Sep 2017

Fake Indigenous art Bill boomerangs back into Parliament

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11 September 2017: KAP Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter today reintroduced into Parliament a Bill which will make it illegal to sell fake, imported ‘Aboriginal Style’ art, keeping jobs and an income stream open for First Australian peoples.

Mr Katter’s move comes in response to calls from First Australian groups, Indigenous Art Code, Arts Law Australia the Copyright Council of Australia. It is estimated that 85% of what is sold in souvenir shops and as Indigenous Art, is fake and imported. The push comes in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games to prevent the market being flooded with fake Aboriginal arts and crafts.

Mr Katter said the sale of imitation and fake art deprives the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders one of the only remaining income streams for First Australians.

“I am sick of buying my grandchildren woomeras that won’t throw a spear, boomerangs that won’t come back, and bullroarers that don’t roar. So, firstly, we would like to give our tourists, whether they are Australian tourists or overseas tourists, a bit of genuineness in the product that we sell”.

Under Australia’s Competition and Consumer laws it is not illegal for imports to be sold, so long as they do not claim to be authentic and have a label stating where they are made.

The Competition and Consumer Amendment (Exploitation of Indigenous Culture) Bill 2017 makes a range of amendments to the Competition and Consumer Act which will prevent non-First Australians and foreigners from profiting from the sale of Indigenous art, souvenirs and other cultural items.

“First Australians can’t get a title deed off any Federal or State Government in Australia. I issued 800 in two and a half years when I was a Minister.

“So they can’t get any income from that source, but they can from their art which has become very valuable indeed.

“We have a Namatjira style art which is very, very culturally identifiable as First Australian artwork which has been copied in China, India and Indonesia and has been replicated a million times and being sent into Australia and sold as genuine First Australian art,” Mr Katter said.

Mr Katter said that Indigenous art that is produced, marketed and sold as authentic when it comes from foreign countries meant all the jobs overseas.

“What this Bill will achieve is that no longer will those jobs go overseas, they will remain here in Australia and Indigenous art will remain the property of our First Australian people.

“If this Bill goes through, no longer will they take our culture and our art away from us and I think every single person in Australia will agree with that proposition”.

Mr Katter reintroduced the Bill which was first introduced into Parliament in February 2017, but has since expired off the notice paper. Mr Katter’s introduction of the Bill into Parliament has resulted in the issue being examined by the House Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs.

“All we get is inquiries in this place. Nothing ever happens. We want action on this and I thank my I thank very much my colleague on the crossbenches for her support in this matter and her very great commitment to what is a cause of fairness for our First Australian peoples”.

Contact Details

P: (07) 4061 6066
F: (07) 4061 6566
Visit: Cnr Edith and Owen St
Post: PO Box 1638
Innisfail, Qld 4860

Mount Isa
P: (07) 4743 3534
F: (07) 4743 0189
Visit: 42-44 Simpson St
Post: PO Box 2130
Mount Isa, Qld 4825

(when Parliament is sitting)
P: (02) 6277 4978
F: (02) 6277 8558

Local Call within the electorate
P: 1300 301 942

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