'Ignorant' And 'Offensive' Tony Abbott Offered Indigenous Envoy Role
Shadow Assistant Minister for Indigenous Affairs Pat Dodson has slammed the appointment.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been offered the role of special envoy for Indigenous Affairs.
The backbencher was offered the role by Scott Morrison, as the new Prime Minister locks in his new Ministry.
But Abbott isn't keen to take on the role unless it's more than an honourary position.
"I want to see us making a difference here, but I don't just want a title without a role," he told 2GB's Ray Hadley on Monday morning.
"Let's see what the new role entails."
Abbott previously served as Opposition Spokesman for Indigenous Affairs during the previous Labor government, and moved the portfolio into the Prime Minister's office when he came into power.
Hadley encouraged Abbott to accept the role, describing it as an "olive branch" and "sign of respect".
New Liberal deputy leader Josh Frydenberg told 3AW on Monday that finding a role for Abbott would be beneficial to the new Morrison government.
"[Indigenous Affairs] is something that Tony's been passionate about for a long period of time," he said.
"I do think he has something to bring to the table."
But Indigenous people aren't too happy about the proposed appointment, pointing to his long past of being out of touch with Indigenous people.
Labor's Patrick Dodson, a Yawuru man, described the offer as nothing more than an attempt to "buy off" Abbott.
"Labor is seriously concerned about appointing the ex-self-appointed ‘Prime Minister for Indigenous affairs’ to the role of ‘envoy,’ given his ignorant, hopeless and frankly offensive track record on Indigenous issues," he said.
"As Prime Minister, he cut over $500 million from Indigenous programs in the 2014 federal budget.
"And who can forget his profoundly offensive comments in 2015, claiming that people living in remote communities without adequate services were making a 'lifestyle choice' while defending his government’s decision to close up to 150 remote communities.
"Then there was last year, when ex-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull rejected the Uluru Statement, and Tony Abbott backed him up saying: 'In my judgement, the government made the correct decision not to proceed with the establishment of a separate, constitutionally entrenched body to represent Indigenous people."
Online, Indigenous people are also expressing their concern and distaste with the appointment.
In 2015, Gamilaroi man and IndigenousX founder Luke Pearson wrote that "every move Tony has made has shown he is not a PM for Indigenous Affairs", pointing to everything from the closure of essential services to waging a culture war against section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.
The long list of offences included "making innumerable racist, ignorant and intentionally inflammatory comments about Indigenous peoples, cultures and history."
Abbott has yet to make an announcement on the appointment, but confirmed he intends to run at the next election.
"I'm not retiring, I regard myself as a young man," he told Hadley.
"I still think I have a lot of public life left in me and I am determined to make the most of it."
It comes the same day as former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd described Abbott as responsible for "the unique negativity, toxicity and hatred" that has permeated politics for a decade, in a blistering op-ed for the Sydney Morning Herald.
"Abbott has never cared about policy," wrote Rudd.
"He has only cared about politics and winning at any cost. I cannot remember a single positive policy initiative that Abbott has championed and then implemented. Not one."