Poll finds that Government failed consultation on Native Title


New poll of Indigenous people shows failed consultation on Brandis’ Native Title (Adani) Bill

  • Comprehensive McNair poll of Aboriginal people across Australia

  • Almost three quarters say on the 25th anniversary of the Mabo decision the Native Title Act requires nationwide consultation and review

  • Half have not heard of the Native Title Bill and 9 out of 10 want further consultation

In the wake of the 25th anniversary of the historic Mabo decision, a comprehensive new poll of Aboriginal people exposes the Turnbull Government’s failure to properly consult on its Native Title Bill which Adani is relying on to override opposition from Traditional Owners to its controversial mega coal mine.

Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network, which commissioned the poll by McNair Ingenuity Research, is calling for the Bill to be withdrawn until proper grassroots consultation occurs.

The Native Title Bill, designed to nullify a recent Federal Court judgment, is currently stalled in the Senate. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has reportedly reassured Adani that Labor will vote to pass the bill when Parliament resumes in mid June. Consultation with Aboriginal people has comprised one closed door meeting with unelected bodies and an invitation-only public hearing in Brisbane.

Full polling results are available here. In short:

  • Only half (51%) of interviewees have heard of the Native Title Bill changes

  • 84% are either extremely concerned (49%) or concerned (35%) about the Government rushing through the amendments

  • Nine out of 10 (90%) agree there should be further consultation on the Native Title Bill

  • Almost three fifths (57%) support the Federal Court decision the Bill attempt to overturn

  • 80% say Native Title laws should not be changed to make it easier for mining companies to strike agreements without the consent of all affected Traditional Owners

  • Almost three quarters (72%)  believe that, on the 25th anniversary of the Mabo decision, the Native Title Act requires nationwide consultation and review.

Bundjalung woman Larissa Baldwin, National Co-Director of, says. “This new poll exposes the Turnbull government’s complete failure to properly consult with Indigenous people on its Native Title Bill. Half of Aboriginal people don’t even know the Bill exists, over four fifths are concerned about the changes being rammed through and nine out of 10 support further consultation.

“Attorney General George Brandis must pull the bill from the Senate until grassroots consultation occurs with communities, Native Title holders and claimant groups across the nation. Unless this occurs, Labor should stop doing Adani’s bidding and refuse to vote for the changes.

“This Bill is designed to make it easier for Adani and the mining lobby to override the objections of Traditional Owners to mining on their land and made it harder to challenge dodgy deals in court.

“It is wrong to try weaken the Native Title Act and change the rules to suit Adani and the mining lobby at the expense of Aboriginal rights. Native Title laws are crucial to protect our culture from fossil fuel companies bent on destroying our land.

“Both the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader have publicly reassured Adani they will pass this Native Title Bill when the Senate next sits to facilitate construction of the Adani’s climate wrecking mine, despite opposition from Traditional Owners.

“If Labor waves the Bill through it will abandon its proud history of championing land rights and the native title regime it once built. Bill Shorten has kowtowed to Adani and promised to vote for the Bill, but the opportunity to vote against it remains.

“It is clear these ‘reforms’ to native title laws are designed to suit Adani and the big end of town. Since coming to office, Attorney General George Brandis has done nothing else to progress reform of the problematic Native Title regime. Our poll also shows almost three quarters of Aboriginal people believe wholesale review of Native Title laws is well overdue,” Ms Baldwin said.

Larissa Baldwin is available for comment.

Media Contact: Kelly Mackenzie 0422 636 775

 

About the poll

Interviews were conducted by McNair Ingenuity Research between 18th - 31  May 2017. The research was done by a combined means of online and computer assisted telephone interviews of 404 people. Proportionate quota targets based on ABS population estimates for Indigenous Australians were set by gender, age group, state and region (metropolitan, regional towns and remote communities). The overall results have an average margin of error of +/-4%. The research team included Indigenous Australians.