The Rann Government was trying to have the Parliament acknowledge on every sitting day that the Aboriginal people are the traditional owners of the land on which Parliament House is built.
“This is just another example of political correctness and of rampant political tokenism by the Rann Government,” Liberal MLC Rob Lucas said today.
“At a time when we confront a global financial crisis, it is typical of Premier Mike Rann and his Labor Government that they would see this issue as a priority at this time.
“Sadly, it is just another example of how out of touch the Rann Government is on the priority issues facing South Australians.
Rann Government members raised this issue at a meeting of the Aboriginal Lands Parliamentary Standing Committee, which is chaired by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Jay Weatherill. At its November meeting, the Committee suggested that each sitting day after prayers the following statement would be read out:
“We would like to acknowledge that this land we meet on today is the traditional land of the Kaurna people. We acknowledge the Kaurna people as the custodians of the Adelaide region and we respect their spiritual relationship with their country and the continuing importance of their heritage and cultural beliefs.”
“It is understood that the Committee was going to write to the Speaker and President of the Legislative Council with the above suggestion,” Mr Lucas said.
“This proposal from the Rann Government follows similar action already implemented by the Rann Government, where on many public occasions Mr Rann and other Ministers make a similar acknowledgement at the start of their speeches.
“Mr Rann’s proposals have also reached the ridiculous stage where some committee meetings of public servants in their workplace have to be opened with a similar acknowledgement before the meeting commences!
“These examples of political correctness and tokenism of course do nothing in practical terms to tackle the many genuine problems confronting some Aboriginal people.
“This proposed change by the Rann Government will only be able to be achieved in the Legislative Council if Members of the Legislative Council agree to changes to the Standing Orders to implement these changes.
“Whilst the Liberal Party has yet to confirm its attitude in either House of Parliament to the Rann Government proposal, my personal view is that I will be opposing it strongly and publicly.
“It is time for Mr Rann to get his priorities right and tackle the real issues of concern to South Australians and stop wasting our time on stunts like this one.”