I would like to clarify my position on the proposed women’s shelter in Galiwin’ku. I am being told Labor Members are stating that I do not support it. This is untrue and I have explained my position to Minister Wakefield but maybe she is choosing not to listen. I support a proposal for the shelter that includes a whole community response: Yolngu leaders, elders and community being given the authority to provide the right response to violence. Yolngu law must always be present... in the safety of families. It has been and always should be and must be, so that we can work something out for the future of our people.
This about getting real outcomes for community safety.
Family violence is mainly the product of the influence of foreign culture and colonisation.
Widespread breakdown of Yolngu culture and law is leading to this. I woke up evey morning seeing my father grab a spear and go hunting for food. Now I wake up early every morning and it’s in my blood and in my knowledge from my family that I live with discipline and respect.
Now, some children see their parents waking up late in the morning and engaged in drug use and are not disciplined – and these young people are growing up to walk in the footsteps of their family. Young people are no longer disciplined strongly in line with yolngu culture – freely walking into the streets at night and learning behaviours from others – this is part of the current sniffing problem.
I would like to see the shelter become very effective in protecting Yolnu women, men and families through Yolngu law. Yolngu leaders in Galiwin’ku have said they want the authority for a shelter that will provide safety, discipline and rehabilitation: Yolngu miyalk leaders looking after women and senior male leaders looking after men and building responsibility through discipline and respect.
I am starting to believe that Labor is choosing to misrepresent my position. This is about dividing communities to discredit me. Yolngu culture is made up of strong male and female leaders. We are fighting to have authority returned to sovereign people, so we can make decisions about the problems that our people face. I stood on the platform Yolngu Rom Ngurrungu. Yolngu communties voted for me based on this message. I will stand strong, no matter what others throw at me. If you hear words about me that are untrue, come talk with me and I can tell you my story.