Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney has been called out for her “outright lie” after she made the extraordinary claim on ABC that a vote before parliament would have prevented an Alice Springs crime spree.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has been forced to travel to a restive remote town and impose a ban on alcohol sales after heavy criticism from the opposition and local residents about a 300 per cent rise in crime since Labor dropped a ban on the sale of alcohol in remote communities.
Ms Burney told ABC National Radio’s Patricia Karvelas that if a voice had been created before parliament earlier, the situation in Alice Springs would not be the same.
When Karvelas then pressed Ms Burney on whether she or the Prime Minister were being tough enough about banning alcohol in the Northern Territory, the minister said of their flying visit: “The most important thing is we made huge gains yesterday.
“I’ve been thinking about this deeply and it was expressed yesterday, that if the Voice of Parliament had been created earlier, I don’t think we would be where we are in terms of where Alice Springs is at the moment,” she said.
However, 2GB host Ben Fordham criticized Ms Burney’s comments as not only “disgraceful” but an “outright lie”.
Mrs Burney claimed on ABC broadcast the day after her aerial visit to Alice Springs that the sound of Parliament was on “I don’t think we’d be where we are from where Alice Springs is at the moment”
Linda Burney (above in Alice Springs with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on their brief visit on Tuesday) was blasted by Fordham who accused her of using outlaw violence in Alice Springs to sell a yes vote for The Voice.
Linda Burney was shocked. Living in fantasy land, Fordham said, I hope she doesn’t use what’s happening in Alice Springs to build a case for The Voice, because it sure seems like it.
“Really I mean Linda, you don’t believe it. You either tell lies or you live in Cuckoo Land.
He also gave Mrs. Burney a huge drizzle of her explanation of why that would be the case when she said, “Because we were getting practical advice from people who are representative of the community on these social issues.”
FORDHAM Minister, you already have it. The people of Alice Springs were knocking on the door asking for your help.”
Ms Burney said the Prime Minister’s visit to Alice Springs (pictured above is a local youth trying to break into the town’s Todd Tavern liquor bar) was a success
The minister said of Alice Springs that it was “a mistake to think that the issue here is just alcohol” and that the bans on Monday and Tuesday were “huge gains”.
NDP Senator Matt Canavan also weighed in on Ms Burney’s comments and said she should quit her job.
It shows how out of touch these people are. We have a whole department here in Canberra that focuses on Aboriginal issues.
If they couldn’t see what was happening in Alice Springs and reported it to their minister, what hope could 25 strangers in Aboriginal sound do the same
This is clearly a minister out of her depth. you have to go. How do you not know what is going on in Alice Springs. It is not another planet.
He also said that the question of when Australia Day could be added to The Voice poll and would cost nothing.
Fordham quoted a parliamentary inquiry last month into the July 2022 sunset of Stronger Futures legislation, which lifted decade-old alcohol bans in more than 40 Aboriginal camps in the Northern Territory.
Stephen Gourley, director of emergency medicine at Alice Springs Hospital, told the hearing that since the ban was lifted “the level of injuries we’ve seen is horrific, mostly women being battered.”
In the same inquiry, Alice Springs MD Dr. John Boffa urged a ban on drug use, because ‘we need to maintain extra protections and extra measures so we can see evidence that trauma in children is reduced’.
Last October, the Central Sahara Regional Council reported the immediate impact of lifting the ban as stark as an “escalation in alcohol-fueled violence.”
And in June 2022, on the eve of the lifting of the ban, eight local Aboriginal groups and Central Australian Aboriginal Congress President Donna Ah Chee warned Ms Burney in a letter that “allowing more access to alcohol will undoubtedly add fuel to this fire”.
Linda Burney on a private jet tour of the Outback last year to sell the audio for which she was accused of ‘dripping with Gucci’
As Alice Springs Federal Member of Parliament Marion Scrimgeour warned, “You can’t suddenly pull a pin without any protection or plan for vulnerable women and children.”
Fordham said: “Everyone… knows it was the pressure from that radio station that forced her and the prime minister to take action and even then (they didn’t listen), because all they did was support the heavy ban on Monday and Tuesday,
And they did nothing about children as young as five years old who roamed the streets at night. There is no point in giving voice to people if you have closed your ears.
To suggest a vote in the constitution would have made a difference is both shameful and laughable. It’s an outright lie
Listeners called Fordham, wondering what Mrs. Burney had been doing for the past ten months?
NDP Senator Matt Canavan also gave his take on Ms Burney’s comments, saying she had “woke up” and should quit her job.
In her interview with Radio National, Ms Burney admitted Alice Springs was a “huge flash point” but denied alcohol was the only problem.
She said the town faced a “complex set of problems” and that the prime minister’s six-hour visit was “very good”.
Pressed again by Karvelas as to whether she had not pushed the NTG to take urgent measures on alcohol control, she replied: “The most important thing is that we made huge gains yesterday”.
Linda Burney was previously criticized over the government’s original vote referendum before Parliament three months ago, when Senator Jacinta Price poked fun at her private jet tour of remote communities while she was “dripping with Gucci”.
Ben Fordham has accused Aboriginal Voice minister Linda Burney of telling an “outright lie” about her claim that The Voice was going to prevent the current crime wave in Alice Springs.