Sep 2020

Feds come on-board with fake art ban Bill

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KENNEDY MP, Bob Katter has welcomed news that the federal government is considering legislation that would crack down on fake Aboriginal souvenirs and artwork, following the release of a parliamentary report which found 80 per cent of Indigenous souvenirs sold in Australia were not genuine.

Mr Katter introduced his own Bill into the House of Representatives this week to prevent non First Australians and foreigners from arrogating for their personal benefit First Australian culture, and to stop the sale of art, souvenir items and any other cultural affirmations that exploit and thereby deprive First Australians of the rightful benefits from their culture, and for related purposes.

It is the third time the Kennedy MP has introduced the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Exploitation of Indigenous Culture) Bill into the Federal Parliament, and he says he harbours some frustrations that it has taken this long for the Government to acknowledge the need for action.

“We canvassed the five 'souvenir shops', for the sake of a better word, in Cairns, and, of the 35 items for sale that could roughly be described as Indigenous, 32 had been made principally in China, Indonesia or India; only three had been manufactured in Australia,” he said.

“It is a disgrace to this nation and it is a shame to every one of us, as Australians, that we will not give the First Australians a fair go.

“Every time that the issue is raised, we throw a stack of money at it, which all ends up in white pockets. Again and again in this House, I have heard people in positions of leadership saying that most of the money is going to black pockets. Well this report proves that the money is not going where they say it is.”

Mr Katter estimates that the bill, the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Exploitation of Indigenous Culture) Bill 2020, will create 200 to 300 jobs, if the parliament proceeds with it.

“The jobs—and pride and self-confidence—that would be created by this bill are estimated to be nearly 300 in number,” he said.

“If you doubt that for a moment, have a look at the paintings. The paintings are a huge industry in Australia. “The industry was started off on the Lutheran mission at Hermansburg by that very famous artist Albert Namatjira, but now there is a plethora of paintings.

“It's very seldom that you walk into a rich person's house in Australia and they won't have some of that art in their house. It's very expensive, as it should be. It's very, very fine artwork and it gives you a feeling that you're an Australian if you've got a bit of it on the walls.”

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Email: Bob.Katter.MP@aph.gov.au