• Federal MP Bob Katter reintroduced a Bill which will make it illegal to sell fake, imported ‘Aboriginal Style’ art. (NITV News)
Federal MP Bob Katter reintroduces a Bill which will make it illegal to sell fake, imported ‘Aboriginal Style’ art.
By
NITV Staff Writer

12 Sep 2017 - 4:45 PM  UPDATED 12 Sep 2017 - 4:46 PM

Mr Katter’s move comes in response to calls from First Australian groups, Indigenous Art Code, Arts Law Australia the Copyright Council of Australia.

It is estimated that 85% of what is sold in souvenir shops and as Indigenous Art, is fake and imported.

The push comes in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games to prevent the market being flooded with fake Aboriginal arts and crafts.

“I am sick of buying my grandchildren woomeras that won’t throw a spear, boomerangs that won’t come back, and bullroarers that don’t roar." 

Mr Katter said the sale of imitation and fake art deprives the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders one of the only remaining income streams for First Australians.

“I am sick of buying my grandchildren woomeras that won’t throw a spear, boomerangs that won’t come back, and bullroarers that don’t roar. So, firstly, we would like to give our tourists, whether they are Australian tourists or overseas tourists, a bit of genuineness in the product that we sell”.

Under Australia’s Competition and Consumer laws it is not illegal for imports to be sold, so long as they do not claim to be authentic and have a label stating where they are made.

The Competition and Consumer Amendment (Exploitation of Indigenous Culture) Bill 2017 makes a range of amendments to the Competition and Consumer Act which will prevent non-First Australians and foreigners from profiting from the sale of Indigenous art, souvenirs and other cultural items.

“First Australians can’t get a title deed off any Federal or State Government in Australia. I issued 800 in two and a half years when I was a Minister... So they can’t get any income from that source, but they can from their art which has become very valuable indeed," Mr Katter said.

“We have a Namatjira style art which is very, very culturally identifiable as First Australian artwork which has been copied in China, India and Indonesia and has been replicated a million times and being sent into Australia and sold as genuine First Australian art.”

“If this Bill goes through, no longer will they take our culture and our art away from us."

Mr Katter says that Indigenous art that is produced, marketed and sold as authentic when it comes from foreign countries meant all the jobs were overseas.

“What this Bill will achieve is that no longer will those jobs go overseas, they will remain here in Australia and Indigenous art will remain the property of our First Australian peoplem," he explained.

“If this Bill goes through, no longer will they take our culture and our art away from us and I think every single person in Australia will agree with that proposition.”

Not long ago there was widespread condemnation over a Chanel boomerang priced at nearly two thousand dollars, with community backlash on social media and outrage from Indigenous communities across the nation.

RELATED ARTICLE:
COMMENT: Don't invest in Chanel, invest in our culture
Breakfast television defended Chanel's controversial 'boomerang' as simply 'filling a gap in the market', but Madeline Hayman-Reber argues that whether its designer or in a souvenir shop - all fake art does is clog the Indigenous art industry.
 

Recently in America, US senators called for a major crackdown on fake Indigenous art and now people in Australia have taken to social media in outrage over fake Aboriginal artwork and the detrimental impact it has on culture and employment.

Mr Katter reintroduced the Bill which was first introduced into Parliament in February 2017, but has since expired off the notice paper. Mr Katter’s introduction of the Bill into Parliament has resulted in the issue being examined by the House Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs.

“All we get is inquiries in this place. Nothing ever happens. We want action on this and I thank my I thank very much my colleague on the crossbenches for her support in this matter and her very great commitment to what is a cause of fairness for our First Australian peoples.”

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