Rights are being ripped away from [Aboriginal Australians] by this government legislation, supported by the Rudd opposition—can you believe that in 2007? There is no choice with the Labor opposition, because there is no backbone there when it comes to difficult decisions like standing for the rights of First Australians and making sure that they do get the health, the education, the job opportunities and the security that they have been denied under Labor and Liberal governments and that would safeguard their communities but also honour their culture. There is none of that from Labor here tonight. This is a Howard Labor opposition. One of the worst, if not the worst, pieces of legislation brought before this parliament is being endorsed by the Rudd Labor opposition here tonight. They say, ‘12 months down the line, we’ll have a look at it.’ We will see about that. The Greens say no to this legislation. We will fight this while ever there is an hour left of debate in this chamber.

Did anyone hear this last night (on ABC News Radio)? Bob Brown kicked arse. Not only in his criticism of the (lack of) opposition, but also in his criticism of the legislation itself:

This is racist legislation, more appropriate in an apartheid South Africa than in this wonderful country of ours. I am not inventing this; this is the government’s own explanation in its own memorandum of explanation. No, it is not confined to the Northern Territory; it applies to black people across this country— Indigenous people. It does not apply to any other community. I ask why that is the case. What is it about crime perpetrated on Indigenous children that should invoke these laws when they are not invoked in the white community? Is it that the government thinks that sexual offences against children in the white community are of a lesser nature or do not matter as much as sexual offences against children in the black community? Frankly, Mr Temporary Chairman, you and I and the minister know that that is not the case.

What we have before us is pure, unmitigated, inexcusable racist legislation….The government should be ashamed of it.

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