Matters of Urgency – Northern Territory: Crime, 7 February 2023

Senator BABET (Victoria—United Australia Party Whip) (17:38): A few hours in Alice Springs—just enough time for a photo op and a hastily arranged press conference! But a few days at the tennis—plenty of time to watch the men’s semi-final and the women’s final, and don’t forget the men’s final after that. Tell me, again, how committed the Prime Minister is to helping Indigenous Australians? Probably not that much. A crime wave in Alice Springs—whatever. Children roaming the streets at 2 am because they’re too scared to go home—whatever. But how good was Novak, Djokovic, Prime Minister? How good was he?

A few hours in Alice Springs but a few days at the tennis. That tells you everything you need to know about how committed this Labor government is to helping Indigenous Australians. ‘Give us a wave!’ the Melbourne Park crowd yelled as the Prime Minister happily obliged. He waved to the crowd, laughter all around; a bit of a hoot. That’s all that this Prime Minister is good for: a wave. Give us a solution to the crime wave in Alice Springs. How about that, Mr Albanese? Give us a solution to the wave of suffering, Mr Albanese. Give us a solution to the wave of school truancy in Indigenous communities, Mr Albanese. There’s nothing—nil, nada. Signalling to the crowd is where the Prime Minister excels. He is good for a wave, a gesture and a sleight of hand, but with no substance behind it. He ignores the voices of Indigenous leaders like Senator Jacinta Price, all the while claiming that we need to listen to Indigenous people. He spent a few hours in Alice Springs and a few days at the tennis. Indigenous people in this country deserve much, much better.