State Secretary of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, Ms Ruth Langford, said today, “It is with a heavy heart that the Aboriginal Community of Tasmania awake this morning. Last night the Green/Labour Government chose to introduce a bill that will further remove the Community from our cultural birth responsibility and rights to care for and protect our own Heritage and Culture”.
Ms Langford said, “What was particularly hurtful was the way the Government chose to introduce the bill that has dishonoured our people It’s one thing to impose a law upon a people who must bear the indignity of its repercussions. It is entirely another matter that Ministers O’Conner and Wightman have chosen to use tactics to directly force division amongst our people. How long must we endure the colonising divide and conquer mindset?”
Ms Langford stated that ,“Minister O’Conner’s divide and conquer strategy to push her own individual agenda is disgraceful. We are mortified that our community is being forced into an adversarial position rather than a collaborative inclusive approach. We fought hard to ensure that our community was able to participate in a mutually respectful process with ex Premier Ray Groom yet what the Government presented last night disregarded those fundamental recommendations”.
”We had great hope that the new Aboriginal heritage legislation would be progressive and would finally acknowledge the sacred connection and relationship Aboriginal people have with our own heritage and culture. We have not given up hope of achieving this. We call on the Legislative Councillors and the people of Tasmania to engage in a mutually respectful process and support the rightful owners of Tasmanian Aboriginal Heritage and Culture. We need to ‘Kill the Bill’”, Ms Langford concluded.