Senator Jacinta Price has accused the Federal Government of racism after her motion to conduct a commission into the sexual abuse of Indigenous children was rejected.
The Country Liberal Senator (pictured) said she was both horrified and furious that the motion, tabled in the Senate on Tuesday, was voted down.
“I have never been so incredibly furious to have to sit through and listen to the speeches being made by members of this parliament as to why they are denying the voices of vulnerable children to be heard – our most vulnerable people to be heard,” she said an emotional video posted online.
In a heartfelt speech to the Senate, Senator Price had shared the lived experiences of child sexual abuse and neglect in indigenous communities, including by one child who she said had been beaten and raped by her own father as a teenager.
“[She] suffered horrific abuse for years and tried at first to get support with family who didn’t believe her,” the Senator recounted.
“She was taken to police so she could make a report, and she had the incredible courage to be heard at the age of 17 and testify,” she said.
“The judge in her case said the abuse had been protracted, prolonged and involved the use of weapons.
“These are the children that the Labor government has now denied, that to me is racism, to ignore Indigenous children in this country who are suffering generation after generation from sexual abuse is I think, absolutely abhorrent to deny their voices through a royal commission.”
The Senator called out Independent Senator, David Pocock and Greens Senator, Dorinda Cox, for their actions in voting down the motion, alongside Labor Senators.
“I am so disappointed at the excuses she [Cox] made for not supporting this, given that in Western Australia, the children there have experienced the highest rates of sexual abuse in the country,” said Senator Price.
“Yet excuses were made as to why the Greens don’t want to support our most vulnerable children. I’m just horrified and disgusted.”
Despite rejecting the motion, Senator Pocock told news.com.au “more urgent action is needed” on prevention of child sexual abuse.
“…Experts and First Nations elders in the ACT are united in saying that what is needed isn’t another Royal Commission but more funding for frontline services,” he said.
Senator Price also took aim at Labor Senator Tim Ayres’ speech during Tuesday’s Senate proceedings, in which he compared vocalist, Kamahl – who changed his position on the Voice from Yes to No ahead of the referendum vote – to Opposition Leader, Peter Dutton, who has said he won’t yet proceed with a referendum on constitutional recognition.
“[Dutton] changed his mind more quickly and more often than Kamahl,” Senator Ayes told the Senate. “At least Kamahl is popular,” he added.
“Given I share those stories in my speech, that Tim Ayres would then proceed to make light of Kamahl during the referendum in his speech, it was just beyond words how just absolutely degrading it was to sit there and hear that.”
“I have to inform them now that their government is not interested in hearing their stories, understanding how they can improve the lives of those who are still in situations where they are being abused now and where we can prevent this in the future,” she said.