NZ MP attacks Govt over 'racist military invasion'

- August 8th, 2007

A New Zealand Maori Party MP who has called Australia's Prime Minister a "racist bastard" has arrived in Alice Springs to protest against the Commonwealth's intervention in Aboriginal communities.

Legislation supporting the Northern Territory intervention was passed by the House of Representatives last night.

The Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough had hoped the new laws would be in place this week, but the Government has now agreed to a one-day Senate inquiry on Friday.

Hone Harawira says he has come to Central Australia to highlight what he describes as a racist military invasion.

"Tomorrow is world Indigenous people's day and yesterday your government decided to suspend the Racial Discrimination Act so they could ram through the legislation to take over the Territory," he said.

"I think it suggests that in 2007, this country's got a bloody long way to go."

Mr Harawira has also hit out at the Opposition, accusing them of political cowardice.

"If they had have decided to make a stand on it and force it to drag on and make it a bigger election issue, I think it would have put [Mr] Howard in a position where he probably would have had to step back from what he is doing.

"But because Labor has rolled over and played dead on this, Howard's going to get away with it all and the people who will suffer are going to be the local people of the land from around this Territory."