Jobs Events Advertise

WA's missing minister: Dr Buti's disappearing act

Zak Kirkup -

In just over a month, Western Australia's Aboriginal community has been rocked by a series of events. Yet, in this tumultuous period, our Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Dr Tony Buti, has been conspicuously absent.

The referendum on the Voice saw WA flip from a supportive state to one of the least supportive. This reversal has deeply saddened and disheartened many Elders and leaders within the community.

Tragedies such as the deaths of Wayne Ugle and 16-year-old Cleveland Dodd in custody have further compounded the grief. These incidents have sparked outcry, protests, and petitions, highlighting the dire situation in places like the infamous Unit 18.

Campaigns against the jailing of children in adult prisons and to raise the age of detention have gathered momentum, with thousands supporting these causes. Meanwhile, we commemorated the anniversary of Cassius Turvey's death, a poignant reminder of the ongoing struggles faced by our community.

Throughout all this, Dr. Buti's absence has been deafening. Despite his impressive credentials, he has been markedly detached from these critical issues, choosing instead to attend events like the 92nd Waroona Agricultural Show, as evidenced by an Instagram video showcasing his visit.

"We got to show him a few cows," says the local MLA touring him around on show-day.

While the Waroona show is important to its community of 4600 people, it pales in comparison to the urgent needs of the Aboriginal community. Dr Buti's last significant parliamentary contribution on Aboriginal affairs dates back to September 20, focusing on the repeal of controversial heritage legislation. Since then, his engagement has been minimal.

There was a short statement where he patted himself on the back for resolving the stolen wages issue by choosing to award the lowest level of the contingent liability identified by the WA Treasury. But that's it in this entire time.

This lack of action is bewildering, especially considering Dr Buti's known capabilities and compassionate heart.

Frankly, it now it falls upon Premier Cook, long known as an advocate for the Aboriginal community, to reevaluate his choice for Minister. The current landscape demands a leader who is not only engaged but also actively addresses the community's needs.

Dr Buti, it seems, would be more at home among the pastoral tranquility than in the throes of addressing the myriad of issues facing Aboriginal people. Perhaps a shift to a more suitable role, out in the pastures, where his apparent preference for rural idylls can be fully embraced, would allow for a more dedicated and effective leadership in this crucial portfolio.

Zak Kirkup is the former leader of the WA Liberal Party

   Related   

Opposition to Truth and Justice commission is founded on a lie
As the recently retired Senator Pat Dodson bows out with his integrity intact, Former Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken W...
Jesse J. Fleay 15 Feb 2024
There's nothing new - or sinister - about anti-colonial solidarity
The struggle for Aboriginal rights in Australia has historically been fought through an understanding of intersectional liberati...
Ethan Lyons 14 Feb 2024
What if Barnaby had been Black?
The former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia was filmed lying flat on his back, muttering obscenities into his phone in Braddon...
Reece Harley 12 Feb 2024
When racism and white fragility prevented me from delivering my invited speech
Last Friday, on the 26th of January, I had the most confronting speaking experience I have ever encountered in over three decade...

   Zak Kirkup   

Queensland's milestone: A beacon to follow
This week, Queensland's political landscape saw a refreshing change with the appointment of the new Premier, Steven Miles. Follo...
Zak Kirkup 19 Dec 2023
Cook's missed opportunity as Buti sits on the brink
This week brought a wave of minor changes to the Western Australian Cabinet, as announced by Premier Roger Cook. These alt...
Zak Kirkup 8 Dec 2023
Top 5 First Nations gifts this Christmas
Christmas is just over a week away and if you're anything like me you're still chasing some last-minute gifts for friends and fa...
Zak Kirkup 15 Dec 2023
Record spend on Indigenous businesses
In a landmark achievement for Indigenous entrepreneurship in Australia, spending with Supply Nation verified Aboriginal and Torr...
Zak Kirkup 7 Dec 2023