The reaction to The Voice’s landslide defeat in the referendum has divided the Indigenous community, with an elder throwing a flaming jet during a welcome to country ceremony.
But another Aboriginal leader, Uncle BJ Cruse, insisted there was still a way for Australians to unite, even after the devastating vote result for his people.
The chairman of the Eden Aboriginal Land Council attempted to bounce back from Saturday night’s blow by delivering a welcome message to the campaign on the NSW south coast.
He told gathered residents, still reeling from the resounding verdict of more than 60 percent against the Voice proposal: “We can find a middle ground.
“We don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
Mr Cruse said it was important to find a compromise that would give indigenous people a way to be heard even though the attempt to enshrine the Voice in the constitution had failed.
Aboriginal leader Uncle BJ Cruse insists there is still a way for Australians to unite, even after the devastating referendum result for his people.
He refused to get drawn into a knee-jerk war with those who voted against The Voice, telling the crowd on Sunday morning: “That means friends are welcome.”
Mr. Cruse is a devout Christian and son of an Aboriginal minister, and has served as president of the Eden ALC for 36 years as a progressive and popular elder.
Last year he led the campaign to rename Eden’s Ben Boyd National Park – after a 19th-century Scottish businessman and slave trader – to Beowa National Park.
Her reaction contrasts with South Australian senior Katrina Ngaityalya Power’s bitter outburst during her welcome-to-the-country speech at a business function on Wednesday.
She stunned more than 400 guests at a breakfast meeting on South Australian industry, innovation and science by telling them they were on “stolen” land.
After being applauded as she walked onto the stage at the Adelaide Convention Centre, Ms Power said she “deserved” a better round of applause, the Advertiser reported.
Referring to the scale of the Voice referendum defeat, around 61 per cent to 39 per cent, she said “seven out of ten of you” didn’t want her to “have a voice”.
Kaurna’s wife also called for the “dethroning” of King Charles and said she could “understand” what it was like for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Katrina Ngaityalya Power (pictured) stunned more than 400 guests at a breakfast meeting on industry, innovation and science in South Australia by telling them they were on “stolen” land “.
State Liberal MP Ben Hood, who was at the meeting, said it was “inappropriate for this kind of highly political comment to occur at a taxpayer-funded event.”
He added that it was “a huge shock that this project has been warmly welcomed and supported by (Prime Minister Peter) Malinauskas’ Labor ministers”.
This is not the first time Ms Power has made headlines for her controversial views.
In 2017, she referenced Indigenous “slavery” during her “welcome speech” at an Anzac Day dawn service in Adelaide.
She also changed the words of the 23rd Psalm to include the phrase “to pass through the valley of invasion,” which was called “insulting and disrespectful” by some service veterans.
Ms Power made news again on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2018, when she referred to then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as “Malcolm Cows***”. .
She then refused to apologize, saying: “I’m not sorry at all and if the Australian Prime Minister wants an apology he can wait 220 years.”
A South Australian government spokesperson said of Ms Power’s latest controversy: “In our liberal democracy, people are free to express their views.
“The government does not script or fact-check the remarks of people welcoming the country at government events.”
After being applauded as she made her way to the stage at the Adelaide Convention Centre, Ms Power (pictured) said she “deserved” a better round of applause.