of Joyce’ (thanks Daily Telegraph) and electricity prices (boring), Barnaby Joyce isn’t the name on everyone’s lips today.

It’s none other than Actress, Wangkathaa, Yamatji, Noongar and Gitja woman, and the new hero of many - Shareena Clanton.

In a question put to the panel by Mick Scarcella, he basically asked when the Government was going to pay attention to Indigenous issues.

“Malcolm Turnbull disrespected Clinton Pryor who walked across the country for a year to discuss Indigenous issues. He dismissed the Uluru Statement from the heart, and just last week, snubbed the Stolen Generations Apology breakfast in Canberra,” Mr Scarcella began.

“He’s since threatened the Labor Party with taking Indigenous issues to the next election in a game of political football. Is this the sign of a leader who truly wants to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage or hold his colonial foothold on the oppressed Indigenous population, which has been the case for 230 years?”

And this is where things got real.

Shareena was first asked to comment, and launched into a passionate tirade against the Government that lasted over 3 minutes.

 “The Gap report shows that Indigenous men will die 10.6 years less than their non-Indigenous counterparts,” Shareena began.

“I as an Indigenous woman have the odds stacked up against me. I’m 9.5 years less life expectancy than my non-Indigenous counterparts.

“This Close the Gap initiative, which was meant to bridge, close the disparity in terms of Indigenous health, welfare and education, has only broadened.

“Six out of the seven targets have only been met. Six. That is not good enough. Malcolm Turnbull walked out of the Close the Gap report, walked out of the Uluru Statement From the Heart.

“When do Indigenous people get a social, cultural and economic empowerment and voice in Parliament? We’re asking to deconstruct the systems that exist. We’re asking to be invited to the table.

“The Indigenous Advisory Body wouldn’t hold any political sway whatsoever; it’s an advisory body for members of Parliament who are already in a position to influence the Parliamentary decisions.

“I’m really tired of non-Indigenous members in Parliament, like ‘Nick’ Scullions, who didn’t put it to a vote, who didn’t bother to poll it, because they’re instincts told them that it wouldn’t work.

“So I don’t know how you bridge the gap in child mortality, I don’t know how you bridge the gap in terms of Aboriginal people are still struggling to have a voice. We are the sovereign owners of this country. I am a Wangkathaa, Yamatji, Noongar, Gitja. We have never ceded sovereignty.

“I am tired of begging and asking for our humanity. When is it enough? My mother, at 31 went back to law school. I’ll tell you about closing the gap because it’s coming from Indigenous peoples, not from initiatives created in Parliament.

“As an Aboriginal woman, went back and became the first Indigenous female state prosecutor in Western Australia. I’m a daughter of 5 girls. Every single one of us is in university. My sister is in medicine at the moment, my two younger sisters are about to graduate, my twin sister is a university graduate.

“I have qualified through university, I’m about to go into my honors at Curtain University. So in terms of closing this gap and this healing that they want to create – there’s no healing going on.

“When you apologise, you do not do it again. The thing is that with the stolen generations we are still having Aboriginal children forcibly removed from their homes without consultation from their parent or guardian and going straight into the system.

“Aboriginal people are still denied the basic human rights in accordance to the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights for Aboriginal people.

“The fact that the UN have absolutely slammed Australia in terms of it’s treatment of Aboriginal people is a disgrace.”

Things then went back and forward for a while between the other panelists, but the general online consensus was that Shareena killed it.

So here’s to every single one of us who are out there Closing the Gap ourselves.

You can watch the whole thing unfold here:


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