Indigenous groups in South Australia are in disbelief this week after the South Australian opposition Aboriginal Affairs minister made calls for extreme measures to protect Australia Day.
Opposition Aboriginal Affairs minister Steven Marshall, who is also the leader of South Australia’s Liberal party has made a shock announcement that if his party is elected in the 2018 March elections he will make it illegal for councils to make changes to Australia Day.
This comes after numerous councils around Australia have been debating and voting on how Australia Day should be celebrated in their electorates. Some of these councils have taken a more diplomatic approach by allowing celebrations to continue with the exception of citizenship ceremonies which would be shifted to a more respectful date.
The opposition ministers announcement has not only shocked Indigenous groups but it has also come as a shock to other ministers in South Australia with some labeling the announcement as extreme.
In case you are confused about who this article is about. It is about Steven Marshall who is the “opposition Aboriginal affairs minister”. We are saying this again because of a request from the current Labor Aboriginal Affairs Minister who has a media representative who feels our headline is misleading and somehow points to the S.A Labor Aboriginal Affairs minister even though our headline does not mention S.A.
@welkam2kantri your headline on SA Liberal Aus Day policy is story is incorrect. The Aboriginal Affairs Minister did not announce this.
— Rhett Burnie (@RhettBurnie) October 25, 2017
Indigenous leaders are in total disbelief too. How can someone who is the so called Aboriginal affairs minister be campaigning for these extreme measures to protect Australia Day? The ministers views are non-democratic and are more like that of a dictator. Should we be calling him the Dictator of Aboriginal affairs?
Cheryl Axelby, the Chief Executive of the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement has questioned his leadership and says that she is alarmed he has taken this stand without any apparent consultation with Indigenous groups. Another Aboriginal leader Tauto Sansbury, accused Mr Marshall of chasing the popular vote instead of trying to understand Indigenous views about why Celebrating Australia Day on January 26th is highly insensitive.