Tuckey told to apologise for Aboriginal remarks

"[I'm] very, very, very opposed" to the ceremonies. "I think it makes a farce of it," Mr Tuckey said. "You might remember, going back to the days of sorry, my criticism of the quality of Aboriginal dance -- the persons concerned were grossly overweight and in fact in no way added to that ceremony, and it's gone too far. And I refuse, I never have, thanked anyone for the right to be on the soil that is Australian." - Wilson Tuckey

AUDIO: Abbott tires of speeches which acknowledge original inhabitants ABC (PM)

Mar 16, 2010 www.abc.net.au

Wilson Tuckey
Cartoon: Gus Leeonisky

The Greens say Federal Liberal backbencher Wilson Tuckey should be kicked out of his party if he does not apologise for comments he made about Aboriginal people.

Mr Tuckey says acknowledging traditional owners of land at official functions is a farce and should not be done.

"I have never thanked anyone for the right to be on the soil that is Australian," he said.

He also says some performers of welcome-to-country ceremonies are "grossly overweight".

Greens leader Bob Brown says Mr Tuckey should apologise.

"If Wilson Tuckey does not have the common sense or grace or decency to withdraw, he should be removed from the Liberal Party," Senator Brown said.

"They should not be harbouring somebody who's capable of making such obnoxious statements.

"[Opposition Leader] Tony Abbott should demand an apology from Wilson Tuckey."

But Liberal frontbencher Peter Dutton says Mr Tuckey has a right to speak his mind even if people disagree with the comments.

"I don't have any issue with what Wilson said frankly or his right to say it."

Mr Abbott believes acknowledging Indigenous ownership as a matter of course is tokenistic and that it should only be done at suitable events.

Resignation offer

Meanwhile, Mr Dutton says he offered to resign over his decision not to participate in the apology to the Stolen Generations.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made the apology in early 2008.

Mr Dutton was the only Liberal frontbencher not to attend the speech because he did not think it would improve the living conditions for Aboriginal people.

He says he realised at the time that his decision would be hard for the then opposition leader, Brendan Nelson.

"I offered my resignation to Brendan Nelson," he said.

"What I said to him was exactly what I said before - if legislation comes through, regardless of cost, if there's a benefit that's going to be provided to lifting people out of poverty to changing the future for a generation, then I would do that."

Tuckey and Abbott stuck in the dark ages, says UAICC

17th March 2010 Insights (NSW Synod of the Uniting Church)

The Indigenous arm of the Uniting Church in Australia has labelled the comments made by Tony Abbott and Wilson Tuckey concerning acknowledgement of Indigenous traditional owners of land as nothing more than an opposition desperate to maintain its relevancy.

National UAICC Administrator Rev Shayne Blackman and UAICC Chairperson the Rev. Ken Sumner said the venomous and archaic comments were deeply offensive to all Indigenous people and would unravel any goodwill the opposition may have had made in recent times.

"It is now clear that the Leader of the Opposition and his learned underling have no genuine understanding of how to politically or culturally align themselves to Aboriginal people and their struggle and regrettably their comments and stance will cost them down the line" the Rev. Blackman said.

"These are elected members of parliament who cannot be allowed to use their tax payer salary to incite contempt under the guise of genuine political commentary — it is one thing to make legitimate political statements, it is another to belittle any group within the nation for sensationalism" said Mr Blackman.

Mr Sumner said Tony Abbott getting lost in the outback recently was indicative of planned media attention which may have been amusing to some however; the line was drawn in the sand over these obnoxious “media driven” comments which cut to the very heart of the respect and recognition for what Indigenous people have been struggling for since this country was invaded.

"Further, by Wilson Tuckey deriding the weight of some Welcome to Country dancers is unhelpful and indicative of an individual who has no understanding of the very real health issues facing Indigenous people not having equitable access to good nutrition in remote communities" Mr Sumner said.

"We would have hoped for a responsible opposition party that sought to outline alternative policy to address the socio-economic plight of many Indigenous people — one of them being obesity linked to proper nutrition, not via derision and mockery" said Mr Sumner.


We are concerned that

We are concerned that indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin has responded to our study by highlighting the results of the government's evaluation. She has told journalists that the government intends to press ahead with plans to roll out income management more broadly, and has appeared to dismiss our findings.

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