• File image of Jacqui Lambie in the Senate. (AAP)
Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie says dedicated Indigenous seats in parliament must become policy.
By
Andrea Booth, Michelle Lovegrove

Source:
NITV News
31 Mar 2015 - 4:01 PM  UPDATED 25 Jun 2015 - 4:08 PM

"You tell me 'why we can't have Constitutional recognition [of Indigenous Australians] and why we can't have dedicated Indigenous seats in this country,' and you'd better give me a damn good reason why we can’t have both," Ms Lambie told NITV News.

Lambie's comments come after moves to set up her own political party which the Australian Electoral Commission confirmed today she wants to register as the Jacqui Lambie Network.

But Linda Burney MP - one of Australia's longest serving Indigenous politicians - says that while she admires Lambie's tenacity and acknowledged there were not enough Indigenous people in Australian parliaments, she questions whether mandatory quotas are the best way forward for Indigenous Australian rights.

"I haven't been hugely in favour of dedicated seats I have to say, I think there is a question about getting into a parliament on merit, I think there is a question about how it is seen if there [are] dedicated seats," she said.

Both politicians agree on at least one policy initiative. They believe the government needs to respect the decision of First Australians who choose to live in remote communities.

"People wanted to go back to country, and that is what's being completely ignored in this, is the wellbeing of Aboriginal people living on country, the cultural importance of Aboriginal people living on country," said Ms Burney.

Lambie adds, "White Australians [need] to give right of way and listen to what the Indigenous are saying. This is what they want."

The Western Australian government under Premier Colin Barnett and South Australian government under Jay Weatherill are considering closing small communities after the Abbott government made the states and territories responsible for the provision of basic services.