Politics

Watch Actress Shareena Clanton Absolutely Rip The Government To Shreds On Indigenous Issues

A must-watch moment from Q&A.

Q&A Shareena Clanton

Indigenous actress Shareena Clanton has slammed the federal government for its failure to work with Indigenous communities on policies that affect Indigenous lives in a passionate speech on last night’s episode of Q&A.

Responding to a question about the government’s decision to reject the Uluru Statement from the Heart, as well as Malcolm Turnbull’s apparent reluctance to meaningfully engage with Indigenous community leaders, Clanton said Indigenous people were “tired of non-Indigenous Australia thinking they know what is good for us”.

A fortnight after a damning review into the Closing the Gap campaign found that the strategy “persists in name only” and “will measure nothing but the collective failure of Australian governments to work together and to stay the course,” Clanton said the government needed to talk to Indigenous people rather than at them.

“I’ll tell you about closing the gap, because it’s coming from Indigenous peoples, not from initiatives created in parliament,” she said, before praising the work of Indigenous parliamentarians Patrick Dodson and Linda Burney.

Of the government’s refusal to establish a constitutionally-enshrined Indigenous voice to parliament, as recommended by the Uluru Statement, Clanton said Indigenous people were simply asking “to be invited to the table”.

“The Indigenous Advisory Body wouldn’t hold any political sway whatsoever,” she said. “It’s an advisory body.”

“I am really tired of non-Indigenous members of parliament, like [Minister for Indigenous Affairs] Nigel Scullion, who didn’t put it to vote, who didn’t bother to poll it, because their instincts told them that it wouldn’t work,” she added.

When host Tony Jones asked government frontbencher Josh Frydenberg why the idea of an Indigenous advisory body to parliament had been rejected, Frydenberg stuck to the official line that such a body would be like having a “third chamber” in parliament, and insisted that the government already sought advice “in everything we do”.

“You do not seek out the advice of Aboriginal people,” Clanton fired back. “You do not consult Aboriginal people.”

“Constitutional reform is about empowering that voice,” she said. “It’s not about creating a third chamber in the cabinet. It’s not about special privileges for Aboriginal people.”

“Two hundred and thirty years of not being included in this constitution. The queen still owns some of our traditional lands. We’re still begging to protect sacred sites that are over 80,000 years old from mining companies, from gas companies.”

“We want to be the author of our own destinies.”

You really should watch the whole thing below: