Mal Brough, 'Interventionist', clashes with The National Indigenous Times
Brough clashes with The National Indigenous - Brough accused of racism
Brough clashes with National Indigenous Times
by: Lara Sinclair
August 29, 20121:37PM
THE return to federal politics of one-time Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Mal Brough has been interrupted by a clash with the National Indigenous Times and indigenous leaders.
Mr Brough was accused of racism after he called the NIT a "rag run out of a basement in Canberra'' in a report in The Sunshine Coast Daily on Monday.
MAL BROUGH ACCUSED OF RACISM
Kathy Sundstrom | 29th August 2012 5:15 AM
MAL Brough has been slammed for his "redneck tendencies" and has been accused of racism following his comments about Australia's leading indigenous affairs newspaper.
Some have called for the newly endorsed candidate for Fisher's resignation from the LNP and investigation by the Human Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission.
The Daily was contacted by journalist Gerry Georgatos, who was with a group of 10 elders in Perth, including activists Marianne Mackay and Maureen Culbong.
They were furious at Mr Brough's comment, reported in The Daily on Monday, that the National Indigenous Times was a "rag run out of a basement in Canberra".
Mr Brough had been responding to quotes, reported in the National Indigenous Times, by 30 indigenous leaders who were angry at his preselection.
Mr Brough told The Daily he did not believe they represented the views of indigenous people.
He stood by these comments yesterday.
National Indigenous Times editor Stephen Hagan sent The Daily a statement saying Mr Brough was displaying "redneck tendencies by rejecting the comments of the 30 highly regarded and respected indigenous leaders".
He said Mr Brough's remark that the leaders did not represent the views of indigenous Australia was patently wrong and it was disrespectful for him to comment that way.
He rejected the suggestion that the newspaper was run out of a basement in Canberra.
"The National Indigenous Times operates from registered business premises in Canberra and has done so for more than 10 years," Mr Hagan said.
Mr Georgatos, who is also a PHD researcher in racism, said the subject had gone viral across the country as it had offended a lot of people.
He said Mr Brough should have known better.
"The language used by a person of the stature of Mal Brough who has entertained a ministerial portfolio in Indigenous Affairs - his use of language is indicative of racism and of discrimination and is utterly inexcusable," he said.
"He shouldn't be representing any person in parliament."
Mr Georgatos said he would complain to the LNP as well as the Human Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission and had invited Mr Brough to a debate in the electorate of Fisher.
Ms Mackay said she was disgusted with Mr Brough and called for his immediate resignation.
She said the majority of the 30 Aboriginal figures, many of them elders, were well known, many highly qualified with an academic background and stature.
She said the National Indigenous Times - the only newspaper to focus on indigenous issues - represented the voice of the people.
"That's our people in that newspaper. The comments against the National Indigenous Times are comments against all of us involved in the process," Ms Mackay said.
Mr Brough said he had no plans to retract his statements and they were of "no concern".
"The National Indigenous Times is not reflective whatsoever of Australians, let alone indigenous Australians," he said.
(Within the first 24 hours online at the Sunshine Coast there were 75 comments posted)
HERE is the original article by the Sunshine Coast:
ELECTORATE RIVAL IN WAR OF WORDS
Kathy Sundstrom, August 27, 2012
MAL Brough has been the LNP candidate for Fisher for less than a month and already the mud-slinging has begun - from both directions.
Mr Brough sent out a press release last week strongly criticising his former party colleague Peter Slipper.
At the same time indigenous leaders were taking a shot at Mr Brough, the former Aboriginal affairs minister.
The National Indigenous Times newspaper printed the thoughts of "30 indigenous leaders" which varied from "horror to dismay" at the thought of Mr Brough resuming his role if Tony Abbott won the next election.
Michael Anderson, the last survivor of the tent embassy in Canberra, was quoted as saying Mr Brough's preselection "is a disaster".
East Arnhem Land Yolngu Elder, the Rev Djiniyini Gondarra also said he was concerned Mr Brough "would make it worse than it already is".
Mr Brough said he wasn't worried about comments made "by a rag run out of a basement in Canberra".
"It doesn't concern me, it doesn't reflect the views of the (indigenous) people," he said.
What did concern him was Mr Slipper's refusal to allow a "matter of public importance" to be debated in question time in parliament.
Mr Slipper stepped aside from the Speaker's chair, pending an investigation into claims of sexual harassment from his media advisor James Ashby.
But Mr Brough said Mr Sipper was still "literally pulling the strings behind the scenes".
He said Mr Slipper continued to undertake administrative tasks.
And last Tuesday, the second anniversary of the election which brought Julia Gillard into power, Mr Slipper had a hand in "refusing to allow a parliamentary debate on Labor's failures".
"Mr Slipper did what he does best, he followed Labor's orders", Mr Brough said.
"On the day of the second anniversary of the election, Mr Slipper took the extraordinary action of denying the parliament the opportunity to debate Labor's failures."
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott had formally requested a debate take place about Labor's record over the past two years. Mr Slipper denied this.
Mr Brough said, "judgment of the people of Fisher" would be determined at the next election, expected in a year.
He said he had spent the past few months walking the streets of the Sunshine Coast and hearing first-hand how tough businesses were finding it.
He said many were just happy to see a face as Mr Slipper has hardly been seen since the Ashby scandal surfaced in April.
Mr Slipper did not return the Daily's request for comment.
HERE IS THE LINK TO THE NATIONAL INDIGENOUS TIMES ARTICLE OF THE 30 ELDERS:
IT'S A RESOUNDING NO TO MAL BROUGH - Geoff Bagnall