Warren Entsch “don’t let anybody steal your vote”

Listeners to Black Star Radio saw a side of the incumbent member for Leichardt not  many outside of his close friends and family know. Speaking to Greg Reid on the Black Star Breakfast show yesterday he was asked “what is his gut feeling” in terms of how the election has been for him.

He said “This is my 8th election and over the years I have built up a good understanding of communities.” Mr Entsch said he is comfortable with his outcomes and asks himself “what more could I have done?” He sees the internet as a challenge , and has a growing number of people contacting his office about material they have got of the internet or Facebook. He sees this issue as one of the most challenging things that he has to deal with.

However in his travels around communities he encourages people to think and at this time of the election cycle he gives the message “don’t let anybody steal your vote.” “If you really want to be ignored and sit back and leave one side of the politics or the other to do your voting for you, they will just take you for granted. Just don’t blindly follow what you are being told.”

Greg Reid asked Warren about his connections to Indigenous people.  He said he was fortunate that he went to school in Mareeba and grew up with lots of Indigenous people, right from an early age he had exposure to Indigenous culture and has lots of Indigenous friends. In his teenage years did not know about the extent of the removal of people and the circumstances of the forced removals of people from Old Mapoon. He didn’t know the story until he was first elected and told by elders. What they did there was “nothing short of disgusting; an absolute shame.”

Warren was 16 -17 and living in Mareeba and knew nothing of what the mining companies the government and church did to the people of Mapoon. He has developed a close association with the Mapoon people and it has given him a strong view of the strength of advocacy. As a young person was adopted into a Torres Strait Islander family who he speaks fondly about, along with the relationships and connections he has made.

He speaks about his time on a station and his connection to traditional owners over a long period of time, he now see the descendants of  those people now in good positions in the communities, some as Mayors, and that has given him an insight and respect for Indigenous people.

Warren spoke about the housing funding issue for the Cape communities which Black Star has covered extensively during the election and Warren’s views on having an Indigenous voice in the Australian Constitution. People know his stand in the Gay Marriage debate and his solid position on that, rarely see in politicians, and he is equally clear on this issue.

“Greg it’s a no-brainer, absolutely.” He believes that was an oversight in the original drafting of the Constitution and it was done in a very different of time when the country did not have an understanding and it is time to update the Constitution. He believes we must have full recognition of Indigenous people’s sovereignty of this land. His preference is for broader discussion between Indigenous people and not a single person’s point of view.

The last issue, also covered in previous interview, is Global Warming, as sea levels rise in the Torres Strait Islands. Warren Entsch’s position is he will continue to support the sea-wall program but requires up dated costings and a budget.

Listen to Warren’s interview here:

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