Ms HUTCHINS (Minister for Industrial Relations) (14:40:53) — This government is committed to reconciliation and to the self-determination of Aboriginal people. Unlike those others, we have actually made sure there is a seat at the table for Aboriginal Victorians going forward, and I am very proud of the work that we have done in the treaty space. When it comes to our commitment around Aboriginal affairs and the value that we have for our past and our future, I do not think this side of Parliament can be questioned about our determination.
Ms HUTCHINS (Minister for Industrial Relations) (14:37:13) — I thank the member for his question. I might just start off in my capacity as Aboriginal affairs minister by acknowledging the views of Victorian Aboriginal people and say that there is no surprise that there were 40 000 people out on the street, just outside here, on 26 January. That is a growing phenomenon every year. People come out, wanting to have a conversation around the future of Australia Day, and they talk about many people in this community suffering pain from the day that is Australia Day.
Of course there are many, many Victorians who want to celebrate Australia Day, and this government absolutely supports that and has been on the record as saying that. But I say as Aboriginal affairs minister that we actually listen to what Aboriginal Victorians have to say, unlike the federal government, which has rejected outright the Uluru statement, which has rejected any sort of voice of Aboriginal people to the federal Parliament and which has rejected any constitutional change to actually recognise Aboriginals in our federal constitution.
Mr Clark — On a point of order, Speaker, the minister is now proceeding to debate the issue. My question was specifically about moneys given to Trades Hall being used to fund Invasion Day rallies, and I ask you to bring the minister back to answering that question.
The SPEAKER — Order! I do ask the minister to come back to answering the question.
Ms HUTCHINS — Obviously those opposite are interested in culture wars rather than getting on and listening to Aboriginal Victorians and putting their voice at the heart and the centre of our future debates and where we go. I do not know why the Leader of the Opposition does not actually call his mates in Canberra and put on the record why they should be listening to Aboriginal Victorians in this state.
But to come back to the question about whether this government has provided funding for this particular rally on Australia Day, the answer is no. We do not fund any rallies in this sort of vein. I am here as the Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, and I do not speak on behalf of the Victorian Trades Hall Council. Maybe that question about how they support that day is best asked of them.