Exposing the Aboriginal Industry: A Call for Equality and Accountability in Closing the Gap

Today the Senate addressed efforts to “close the gap”. All I can say is, here we go again. More taxpayers’ money, and more failure to close the gap. The voice to Parliament referendum was a divisive event that should never have been allowed to happen. But it produced two good outcomes.

The first was the rejection of racial division and special privileges based on race by an overwhelming majority of Australians. The second was the exposure of the corrupt and unaccountable aboriginal industry and its failure to close the gap. Many more Australians are demanding answers why the hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars absorbed by this industry over the years has not closed the gap. They are demanding answers why aboriginal leaders and activists live in mansions and drive luxury cars while other indigenous Australians live in poverty.

From where do these indigenous elites get all their money and privilege, and why isn’t support getting to the indigenous Australians who most need it? Where is the accountability for all of this money? My office is still inundated with calls from indigenous and non-indigenous Australians from all over the country, demanding answers. The answers are simple.

This industry is a racket. A scam preying on the despair of indigenous Australians in remote communities dominated by poverty and violence. A scam preying on the Australian taxpayer. It’s a racket invested in keeping part of indigenous Australia in poverty to justify its very existence, and to keep the gravy train chugging along. I’ve worked with ethical indigenous leaders to demonstrate some of the corruption in this industry. I’ve tried to table evidence of this corruption in the Senate, but the politicians who are part of this racket wouldn’t allow it. I’ve written to the responsible ministers demanding accountability for this corruption, with no response coming back.

I was finally met by the Department of Social Services tasked with investigating this corruption. They asked me not to talk about it anymore, and assured me they were pursuing the matter with all due diligence. Then they handed it over to the toothless Office of the Registrar for Indigenous Corporations, known as ORIC. ORIC had previously handed the investigation to the DSS on the basis it didn’t have the capacity or expertise to do it. These delays have been going on for years.

The individuals who are subjects of the investigation are still allowed to run an aboriginal organisation receiving taxpayer money. They’re still allowed to remain in positions advising this Labor government. The gap will never be closed as long as this industry is allowed to exist.

The only way to get to the bottom of why the gap is not being closed is to conduct a comprehensive audit of this industry’s failures. I’m not the only one calling for this audit. I’m calling for it on behalf of many Australians, indigenous or not, who are demanding it. Recently, other senators have been calling for it too but I’ve been a lone voice for it since 1996. Labor and Greens senators denied it, and senators Jacqui Lambie, Tammie Tyrrell and David Pocock refused to support it.

They don’t want anyone looking at the books. They don’t want any accountability for hundreds of billions of wasted taxpayer dollars. But Australia is waking up – thanks in part to the referendum – and demanding accountability. Eventually, the racket will be exposed for the scam that it is and those people who are responsible for it will pay.

Closing the gap requires a return to the principle essential to Australian democracy: equality. I have always called for equality among all Australians, and I was condemned as a racist by the same people who have been part of this racket. Assistance should be based on individual need.

A person’s cultural background or skin colour should never entitle them to more assistance than any other Australian. Equal rights for all, and special rights for none. Equal laws for all, and special laws for none. It’s the only way that’s fair. It’s the only way to close the gap and empower all indigenous Australians, equally.

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